Most people don’t really want to know Jesus, or why He said, “Follow Me,” they just want to know what kind of person he is.
The below scriptures summarize Him by His character.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).
If you want to know a bit more, but not that much, I’ll quote a few of Sara Young’s interpretations out of her book, “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence.”
Isaiah 26:3 and 2 Corinthians 4:18
Do not search for security in the world you inhabit. You tend to make mental checklists of things you need to do in order to gain control of your life.
If only you could check everything off your list, you could relax and be at peace. But the more you work to accomplish that goal, the more things crop up on your list.
The harder you try, the more frustrated you become. There is a better way to find security in this life. Instead of scrutinizing your checklist, focus your attention on My Presence with you. This continual contact with Me will keep you in My Peace.
Moreover, I will help you sort out what is important and what is not, what needs to be done now and what does not. Fix your eyes not on what is seen (your circumstances), but on what is unseen (My Presence).
Genesis 50:20 and Psalms 23:4
IF YOU LEARN TO TRUST ME – really trust Me – with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from My Peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting Me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you.
Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to his brothers; ”You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
Do not fear what this day, or any day, may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear not evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter.
John 16:33, Isaiah 41:13, and Philippians 4:13
DO NOT LONG for the absence of problems in your life. That is an unrealistic goal, since in this world you will have trouble. You have an eternity of problem-free living reserved for you in heaven. Rejoice in that inheritance, which no one can take away from you, but do not seek your heaven on earth.
Begin each day anticipating problems, asking Me to equip you for whatever difficulties you will encounter. The best equipping is My living Presence, My hand that never lets go of yours. Discuss everything with Me. Take a lighthearted view of trouble, seeing it as a challenge that you and I together can handle. Remember that I am on your side, and I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:28 and Micah 7:7
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration.
Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.
Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses.
Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do.
Now if you want to know who Jesus really is, how fabulous and awesome He is. Not what He will do for you, because I don’t know, but how great your life will be with Him. Not meaning you won’t have anymore problems, but He will literally take care of you in a most magnificent way that you can’t begin to imagine and how great you will feel once you know Him.
The happiness and joy you had when you paid off your house, had a child, got married, or possibly divorced, etc., isn’t even close to what it feels like when Jesus you are in the presence of Jesus.
Forty years ago McDonald’s had the supreme burger, but now the Big Mac is no longer the star it had once been. According to research reports, the same has happened to the Christian term. It no longer really means anything to be called a Christian, all it means is that you believe in Jesus. I don’t want to shock you, but just going to a Christian church does not make you a Christian, it only makes you a member of a Christian church.
Research reports show that 4 out of 5 Americans claim themselves to be Christians, sounds good on paper. Yet, of these self-proclaimed Christians not even half of them go to church on a weekly basis. And about half of them don’t believe the Bible is true. Most people haven’t a clue what the Biblical view on life is about.
Now let’s take a look at the Born Again Christian. According to research reports, these people who say they’ve made a personal commitment to Jesus believe they are going to heaven simply because they’ve accepted Jesus as their savior. According to statistics, most of their beliefs and life styles are not the way Jesus is. Many of them believe that there’s a work hierarchy ladder and as long as they are nice to people and donate they’re going to heaven, the Apostle Paul says otherwise:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9).
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom 11:6).
A lot of people, including some of these Born Again Christians, believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Muslims worship Allah, we worship Jesus, e.g., Jehovah/Yahweh. If you believe that the Muslims and us worship the same God why don’t you trot yourself over and hang out with Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in California and join his Chrislam faith because you’re not a Christian.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3).
“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Is 45:45-47).
As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled” (1 Cor 8:4-7).
Some of these Born Again Christians believe that Jesus sinned when He was here on Earth, but He just didn’t get caught and even more of these people describe themselves as being “marginally committed” to Jesus. There are a lot of people in our country and around the world who think they are Christians, but they certainly are not.
Jesus is not a part-time God, nor does He do anything half-way. He’s a full-time God and he doesn’t accept part-time believers. You trust Him fully or you don’t.
‘Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good works in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’ (Phil 1:6).
What is “the day of Jesus Christ”? The day Jesus returns, if you aren’t with Him on that day than it’s too late, you’re going to Hell. Compared to God we are all stupid, but God obviously doesn’t have a problem with stupid people. Being stupid and being a fool is not the same, fools are evil and He hates evil.
“For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps 5:4-5).
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps 7:11).
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov 6:16-19).
It’s pretty clear that it isn’t wise to be foolish or two-face or indecisive.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.
A Double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
Many Catholics believe that when Jesus comes back if you go to hell then later you can go to heaven. This is incorrect, if you go to hell you’re there for eternity, no matter what you did.
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt 25:46).
“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:9).
Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Rev 14:10-11).
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14-15).
But what do you expect from people who think a Catholic Priest can forgive sin? Only God can do that and of course, Jesus is God.
“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Lk 5:20-21).
These people didn’t pay attention, they didn’t notice that this crippled man was no longer a cripple because Jesus healed him by forgiving his sins, which they themselves even said that only God can forgive sins.
No telling how many people in the world, not just in our country, identify themselves as Christians and ARE NOT! And what happens to those that are not a true follower of Jesus Christ? I’ll let Jesus Himself tell you.
“Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).
If you stood in front of a judge and he sentenced you to 20 years in the penitentiary or even a year in jail, that would really suck. But nothing can be more horrifying then to hear the judge of all judges say, “I never knew you!” and you then spend eternity in hell. There are a lot of people just sitting in church that will be shocked to stand before Jesus and hear Him say, “I never knew you.”
Are you wondering what the Father’s will is? Are you wondering what iniquity is? The Father’s will is that everyone accept His Son fully, whole heartily, and if you don’t then anything you do is iniquity. Let us say you are one of those cultural believers and you do a lot for the poor, you treat kids and everyone with respect and you go to church at least once a week. That does nothing for you if you don’t have Jesus in your heart, remember, we are saved by grace, not by works (Eph 2:8-9).
You would be better off if Jesus was in your heart and you did nothing for others. Those that may speak highly of Jesus, and even preach His word, but don’t have Him in their heart are doing whatever they are doing to impress people and that’s a bigger sin then not believing and doing nothing for others.
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming: and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, or him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:42-48).
Please take note of this because now that you’ve read this, you have full knowledge. Kind of like a subpoena, you have been served.
Does that mean that there are some people who have not heard of Jesus, but they will still go to Hell? No, everybody on earth knows of Jesus, they may not know Him personally or may not have heard of Him in church, but they know Him. God told people about Jesus before He even came here.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33).
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10).
Who or what is the house of Israel? Everybody. God does not differentiate, He loves everybody the same until the day of Jesus Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor females: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of person;
But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching, peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all)” (Acts 10:34-36).
“For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward” (Deut 10:17).
“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Col 6:25).
What is this law that God has written in our hearts? Jesus Christ is the law He is talking about. What is this wrong He talks about? Not believing in Jesus.
So how can God punish us if we don’t know exactly what to do? Has He told us? You bet He did:
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matt 4:18-22).
All of this revolves around one sentence,“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” verse 19. So what do you think it means to follow Him? Before I go on with this lets first point out who Jesus truly is.
Matthew 1:1-16 – Matthew begins connecting Jesus to the promised Messianic line in the Old Testament. It gives a genealogy, starting directly after the great flood (Gen 6-8) and Abraham begins in Gen 12.
Jesus Christ is the Savior (Lk 2:11, Jn 4:42, Acts5:30-32, 1 Jn 4:14).
The name Jesus is Greek, the Hebrew name is Joshua, and it means, “God is salvation.” Jesus is the one, the only one, who can save us from our sins.
Christ comes from christos, a Greek word meaning “anointed,” and it is the equivalent to the Hebrew word mashiach, or Messiah. Therefore, Jesus, who is the Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, is “the anointed one of God.”
Here it gets confusing because of our feeble minds. You must understand that Jesus Christ, the man on earth, is also Jesus Christ our God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1-5 & 14).
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim 3:16).
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col 1:10 & 14-17).
Jesus came from the most powerful blood line the world has ever known. As I said above, it goes all the way back to the beginning of Genesis. Matthew 1:1 says that Jesus is the Son of Abraham (“father of many nations” or the “father of Israel” – Gen 17:4-5), the Son of David (2 Sam 7:12-13; Ps 89:2-5; Matt. 12:22-23, 21:15-16, 22:41-46). He is also the Son of God (Dan 3:25, Matt 3:17, Jn 3:16) and the Son of Man (Dan 7:13-14, Rev 1:13). Yet, Jesus was more than that because He was given authority centuries before He was even born on earth:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Is 9:6-7).
This shows that everyone and everything that happened in the Old Testament pointed towards Jesus. Everyone and everything that happened after His crucifixion points back to Jesus. Jesus Christ is the center of our history. I hope you don’t think to highly of yourself because you are not at the center of history, I’m not at the center of history, our generations are not at the center of history, neither is the United States of America or any country at the center of history.
According to historical and archaeological facts, the earth is 4.5 billion years old, meaning that Jesus had made things way before we were created.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col 1:16-17).
What happened within the six-day period when God created earth (Gen 1:1 to Gen 1:25) is unknown to us. Yet, according to H.G. Wells’ The Outline of History, the Swanscombe Man existed over 200,000 years ago.
“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:7-8).
Throughout hundreds of thousands of years billions of people have come and gone, nationalities have come and gone, empires have come and gone, countries, nations, kings, queens, presidents, dictators, rulers have all come and gone, but in the center of it all remains one man, Jesus Christ.
It was over 2,000 years ago that Jesus was crucified. Yet, have you noticed that no one, not even non-believers, have referred to Him as the late Jesus? There is not one mention in all of history where Jesus Christ was talked about in the past tense. He is the one and only Living God!
Jesus was and still is fully human, fully divine, and fully God. Jesus is the Almighty and He will destroy the wicked, they will be gone forever once He returns. But for the time being He loves everybody. Yet, His love is not like ours, love is not just an emotion with God, as it is with us, He is love, He is the creator of love.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8).
We are unable to love others as Jesus does. We can’t even fathom what His true love is. The closest we can get to understand God’s love is the love a mother has for her children.
God’s thought pattern and greatness is beyond us, but everyone can get to know Him and understand Him, all you have to do is ask and walk with Him.
Even when Jesus was here people didn’t understand all that he said because they concentrated on the world and not God. You can’t fully understand the scriptures in the Bible until you understand God and you can’t understand God until you get to know Him and you can’t get to know Him if you don’t read the Bible.
So if you want to understand Jesus you must read the Bible from cover to cover and read it with God. Yes, He will explain things to you as you read it if you ask.
“And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matt 13:10-11 & 13).
“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yeah, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:6-16).
Jesus loves his fiercest enemies and sinners, that includes us. He does until He returns to destroy the wicked. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone that is why He is waiting and waiting for people to wake up and walk with Him.
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Eze 33:11).
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).
It is clear that Jesus is worth more than just nominal adherence and church association. Today, especially in many churches, Jesus is nothing more than an icon. He isn’t praised and worshipped for who He is.
Some think that He’s begging us to accept Him into their heart because He needs us. He doesn’t need to us, He wants everyone to accept Him because we need Him. He loves us and if you don’t accept Him then He can’t give you the glorious eternal life that He promises.
What exactly did Jesus mean when He said,
Look behind His words and you can see what an honor those two words mean. They weren’t a demand or an order, He’s giving us a gift, a gift to follow Him to the Promise Land for eternity.
You can’t see Him physically, but He doesn’t have to be in physical form, He’s God and He’s around everybody all the time. What He had said to His disciples, ”Follow Me,” He’s still saying. Realize that Jesus is standing right there in front of you and He’s saying to YOU right now, ”Follow Me.”
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:20-21).
Remember, this is a gift from the Almighty God, but it’s also a yes or no question and you have no choice but to respond to it. The response is that you turn and run or you bow and worship. Most have run to their destruction. Did you run? If so, are you going to continue running or turn around and accept His gift?
Let’s take a look at Jesus’ disciples, when they chose to follow they gave up everything necessary to do so. When people say they are Christians but continue to live the way of the world we know that they have been deceived or are trying to deceive you.
A multitude of people, today and centuries past, made the same decision the disciples did, but they didn’t carry through. Oh yeah, they may pray a prayer, sign a card, say a few kind Christian words, sing a holy song, walk an aisle and even accept Jesus into their heart, but their lifestyle is still the same, there is no difference.
They say they’re Christians and some of them may even think they are, but they haven’t a clue who Jesus is. When you know Jesus things begin to change in your life. The changes will happen slowly, but the change in you is immediate.
Who you are, your perception of things and such doesn’t change, what happens is that Jesus gives you a new heart, and trust me, you change.
The hatred that we all have deep inside isn’t necessarily removed, it’s just smothered with the Joy of Jesus Christ. And believe me, you’ll know it and so will others.
There are things you will no longer do because you don’t want to, or there can be things that you don’t want to do, but you still will and then you will feel horrible that you did. Paul, in Romans 7:15-25 & 8:1 explains this.
Here is one way a preacher put it:
Imagine I got here late this morning, imagine these guys finished leading some musical worshipping and then a little video whatever came on, my faith spatters, blank stage, five, ten, fifteen minutes go by, they’re sitting there, it’s awkward and then all of a sudden I come running out on the stage and I say, I’m sorry I’m here late, I was kind of out of breath coming over here today, driving over here on the interstate and had a flat tire and got out and fixed the flat tire but I accidentally stepped out into the middle of the interstate and this Mac Truck hit me head on and it hurt, but I got up and finished fixing the tire and got back into the car and drove so I apologize for being late.
Now if this was the story I told you then you would want to know one of two things. Either number one, I’m lying or number two, I am very deceived. And you know that because when somebody gets hit by a Mac Truck they look different than they did before.
Based on that reality I’m pretty sure I’m on safe ground in saying that when a person comes face-to-face with God in the flesh, the Savior King and Sovereign Lord and He reaches down into your heart and saves you from the clutches of sin and self, you’re going to look different. You’re going to look really different. Everything changes when you follow this King.
So what does “Follow Me” mean? It means three basic things.
- To follow Jesus means to live for Him and to do that you MUST abandon your desires of the world, replacing them with His glory.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17).
The word repent means to literally renounce/acknowledge/confess your sins. In Luke 14:33, Jesus said:
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, He cannot be my disciple.
To truly repent and follow Jesus is the same. You can repent all you want, but if you don’t follow Jesus then your repentance is moot because you will continue to live in your worldly ways which God hates.
Many say that God can’t hate. Why not, He created the emotion/ability to hate. Why would God hate the world? Gee, that’s a tough one, maybe because He’s holy and hates sin and the world is full of sin? Or, duh, maybe because the world killed His Son? If someone killed or even hurt your child would you invite them over for dinner? No you wouldn’t, but He’s inviting you.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17).
- When Jesus says to abandon everything of this world, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get rid of your personal belongings and such. It means that your top priority is Him.
Your first love is Jesus Christ. But then again, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to get rid of your personal belongings but it would be unwise to do so unless He told you to, and believe me, you will know when He tells you to do whatever, or what not to do.
The disciples left their comfort behind and they hadn’t a clue where they were going or what was going to happen, He just told them to come on. They also left their careers, they were professional fishermen; their personal belongings.
These men were not of the rich and famous, but they did have a boat and made a living, but they gave it all away. They left their families, their friends, their safety, and of course, their sinful ways. Jesus also told them that to follow Him they had to deny themselves and the world around them.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:24-26).
It gets even better than this, Jesus also told them that the world would hate them because they hated Him; that they would be persecuted for His sake. Then He let them know that He was going to send them out like sheep amongst ravening wolves (the world of non-believers).
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matt 10:22).
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (Jn 15:18-25).
Those are some pretty frightening words, but His disciples still stayed. Why? Because they knew Him, they knew His glory and there was nothing to fear. Remember, the horrifying words that Jesus will be saying to many when He returns – “I never knew you.”
As I had said, this doesn’t mean for you to toss away your stuff or career, Jesus will let you know what you should do, He may want to use your career.
And don’t listen to someone, like the late Jim Warren Jones or anyone that says God told them that you are to do this, you will know when Jesus is talking to you.
And then again, you may not hear from Jesus, but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear from Him. What I said may not make a lot of sense, but just trust me on this. Whatever He tells us to do we do. “We” are no longer our top priority, Jesus Christ is.
There are two families that moved, one to the heart of the Muslim middle east and the other to the heart of central Asia. It is extremely dangerous for either family to spread the news of Jesus. Some people told the husband that took his wife and two kids to the middle east that he was being reckless, not thinking of his family’s safety. His response was, “I think we’re in far greater danger of being safe then we are reckless.”
- When Jesus says,“Follow Me,” He is asking you to let Him adopt you. Remember, we did not seek Him, He sought us. I think the following paragraphs by David Platt explains what Jesus means.
Jesus takes the initiative to call us to Himself.
What One Preacher Had to Say:
My wife and I struggled for years to have children, the Lord led us on a journey of adoption, and we put a map on the table and said Lord where are you leading us to adopt. And he led us internationally to the country of Kazakhstan [sp?], I didn’t even think I knew Kazakhstan existed. Before that process and months of praying, we put in an application to adopt a Kazak [sp?] child and I remember somebody we run across, we told them we were adopting a child and their first response was “a real one?” No a plastic one, we’re going to put one on our mantel and look at it.
So we’re walking through this adoption process which is long and grueling in so many ways. Forms, fingerprints, home study background checks, physical, we were trying to meet a particular deadline and we had a physical at one point that we had to get checked off so we went to the doctor together and everything was going smooth.
My wife and I were there until we got to the eye chart deal. And I still maintain the lighting in this hallway was dim, but I went up first so she said cover one eye and start reading and I got maybe two rows down and I started struggling and I started thinking I can’t do this, I can’t miss this or we’re going to miss our deadline and it’ll set us back so I’m stressed out and she could tell I’m getting stressed out, a little flustered, and she says why don’t you try the other eye, I’ll do that. But in my nervousness I had pressed down so much on this side when I took it off everything was blurry, I couldn’t even see the top letter.
And she said, Sir, why don’t you step aside and let your wife come up and do it and you can try again. So alright, I’ll do that, and so I’m over here trying to get my eyes right and then finally I get my eyes right and my wife’s still going so I look down, and I memorized the letters. So I step back up and just start acing, and I’m like, I can do this with two eyes closed if you want. So we checked that off, we went through the entire process which took over a year.
One day, sitting at a computer, I receive this email with a picture of a ten month old little boy, this was six years ago this last month. The day after Valentine’s Day we walked into an orphanage in this small obscure city in Kazakhstan, and we held this little baby boy in our arms, not long afterwards he became our son, Kalif, [sp?] and I share that with you so picture this, see a parallel with adoption here.
Adoption begins with the parent’s initiative, not with a child’s invitation. Before Kalif was even born, before he was ever abandoned in that hospital in Kazakhstan, he had a mom and dad who were planning to adopt him and while he was lying alone at night in an orphanage in Kazakhstan he had a mom and dad that were working to adopt him.
And one day Kalif was placed in the arms of mom and dad and he had no idea all that had been done completely apart from him to bring him to that point, this orphan boy became our cherished son. Not because he pursued us, but because we pursued him before he was even born.
Now let’s compare the above story with the following:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;
Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself;
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him:
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
That we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ” (Eph 1:3-12).
Many people don’t understand or believe and they say it doesn’t pertain to us. Everything in the Bible pertains to us, we are God’s children. Remember, earlier I had pointed out that we are not the first breathing humans on planet Earth, but we are the first of His children. God created the earth way before He made us. Between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:25 there were rocks, plants, animals, Neanderthal Man to Cro-Magnon Man, and then:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God create he him; male and female created he them” (Gen 1:26-27).
That is why animals and birds fear us, it’s isn’t because we are more powerful, it’s because God gave us dominion over them.
We can be holy, such as God is, because we were created in His image and likeness. God lived with us as Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14), He was the invisible God (Col 1:15) and we are predestined to be like Jesus.
“For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [Abba is Aramaic meaning Father – relationship others can enter through faith]
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together “(Rom 8:13-17).
The Spirit Paul is talking about is the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit/Spirit of God. Prior to Jesus starting to preach the Kingdom of God He was baptized by John the Baptist and the Holy Ghost came into Him. Why would Jesus need the Holy Ghost since He is God? He was also a man and no man can beat the devil without God. All that Jesus did He did for us to follow.
Being baptized doesn’t make you holy or mean that you are going to heaven. Baptism is only a symbol that you love Jesus, that you have Him in your heart. Like a wedding ring, wearing one doesn’t make you married, it’s a symbol of the marriage.
Why did Jesus go to John the Baptist to be baptized? It’s not because they were cousins, I would have to say it’s because John the Baptist is the only person, as far as I know, that was filled with the Holy Ghost before he was even born (Lk 1:15), we have to ask for the Holy Ghost to come into us and we do that when we accept Jesus into our heart. And when we do that:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For he that made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:17-21).
Remember, before God created the earth, before the sun was formed, before He put a star in the sky, before mountains and oceans were added to the earth, before He made Neanderthal Man, before any of that, Jesus Christ, God Almighty on High, set His sights on our soul to save us from our sinful ways. ‘
There are no actions that we have to do or can do to be saved, we are saved through His grace and mercy. He has taken the initiative to adopt us and if we want that adoption He tells us in two words how to make it happen, He says, “Follow Me.”
“If you choose not to follow Jesus then you will join the majority of the human race because most people are going to hell.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there which go in there at:
Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt 7:13-14).
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
But ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (Jn 10:25-29).
Are you one of his sheep or do you choose to spend eternity in hell? Are you a cultural believer? Are you one that feels you are not worthy of God’s grace? It is still your choice where you will spend eternity, if you doubt me read below:
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
When I shall say to the righteousness that he shall sure live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live” (Eze 33:11-16).
Don’t be confused with the terms “sin” and “iniquity.” A true believer, a person that walks with Jesus, a person that has Jesus in his/her heart, such as King David cannot commit iniquity.
Yet, we all, including King David and myself, sin daily, but God ignores our sins because He knows they don’t come from the heart, they come from the wicked flesh that we live in (see Rom 7:15-25 and 8:1). Iniquity can only be performed by the devil or anyone that is not a child of God. So are you a child of God or a bastard? (Heb 12:6-8).
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And god shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:1; 3-8).
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt 17:24).
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:20-21).