The Church has lost the message of “Come, follow Me,” replacing it with … what? “Come and listen to me.”
That is not what Jesus said or did. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The Passion Translation renders this verse as: “Come and follow Me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.” So, the obvious points here…
1> If we are not fishing (sharing the Gospel) and love of God with others) we are not following Jesus. We are literally deceiving ourselves that everything is alright between us and God. It’s not, unless…
2> As we follow Jesus He will be forming and transforming us into people who attract others into the Kingdom. He will be working on our character, our values and morals, our perspective on life, as well as our daily life-style. So, if we are not changing, growing, maturing then we are obviously not following Him. We are not disciples. Fans, yes! Disciples, no!
3> This is a process which takes place over time as we follow Him and, in the Scriptures, see how He relates to people and how He shares the love of God. We are then to follow His example and implement changes that allow us to become more like Him. So, there is a desperate need to study the four Gospels examining in detail the way Jesus lived His life and how He treated people and built healthy, Kingdom relationships.
4> We learn by studying His actions, attitude, and His relational skills as recorded in the Bible. But, it is more than information. What we observe and learn must translate into action and life change in us. Or, as James wrote, we must be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Faith without works is dead.
5> We need to become sensitive to His voice (the voice of the Holy Spirit) so that He can speak directly to our hearts and minds as we follow Him and go about our daily activities. Opportunities are there to share Jesus each and every day as we “go into all our world.” We need to slow down so we can see the opportunities and take advantage of the doors God is opening.
6> Obedience is necessary – For disciples this is not an option but a command. Whatever He says to us we must obey and do. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” Very plain and seriously blunt.
7> Obviously, we need to make a decision to walk closely with Him and follow Him regardless of where that might take us and allow Him to transform us. Give Him permission to change us. This means trusting Him with everything we are (our inner life), everything we have (our outer world) and all that we do.
8> Following Jesus will certainly take us out of our safe, secure, and comfortable place and seriously challenge everything about our life; stretching us mentally, spiritually, relationally, socially, and emotionally. No stretching going on then maybe you are not following the biblical Jesus – the real radical revolutionary we read about in the four gospel accounts of His life.
9> “Come, follow Me” is an invitation to a life-long journey of becoming which does not end even when we die and enter Heaven. There is always more to know about Jesus and thus more personal growth and development as we apply what we are seeing and learning to our daily lives.
10> This means we need to stop seeing salvation as the destination. We have our ‘fire insurance’ and we are good to go. That is a ‘salvation culture’. We get saved, we come to church, we learn, we go home. Repeat. We need to embrace a “Kingdom culture” where salvation is seen as the start of a long journey as we join the great cause of establishing the Kingdom of God in every corner of every nation. We don’t come to just listen, we come to grow and be equipped so that we can then “go.”
Let the change begin now. Let it begin with us. You, me, and the corporate “us” known as the Church.