Helping People Follow Jesus Christ
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Having gone through the Christmas season and having focused on the coming of Christ and its importance to our lives, we will return to our study on the Book of Romans. But not yet. The transition is too abrupt. I think we need to think about what is next. What is to follow the Advent of Christ in our lives? And I believe the answer is that we are to follow the Advent of Christ for our entire life!
John 8:12 we looked at as a part of our Advent series:
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus came as the Word of God. Jesus acts as light that gives life to people. So, the question is, how does one experience Jesus as the light that gives them life? And the answer is found right here. The verb is simple. “Follow me.” John 3 in the conversation with Nicodemus,
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Jesus was “lifted up, just like the snake on a pole by Moses. That is a reference to His death on the Cross. All must look to Him, all must believe in Him if they are to have life.
Believe and follow. Two words that sound different, but they are actually the same reality in our lives. Dr. Inch: If you are having trouble believing, obey, if you are having trouble obeying, believe.
This is why our church vision is “Helping People Follow Jesus Christ both inside and outside of Grace Fellowship Church.
And so, this is the application of Advent in our lives. What follows the Advent of Jesus Christ? I follow Jesus! What does this look like?
- I Follow Jesus Christ
- Following the Word of God How?
Read Hebrews 1:1-4
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
II Tim 3: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
II Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[b] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The process of discovering what God says to us in the Bible is a lifetime pursuit.
The Bible is not a systematic theology. It is a series of stories focused on a central theme. Genesis 1-11
God is personal and interactive: Prayer, Bible Study combined with faithful obedience is the foundation of knowing God.
- My foundational areas of following Where?
Family: Husband and father and child.
Work: employer, employee, public servant and citizen
Church: helping others follow Jesus, serving, giving, loving.
Friends: same as church
Citizen: servant in the community, the needy and not needy.
- Growing in clarity of life Why does this work?
From our passage: A metaphor!
A grain seed that dies produces a 50 fold harvest.
I must not live for this world.
I must follow Jesus Christ. There will be a fifty fold return.
From Matthew 6:
If the eye is clear, lots of light! What clarifies my perception of what is important in life?
Giving, fasting and prayer
Love, humility and self control
Desires of the flesh are established by God and are meant to serve Him in celebration. Fasting strengthens self-control so we are not driven by desire. Neither are we to hate or throw off desire. Instead, we are to love and celebrate God with our whole heart!
Successful living is a Godly pursuit. But how we define success is extremely important. Prayer keeps us grounded in God’s name, will, kingdom and daily bread for our definitions of success. Jesus prayed regularly in order to follow the will of God in His life with direct awareness and confidence. This is the correct resolution for our pride, not the pursuit of failure or weakness, but the pursuit of gentleness and trust in the will of God. Love God with your strength.
Acquiring possessions as a shield against the hardships of life. God is a giver of gifts. Every day in the wilderness He gave manna to His people. Jesus claims that identity for Himself. He is our daily bread. And daily bread is just that. God has life for you today. You will not store it up. You will not acquire life and then rest from what gives it to you. Giving is a key to avoiding the trap of greed. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Do you know why this is? It is because God is a giver and the blessings of God in our lives are rooted in us reflecting His character. Love God with your mind!
Pursue being thankful. Celebrate the good things that God is doing in the lives of others.
- Helping Other Believers Follow Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit gives me vision
A part of what makes us unique as people are the personality traits that we have. We see the world in different ways and have different strengths and weaknesses. You see things that other people do not see. And then, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you promote the rule of God in people’s lives!
The Holy Spirit energizes us to love, serve and give in ways that meet the needs of others and that honors God.
I Peter 4: 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
- The Holy Spirit makes me a gift
Service, love, sacrifice and giving. All of these actions reflect the character of God. The result of cultivating these actions as a regular part of our lives is that we give gifts of love, service etc. to others so that they might have life!
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
- The Holy Spirit creates significance
I Cor 12: 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
(Abilities, Jobs, Responsibilities/ Role)
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers,
III. Helping People Follow Jesus Who Don’t Believe Yet
- Importance of God in your life
This is your testimony! And you have a testimony for today.
Why are you willing to stand against a culture that increasingly dismisses as real a God they cannot see? Demonstration!
I have experienced God working in my life personally in ways that cannot be explained otherwise.
God has to be there and personal and heaven has to be a reality
- Why is Jesus the way to God?
And why would you make following Jesus the first priority in your life? Who is Jesus? What did Jesus do? Jesus has made God known! Grace AND Truth!!
This is the gospel information. How is it that Jesus connects people to God? Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to all who follow Him!
- What does God require of His followers?
How do I connect with Christ?
Hebrews 11:6 Knowing A God you cannot see requires faith! Faith is the conviction that God exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him out.