Summary: In this message we will see that the church Jesus intended is made not of fans, but crucified followers.
Francis Chan opens up the 7th chapter of his book letters to the church with this Scripture
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20
In the Ironman Triathlon, participants swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. If I asked you to watch it with me, many of you would consider it. If I asked you to compete in it with me, that number would drop considerably.
There are millions of people in our country who call themselves Christians because they believe the Christian life is about admiring Christ’s example, not realizing it is a call to follow it.
If they really understood this, the numbers would drop drastically. The New Testament could not be clearer: we are not just to believe in His crucifixion; we are to be crucified with Christ.
If you listened only to the voice of Jesus, read only the words that came out of His mouth, you would have a very clear understanding of what He requires of His followers. If you listened only to modern preachers and writers, you would have a completely different understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. Could there be a more catastrophic problem than this?
There are millions of men and women who have been taught that they can become Christians and it will cost them nothing. And they believe it!
Forget what you have been told about… asking Jesus to be your personal Savior. Read what Jesus demanded and ask yourself whether you still want to follow Him. There was no misinterpreting what Christ was calling for.
This is why He had so few disciples. The call to follow Jesus was a call to die. The price tag was front and center. Jesus laid it out from the start and told people to count the cost before they got themselves into something they weren’t ready to commit to.
Nowadays we just want to talk about the good part—the grace and blessings. And of course grace, forgiveness, and mercy are central to the gospel, but at the same time Jesus was very truthful and up-front about the costliness of the gospel, a concept that we completely neglect.
In doing so, we’ve lost something so central to the essence of what it means to be Christian. Becoming a Christian is a complete and total surrender of your own desires and flesh to the higher purpose of serving God’s glory.
It means you die to yourself and put on Christ. That is what you’re signing up for… According to Jesus, far from having no cost, following Him will cost you everything.
OKAY – so we are in this extremely important message series called… Becoming the church He intended.
This morning we will see that Jesus intended that His church be made up of… Crucified Followers.
NOW – before we jump into the main conversation for today,
I think it’s important in understanding who we are to understand who we are not.
YOU SEE - we just tend to come with a lot of preconceptions, a lot of ideas about church—oftentimes unintentionally.
And so, as we get into this, let me just say that..
We are not fans…
UNDERSTAND – being a fan of Jesus is much different than being a follower of Jesus…
Speaking of being a fan.
When it comes to being one I think NFL football fans are in a class all by themselves.
I MEAN – check out a few of the images of NFL fans I came across this week…
AND - as you look at these, could you imagine seeing people dressed like this at a tennis or golf tournament?
Don’t think so…
NOW – this last one I was unsure whether or not I should show it, because I was afraid it would make you stumble…
YEAH – NFL football fans are serious about their teams… probably the most serious of all sports fans.
BUT LISTEN – even though they may… paint their bodies, wear the jersey, put cheese on their heads, wear some kind of orange barrel thing… and dress up like Halloween on steroids…
THEY STILL – only spend the day in the stands (they never walk in between the chalk lines…
AND – not only that, but they didn’t train all year long… getting up early, running, lifting weights, pushing their bodies when all they want to do is quit, running plays over and over again, watching hours and hours of game film, playing through pain, sweat, blood and injuries…
YEAH – there is a big difference between fans who cheer in the stands or in their living rooms and those who… are actually on the field playing the game and taking the hits…