6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Serving, Going, Disciple Making

The 3 C’s of a Healthy Church - Fans but Not Followers

Matthew 28:19 (p. 698) January 29, 2017


Kyle Idleman is the teaching minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY and a few years ago he wrote a series called “Not a Fan.”

Southeast regularly runs over 20,000 on the weekend services…and on Easter Sunday those numbers exploded even bigger…Here’s a video of Kyle expressing how he felt as he approached one Easter weekend…and how it influenced his thinking about being a follower of Jesus…and not just a fan.


Kyle says, “The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ…our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to stadiums…and every week fans come to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in actually following Him.”

The question this morning is how would we honestly define our relationship with Jesus…Are we “enthusiastic admirers,” which is the dictionary definition of “a fan,” or are we followers, which is what a disciple is all about?

Jesus’ Great Commission was to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

It’s such a simple command…“As you follow me make other followers of me.”

But following Jesus requires more than belief and admiration…It requires action.

[Suppose you were out hiking one day and you decide to get off the trail and explore some of the most untraveled areas…and you get lost…I mean you are really lost and can’t find your way out…and after a couple of days you are desperate…you’re cold, wet, and hungry. And as you huddle at the base of a tree a rescue searcher calls your name…and you scream back… “I’m here…Hey, over here.” And he finds you and says “Follow me.” Now you believe he has come to rescue you…you admire his sacrifice to try and find you…but you say, “No, I’ll just stay where I am and wait for a better time…I think I can still find my own way out”…Does your belief get you home? No! Does your admiration for your rescuer save you? Not by a long shot.

If you’re going to get home…you have to follow him out.]

When it comes to fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission to make followers who follow Him…we have to be followers who follow Him…we have to be following Him first…and that following starts with my death, burial and resurrection. It’s where the journey begins…it’s:


Have you ever met anyone who likes to be told they’re wrong? How ‘bout you…is your first reaction… “Thank you so much for pointing that out…I really appreciate it…come on, give me a hug.”

God’s word says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” (Col. 1:21)

Romans 5:10 says much of the same thing, “For if while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.”

God was…or is our enemy because of sin…It’s not His choice, it’s ours. God would be reconciled to us…but we don’t like anyone to tell us we’re wrong…we are sinners, even God…And all of us have sinned and fallen short…so we all are in the same boat…or forest.

Isaiah 53 records a true fact about every one of us… “We all like sheep, have gone astray each of us has turned to our own way.” (v. 6)

But the truth of Jesus’ commission is that in our lostness, someone shows up with a rescue plan…someone who has found their way out by following Jesus says, “Hey, I know the way…I know the truth, I know the life…I know how to get back to the Father…it’s through Jesus Christ alone.”

The miracle happens when the Holy Spirit coordinates with someone sharing this good news by convicting the person whose lost and needs rescue with the truth of how they got there. Jesus said, “when the Holy Spirit shows up He will prove the world to be in the wrong.” (John 16:8)

It happened through Peter on the birthday of the Church…He shares God’s plan…the plan for God to save us all…and the Holy Spirit works.

ACTS 2:23-24, 36-39 (p. 759)

That question “What should we do?’ is the result of the gospel being shared…and the Holy Spirit cutting hearts filled with sin…and Peter’s answer…Take the first step…

“Repent and be baptized.”

The word repent means “turn around” and the word baptism means “immerse.”

Fans…say they believe and stay seated in the stands…they may even cheer for Jesus…but followers leave their old lives…and follow Jesus…and the first place those steps lead them is baptism…It’s where our belief becomes obedience…It’s where we die to self…are immersed in Jesus…and receive His promised Spirit so we can walk in new life…Repentance doesn’t lead us to believing…or joining the Church…or fixing up our relationships…belief leads to our repentance…and repentance leads us to following Jesus in a death, burial and resurrection.

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Misty W

commented on Aug 27, 2019

Where can I find the video clip you reference? Thanks and blessings!

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