Summary: Are we followers or leaders? It doesn’t matter as long as we are following our greatest example Jesus Christ. The greatest leaders are the greatest servants of people.
Bud Wilkinson, Hall of Fame Football Coach for the University of Oklahoma was once asked; “What contribution does professional sport make to the physical fitness of Americans?” To no one’s surprise he answered, “Very little. A professional football game,” he said, “is a happening where well over fifty thousand spectators, desperately needing exercise, sit in the stands watching twenty-two men on the field, desperately needing rest.” This could be a description of the church in America as well. Lots of spectators, way too few participants!
In front of two thousand students at Baylor University, Legendary Hall of Fame Coach for the Dallas Cowboys Tom Landry was asked why he was so successful. Widely known for his Christian faith he replied, “Early on I did something everyone who has been successful must do, I determined my priorities for my life – God, family……….and then football.”
So today’s message is entitled “I’ll follow the Son” Although the Beatles produced 27 number 1 hits throughout their career; this song somehow was not included on that list. But it was a very poignant and melancholy ballad. “One day, you’ll look, to see I’m gone, but tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the sun.”
So are we leaders or followers? And if we are leaders or followers for that matter, who is it that we follow, for there is always someone or something?
I choose to follow the Son, the Son of God, and Creator of the Universe. Through sunshine and rain, good times and bad, peaks and valleys, I choose to follow the Son. In the Gospel according to Matthew, found in chapter 16 verses 21-28, we read: “Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised the third day. And then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, ‘Far be it from You Lord, this shall not happen to you.’” Understand that just prior to this Jesus proclaimed to Peter that he was the rock and upon this rock He would build His church, and now Peter is correcting the Lord! Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan! Or “Get Thee behind Me Satan.” You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Jesus knew His purpose for coming to this earth, born in such a way, living out His life according to God’s plan. He clearly knew who He was to follow. And His ultimate purpose was to die on the cross for us all and anyone who would seek to prevent this from happening was doing Satan’s work. I believe Peter was acting out of his love for the Lord, but Jesus knew what must take place. And then Jesus said something to His disciples which was even more profound. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
The same account is found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, and in these accounts they mention the word ashamed. Are we ashamed of our relationship with Jesus Christ, or do we stand strong so the world around us will know. As we have said many times before, there is a huge difference between meekness and weakness!
The things of this world, the pleasures we find in the stuff we acquire will not go with us. What will matter most is how we lived our lives, did we follow or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and what did we do for love’s reward that will stand the test of time?
Wednesday evening in our Bible Study we discussed God’s perfect laws. (Forgive me Bible Study people as we again discuss this, but it will be a good review.) I truly believe that God’s perfection affects us all in how we choose to live our lives and who we choose to follow. God’s perfect laws apply to believers as well as non-believers, but I believe those who know Christ can clearly see these laws - Laws of science, laws of nature, laws of mathematics as well as laws we are still discovering today throughout the universe. (Use the example of water on and around our planet earth.) God’s laws are perfect laws. God’s perfect laws are quite different from some of the laws we have created in our country.
For instance, in Connecticut it is illegal to ride a bike faster than 65 miles per hour. In Florida, if an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the fee must be paid just as it would for a vehicle. In Indiana, it is illegal to give a lighted cigar to a dog or a cat. In Louisiana it is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol. And in Maine, it is illegal to step out of a plane in flight. Certainly useful laws, don’t you agree?