Summary: True Followers of Christ are those who have made the lifetime choice of following Jesus regardless of the cost, obey Jesus, and are getting better with time.
JESUS ON TRUE FOLLOWERS
KINGDOM LIFE SERIES #24 (Final Series)
Sermon Objective: Show Christ’s description of a true follower praying that God brings a strong conviction for a rededication of life to God.
Introduction: What marks a true follower of Christ? How can one know what a true Christian? Back in the Philippines, people get offended when asked whether they are Christians or not? Let’s make it more personal, “Are you a genuine follower of Christ?”
Jesus makes it very clear that not everyone who professes to know him really knows him. He even goes to the extent that some people involved in some kind of ministry may not necessarily qualify as a true follower of Christ.
Jesus talks about “good fruits” that shows we are followers of Christ. What are these fruits? I find three marks of a true follower.
1. A genuine follower of Christ has made a lifetime choice to follow Christ regardless of the cost (7:13-14).
Two key phrases should be noted: Lifetime choice and regardless of cost. First of all Jesus tells us that nobody becomes a follower by accident. It involves a personal choice. It is a decision. Also this decision is meant for a lifetime. Nobody follows Jesus for a while. A genuine follower follows Christ to the day he or she dies.
Secondly please notice that following Christ involves a cost. Jesus makes it so clear that the road of discipleship is not easy and popular. In contrast, it is going to be a life in the narrow gate, passing through the confined road; and it could be a travel only with a privileged few (see Luke 13:24).
The narrow gate and confined road refer to the radical discipleship Jesus has outlined in his sermon. It goes against culture value, over the popular opinion. It is counter-cultural.
NIV Acts 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.
NIB Luke 13:23 Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, 24 "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
NIV John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Please notice however the final part of Matthew 7:13-14: “Those who enter by the narrow gate, and pass through the confined road, find life.” Genuine followers of Christ discover that the road to the promised kingdom life is found within the disciplined life. (see James 1:12 – crown of life).
2. A Genuine follower of Christ obeys whatever Jesus says (7:15-27)
Jesus warns his disciples from being deceived by false prophets. Peter describes these people as being “springs without water” in 2 Peter 2:17. They pretend to be someone they are not. They make promises they cannot deliver.
In contrast, and this explains why Jesus mentions these here, true followers of Christ do what they say. The keep their commitments to God and to others.
NIV Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Nothing is wrong with the confession “Lord, Lord.” In fact, it is appropriate. It is correct, sound theology. They even say it rather passionately. But when it comes to doing what they say they are, and would do, their confessions and promises remain as they are.
Truth without practice is invalid and useless.
Not only are true followers doers of what they say, Jesus also says that his true disciples are those who practice what they hear.
NIB Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."