Summary: The key to being a successful Christian is following Jesus

To Follow Jesus

Selected Passages – Matthew 4:19a

January 7, 2001


I. Follow the Leader

Have you ever played the game “Follow the Leader?”

The game consisted of one person who was the leader and the rest of the players were followers. The leader did something and the rest of the group had to follow along and do exactly what the leader did. This game was a lot of fun on one condition: if you were the leader. Nobody wanted to just follow all of the time.

I believe that this is a signal to our human nature and it spills from childhood into our adult life. We want to lead in life and we want to be “in charge.” We want to run the show and we don’t want to play second fiddle to anyone. It applies to every aspect of life: work family and even church. We want to have our say and then if we don’t like what gets done we get mad or at least some people do.

What is the problem here? Why is this happening? I believe it comes down to the root problem that people are not really doing what Jesus called out in Matthew 4:19 – Follow Me.

This leads us to a key question what does it mean to follow Jesus?

II. The Meaning of Follow

A. Webster

1. To go, proceed or come after

2. To seek to attain

3. To copy after

4. To engage in as a calling or a way of life

B. Greek Understanding

1. Opiso: To be after or to go after

2. Akoloutheo: To keep on following. This implies that there is no stopping.

Thesis: Following Jesus is a constant act and a way of life

Following Jesus Introduces to Seven Realities

I. To follow Jesus means to be centered

The Example: The Good Shepherd

The Meaning

1. Jesus leads like a shepherd – He protects and provides for His sheep

2. His sheep know His voice and follow Him

The Implication

1. We are to have Jesus as our complete focus in life

2. Everything we do should embody His care and compassion

II. To follow Jesus means to be changed

The Example: Matthew

The Meaning

1. Jesus called and Matthew followed without hesitation

2. Matthew completely changed his life – He was no longer the despised tax collector but a disciple of Jesus

The Implication:

1. If we are truly following Jesus we cannot be the same as we once were

2. The change of a follower is not a one time event. Our lives are to be in a constant state of growth. Growth = Change

3. Jesus can reach anyone at anytime with His grace and power

III. To follow Jesus means to be challenged

The Example: Jesus’ call to be Fishers of Men

The Meaning

1. Jesus was issuing a deep rooted challenge: He wanted these men to totally change their lives and take on an impossible task

2. Jesus challenged these men to risk everything that they had evrything they were for everything they could become

The Implication

1. Following Jesus will be one of the greatest joys of life but also one of the greatest challenges

2. Following Jesus does not give us the luxury to “play it safe.” Instead it requires us to take some risks in life

IV. To follow Jesus means to be committed

The Example: Jesus’ call to take up your cross

The Meaning

1. Jesus is calling for us to follow His example of sacrificial love

2. Jesus is calling for us to follow His example of humility

The Implication

1. Our first and foremost obligation is to Jesus: Not family, not work and not even church

2. Our attitude is to be displayed through a sense of brokeness

V. To follow Jesus means to be connected

The Example: Jesus is the vine and we are the branches

The Meaning

1. Jesus is the source of strength for life

2. Jesus calls for followers to abide in Him

The Implication

1. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing of eternal value

2. We are to live our lives connected with Jesus

VI. To follow Jesus means to be consistent

The Example: Jesus’ call to be the light of the world

The Meaning

1. Jesus is the light of the world

2. Jesus calls His followers to reflect His light

The Implication

1. As we follow Jesus we become more enveloped by His light

2. We become more reflective of Jesus as we follow Him and draw closer to him

VII. To follow Jesus means to be consecrated

The Example: The Rich Young Ruler

The Meaning

1. Jesus asks the man to give up his fortune

2. The call asks for the man to give a total commitment

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