Summary: If we are to follow Jesus then we must walk as he walked (1 John 2:6)
WHAT MUST I DO? FOLLOW CHRIST
Big Idea: If we are to follow Jesus then we must walk as he walked (1 John 2:6)
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Last year while my wife and I were visiting family in Oklahoma, I watched my nephew, Kevin, whose father died while he was a young boy. Kevin is now an adult, married, and living his own life. As I watched him I was struck by how much of who he is reflects his father. Even though he was only about 8 when Kelly (his dad) died I could not help but notice he stood like his daddy and he walked like his daddy. What was true in physical mannerisms was magnified in his personality. Kevin was Kelly’s son, there was no denying it. Even though he has not seen his dad in almost two decades – his daddy could be seen in him.
Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
Following Jesus means will see characteristics of Jesus (and His Heavenly Father) in our lives, behavior, perspectives, and personality. That is what it means to be Christ-like. That is one of the reasons I spent a few weeks looking at 1 Corinthians 13 with you. I wanted you to see what God looks and acts like and contrast it with the harsh and distorted images we sometimes have of God’s love.
I have been thinking … follow often assumes walking ... this would certainly have been true in Jesus world and it carries credence in ours too. That might be why one of His disciples (John) talks so much about “walking.” It was John who tells us we “must walk even as he walked.” 1 John 2:5-6 he says, “But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
In fact, John talks about walking with or like Jesus four times in the first 2 chapters of his first epistle. Other New Testament writers speak of it too and from them we can discover what our walk will look like as we follow Jesus.
FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS:
Following Jesus means:
1. WE’LL WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4, KJV)
Following Jesus begins here. It begins with a new birth. Until a person has bowed the knee and confessed Jesus as Lord it is impossible to follow Christ. Up to that point you are following someone or something other than God. It might be a religious code or catechism, it might be the Ten Commandments or a host of other things; but only following Jesus will bring newness to you.
I love the imagery, “newness of life.” On so many occasions I have heard people who have recently experienced a new birth use similar words even though they have never read the Bible. They say things like “everything is so different now” or “I see the world so differently now.” There is a sense of freshness, life, vitality, and joy that comes with the new birth. This is a gift that God gives to those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord, turn to Him in repentance for forgiveness, and follow Him.
The flip side is that sharing the Gospel with friends and loved ones is also essential if we wish for others to experience new life. The Old and New Testament witness to this.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:13-15)