Greetings to all my precious brothers and sisters in the Lord or anyone else who may be reading my blog at this time. I pray that all is well with you and that the peace of the Lord is alive and well in your life.
The men of our church have just finished doing a study on a book written by Pastor Kyle Idleman called, Not a fan. I would highly recommend that whether you are a man, woman or young one that you take the time to read this book. To me Not a fan is probably one of the most difficult, challenging yet one of the most rewarding books I have ever read as a Christian; and I have up to 17 men that would completely agree with that statement:-)
The basic premise of the ‘Not a fan’ book is to see if you would define your current relationship with the Lord as one of being a fan of the Lord; fan as defined in the dictionary is being an enthusiastic admirer, or as a follower of the Lord, onewhose life is a total surrender. One of the many scripture references Pastor Kyle uses in his book to make his point is the text found in Luke 9 where while He was praying, Jesus says some very challenging words to His disciples that we too need to hear today.
Luke 9:23-24 “Then Jesus said to them all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” As Pastor Kyle writes in his book, “The slogan for followers of Christ could accurately be captured this way: Come and die.”
Pastor Kyle is not saying we have to physically die to follow Jesus but a decision to follow Jesus is a decision to die to ourself. C.S. Lewis writes: “Christ says, give Me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth or crown it or stop it but to have it out.” Wow, some pretty challenging words, wouldn’t you agree?
During the time of Jesus the cross was a symbol of death so when Jesus says to follow Him we are to take up our cross daily, the word take indicates that we have chosen to die. Pastor Kyle writes: “The point is that death is the ultimate surrender of yourself and all that you have. When you’re dead, you’re no longer concerned with your life.” As Pastor Kyle points out since the cross was a symbol of suffering, you can’t carry a cross without suffering.
Sadly this kind of preaching today does not build big churches but that is exactly where I believe the church has gone wrong today. As Pastor Kyle puts it, sadly preachers today have sanitized their sermons by avoiding certain scriptures which speak about the blood of Jesus and they have tried to cover up the cross because of the fear it might offend someone. In other words some pastors have become more concerned about making people as comfortable as they can so they can keep them in their churches but as pastors, we have been called to speak the truth.
Jesus said if anyone was to follow Him they were to first deny themselves. To deny oneself means that you do not even acknowledge or recognize your own existence; try saying that to the many fans in the churches today.
Jesus also said we are to take up our cross, daily. We already know that the cross was a symbol of death but Jesus takes it a step further, He says we are to die to ourselves daily. Again try telling that to the fans in the church today.
After we have taken up our cross and died daily to ourselves, Jesus said then we are to follow Him. The main point in that is following Jesus means we will follow Him wherever He leads us.
My friend, I don’t know if you are a fan of Jesus or a follower of Jesus. I don’t even know if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life and if that is the case please do that today for tomorrow may be too late.
But if you are like me and you have made Jesus the Lord of our life then the question to us is, are we truly following Him. The only way we will be able to know for certain if that is true will be when we are confident we had a funeral for our old man!!! Come and die with me my friend so we can follow Jesus 🙂
Categories: A Pastor's Blog