Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Follow

Sunday night, Tyson really challenged all of us at C4 Charlotte to sincerely evaluate whether or not we are really following Christ. And no, I don't mean following Him like He has a Twitter account and all you have to do is click a "follow" button, but following Him with the way you live out your life. Tyson tells us all the time, "with whoever we follow, we end up where that person is going, we end up with the destiny that they have". That's why the question: "Who do you follow?" is so important.

So what does it mean to be a follower? Well, Tyson gave us some questions to ask ourselves to help us kind of understand where we are standing as a follower of Christ.

  • When was the last time I went out of my way to help someone else in need?
Acts 14:21-22
They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 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.
Paul and Barnabas weren't out for their own gain. Their life mission was to strengthen the church's body.

For us to follow Christ, we need to do what He and His disciples did. We need to reach out, encourage, and strengthen not only the church body, but especially the people who aren't a part of the church.

This passage says that Paul and Barnabas strengthened other believers for a reason. If we can't love our fellow believers, how can we reach out and love the people who mock our faith? How can we serve the world if we aren't doing anything for the people sitting right next to us?

  • How many times have I called myself a Christian and overlooked someone who was hurting right in front of me?
Jesus said that "what you do for the least of these, you do to me". The bible also says "For the joy of the Lord is our strength". Just the simple act of trying to cheer people up or just offering a smile has the power to change lives. But it's not about offering them just any joy, it's offering them the joy of the Lord. That's pretty specific, right?

If we want to be a disciple, we need to give of our entire lives. Jesus never ran away from or was too busy for the needy, He ran towards them. And if we are going to be disciples, then the world should see Jesus and not us.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
  • When was the last time I loved my enemies, or even a stranger?
This was the point in Tyson's message when the room started to get really quiet. I think that question really hit home for a lot of us if we were being completely honest with ourselves. As I'm writing this, it's kind of hitting me all over again. It's something I really need to keep in my head. I mean, it's the opposite of our sinful nature to love our enemies, or even strangers.

John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The world should know that we are disciples by our love. Think about how heavy that statement is and what it's saying about us. We have a tendency to always think people should treat us perfectly, but think they should make exceptions for our behavior.

It makes me think of the people who protest funerals or preach hate and wrath in big public gatherings. Those are extreme examples, but I wonder if what we tend to do (by holding grudges or ignoring needs) has just the same effect on people.

  • Who was the last person you discipled?
This was the last question for us to examine ourselves with. Who was the last person I really invested in for Christ?

Salvation is not the finish line, it's where everything begins. Christianity is not about making converts. If it were, then Tyson would've never given this message, I wouldn't be writing this blog post, and it wouldn't really matter how we live. Christianity is not about wearing a cross necklace and listening to Chris Tomlin.

Christianity is about being anointed to learn our faith and multiply it into other people's lives.

What if Jesus lived out His ministry like we do? I can just picture Him hanging out with the same circle of friends on His mom's couch eating potato chips and talking about Superbowl commercials and Kim Kardashian's marriage.

Ridiculous, right? He wouldn't have accomplished anything. So why do things that equal to the same things. Where is our boldness, passion,  or sense of urgency for the spread of the gospel? Jesus rocked the boat and broke the mold on Earth, we come to worship and barely know the person across the aisle. Making disciples is about living out our lives beside people.

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The great commission to "make disciples of all nations" is one of the last things that Jesus said to His disciples. I think that makes it pretty important, because people always say the most important things right before they're about to die.

God can use us to do great things if we would just do what we're told; if we would just reach out and help people in need, love people, and make disciples. It's really important to evaluate our Christian walks from time to time and make sure we're on the right track, to make sure we are following Jesus and that other people can see that in how we live our lives.

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