Gary Rich (26 March 2017)
"Fan or Follower of Jesus Christ , part 4"


Greetings five doves - this is part 4 of the Fan or Follower series, hope you enjoy !


Fan or Follower-One of many or One and only?

Luke 14:25-33

March 19, 2017

#4 of series

(Credit to Kyle Idleman's book, Not a Fan)

For the past few weeks we have been invited by Jesus to sit down

and DTR...Define The Relationship with him. He has invited us to

join him and some other folks for a time of conversation to assist

us in answering the question of Lent to Resurrection Sunday:

Are you a fan or a follower?

Two weeks ago we sat with Nicodemus the Pharisee who went

from a fan by night to a hands on follower! Then last week we

sat with a prostitute who displayed a sacrificial love for Jesus.

Today we are not going to sit one on one with Jesus and an

individual. Today we find ourselves caught up in the frenzy and

fan fare of a stadium of people. We heard there was a large

crowd traveling with Jesus. The disciples had to be pumped!

This was awesome to have such a high energy group of people.

Jesus stopped to talk with this crowd of pumped up people! The

disciples were hoping he would make it a good speech. You know

the kind of warm, friendly, love and warm fuzzy pep rally talk that

would keep the crowd happy. They were all waiting for the first

words out of Jesus' mouth.

Their jaws must have dropped in utter shock and disbelief when

the first words out of Jesus' mouth to this huge crowd of fans

were:

"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of

father, mother, children, brothers, sisters---yes even one's

own self!---can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't

shoulder his own cross and follow me can't be my

disciple."

Luke 14:25,26MSG

 

Say what Jesus?!?

Someone needs to get Jesus a speech writer who can be oh so

user friendly.

Jesus was DTR'ing...Defining The Relationship with any and

everyone. This was not for one specific group of people. It was

and still is for any who are deciding whether they are a fan or

follower of Jesus.

Fan or Follower: One of many or One and only?

Fan or Follower: Is God One of many gods or is God the One and

only in your life?

Many in the crowd found this question too radical.

This DTR was too costly for their comfortable lifestyle.

Jesus desires to be your one and only and not one of many.

Imagine you are attending the wedding ceremony of a family

member or friend of the family and the pastor is addressing the

bride. It is a question that determines the level of commitment

that she is making to her soon to be husband.

The question goes something like this:

"Forsaking all others will you be faithful only to him as long as

you both live?"

Now what if the bride, instead of giving the anticipated and

appropriate answer, "I will" says something like this:

"I do love you. I am willing to take our relationship to the next

level of marriage as your wife. I will commit to you as long as we

both live. I just have this one condition: I still want to be able to

date and see other people!"

Say what Miss Bride to be?!?

That is essentially the relationship a fan defines to Jesus. A fan

says, I love you. I am committed to you. But let's not be

exclusive!

Jesus makes it very clear that He is to be the One and only and

not one of many.

 

God made this clear when He gave Moses the 10

commandments...not 10 suggestions!

What is number one?

"You shall have NO other gods before me."

(Exodus 20:3)

Jesus put it this way,

"Worship the Lord your God, and serve

him ONLY!"

 

(Matthew 4:10)

Doesn't sound like God is to be One of many.

How about the 2nd commandment?

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of

anything...for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous

God..."

(Exodus 20:4,5)

Jesus put it this way,

"No one can serve two masters. Either

he will hate the one and love the other or he will be

devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot

serve both God and money."

(Matthew 6:24)

There is no mistaking Jesus on this one. Pretty clear cut truth!

God is to be the One and only!

If He is one of many then you will experience the wrath of a

jealous God.

A jealous lover is not someone any of us would like to face in life.

Jesus called the people that day to DTR.

He defined it as a "one and only" relationship.

Two words:

"Deny yourself." (Luke 9:23)

Jesus also attached the price tag to this relationship!

The cost? The cross! He called on the people to be willing to

take up the cross and follow him. You can't follow if you aren't

willing to pay the cost...the cross.

The people in Jesus' time were quite familiar with the take up the

cross cost. It meant it cost a person their life.

 

Consider the cost!

When I was in college I was a member of our college's golf team.

Each week day, during the golf season, we would travel to a near

by course to practice. Along the way there was a house that

looked like a castle.

The 3 years we drove by this place we noticed it never was

finished. Someone had dreams of building their dream castle/

home. Something happened to where they couldn't finish the

project...most likely they ran out of money!

A fan is someone who doesn't consider the cost. They have this

dream of following Jesus but when it comes to the cross they run

out of commitment. They walk away leaving the tower

unfinished.

A follower is a finisher!

Our grandson, AJ, is a cross country and track runner. He is

currently in track season where his specialty is the mile. Each

day of a track meet I text him to encourage him. I always finish

my text with these words of encouragement:

"Run confidently and finish strong!"

I have never doubted that AJ would not finish a race. He is not a

quitter. That is why my words to him are run with confidence and

finish the race strong! He does!

A follower is a finisher! It is not a matter that they will quit...they

will live for Jesus with confidence that HE is there all the way to

encourage them as they finish this race of faith with His strength.

Failure to finish anything in life leads to frustration. Family and

friends may look to you as a failure. They are deeply

disappointed in you.

 

When we fail to finish in our faith relationship with Jesus, a

follower feels such failure. "I'm a failure! Why bother?"

Do you sometimes feel that way?

I don't know of a follower of Jesus who has not, at sometime or

another, felt that sense of failing God.

This is when we need to read God's text to us:

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that

the God who started this great work in you would keep at

it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ

Jesus appears." (Philippians 1:6MSG)

In other words, "Run confidently and finish strong!"

God hasn't and won't give up on you as a follower...even when

you stumble and fall. He will come and offer his hand to pick you

up and help you to finish the race of faith.

I want to take most of us back to our school days.

Which kind of test did you prefer to take?

True or false?

Multiple choice?

Essay?

I preferred the essay question tests because I had a chance to

describe and defend my answer. It was better than the 50-50

chance of true or false. It was better than a 1 in 4 chance of the

multiple choice.

Jesus gives us an essay test of 4 questions to help us decide if we

are a fan or follower.

 

1.

Where does your money go to? Or another way to ask it,

"What's in your wallet?" The Bible says,

"Where your

treasure is, there your heart will also be."

What you spend

your time and money on often reveals the true desire of your

heart and shows who or what you are really following in life.

The reason Jesus talked so much about money is because it

can easily become his chief competition. We end up following

money and things more than Jesus! What or who do you

follow the most? Check your checkbook and it will tell you!

How you spend your money tells a story about what matters

the most to you.

2.

When you're hurt where do you go for comfort?

When you experience the pain of this life where or who or

what do you turn to? Is it a spouse or a close friend? Is it the

refrigerator? Is it a bar or pain killer? Maybe you find comfort in

burying yourself in work!

When we go through a painful experience in life, who or what we

are truly following in life is often revealed.

A few weeks ago I was with my son-in-law and my one year old

grandson. My grandson fell down and got a little bit of a bloody

nose. Mom was not around at the time. My grandson had a

choice...grandpa or dad to go to for comfort. Of course he went

to...his dad!

Who do you look to for comfort from the pains and struggles, the

bloody nose falls, in life?

3.

What disappoints or frustrates you the most? When we

feel overwhelmed with disappointment it often reveals something

that has become too important. Of course some level of

frustration can be natural. When I coached my kids in baseball

and basketball I often tried to focus on something good they did

in the game and not necessarily the error or missed shot.

 

I stepped aside from coaching when I realized I was being harder

on my son than I was on the other kids on the team.

I lost sight of the joy of just spending time with him, instead of

his all-star performance. Jesus desires us to find joy in spending

time with him in a relationship of love and not some all-star Saint

stats performance!

4.

What is it that really gets you excited?

The things that get us pumped up, passionate with excitement

are what can point us to what is in competition with Jesus. A few

weeks ago, we wore our teams jerseys to kick off this series. Do

you get more pumped up for your favorite team than you do for

Jesus? What are you passionate about in life? More so than your

relationship with Jesus?

How did you do on this 4 question essay test? I would challenge

you to take the sermon notes home and review these questions

prayerfully, carefully, honestly and individually.

When Jesus explains that he will not share your affection or

devotion, he isn't just saying that he wants to be loved by you;

he is making it clear just how much he loves you. He is DTR'ing

his relationship with us.

Fan: Jesus is one of many!

Follower: Jesus is our One and only!


have a blessed day,   Gary Rich
yfc77jesus@aol.com