- JESUS: The Series (Season 3)
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It is so weird to watch ESPN right now. There has never been a time in my lifetime where sports have come to a grinding halt. I am a fan of all things Philadelphia. I love the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, and Flyers. There was a book written a few years ago by Kyle Idleman called “Not a Fan.” He highlights the difference between being a fan and a follower.
A Picture of a Fan
A fan loves to be around when things are exciting. They will sit in the stands and they will cheer others on. Fans do not have to sacrifice at all. It is easy to be a fan. You don’t have to practice to be a fan. You can pay attention to the game when you want to or just turn it off. A fan likes the excitement of game day, but if you asked him to get out on the field and practice (run for hours, lift weights, diet, take hits) they say “no thanks.”
A fan is defined as an enthusiastic admirer. Is that how you define your relationship with Jesus, an “enthusiastic admirer,” close enough to Jesus to get the benefits, but not so close to require sacrifice? Many fans want to follow Jesus as long as He does not interfere with their lives. A fan wants a touch-up when Jesus wants remodeling. A fan wants a tune-up when Jesus wants an overhaul. A fan wants to put a little makeup on when God wants a total makeover. Jesus wants more than just religion and rituals, He wants a relationship. “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” -Mark 8:34
God doesn’t want fans, He wants followers. God wants us to quit playing games. God wants completely devoted followers, 100% given over to him, in every area of their lives. God wants you to give up everything and follow him. “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:33
The disciples gave up everything; many left their families, gave up their jobs, left their homes and traveled across the world. Andrew preached to modern-day Bulgaria and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree. Bartholomew preached in India and was crucified with his head downward. James, Son of Alphaeus, was stoned to death in Jerusalem. James, Son of Zebedee, the brother of John, the disciple “that Jesus loved,” Herod had him stoned to death then beheaded. John, brother of James, was banished by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, and later died in Ephesus. Matthew was stabbed with a spear while preaching in Ethiopia. Peter preached the gospel in Italy, and Asia, and was afterward crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, finding himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ. Philip preached in Phrygia and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward and was buried there. Thaddeus and Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, and he was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear in Calamene, the city of India.
Do these disciples sound like fans or followers?
A Picture of a Follower
A follower sticks around even when everyone else leaves, even when it is unpopular, even when it is hard. A follower would understand to bloom where God has planted them, even if it means some sacrifice. A follower is going to look for ways to represent Christ in their community. A follower is going to reach out to the hurting and vulnerable people just like Christ did. A follower is going not going to let the devil tear apart unity in a church with gossip, rumors, and egos, and fighting. A true follower is going to be excited and ready to learn more from God. A follower is going to ask God what he wants them to do for the rest of their lives. A follower is not going to just look like a Christian in front of other Christians, but everywhere they go and even when they are alone.
So what are you going to be: a fan or a follower?
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.'” -Mark 8:34