Can You Follow Jesus?
Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Can You Follow Jesus?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jesus Christ! You might hear his name every day, but do you know who he really is? And doesn’t he want people to follow him? Whatever that means. Certainly, Jesus was a good example, a good teacher, and if he is real, maybe he wants to be our friend. But Jesus is completely unique. Your life can be completely transformed because of who Jesus really is and what he has done and will continue to do.

So who is Jesus? That is probably the question, one of the most important questions that you will answer in your life. And now I'm not asking you who do you think Jesus is, and I'm also not asking you who do your parents or your friends or your professors in school, who do they think Jesus is, although those are good questions. I'm asking who is Jesus? Like, who is he? You know his name. That's a good place to start, but what else do you know about him? Do you know where he grew up? Do you know who his family and his friends are? Do you know what he cares about, what he talks about? Do you know what he teaches? Do you know what moves his heart? Do you know what he gets sad about? Do you know what he enjoys and celebrates? Who is Jesus? Now you might think those are really relational questions, to which you would be right. I mean, you could ask those questions about everybody, anybody, and that is exactly the right way to think about it. And I think about it in the way that I understand being a dad. I have two little beautiful girls, almost three year old and a one year old, that we just celebrated her birthday a couple days ago and one of my favorite things about being a dad is that I get to see them grow up and I get to see them like my little one year old Zela, she just learned how to walk like a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, and she's moving all over the place now and it's so exciting because she never used to do that before and now there's something new, there's a new memory that we've created, there's a new thing about her, and you know what that does to me, is her dad. It makes me love her even more. I'm learning stuff about her all the time, and the same with my almost three year old Kinsley. I mean the things that she says and the things that she does. It's like wait a minute, like how old are you, and like you're so awesome and it's so cool and I never knew that you like that and I never knew you knew that. I never knew that about you. And I'm learning new stuff about them all the time and it's making me love them even more. And now, of course I'd try to love them as completely as possible all the time, but it's this new information and new experiences, the new understanding that just strengthens and deepens my relationship and my love for them. And I just wonder, can you say the same thing about your relationship with Jesus, like, are you growing in your understanding of who he is and having...

...maybe new experiences and new memories, new understandings of who he is, because that will deepen your relationship with him? And it's really this sort of invitation that Jesus gave the first people that he came in contact with as he was walking around on this earth. And we read about this in Matthew Chapter Four, and if you have your Bible you can turn them. We're going to be jumping around a couple places today in our introduction message, but will be in the Gospels here as Jesus and Matthew Chapter Four. That says one day, as Jesus was walking around the shore of the Sea Galley, he saw two brothers, Simon, also called Peter, and his brother Andrew, and they were throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Fishing was their job, and Jesus called out to them, come follow me and I will show you how to fish, for people pretty neat invitation and they left their nets at once and followed him. And a little farther up the shore he saw two older brothers, James and John, and they were sitting in a boat with their father, zebde, repairing their nets, and he called them to come to him, leaving the boat and their father behind. And so Jesus certainly wants us, certainly asked people to follow him. Jesus was inviting these men to leave their life behind, their jobs, their possessions, even their family, and go and follow him. And and what did they do when they started to follow Jesus? Well, they just quite literally follow them around. They spend time walking around doing things that Jesus did. They they ate together, that you know, they slept in the same room together, they they spent time together and they listened to Jesus's teachings, they prayed together, they just did life together. And this wasn't like a new concept, like Jesus wasn't the first person that ever asked somebody to follow them. Jesus was a teacher, a rabbi in the first century in Israel, and there were other teachers in his and rabbis that ask people to follow them as well. And you know, they're the teacher, they're the ones that that teach, and then the disciples, that people that followed them, where the learners, the ones that came along and listened and heard. But but I think Jesus is called to follow him was certainly a little different than and then all the rest. And so are you following Jesus today? Now? You might not be following them around physically, right, or you're not following him on on instagram or on social media, but are you following him? Are you listening to his teachings and are you putting them into practice? And if you are, like that's awesome. I think that is important...

...and it's and it's amazing. And if you're not, or you're not quite sure if you are, again this is like the welcome and this is a certainly a really great place for you to be. Like keep asking good questions and keep exploring and keep wondering, because I think that there's something about following this Jesus guy that really makes a difference in our life and in our world. And like being in a new church, a church plant like that's the best place for somebody to ask good questions and to check it out and, like, I'm not sure about this whole church thing, but hey, being in a moothe theater like this, like that's a really cool, cool thing to try. And Hey, if you're watching online, it's a share this link with a friend and this series is going to be really great for you that are asking questions, that aren't quite sure that about Jesus, and I hope it's helpful to everybody to get a better understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. I think everyone can be and should be a follower of Jesus, and so yes, we want you to follow Jesus. As we've seen, Jesus called people to do exactly that. But I've heard and I think that Jesus follower or follower of Jesus has almost become a little bit of a cool term. You know, like instead of calling yourself a Christian, which could mean like a million different things these days, like we just call ourselves a follower of Jesus. I'M A I'm a follower of Jesus. But even that term is interesting because it's like what exactly does that mean? Does that mean I have to do everything that Jesus does, like ww JD. What would Jesus do right? And if Jesus would do it, then I'm gonna do it too like that's why it's all about. He was a great teacher, he was a great example. I want to live like Jesus lived. I mean you might be thinking that, but would you really live like Jesus lived? Because remember, Jesus called Peter to follow him at the beginning of his ministry and they spend three years together. They experienced all kinds of incredible things together, Peter and Jesus and all the disciples. And then at the very end, near the end of Jesus Life, Jesus and Peter Talk about this idea of following him and he says this, he's Jesus says, dear children, I will be with you only a little longer and, as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can't come where I'm going. You can't follow me, you can't come here. So now I'm giving you a new commandment. Love each other, just as I have loved you. You should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. And Simon Peter asked Lord where are you going? and Jesus replied, you can't go with me now, but you will follow me later. And I...

...love Peter's like question. He's like, what do you mean I can't follow you now? Lord, he asked, I'm ready to die for you. You feel the energy in the excitement, like this is what I signed up for. I'm ready to die for you, Jesus, and Jesus answered. Die For me. I tell you, Peter, before the Rooster Crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times that she even knew me. Ouch is right. There's a tension in this conversation when it comes when Jesus says you can't follow me, like Peter's like that's what I left my business for, that's what I left my family for, that's what I've been doing the last three years of my life. I've been following you, like, what do you mean you can't follow me? I'm ready to even died for you. And Jesus knew. Jesus knew Peter wouldn't die for him. He wouldn't even acknowledge that he knew Jesus by the morning. And this truth is so important into our lives because, like how often do we discuss US dying for Jesus? Probably not that often, you think. Where we think, Hey, I'm here at Church, I'm ready to follow Jesus, I want to do it better. It's interesting, it seems like good teaching, it's helpful, it's making my life better. You know, whatever we think sometimes and then it's like Jesus tells us you can't follow me, and you know what, I don't think there's actually anything wrong with that. And I'm not saying that the fact that you won't die for Jesus, or you're not ready to die for Jesus, means that you're not a Christian or you're not a good Christian or whatever like that. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that it's okay that you're not ready for that, because Jesus calls us to follow him, to trust him, to live like him. But our faith is in development, our lives are certainly in development and there are areas in your life and in my life that we just aren't ready yet to completely trust Jesus with. Right. I mean there's some things that is just like, I don't really know about that, or I you know, there's a there's a there's a tension of you're holding onto it, you're not ready to the completely trust him with and you know what is this? To acknowledge it. You know, lead good at out there. put it out there and it's okay. And why is it okay? All of that kind of intro to build up to this very point, because this answer of why is it okay is the whole point of this series and I hope you come back for all three messages, of three ways you can't follow Jesus, because we're going to dive into...

...all of this, because if we try to follow Jesus, is example, and follow Jesus and do exactly everything he always wants us to do, we are going to fall short every single time. They are just some things, like Jesus told Peter, that you cannot follow. I cannot follow him into and it's for this reason that we worship him, that he is our God and our Lord and our Savior, he is our redeemer, he is our provider, and that's why we worship him and that's why we are not those things. And See, when you aren't quite sure you would die for him, he died for you. Like he did that for you for the world and you and me like, we just we can't. We can't do that. And so this is a big claim, this is a big essence of Christianity built into this concept, because every other religious system, every other understanding of Jesus or every other faith system is all about what you can do to try to earn or receive or get a relationship with God. It's doing certain things, it's going certain places, it's being a part of certain groups of people, whatever the case may be. But when you know Jesus, it's all about what God did for us to allow us to have a right relationship with God, and it's from a right relationship with God that we received by grace, through faith that we live the rest of our life and we do things for God and for other people. We live in his power. That's a big, important thing that we're going to be waiting through in this series and the there's a famous author that you might know his name. His name was C S Lewis. He wrote a bunch of famous works and also did something called the chronicles of Narnia, which you probably have heard about or watched on a screen like this before, and he's famous as a Christian philosopher, scholar, of saying this little quote about these big claims of Jesus, these big claims of Christianity, and C S Lewis is famous of saying that Jesus and all the stuff that he said and all the stuff that he did and the surrounded him. He's either a liar because, like, why would like...

...he didn't believe it and he just septs saying stuff that was just crazy. He was either a liar. He was either a lunatic, like he actually believes what he was saying and that even is war crazy, or he is exactly who he said. He was Lord of all. And so which one do you think that he is? For many people, many people think that Jesus and all that surrounds Jesus is one big lie, like it's just all kind of made up and mashed together and put together and changed over time and whatever the case may be. I learned at eleven of a Valley College where I went to school for my bachelor's degree, about something called the Jesus Seminar. Now this is probably your first time hearing those words, and if you've heard him before, that's cool too, but the Jesus seminar was something that happened in one thousand nine hundred and eighty five, when fifty scholars, smart people, got together and they decided that they were going to try and figure out who exactly Jesus was, and the way that they wanted to do this was they took what was written in the Bible, the Gospels, and they looked at the words and the events of Jesus's life. And then this is what they did. They voted on what they thought was actually Jesus. And so they thought, you know, there'd be stuff that was added later and somehow God in the gospels would it, but it wouldn't have been like the real historical Jesus. And they voted based on these colored beads, like little circular beads, okay, and so they used a red bead. They voted in a with a red bead, and this red bead indicated that Jesus probably said this thing. Okay. So there was read and then there was pink, which indicated that he probably said something like this, but it's not exactly what Jesus would have said. Then there was gray beads, and those said Jesus didn't say that, but it contains some of his ideas, and then there was black beads and those they said that Jesus would never have said. And so what do you think that they concluded from their voting system? You know, every vote had a certain weight in number points, and they tried to look at, you know, how how you know which one had the most points, and then they determined which do you think they concluded from their little voting exercise? I mean basically most of what's written in the Gospels Jesus didn't say, like, for example, in the beatitudes, in sermon on the Mount Jesus teaching and he's telling blast, are you blessed? Are the poor and spirit blessed? And they basically decided and voted that there was three of those sayings that Jesus probably said, there was three that we're in the middle and then there was a couple that he just didn't say. And I...

...share it. I try and share it as as as straightforward and unbiased as possible in that way, because we invite it as a school. We invited one of these guys in this Jesus Seminar to come to our college and I'm walking into the the lunch room in with this guy. He's a older guy and white hair, you know, glasses, and I'm standing almost next to him and I he wasn't there to have lunch with me. I just happened to be there at the time and saw him and I'm just like like looking at him, and I didn't get a chance to talk to him, of course, but I'm just like, like I'm standing next to a guy who voted on if whether Jesus said stuff in the Bible. Like I I didn't really know how to process that, you know, like like who gives someone the idea that you could just vote on what Jesus said? And Anyway, I just think that there is a much better way to know truth about Jesus and about life than it to vote with colored beads. Okay, so it's Jesus a liar? Or was Jesus a lunatic? Like, was he just insane or crazy? Because, like some of the stuff that he teaches, and let alone other stuff that will talk about some of it in this series, but like some of the stuff he teaches is just crazy. Like let's just start with creation, for example. Like everyone knows, if you've been to college or a biology class or anthropology class that you know, the world was created millions of years ago and we all started as this cosmic Goo and then something happened and then, you know, fast forward through time and like here we are and like that's just the way the world meant was created. or I guess they don't use that word right. They use it it we just got here somehow of vlve all. But then we read about how Jesus said he he created the world, he created everything. It's like, wait, so Jesus was born, you know, to marry twozero years ago, right, but if he created everything, then that means he must have pre existed even before he was born on this earth, which I mean I don't know. I don't know about you, but I didn't do that or you didn't do that. Right. So that that's a special thing about who Jesus was, that he always existed and that he is the creator of everything. But that whole idea of creation is strange and it's it's it's weird. Or how about what Jesus says about sex and how you should live your sexual sexual life? Right, Jesus is like one man and one woman for one lifetime, and it's like who does that? Like our culture doesn't. Everything about that statement is just not normal. It's not what our culture and our world...

...talks about. Like it's pretty strange. It's pretty counter cultural. You like we've progressed past that understanding of what sex means and sex looks like. Or what about Jesus's teachings about money? I mean he said it's more blessed to give than to receive. WHO believes that? You know, like, like, why, like, you're not just given away everything that you have because it's you, makes you feel happy about it? Right, but it's more blessed to give than to receive. And the fact that Jesus is like I own all your money and I want you to give some of it, return some of it back to me, because it's already mine. Psyche, way up, Jesus, it's my money. I earned it at work. You know, what are you saying? Like it's crazy. Is Jesus a lunatic, or is he exactly who he said he was, God Lord of all, like, did he do exactly what he came to do? was He exactly who he said he was? He did many miracles and he predicted his own death and resurrection and he actually did it, and I think that if you can predict your own death and resurrection and actually pull it off, then you have something important to say to this world and we should listen to him. That's just me, and it's on this last statement that Jesus truly is Lord of all that. He said he is going to build his church. So back back to Peter, where he tells them this. He says when Jesus came to the region of cessory of Philippi, he asked his disciples who do people say the son of man is great question. Well, they replied. Some say eh on the Baptist, some say Elijah and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. And then he asked them, who do you say that I am? That's the question and it's the important question. Not Who do your friends say Jesus is, not who do your professor Messters in college say Jesus is, or somebody who wrote a book say Jesus is? Like, who do you say Jesus is? And that is what matters. Simon Peter answered you are the Messiah, the son of the Living God, and Jesus replied you are blessed Simon, son of John, because my father in heaven has revealed this to you. You do not learn this from any human under human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, which means rock, playing on words, metaphors here, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not...

...conquer it's upon this rock, you, Peter, and upon what you're saying about who Jesus is, who I am. This is the rock that the church is being built on. He is the one that he said he is, and he's doing exactly what he said he's going to be doing. Now there are lots of other rocks that people build their lives on and, unfortunately, there's also a lot of rocks that people build churches on. For example, one of the rocks is, example, Jesus. Just came up with some fun names for these. They say, like Jesus is awesome, we love Jesus, but everything else about the Bible and Christianity, yeah, we're not quite sure, but Jesus, like yeah, we love Jesus because he taught things that were really good and he did things that we really liked, and so we really want to do our best to follow his teachings. We want to follow the example that he's set and being a follower of Jesus is kind of all about doing the things that Jesus did. And they sometimes say things like you get to join the Party of God and be a part of the worldwide mission to heal and be healed. It's a call to join the network of God that breaks down walls of racism, nationalism and ecological harm. You get to join the dance of love, vitality, harmony and celebration, and all of those things, to one degree or another, are good things. But I think there's a lot more to following Jesus then just doing those things, a lot more than just example Jesus. For some it's brother Jesus. Now, I told you, I think last week. But a big part of my story that God used to grow my faith and my understanding of the the word and what God was doing in this world was my junior and senior year of high school. I dated a girl who was a Mormon and, without getting into the big rabbit trails of Mormon theology, that they basically say that Jesus is our eldest brother. Okay, and so again that's a big concept and we can talk about it later. It's it is interesting and, I think, helpful to talk about it. So they say that we all existed in this pre existence, like before we were born. We all existed somewhere and we were born to a heavenly father. And if we were born, then that means that there has to be a heavenly mother. So Your heavenly father and heavenly mother had spirit babies and we are all big part of one big family. I know it's a little strange, but that is what it is. And so they decided, like we're going to have to go save the world, like we're going to have to, you know, get these people bodies and we're going to have to like save them. And...

...so people put in plans of salvation, of how this was going to happen, and our eldest brother, Jesus, was the one that's submitted the plan that God, the father chose. Can you guess who this second born brother was just by knowing, you know, the world and the plan that he might have proposed? Who was what would what was his name in Mormon Theology? Just shout it out. Yeah, that's correct. Yeah, so you got Jesus and you got Lucifer and they, you know, submitted these plans and God chows Jesus plan, and I tell you this to illustrate that point. Then in Mormon theology it's Jesus is our brother, like we're a part of the same family. It's like, okay, he's, I don't know, God or something, but like they they lower the level of who Jesus is and they raise the level of who US people are. And so sometimes Jesus is brother Jesus, sometimes Jesus is teacher Jesus, like we love teacher Jesus. He taught some great things, like do unto others whatever you would like them to do to you. Hey, the golden rule. Everyone loves the golden rule. Do not judge others or you will not be judged like that's a very popular one today. Jesus says don't judge others. Jesus taught keep on asking and you will receive what you asked for. Who I like that one? Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be open to you. Anyone want to open door for? Everyone who asked receives, everyone who seeks fines and everyone who knocks the door will be opened. Good promises of teacher Jesus. Right there. He said don't worry about tomorrow. Anyone worrying about tomorrow. Jesus says, don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. I mean that is a deep, amazing, life changing concept that Jesus taught and really all of these things that I just pulled out are famous sayings, famous teachings of Jesus that have really transformed our world and certainly shaped our Western culture. I mean, everyone might probably know some version of a lot of those teachings. And Jesus, though, is considered a great teacher. Even in the religion of Islam he was one of the top five prophets of all time. He was a great teacher. Jesus, or some see Jesus as friend Jesus, and he certainly a friend. Scripture calls him the friend of sinners and that is certainly true. But what I mean, my friend is sort of like buddy, buddy Jesus. You know, the guy or the girl that just comes along and agrees with you all the time,...

...has fun with you, no matter what's going on like hey, we're just hanging out, we're here for a party, we're here for a good time. You know, whatever you do, go ahead and do it. I'll be your friend. That's no problem. Some people Jesus is that. And you know, if that's friend Jesus, if you have friends like that, maybe they're not. Or if you're a friend like that, maybe you're not as good of a friend as you could be. But Hey, friend Jesus. But other see Jesus, says Popular Jesus, they've watched movies about him. They wear play or watch plays. They wear a cross around your neck and thank God when you score a touchdown and you praise Jesus when you win the championship. Right, everyone wants Jesus on their side. Everyone claims Jesus for their own ideas, for their own philosophies. You know, they're like, what would Jesus do? And then it's like, well, what am I passionate about? And what Jesus is passionate about? That too, and I'm and I want to get over here and I'm going to bring Jesus with me over here. And and because Jesus is right and I want to follow him and he's a great guy and, you know, I don't know if he's the only way, but you know he's a great way. And and scholars really help determine, you know, who Jesus was and other religions maybe help have an understanding about that. And it's like, okay, let's remember what Jesus said. He asked them, who do you say that I am? And Simon answered, you are the Messiah, the son of the Living God, and Jesus replied you are blessed, Simon, son of John, because my father and Heaven has revealed this to you, to not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, which means rock, and upon this rock, like that rock, I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Upon the rock of knowing and loving Jesus is the rock that we are building this church on and it's the rock that I encourage you to build your life on. But it's got to be it's got to be the right rock, like you can't just make up a rock and create your own rock and try to build your life on that rock, like it's not going to work, it's not going to stand difficult. Things are going to happen and the foundation is not going to be there. Doubt is going to creep in and it's not going to stand. Things will happen in your life, you will fail, you will want to give up, you will wonder if it's all worth it and it just won't stand. It's hard to follow Jesus. Jesus said some hard stuff. Following the example of the perfect son of God every single time it's impossible. Obeying all of his teachings also impossible. There are...

...just some ways that you cannot follow Jesus. There are things that he did for us that make all the difference in the world, and so I hope that you can join us for the rest of this series as we dive into those things, the solid foundation that you can build your life on. See, we don't have faith in faith like that's weird and that doesn't work. We have faith in the Living God, the Savior, the Messiah, the True One, Jesus Christ. Let's pray God, thank you so much for revealing to Peter exactly who you are. You're the Messiah, you're the Lord, your God, and I pray that, as we enter into this series of just seeing you, that we would see you new and fresh, that we would see you in a way that makes a difference in our life. We believe, I believe, God, that if we can just see you and get to know you a little bit better, what you've done for us, God, that changes our life and I was a result of you transforming our life. I believe that we will share, transform and change the lives and the people around us and our community and our world. And so, God, I pray that you would make yourself very clear to us in these coming weeks as we try to answer this question. Who Do we say that you are? I pray that we would know exactly who you are. In Jesus name, I pray a.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (120)