Tag : follower-2
Tag : follower-2
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”
(Revelation 22:16-17, NIV)
I had the pleasure of watching the movie Jesus Revolution with my Sunday Funday group that I co-lead at Gateway Church. This movie is based on the true-life story of a man that was raised by a single mother who battled alcoholism and was married and divorced seven times. His name is Greg Laurie, who today is Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship based in Riverside, California. Greg Laurie was not raised in the church—he was not a Christian until he was 17 years old—when he had an encounter in 1970 with a hippie named Lonnie Frisbee. Lonnie was a catalyst of the Jesus movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s; a Christian movement which began in Newport Beach, California. He was a preacher to the hippies and helped spark the rise of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel and Vineyard Movement that spread worldwide. Lonnie believed and preached on the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and was sometimes harshly criticized for his beliefs by members of his own church. He believed in an extraordinary power given by the Holy Spirit to all who believe in and follow Jesus. Some of these abilities or “charismatic gifts” are: the gifts of healing, the gift of prophecy, the discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to people with the purpose of building up the church; the body of Christ.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11, NIV)
I had a similar encounter when I was reborn in the Spirit in 2011. I was not led there by a hippie, but by a woman that I met amid my personal storms. I was homeless and lost everything after my second divorce. This woman’s faith and prayers planted a seed that caused me to thirst for the water of life, Jesus. It was when I was down on my knees crying out for help that He put out His hand and said, Follow Me. Like the woman at the well, in my despair, He introduced Himself and asked me if I was ready to surrender and submit to Him. In essence, he wanted me to surrender to Him my controlling spirit and trust Him in all areas of my life. I was a believer but, until that moment, I never heard Him speak to me. In John 10:27, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” In 2011, I made the decision to not only believe, but to follow Him. It’s not been an easy decision—it comes with its share of challenges—but every morning since that day I wake up realizing I am not perfect, I am human and I am loved. I let go of fear, shame, guilt and all the other lying spirits that I had allowed to attach to me. This was my moment of truth when I realized that by being a follower—not just a believer—I can walk with Him and be in His presence daily.
By making this decision, I received the supernatural gifts of the Spirit that are promised to every follower of Christ. I use these gifts at the grocery store, at work, and when I am among non-believers. I want every person I encounter to see the love of Jesus within me. This is why the movie Jesus Revolution and all the other Jesus Movements are spreading like wildfire. The world needs the love, kindness, and humility of Jesus. In Jesus Revolution, Lonnie says there is an entire generation of people who are seeking God through drugs. Psychedelic spiritual experience is a lie that truth seekers are believing in their pursuit of God. Some truth seekers are searching for all the right things in all the wrong places. The only Truth—Jesus and the Word of God—is where you will find all the answers.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12:3-8, NIV)
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:27-30, NIV)
In the above-mentioned verse Jesus clearly states that if His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him, He will give them eternal life. I have often wondered if all believers are “saved” and recently have turned to the Bible for the answer. In Romans 10:9, the Bible tells us: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Emphasize added). Again the word “and” is declared in this verse which tells me believing in Jesus is not in of itself sufficient to be saved. Believing is an action of faith. It is much more than believing a statement that “Jesus is Lord.” It requires boldly declaring with your mouth that He is your Lord and Savior and to surrender and submit your will to His will. Many people saw Him and walked with Him, only to turn away when He said, ”follow Me.” The Bible tells us even demons believe and tremble.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.“
(James 2:14-19, NIV)
Salvation is described as much more than just believing a statement about God. It reveals a life of full reliance upon Him. In Mathew 19, a rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked Him, “What good must I do to get eternal life?” (Mathew 19:16, NIV). Jesus responded, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This man could not and went away sad.
Nothing must come between us and following our Savior—not money, friends, family, or even a spouse. As followers of Jesus, we should be willing to give up all we have if He asks us to-as He sometimes does. He will never force us. Following Jesus is a personal choice which involves humbly submitting our entire self to Him. We are then transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and slowly transform into His likeness. We undertake a radical change in lifestyle because we can no longer conform to the world and do things that go against the Word of God. We leave old things behind and do not look back. We do not long for things of the past, things that kept us in bondage. We are set free when we choose to follow Him through the narrow gate. Our lifelong hope is that our lives will mirror the character of Jesus and show others His love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
In 1 Corinthians 2:16, we are told following Jesus gives us the mind of Christ and with this assurance we are empowered by His Spirit and given His understanding and insights. As His sheep we are to listen for His voice and follow Him. We are to be followers of Christ and not just believers. The early believers were so loyal to His teachings that other people knew they were followers of Christ by the way they spoke, acted, and lived. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Mathew 7:20, NIV).
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.‘ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.‘”
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