(continued from Part One)
Today’s churches are filled with people who have “made a decision for Christ,” but not a subsequent commitment to follow him. Far too many are fans and not followers. I say this not just from observation – but from personal experience. There came a time in my walk with the Master when the Holy Spirit blind-sided me with the truth about myself. It was not a pleasant experience, but one of stark necessity and eventually, great benefit.
If the church wishes to address this issue of creating fans instead of followers, it must begin by making a significant course adjustment. Emphasis must be placed on teaching gospel principles based on scriptural truths and those in the pews need to be educated on the true costs of walking a path of obedience to Christ. Jesus’ role as “savior” still needs to be stressed, but not to the exclusion of his role as “Lord.” John Bevere speaks to the critical importance of making a consecrated commitment to obedience in the Christian walk of faith:
We can’t fool God by making a superficial acknowledgment of the importance of pleasing Him but departing from it when it isn’t convenient. It must be a firm and never-changing decision, for upon it hinges whether we are capable of growing into the image of Jesus Christ or growing into an image that has the form of Christianity but is distant from the heart of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .One of the great tragedies in the Western church is that we offer people the blessings of resurrection power without the obedience associated with the Cross. Many leaders have labored diligently to present a Jesus who is Savior but isn’t Lord in a person’s life. Many messages are spoken Sunday after Sunday in churches that communicate “the good life” based on biblical principles, but they say nothing of the self-denial required for the advancement of the gospel. Many pastors focus more on being life coaches rather than bona fide fivefold ministers. Their messages are formulated from secular leadership principles or psychology, with scriptures found to conform to these views.
Bevere’s words cut right to the chase. For too long, the church has been pitching (and practicing) a watered-down gospel that is often little more than a Christianity of convenience. This is a far cry from what Jesus presented to his potential followers and if you doubt the veracity of that statement, I suggest you go back through the four gospels and when reading, pay close attention to what Jesus says about the costs of following him. Make notes on what he says and prayerfully bring your discoveries before the Master. If you are diligent and honest with yourself, I think you will find this reading and prayer time well worth the effort expended. I know I certainly did.
I close by saying that I am far from perfect in my walk. My level of obedience leaves much to be desired. Yet I can honestly say that I am far more obedient to the teachings of Jesus than I was even a year ago. With the blessed help of the Holy Spirit, I have become more like the person Christ calls me to be. I have a long way to go, but I trust that Paul meant it when he said that the Father would complete the work he started in me. And like the Apostle, I press on toward the upward call and the prize – the full measure of the stature of Christ.
© L.D. Turner 2013/All Rights Reserved
- Let’s Cut to the Chase: Are You Really a Follower of Christ? (Part One) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- Called and Set Apart (Part Two) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)