I just sat down and watched Dr. David Platt’s “Follow Me” simulcast which was filmed last week in the Middle East. He gathered with brothers and sisters in a small room and presented a powerful message. I took down some notes and wanted to share with you what I got out of it, and what it means to biblically follow Jesus.
“Nominal Christianity is not Christianity” – David Platt
“To be called by Christ is to be commissioned by Christ” -Pastor Platt
Jesus uses the phrase “Follow me” 6 different times in the book of Matthew. He says it in:
I encourage to read all these passages to get a greater understanding of the points.
Through these passages we can see 4 common threads when it comes to following Jesus.
1. Merciful Invitation
This invitation is for ALL people. Jesus here went to the poor, fishermen, tax collectors, and rich people. This is a great gospel truth that Jesus is available for all people, and all people groups. Unfortunately though, 6,000 people groups have no access to the gospel and anyone to tell them. They will live their life and die and never hear the name of Jesus. In Northern Yemen for example, there are 8 million people but only 20-30 Christians. Friends the gospel is urgent.
Also, we see from this the disciples did not come to Jesus but Jesus came to them. In face in the instances where the people went to Jesus they did not come to be disciples. Jesus did not call them though because of what they brought to the table, because like us they brought nothing. He chose them because he wanted to use them. We do not pursue Jesus, Jesus pursues us. Jesus went to the tax collector! The invitation starts with him and not us, and that is important. He mercifully invites us to join him.
2. Purposeful Invitation
The purpose of following Christ is of the utmost importance. I think of men like Jim Elliot who sacrificially laid down his life so the Huaorani people of Ecuador could know Christ. When we follow Christ and join on making disciples we see people walk from death into life. What greater purpose could we have with our lives than join the commission of Christ into the ends of the world? Not only that but making disciples who disciples. My prayer is that in 500 years no on knows my name, but there are people around who were impacted by chain of people I was able to impact.
Our life is not meant to say a prayer inviting Jesus into our heart and living a comfortable life. Where is the purpose in that? What kind of example are we being by doing that? No, the purpose is to live a life that looks different to the lost, that looks biblical.
3. Costly Invitation
Following Christ is without a doubt associated with cost. It will cost you comfort, security, friends, family, safety, and perhaps your life. We see in the cases of Matthew 8 & 19 that to these men it was not worth the cost. Is it worth it to you? Following Christ is not a prayer of asking him into your heart, biblically this is simply not true. It means you will lose things, and is that worth it to you. I think so many times we invite people to know Christ without telling them the cost. Think of Matthew 10:16, ““Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves….” 10/10 times those sheep are going to die they are defenseless, dumb, and slow. Following Christ means walking amongst persecution. In face in Matthew 10 it does not say “if” you are persecuted but “when.” We must learn to expect. embrace, and experience that for biblically following Christ.
When we surrender to Christ however we are no longer worried about safety because it is no longer or priority and self is no longer our god, but Christ is. We’re in far greater danger of being safe than living recklessly for the Gospel to all people.
“The cost of discipleship is great, but the cost of non-discipleship is greater.”
4. Rewarding Invitation
Lastly, along with the other three invitations we see this as a rewarding invitation as well. It is in fact it is far more rewarding than it is costly. Look at what it says in Matthew 19:27-30, ”
27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”
28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new[a] and the Son of Man[b] sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
The reward for making disciples is great, and following Christ is great and is a life worth living. Doing so we live a life that biblically says that Jesus is ruler in my life. Though it will cost us things and persecution with be knocking at the door we have an eternal reward. On earth we will find happiness, peace, joy and fulfillment.
So what will you and I do? For the 6,000 people groups with no access to the gospel? To the 4.5 billion people in the world on a path towards hell. Pursue people as Christ pursued you and I, what beautiful symbolism. Christ tells us to make disciples, let us do that then for the glory of God!