This year we introduced Following JESUS as our motto, our theme, and our purpose. This is a reminder of when Jesus said to those with whom He desired to have a relationship, "Follow me, ..." (Matthew 4:19). It is our "... whosoever will, ..." may come (Revelation 22:17). It is our assignment to "... Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel ..." (Mark 16:15). Our first thought every day should be that today I have the opportunity of following Jesus and becoming what He desires for me to become for Himself.
After Paul's conversion in chapter nine of the book of Acts, he spends his life proclaiming to the lost their need of following Jesus. To follow Jesus means to accept Him as our personal Saviour - to confess our sin and become a child of God.
John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
The Jew had been taught to follow the law. The problem, however, was that the law was not given to be followed; it was to given to help the Jew identify that the only way to salvation was in and through the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:24-25, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
To the Jew, to follow Jesus as written in the book of Acts was a change from what they understood the old Testament law to be. However, God's plan was for the Jew to see that they could not keep the law and it could not provide salvation. The first step in following Jesus is in the area of salvation; a confession of our need and an acceptance of the truth - Him!
To follow Jesus made the Jew see the law in a totally different way - the way God intended for them to see it. God wants everyone to come to Him through His Son; it is the only way to the Father.
John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Both of these verses indicate and clarify that to follow Jesus, we must come in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Once we accept Him as our personal Saviour, Jesus desires us to follow His Word - the commands, the precepts, the truths, and the invitations. Our daily lives can then be one of following Jesus by beginning each day thanking Him for another day to live.
The prayer of our hearts should be: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? I am following you today and willing to be used for Your glory. Someone needs to be invited to follow You; would You allow me to introduce them to You so they have that opportunity? Fill me with your presence. Give me a joy and peace that passes all understanding."
Philippians 4:4-8, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Have a great day in the Lord as you follow Jesus and His Word, for His glory, until He returns.
Written by Dr. Bill Duttry