The Circle Following Jesus
Last week we started our series on “Follow Jesus” with the sermon “You Must Be Born Again”. To Follow Jesus you must be born again. Today we start with what we do after we are born again. My purpose today is to stir you up toward holy passion.
Holy Jealousy – demands what belongs to you. Unholy Jealousy – demands what does not belong to it.
In life we have accepted this none fact as a fact. We accept that our passion for Jesus will ebb and flow. We will have accepted this idea that we will have seasons for growth and seasons of loss and that’s just the way it is.
No condemnation. I want you to know that our spiritual life can be continually growing. We go from glory to glory. Our faith life does not have to be disrupted and we don’t have t shrink back in any way. We can live from glory to glory to glory. Never forget it is the Holy Spirit who ignites our love for Jesus and it is the Holy Spirit who keeps that fire burning Romans 5:5 Love of God
The circle that surrounded Jesus the people who followed Jesus. When we look at the people who followed Jesus we see there are many different tiers or levels of followers and they were all welcomed by Jesus. Different levels of closeness with the Lord. Mark 3:7, 9-11 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake and a large crowds from Galilee followed. Because of the crowds.
The first tier or level we see is the crowd. Massive amounts of people would follow Jesus because they heard of the miracles he had performed. They heard….multiplication of food, the dove descending, whatever their reason the crowd followed Jesus for what they could get from Him. The crowd followed Jesus for what he could do. The crowd heard about they wanted to experience his miracle touch. There is nothing wrong with this. Many came to receive His healing touch. He was gracious enough to heal them even though he knew not all would stay and follow him closely. He knew who would leave him. Some believers never leave the crowd some believer’s stay a part of the crowd.
Listen: We know we are part of the crowd when our faith is summed up as attending a Sunday morning service and maybe a bible study every now and then. But our devotion never goes beyond casual church attendance, it never goes beyond adding Christianity as app to our life. We friend Jesus but we are not a friend of Jesus.
It remains this thing we do the religion we enact each week. We never step out of the crowd and step into the circle where we love him, we adore him. We are blessed by him. But the trouble is we surrender just enough to be blessed by him, but not enough to be inconvenienced by him.
Jesus I will take what’s in your hand but I am not to concerned about whats in your heart. This is the crowd mentality.
Ok let’s move closer to Jesus. Look at Luke 10 This is a smaller circle of the believers the seventy two. Jesus had seventy two disciples that he chose and sent a head of him into every town where he was going. He gave them a commission to evangelize. But before he did he gave them a command: Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the harvest. Jesus had to get their hearts ready for their calling so he had them pray for their objective.
The ones Jesus asked to pray for the harvest are the ones who Jesus sent to get the harvest. This shows us that God will cause to pray not so someone will answer the pray but often because we will become the answer ourselves. Prayer will change the one who prays. As they prayed for the harvest they received the burden for the harvest. Then Jesus sends them out. This is the love of Jesus.
Even among the twelve there was a betrayer. Judas was closer than the 72 and yet he still betrayed Jesus. All 72 were committed to Jesus.
Listen to me: the crowd wanted Jesus for what he could do for them, the 72 wanted Jesus for what he could do through them. They followed him for how they could be used. They followed him for the power, they followed him for the influence, they followed him because they wanted to be significant and they wanted to be part of something significant. Here it the danger. It is dangerous to have the power without the substance.
If we just blasted electricity through this room no one would like that. But we do have electricity flowing through this room in the wiring.
The electricity is grounded in something. If you have the power of the Holy Spirit it’s like electricity. If you have the power of the Holy Spirit and you are not grounded in Christ it will fry you. That is why we sometimes hear of preachers getting famous for their gifting but eventually their lifestyles catch up to them and we hear of their utter failure and they get exposed. They touch the power but wear not grounded and it fried them. That one reason the Vineyard is big on spiritual disciplines for pastors and leaders.
It’s dangerous to have the power without the character or foundation the substance. You come to a meeting and all they do is prophecy but where is the message of Christ. Or you want to come to the meeting we lay hands on everyone and pray and we teach you how to heal the sick. But what about Jesus. Don’t just go for the power go for His presence. Seek His face not His hand. Don’t just give me the gifting, give me the glory. His presence. I want him.
One problem in the modern day charismatic Christianity is most want to be like the 72. They chase after the power but they don’t want to take the time to know the person of Jesus. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. We will not know Father God unless we come through and get to know Jesus the Son. We will not know the fullness of the Spirit until we draw closer to Jesus. Where are you today. On Father’s day give Jesus a little more of your heart. Draw a little closer.
Seeking the power without being rooted and grounded in love is dangerous. People can get into weird things. Prophets prophesying about things that if you had discernment you would know are not prophetic words form the Lord. You know they ones where they tell you oh you had this happen God is telling you this.
Presumptuous prophets preach what just comes to them. Today in the church many people want all gifts but no glory, not seeking His face. They want glory but they want personal glory. I am talking about the glory of God coming into a room. We are a people of His presence. We are seeking the presence of God.
Many People want a platform but not Jesus.
Turn to Matthew 7:21-23 MESSAGE I will read from the Message version it really hits home. Jesus asks us for serious obedience if we want to stand live in His presence.