What makes someone a follower of Jesus? Going to church? Donating money to good causes? Trying to be a good person? The answer is actually much simpler: all we have to do is follow the Leader. In this message, Dr. Stanley outlines exactly how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, surrendering our lives and mirroring His life of prayer, service, and sacrifice. Don't get caught up in a performance-based Christianity, instead, pick up your cross and follow the Leader.
KEY PASSAGE: Matthew 4:18-20
Are you a follower of Jesus? When that question is asked, people generally give a wide variety of answers.
They may think it’s synonymous with believing in God, attending church, participating in communion, giving to good causes, praying when in need, living a good life, or being religious. But none of these actually answer the question, nor do they prove that someone is following Jesus. Engaging in certain religious activities is not equivalent to following Jesus. Although these activities are generally practiced by Christians, not everyone who does them is a Christian. To determine if someone is truly following Jesus, we must use biblical guidelines.
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, He called Simon Peter and Andrew to leave their occupation as fishermen and follow Him (Matt. 4:18-19). Their response demonstrates what following Jesus involves: “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (v. 20). This was a whole life commitment, not merely religious activity.
What characterizes a follower of Jesus?
In order to evaluate whether we too are following Jesus, we must understand what experiences are true of those who are genuine followers.
Although we may be tempted to pick and choose which of these qualities we want to pursue, all these practices are essential elements of our walk with Jesus and should become an important part of our lives as we follow Him.
The Gospel Coalition’s Council is a collection of pastors and qualified elders who provide direction and leadership to TGC. They meet annually for fellowship, discussion, planning, accountability, and prayer around the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Aiming to bring biblical conviction and pastoral sensitivity to bear on a range of pressing contemporary issues, the Council is committed to shepherding the next generation of church leaders in line with TGC’s foundation documents.
We are a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
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The mission of the National Association of Evangelicals is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelical Christians. Church and Faith The National Association of Evangelicals works to make denominations, churches and ministries strong and effective. The NAE strategically focuses on encouraging, resourcing and enriching denominational, nonprofit, school and church leaders. With a great breadth and diversity of partners, the NAE convenes unique gatherings, conversations and movements on a host of church-related issues. The NAE Statement of Faith, adopted in 1942, provides a theological touchstone for evangelicals across the country — bringing together Calvinist, Arminian, Wesleyan, Anabaptist and Charismatic traditions. Among these diverse groups, the NAE facilitates united action, cooperative ministry and strategic planning to achieve shared goals.
The National Association of Evangelicals represents evangelical concerns to the government and mobilizes evangelicals to engage in the public sphere. The NAE provides a forum where evangelicals can work together to preserve religious liberty, nurture families and children, protect the sanctity of human life, seek justice for the poor, promote human rights, work for peace, and care for God’s creation. Evangelicals believe that government is a gift from God for the common good. Good governance creates the conditions in which human beings fulfill their responsibilities as God’s image bearers and as stewards of God’s creation. Government plays an important role in protecting life, preserving freedom, and creating an environment in which families, churches, businesses and other human institutions can thrive.
The NAE Chaplains Commission provides support and endorsement for evangelicals to minister as chaplains in the three branches of the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, hospitals, prisons, businesses and many other institutions. The Commission also connects and represents the chaplain ministries of NAE denominations, making it the largest representative body of chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans Administration. The Commission champions free exercise and expression of faith in our nation’s military institutions.
As the relief and development arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief’s mission is to “empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable.” World Relief provides churches with a platform to bring humanitarian assistance to suffering people in the name of Christ in the United States and throughout the world. World Relief exists for the Church and its mandate to serve those in need. World Relief has active ministries in the areas of disaster response, child development, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, agricultural development, immigrant legal services, microfinance, anti-trafficking and refugee resettlement.
Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “the good news” or the “gospel.” Thus, the evangelical faith focuses on the “good news” of salvation brought to sinners by Jesus Christ.
You become a Southern Baptist by uniting with a Southern Baptist church, one in friendly cooperation with the general Southern Baptist enterprise of reaching the world for Christ. Typically church membership is a matter of receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord and experiencing believer's baptism by immersion.
Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message. It serves as a guide to understanding who they are. Copies are available at Southern Baptist churches. The full text on the issue discussed is also available on this website.
How to Become a Christian
Have you ever wondered what it means to become a Christian?
Maybe there are things in your life that don't seem to be going very well, and you've tried lots of solutions, but none seems to work.
Everyone has questions about their own lives. If you haven't found answers that work for you, why not listen to what God has to say?
God's Word has the answers that are grounded in truth and love. Jesus has answers to problems just like the ones you face every day.
See what God's Word has to say about these questions and issues...
If you would like more information about what it means to become a Christian, please let us know. We'd be happy to get you the information you need, and get you in touch with a Christian disciple in your area. You can call us at 1-888-JESUS20 (1-888-537-8720) or email us.