TEXT: John 12:23-26
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 184.
Kyle Idleman said, “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print — that’s a guarantee.”
During our last time together, we talked about the importance of service in the life of the Christian believer. If you are going to give up your life to Christ, you will be required to serve. But, as we see in Jesus’ words today, hand-in-hand with serving Him is following Him. Jesus says, “If any man serve me, let him follow me.”
Around the time of the life of Christ, there were many religious teachers in Palestine and the surrounding areas. Each of them had followers. A follower was a person who modeled his life after the life of his teacher. Some followers such as those who followed the Essenes left behind their former lives in the cities and went to live in wilderness communities. According to the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Pliny, the Essenes gave up all personal property and money, abstained from marriage, did not express anger, devoted themselves to prayer and charity, and engaged in ritual immersion every day. (It was their strict reverence for the Scriptures that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to scholars and archaeologists that the Old Testament writings that we have today are authentic.) These followers did not just give mental or verbal assent to the teaching of their leaders; they radically transformed their lives to identify with the lifestyle of their leaders. If you looked at the way they lived in the first century, you would be able to tell that they were followers of Essene teachings.
One definition of a follower is a person who places his feet in the footprints of another. Once you give up your life to Jesus Christ, you will be expected to follow closely after Him. As with service, this will not always be easy or be the thing that you naturally desire to do. But giving up one’s life includes no longer being in the driver’s seat but surrendering control to Jesus Christ.
When Jesus called His disciples, they dropped what they were doing — fishing, tax collecting, farming, or sitting under a fig tree — and immediately followed Him. Some left their families, their source of income, and even their respect in the community. Jesus was number one.
On the other hand, people who were not willing to wholly follow Jesus did not become His disciples.
One man was not willing to give up his wealth. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
One man said he would “follow Jesus whithersoever thou goest.” Jesus looked at him and said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay His head.” (‘And if you follow Me, you might have no place to lay your head either.’)
Another man wanted to go and bury his dead father first. Jesus said unto him, “Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God.”
Someone else wanted to say goodbye to his family first. But Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Now, these statements do not mean that every Christian is to divorce their spouse, abandon their children, leave their place of employment, and empty out their bank account in order to follow Jesus. What it does mean is that you must hold tightly to Jesus and loosely to everything else. It means that Jesus must have complete control in your life, and if He tells you to leave something or someone behind in order to follow Him, you must do it.
While we do not serve and follow Jesus in order to get something for ourselves, Jesus promises that we will get our reward and recognition, not from man, but from God. He said, “If any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” You may serve faithfully for many years on earth without getting one reward or word of praise, but that is okay because while you may be serving man, you are not serving for man. You are serving for Jesus and following Jesus, and you will get your reward from Him.
Now that you know what it means to be a follower of Jesus, are you ready to let Him take control of your life? Are you ready to join the millions of saints who have declared these words…
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.
Here is how you can begin following Jesus Christ right now.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.