Not A Fan
Last week we started a series that calls us to focus on our devotion and desire to be a true follower of Christ. The passage we used to start this series contains some difficult words that Christ used to show the relationship He demands to have with the Sons and Daughters of God. I hope over the last week you were able to take some time to reflect on the relationship you have with Him and the place He holds in your life. And I pray that your presence here today means that you desire to become a souled out follower of Christ. Let’s pray.
A few years ago a friend of mine Sam Middlebrook sent a couple of us guys this game on the internet. It was a quirky little game of miniature golf, and he asked us to play the game and if we liked it, to pass it along to other friends of ours. I played the game, someone posted their score and it was lower than mine, so I played the game again, and again, and again determined to get the low score.
I told some friends of mine about this quirky little game and what my score was and pretty soon they were also playing the game. We would brag about our low scores and talk about the holes that were easy and which ones were giving us a hard time. We told other folks about the game who also played all trying to get the low score.
Well after a month Sam comes back to this original group of guys that he sent the game to and asked us what we thought about it. We laughed and talked about it, shared our secrets to get a hole in one, how many folks we shared the game with and who they shared the game with. It was amazing how far this game spread in such a little time. Then he made this statement that really rocked my world; he said, why are we so quick to spend time with a game we like and share that game with others, but we refuse to spend time and share a Savior we are called to love?
Honestly, I didn’t like his question, and I started to make some excuses: The game was fun, there was no threat in sharing the game, no one would get mad and try to argue with me about a game. But as I made each of those arguments they left a terrible taste in my mouth. The simple truth is that Jesus is my King but I was living like a fan, or worse I was living like I was embarrassed to be the very thing I was created to be and that is a follower.
We are called to be followers of Christ, and very often we spend our time making excuses for why we are not living up to that calling. I wonder if we sit still and really think about those excuses we make, that we are too busy, we are not sure what we would say, we aren’t looking for a fight … if it leaves the same terrible taste in your mouth?
Last week we looked at Luke 9:23 where Jesus says that if we want to follow Him we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. I want us to go back to Luke 9, but this morning I want us to turn our focus from the abstract of taking up our cross and following Jesus into the concrete of what that really looks like.
Here at the end of chapter 9 we find three examples of people who are potential followers, but are shown to be fans or enthusiastic admirers. They like the idea of following Jesus, but when the rubber meets the road they have more excuses than they have desire. This morning we are going to camp out in these 6 verses because I believe in this short text we will see what keeps them from following is really what keeps most of us from following.
So if you have your Bible's with you this morning look with me at Luke 9:57-62. (Read Text)
Fan One: Comfort Seekers
We read about the first fan in verse 57: As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, I will follow you wherever you go. Notice he says I will follow you wherever. Wherever. He’s at least talking a good game, he says to Jesus I will follow you without reservation.
But Jesus’ response in verse 58 gives us some clarity not only to the request but to the one who is asking. Jesus replied, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. At first glance that seems like a pretty weird way to answer this man’s request. It would be like me asking one of our young people that met with me this morning, What do you want to be when you grow up and they tell me, 42.
I could be wrong here, but I think that Jesus gives the man a real answer. Look at what Jesus is talking about; If you follow me you will lose possession of everything including the things that comfort you the most. Jesus’s response draws attention to the fact that this man loved comfort more than following Him.
I like being comfortable, I like comfortable clothes, I like a comfortable temperature, I like comfortable situations, and all too many times I like to be comfortable in my relationship with God. But there is nothing comfortable about taking up your cross and following Jesus. The call of Jesus to take up our cross and follow Him conflicts with our desire to be comfortable.
We are by nature comfort seekers. Too many folks come to the church and are not following Jesus, we’re following comfort. We’ve made comfort our God, it’s what we live for, work for, and sacrifice for. But there’s nothing comfortable about the call to follow Jesus. That’s why I believe that everyone of us must ask if our relationship with Jesus is based on convenience or commitment?
MSNBC did a report on what they called the new vegetarians. In their interview they played a clip from Christy, a 28 year old woman, who spoke volumes about this new mindset. She said, I usually eat vegetarian; but I really like bacon. She represents a growing number of people who refer to themselves as flexetarians. Most of the time they will refuse to eat meat, but once in a while they make an exception. Christy explained it this way, I really like vegetarian food, but I’m not 100 percent committed.
Flexetarian is a good way to describe how many people today view their commitments. Flexitarians are committed until it becomes inconvenient and uncomfortable. So when the special is Filet Mignon then our commitments can be adjusted. And that’s the way many Christians approach their commitment to Jesus and Bible.
I really like Jesus, but I don’t really like serving the poor, I’m not real big into the idea of going to church, my resources are spoken for. I love Jesus but this area of my life, when I’m with these friends, when I am at this place, well then I’m not 100 percent committed. I really like Jesus, but don’t expect me to change.
When we wear the name of Christ and then try to pick and choose the teachings of Jesus that we’re going to follow we have become a Flexetarian or a fan. This man in verse 57 spoke words of commitment, but when Jesus painted him a picture of what that commitment looked like he seemed to back off. I think there are a lot of people who have made a decision to believe in Jesus, but never really committed to Jesus.
We have to be really careful here because many of us grew up learning to be fan of Jesus instead of a follower of Jesus. We were raised to have a little bit of God, we were taught to have some Biblical morals. But one of the most dangerous ways to be raised is with a little bit of Jesus, it’s like an vaccine. A little bit can make you immune to the real thing.
Fan Two: Maybe Later
In verse 59 we meet fan number 2. He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
One of the first words out the guy’s mouth is First. The first thing he does is put Jesus off. I want to follow, I really do, but not right now. Now isn’t a good time. I fully intend to become a follower, but before I do there are some other things that I want to do.
We treat our relationship with Jesus like the diet we keep meaning to start. I’m going to start eating right, as soon as finish off these 20 buffalo wings. I’m going to start reading my Bible every evening as soon as Basketball season is over. And we do that to Jesus, first let me do what I want to do. We put Jesus off like we put off going to the gym. And so we say I’ll start tomorrow, I promise that this is my last time, just wait until I’m out of college, or get married, or have kids, or get a less demanding job. Instead of getting out of bed we just keep hitting the snooze button, just 10 more minutes we tell ourselves.
Maybe you hear this man’s excuse for putting Jesus off, he wants to go bury his father, and think Jesus is being a little too hard core. Let the guy go bury his dad. Well, most scholars seem to believe that this guy’s dad wasn’t even sick. This was a way for the man to say, when my parents die, then I will follow you. When I get the inheritance, when I know they won’t disapprove, then I will follow you.
But the problem is that as long as we wait for tomorrow, then tomorrow never comes. There is a great principle found in Luke 16:10 where Jesus said, If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.”
He truth of the matter is that as long as we make excuses to put off being faithful to Christ, then we will never be faithful. If you cannot be faithful with a little time, or a little treasure, or a little talent Jesus says that you will not be able to be faithful when you get more.
Our second fan’s excuse wasn’t enough for Jesus. I’m not sure what is holding you back. It may be something that seems very legitimate, but Jesus says the time is now. And I guarantee you that longer you put Him off the less like you are to ever follow.
Fan Three: Part Time
The third fan is in verse 61: Still another said, I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family. Jesus replied, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.
Jesus isn’t looking for half-hearted followers. Following Him part-time isn’t an option. We saw last week that He has no interest in Sunday Christians who say they will follow Him but who are always looking over their shoulder wondering if they are missing out and second guessing their decision.
Both the second and the third men in our text are dealing with the issue of priority. That’s why we have to ask ourselves again and again where does Jesus fit on our schedule? Do we need to pencil Him in from time to time, or does He have a prominent place in our lives. Is Jesus one of many, or is He your one and only?
People who want to be part time followers or fans of Christ treat Jesus as one of many. They are more than happy to serve someone, if there is nothing better going on. They will make sure their kid is at the Youth functions if there is not a baseball or soccer game, or a dance recital, or a really good movie on TV. They give out of what’s left over at the end of the week instead of giving God what’s first .
Jesus is very clear that making Him one option of many is not an option. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He replied the most important command of them all is to love the Lord with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind, and ALL your strength. That’s the kind of relationship He demands to have with you.
God describes His relationship with the church as a Bride and Groom. I love that metaphor, because it makes so much sense. If you saw me in a restaurant with a blonde haired woman, we had candles on the table and we were holding hands and laughing, I would hope you would come up to me and ask me what’s going on. Now imagine if I introduced you to the woman and said she was my date. You hopefully would ask me where Trista was, now imagine if I told you, well tonight is Thursday, my date night with Trista is Friday this is my date for Thursday. Would that seem a bit weird to you? Would you understand if Trista found out and got a bit jealous? Of course, in a marriage there is no room for other options.
God says in Exodus 20:5 I the Lord your God am a jealous God. God does not want our one-day a week affection. He wants your whole heart. Jesus explains that following Him in not something you do part-time or half-way; it’s all or nothing.
In Revelation 3 Jesus says to the church in Laodicia “You are neither hot or cold but because you are lukewarm, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.” Jesus doesn’t say, everything in moderation, He says you can’t be my follower if you don’t give me everything.
2000 years later the invitation hasn’t changed. Jesus still says, If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. My favorite word in that invitation is ANYONE. No matter what your story, no matter what you’ve done this is the relationship Jesus wants to have with you.
Anyone…Anyone who has ever laid awake in bed and thought I would give anything to undo what I’ve done.
Anyone who has looked at themselves in the mirror and said I can’t believe what I have become.
Anyone is an all-inclusive term, Anyone means everyone. Anyone means me and anyone means you
Questions For You To Consider
Read Mark 2:13-17
Levi was a tax collector. What did Jews think about tax collectors and why would it be wrong for a Jew to associate with a tax collector?
Jesus was often referred to as “Rabbi”. What is the meaning of the term “Rabbi”?
When a Rabbi called someone to be one of his disciples, they knew this would mean they would be required to leave everything to follow their Rabbi and they would be required to go everywhere he went and do everything he did. With this in mind, read Luke 9:23-24.
What commitment does Jesus expect from His true followers and how does this apply to you?
How does the relationship modeled by Jesus and His followers, apply to you and your relationship with Him and your commitment to following Him?
In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me,...” That is a very inclusive statement. As a church and as a small group, how are we inclusive and how are we exclusive?
If you were to die today, how would you be remembered: as an enthusiastic admirer or a fully devoted follower of Jesus and why?
What would it look like for you to truly become a follower (disciple) of Jesus?