Is The Church Today Truly Following Jesus ?
Is the church today what God wants it to be ? How does the church today compare to the church in the Bible ? The early church in Acts is considered the model of what the church is to be like. The early church in Acts is our example of what church should look like. We ought to follow their example and be like they were, and do what they did. How does the church today compare to the early church in Acts ? Is the church today truly following Jesus ?
Is The Church Today Truly Following Jesus ?
The best way to see if we are truly following Jesus is to study His life and His words. These are found in the books or Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And Jesus’ teaching and commands are explained and revealed in greater detail in the other books of the New Testament.
In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Jesus is giving His disciples instructions on how to truly follow Him, so that they can “come after Me”. Jesus is talking about eventually going to heaven like He is soon to return to when He says “If anyone wishes to come after Me”.
Three Things We Must Do In Order To Be True Disciples of Jesus
There are 3 things in Luke 9:23-24 that Jesus says we must do in order to truly follow Him and be His true disciples. Here is the 1st of 3 things we must do:
The first thing we must do is to “deny yourself”. You will not be able to do the next 2 things Jesus tells you that you must do to follow Him if you do not first deny yourself. That means you must first deny the rights to your life. Deny your right to be in control of you life. And deny your will, and submit to His. And you must deny your wants and desires, and be willing to submit to His. This is something the church, especially in America, does not teach much today.
2 More Things The Church Must Do To Truly Follow Jesus
There are 2 more things that Jesus followers must do in order to truly follow Him. Luke 9:23-24 shows that you also must “take up your cross”. This is often misunderstood by many people. Many people believe that if they get a disease or get sick, that is their “cross to bear”. Jesus is not saying this at all. He is saying that you need to let go of your will and follow God’s will. Jesus mentioned the cross because the cross was God’s will for Jesus. God’s will was for Jesus to suffer and die in the cross in order to pay the price for all of our sins. That was God’s will for Jesus and His plan for the redemption of mankind.
Jesus also says that you need to follow Him. This is the 3rd things he mentions in Luke 9:23-24. You will not be able to truly and fully follow Jesus unless you first deny yourself and then take up your cross. If you do not consciously do these first 2 things, then your sin nature will battle against you following Jesus. Your sin nature does not want to deny self. And it does not want you to surrender your will or your sinful desires. Your sin nature wants to be lord and master of your life.
Whoever Loses His Life For Jesus Sake
After saying that you need to “deny self” and “take up your cross” and “follow Jesus” in Luke 9:23, Jesus says this in Luke 9:24… “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. Jesus is emphasizing the need for you to “deny self and take up your cross and follow Jesus” by adding this in verse 24. In order to truly follow Jesus you need to submit and give your life to Him. That is what a true disciple of Jesus does.
In Mark 8:35 Jesus words are a little different than in Luke 9:24. Mark 8:35 says “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My (Jesus’) sake and the gospel’s will save it.” This adds the words “and the gospel’s (sake)”. In order to truly follow Jesus, you need to be fully committed to Him and to the work of the Gospel. God wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). This is God’s desire and passion. Thus the work of the Gospel is very important to God. And it needs to be very important to you and the church.
In Part 2 of Is The Church Today Truly Following Jesus ? we will look further into what it takes to be a true disciple of Jesus. A church that is filled with people that are truly following and obeying everything that Jesus told us to do in His Word.
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