Follow me

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.   Matthew 16:24

Wouldn’t you say that this is a profound and powerful call from our Lord to join Him as He rights the world’s wrongs?  Is this not His call to join the cause of social justice, to feed starving children and protect the environment?  Is it not obvious this call is telling us to make a change in our world and leave a mark before we go?  No…, no, no.  Any message delivered by a pastor, author or website telling you the primary call of Jesus is to go “do” something is twisting the Word.  But, can my statement not be proven wrong by a thousand verses?  Not really…

Jesus calls us to Himself.  We are to follow Him and deny ourselves.  The message He brings us is, “repent and believe.”  To make sense of this call you must consider this… He is the one who created us.  Do we not own that which we create?  Why do we then think that Christ created us so we that we can in turn own ourselves?  We have no right to ourselves!  God created everything through Christ and for Christ.  The unbeliever is rebelling against the Lord, but this doesn’t change who owns him!  So we are called to repent of our sin which is rebellion, and believe & follow Christ.  That is the call we see in Scripture.  Christ is to be our Lord and our Master.  Our leader and our role model.  We are not called to a cause (no matter what the Emergent Church folks try to tell you), we are called to Christ, and Christ alone!!

So what about all the Scriptures telling us to feed the poor, preach the Gospel, and provide for the widow?  Indeed we are to do those things.  And if you are in Christ you will find yourself drawn more and more to go out and do those things (not just talk about them) as He changes your desires and brings about His desires in you.  In following Christ we will do those things because He brings about in us a desire to do those things, and because He tells us to do those things…as we follow Him.  However, do not be confused about your purpose or your call.  Your call is to follow Him.  It is to be like Him as you follow.  Your purpose is to bring glory to Him in whatever He has you to do.  Good works will happen as you follow Him, but the good works are not the call.  Good works will not earn a salvation!  Jesus Christ is not a cause, but a real live person to whom we are to be devoted.  As a Christian good works will inevitably come, but they are not the call of Christ.  The call of Christ is “Deny yourself and follow me.”

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3 Comments on “Follow me”

  1. Bob Schoenle Says:

    The subject is in regard to the meaning of Matthew 16:24-26. Many have used this text to verify that salvation is attained by giving up something or doing something in order to be ‘saved’ aka a Christian. By misinterpreting this text in this way, many people have been deceived into believing a works orientated gospel. The ’cause’ of salvation can only be by ‘believing’ which is why John used the word ‘believe’ sixty times in his gospel. John never used the word ‘repent’ in his gospel. Thus, anything done after ‘believing’ is an ‘effect’ of ‘believing.’ This includes baptisim, repentance, works of any kind, and discipleship. By the way, some of the members of the church in Corinth would indicate that some who ‘believe’ aka a Christian, do not grow in a way that would indicate they are true born-again Christians.


  2. Bob Schoenle Says:

    Mt. 16:24-26; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26 refers to those who desire to be a ‘disciple’ of Christ and the cost required for them to be so. The word ‘disciple’ simply means ‘learner.’ Becoming a ‘disciple’ is not required for anyone to participate in the ‘good news’ of the Lord Jesus Christ which is described in 1 Cor. 15:1-4. Salvation is by the grace of God alone and not by the doing of anything by anyone for any reason (Jn. 20:30-31; Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9). The lack of discernment and the ability to ‘distinquish between the things that differ’ called ‘rightly dividing’ the Word of God (2 Pet. 3:15-16)) among professing Christians is truly appalling in these ‘last days’ of the Age of Grace!


    • Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Indeed the Good News of the Gospel (salvation by grace alone, not obedience) does not require any sort of enrollment to become a disciple. Salvation is through the work of Christ on the Cross and given to us by grace alone, not merit. Once someone is saved, they become follower, a learner, a student, a subject and a slave of Christ. So they do indeed go about “doing things”, after all, “those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.” Is it possible to be made a new creature (with a heart that is sensative to sin and yearns to obey its’ Lord, and the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ) and not follow and learn from the Master? I think not.
      I hope this post accurately contrasted the difference between works after salvation because we are “being” new creatures in Christ, and “doing” works as part of our salvation as though good deeds and social justice were the Gospel message.


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