Following Jesus, but sidetracked by other things… 2 Corinthians 5:15… “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (KJV). This is a good verse… It reminds us that Jesus must be the centerpiece of our conversion. Paul is preventing us from following side attractions. Some folks fix their eyes on experiences and follow them. Others fix their eyes on anointed preachers and follow them, rather than Christ. When we were converted, we were converted to Christ and not to other things. The word “conversion” refers to a complete change of the mind and heart and lifestyle directions. Let me give you some examples…
Matthew 2:1-12… The wise men saw a star. They were converted by a supernatural showing of a star, and it led them to Christ. The “star,” the spectacular, drew their attention. This is one of the purposes of signs, wonders, and miracles. They draw attention to the Lord Jesus Christ. The wise men brought gifts, but there is no record in history that they followed Him. “Stars,” i.e., the supernatural, must lead people to Christ, and after finding Him, they must be committed to follow Him.
John 3:22-25… John the Baptist did not come to convert people to himself. He told his listeners that he was just a “voice” that cried out, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:3, KJV). In Matthew 9:14 there is another reference to some contention by some of John’s followers. In Acts 19:1-6 there is a reference to John and to his water baptism, long after the day of the cross and the day of Pentecost. Was John drawing people to himself unintentionally? A lot of good men and women start out in their ministry to lead people to Christ and end up leading them to themselves. “Converted to the converter and not to Christ.” The apostles did not use their anointing to be superstars, but to preach the gospel and lead people to Christ. Their anointing was for service, to deliver people out of their hurts and sin. This is still God’s will (Luke 4:18-19).
John 3:1-3 and 19:38-40… Nicodemus came by night to Jesus because he wanted to protect his status and reputation. He feared his denomination’s hierarchy. At the same time his spirit was searching for the truth. The miracles of Jesus had him thinking that maybe Jesus was the Son of God. He became a secret believer. Later, along with Joseph of Arimathea, he asked for the body of Jesus in order to give him a proper burial. But there is no record that Nicodemus ever served a resurrected Christ. He had a fear of what people thought, and it sidetracked him from full commitment to Jesus. Jesus said in Luke 9:26, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (KJV).
Luke 9:57-62… Here was a man who wanted to follow Jesus, but with some reservations. He wanted to serve Jesus on his own conditions. Personal matters took priority over total commitment. We all have personal matters to take care of, but many who are called keep Jesus waiting and waiting and waiting until some personal matter is taken care of. There will always be “personal matters”; we can’t escape them. If you are going to follow Jesus, do it without putting your own conditions on how you want to follow.
Acts 5:1-11… Ananias and Sapphira followed Jesus, but expected full price for half of a commitment. They wanted full credit for giving when they gave only a part of what they promised. They lied and they died. Half conversions and half commitments never worked in the Bible and they will not work today. We are converted to Christ… we are to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Pastor George Belobaba
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