The truth is Jesus knows all about YOU! He knows your heart, your motives, your desires, your faults, your failures, your weaknesses, your struggles, your sincerity, your ____________________________________ (fill in the blank). He knows. The amazing thing is that even though He knows, He still loves us.
As I was reading in my devotions this morning I came across this Scripture:
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 2:24-25
There were many who “believed” in Jesus the “miracle man” (see John 2:23). According to the Amplified Bible they simply “identified themselves with His party” after seeing the signs and wonders He performed. However, we know that the new birth is more than verbal identification. We are to trust in, cling to and rely upon the risen Christ as our Lord and Savior. Faith in Christ leads to the New Birth (John 3:3) and a total transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So as He looks deep into my soul and yours what does He see? Does He see a meaningless mental consent to Christianity or does He see a genuine faith in Him? We often talk about committing our lives to Christ, but we see from this passage that Christ commits Himself to those who truly believe.
He knows YOU and He knows me. What does He see?
The author of the book “Not a Fan,” is emphasizing the difference between being a follower of Jesus and a fan of Jesus. He indicates that we often get the two confused, even though there is a big difference. The author says that many of us equate following Jesus with:
- Going to church
- Praying at a church altar
- Owning several Bibles
- Having their picture in the church directory
- Having a worship song as their ringtone
- Disliking Harry Potter
- Using the term “Bless your heart” before being critical of someone
However, he goes on to remind us about the people in Matthew 7. These individuals were doing all kinds of things “in Jesus’ name” but Jesus said that Jesus said He never knew them!
Pastor Kyle entitles the first chapter of his book, “D.T.R.” This stands for “define the relationship.” How do we really feel about Jesus? It seems that many of the people in Matthew 7 were only “fans” not “followers.”
Idleman then proceeds to define what he means by the word “fan.” He says a fan is, “an enthusiastic admirer.” This person is in the stands but never in the game. He knows who the players are but doesn’t know them personally.
He says that this carries over into many people’s perspective of Jesus as well. These people are safe in the stands, but they know nothing of the “sacrifice and pain of the field.” They know about Jesus, but they do not know Jesus.
Kyle rightly says, “But Jesus was never interested in having fans…’Enthusiastic Admirer’ isn’t an option.” He goes on to say, “…many of our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in truly following Him.”
In closing out Chapter 1 Pastor Idleman reveals to his readers that he is going to go through several Biblical accounts and reveal to us the method Jesus used to help people to see that they are simply “fans” and not “followers.” He begins in Chapter 2 with a man named Nicodemus.
Pastor Idleman provides an easy read with quite a bit of humor. However, the humor does not take away from the seriousness of the message that he is trying to get across. Jesus said there would be MANY who thought they were truly followers of Him and will be eternally mistaken (see Matthew 7). I look forward to how he handles this issue in the upcoming chapters.
“Not a Fan” was recommended reading from my dad who received the book from his pastor. My dad is not a “reader” but he was very excited about the book and sent it to me. I was drawn in from the very first page. My goal is to give you a brief synopsis of each chapter of the book and share with you my review.
“Not a Fan” is written by Kyle Idleman. The complete title is, “Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus.” Pastor Idleman serves the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky.
Kyle’s prologue begins with his dilemma about what to preach in the upcoming Easter service. He realized that there would be many there who do not attend church any other time of the year and he wanted to give them a message that would inspire them to keep coming back. Then he began to think about what Jesus preached when He had big crowds.
He reads the passage in John 6 when Jesus fed the crowd of over 5,000 men plus women and children. The next day the crowd is looking for Him and Jesus suggests to them in John 6:26 that many of them were just looking for a “meal ticket.” He lets them know that He’s not handing out any more free lunches, but rather will be offering Himself as the “Bread of Life.” Would that be enough for the crowd? When Jesus is the only thing on the menu will the crowd hang around?
Here is Idleman’s observation, “Many of the fans turn to go home…Jesus doesn’t chase after them. He doesn’t soften his message to make it more appealing…As I sat in the sanctuary surrounded by thousands of empty seats, here’s what became clear to me: it wasn’t the size of the crowd Jesus cared about; it was their level of commitment.”
May God help us not to get so caught up in attracting a crowd that we reinterpret who Jesus is and what He has called us to do. He has called us to take up our “cross” and follow Him. As we take this journey together, my prayer is that we will have a clearer understanding of what it really means to “follow Him.”
Think about what the prophet said in Michah 7:19:
You will cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea. (ESV)
Through the new birth God forgives our sin and He removes the penalty of sin from us and He removes us from the power of sin (see John 3:3-21, Romans 6:14). He declares righteousness where no righteousness has been. This happens because Christ’s righteousness is added to our account when we trust Him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It is through Christ and His atoning sacrifice that we can experience this forgiveness and have the assurance that our sins have been placed in the “depths of the sea” and have been placed behind God’s back (Isaiah 38:17).
Have YOU trusted Christ to forgive YOU of YOUR sins? He is able to remove the guilt of YOUR past, He will enable YOU to live in victory in the present and give YOU an amazing future. Trust Him today!
In today’s devotion from Fusion (p. 18) (http://www.randallhouse.com/shop/fusion/) we are reminded that SIN keeps people from the Kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul lists several of these sins that were prevalent in the Corinthian culture.
Corinth was a sex saturated culture (sounds like our society). They had taken God’s gift of sex and had deviated from His plan. The same is true today. People are taking fire (God’s gift of sex) out of the fireplace (marriage). Because of this people are getting burned and getting burned bad. Paul reminds the Corinthians that sexual immorality, adultery and homosexuality keep people from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Paul also deals with some others sins that were prevalent in the Corinthian culture. He mentions idolatry, thievery, greed and drunkenness among other things. Sin keep us from God’s Kingdom! Paul wants to make this perfectly clear.
But then listen to what Paul says in verse 11:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Did you get that? Paul is writing to a group of people who WERE (past tense) sexually immoral, drunks, crooks and the list goes on. However, they are not that anymore! Something happened! What happened?
- They were washed! Praise God for the precious blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins! (1 Peter 1:18-19)
- They were sanctified. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ they had been adopted into the family of God and were “set apart” from the world unto God.
- They were justified! The penalty for their sin was removed because the righteousness of Jesus Christ had been credited to their account. God now looked at them “just as if” they had never sinned! (Romans 5:1)
It is easy for us to point out sin and point at people who are guilty of sin, but may we never forget where we would be today without Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is we are ALL SINNERS in need of a Savior. We like to categorize our sin as “little” compared to some, however any SIN breaks fellowship God regardless of what category we would like to place it in. It needs to be forgiven and cleansed and this takes place through faith in Christ and Christ alone!
Let us offer this hope of forgiveness to those who are still bound by sin. Let us remember the forgiveness that we needed and hopefully have already experienced through our relationship with Christ.
If you would like more information about this relationship please contact me or read http://flagshipchurch.org/truth-will-set-you-free/