Chapter 3 of Kyle Idleman’s book is another great one. He uses the key texts of Matthew 15:8 and Luke 7 as a great launching pad for this chapter.
Matthew 15:8 says: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me…
Idleman says that this verse shows the difference between “knowledge and intimacy.”
In Luke 7 we have the story of the time Jesus went to eat at Simon’s home. Even though Simon had Jesus in the home, he was extremely rude and neglectful to his guest. He offered Jesus no kiss of greeting, no water to wash his feet and no olive oil to anoint his head. As a Pharisee Simon had spent his life studying the OT Scriptures, but he did not recognize the Promised One that was standing right before him. He knew all about Jesus (the Messiah), but he did not know Jesus!
That is the question we must answer as well. Do we know about Him or do we really know Him? We find later in this chapter a sinful prostitute had more respect for Christ than this highly religious man did.
The author of the book asks a very thought provoking question when he says: “Who are we most like?” Do we just know Him, or have we poured out ourselves at His feet desiring to know Him?
In this chapter Author Kyle Idleman deals with the story of Nicodemus in John 3. When Nicodemus first met Jesus was he a follower or a fan? The author makes a good case that Nicodemus started out as a fan but later became a follower.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, who were the religious elite. He admired Jesus and believed that Christ was definitely sent from God. However, if he were to follow Jesus it would cost him dearly. Many of the religious leaders of that day would ostracize him. He would have to choose between a relationship or religion.
Following Jesus means that He will interfere with “our life.” It would eventually cost Nicodemus a great price. However, according to the author most people want Jesus without following Him.
Kyle concludes this chapter by asking a thought provoking question: Have you made a decision for Jesus or have you committed to Jesus? Jesus’ invitation was to follow after Him, to believe upon Him. Biblical belief leads to following Him, not merely a mental acceptance of certain facts. If we truly believe Christ, we will follow Christ.
Chapter 2 is another thought provoking read.
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.”