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What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?

Chris Holland
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Chris Holland

Chris Holland is speaker/director of It Is Written Canada. 

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  • March 14, 2015
    11:00 AM
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I'm really it has stood the test of time. God's Book the Bible is still relevant in today's complex world when it is written. Surely messages of hope around the world. I'd I'd I'd have never had the experience or someone's asked you a question and you don't know the answer. Maybe a parent or a teacher asked you that question you sat grasping at straws trying to come up or even create an answer but you just had nothing. You no questions in general are a good thing. Questions lead us to answers. But if all we do is ever just question question question but never have an answer well we'll just come up empty handed all the time. And so we're in the midst of a series a midst of a series where we're asking questions. But going beyond the questions and seeking an answer and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with John Bradshaw speaker director of it is written International. John I'm so glad that you're here again and for our exploration in Scripture. Thanks Chris I'm glad too thanks for having me. You know we've been asking questions which questions are good for the honest seeker. We've been finding answers in God's word looking for their true meaning of life looking to see if God is real. If God is who he says he is as we open the Bible we have to come to the conclusion that there's a lot we. So with a lot that's difficult to understand. If we were to spend our time today talking about some of the prophecies in Zechariah or a Z K O. You know we have to admit this isn't pretty tough going. However there was much in the Bible that crystal clear the majority of it is not hard to understand and doesn't take a scholar's mind to wade through. It's nothing hot about God is love. There's nothing odd about Thou shalt not there's nothing hard about it if you can fear he'll forgive the great important truths of the bottle a pretty clear and it's not difficult to get into the Bible and glean enough pretty quickly to help you establish a wonderful relationship with God that will see you into eternity. The Bible is God's book it's life changing and that is the amazing thing and we have been studying because we began with that question we began with that question what is the real meaning of life. And we went through your journey of finding Jesus and then we asked the question what you know what are the odds that this book is correct. Does God have a future for us and we consistently as we have explored the prophecies of Daniel two and Daniel seven and Daniel nine that God does have a plan and that plan is to reveal to us Jesus Christ and in Jesus we find a friend. We find a savior. We find a messiah and we find our purpose in life. But the question now that that leads to is what does it really mean to follow Jesus. You know we look at a wall around the world today and there are many people who claim to be Christians. In fact there was a book recently written written called on Christian where there's this exploration of the views of people to Christians and time after time after time. The great criticism of Christianity is this word in the book. Consistency hearing one thing but seeing quite another. So John as we begin today what does it mean to really follow Jesus. Jesus quoted the Old Testament once when he was talking to a young man and he said to him You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart with all of his soul with only mine and all of your string. Now we've got to be very careful that we don't mean that to follow Jesus means you have to be some kind of heavyweight champion of Christianity out of the Olympic gold medal winner in faith. It's a simple business and it's for anybody. But one of the great inconsistences is. That was some faith in God as an add on. Yes it's it has velcro on the back and you just stick it to one of you wearing that day and then you take it off at certain times I don't want to. True that many of us is tremendously inconsistent. I think what that shows I don't to get us off track here but I want to explore board Christianity as a growth yes you know sanctification as a destination I don't mean that a person cannot be sanctified in the here and now I don't mean that but Jesus talked about growth. You referred to the plan he said the kingdom of God is like something growing to the blade when the the in the full corn in the ear. That's right and many of us can can for slip or fail to hit the mark even though we love God with all of our heart as if you were to give my son the keys to our car right now and ask him to drive downtown. I think Rob we get out of the driveway but by the time he got too far down the road they'd be all kinds of trouble it's not because of a lack of intent it's not because he's a bad boy it's just that he's not. The IT That's her and sometimes it's true in fact that it needs to be recognized sometimes we're not there yet and because we are growing we just don't face it all the time like we should. I want to say and that's OK even though it's not OK. Yes the baby falls an awful lot while learning to walk in and that happens with some of us in our in our faith in God But having said that it's important that we recognize that faith in God ought to be what we are not just something that we do. That's right and that's what happens. You see we don't pray and ask God to help us to be as good as Jesus. That's not Christianity. Christianity is coming to God and saying OK I want you to live your life and me and now God we give God permission to take control of our lives. Now here's what happens. It's easy on a lovely sunny day it's twenty one degrees and there's NEARY a breeze in the sky and you're driving along your favorite road. It's pretty easy to be a Christian under those circumstances right. And to pray and say Your will be done. Yeah but then you get to the supermarket and the person on the counter is seen to be with you and then somebody takes your parking space and love it and suddenly it can all disappear before we even think to yield to God yes. So Christianity is this thing where we come to God we get close enough to God that He fills us up and it's god living his life Jesus through the Holy Spirit living his life in us and so probing that a little deeper and I would agree I agree with you one hundred percent because sometimes we can be very critical and that's our Sometimes our human nature we're very critical of one another and you talk about Christianity as a journey. The starting point of that journey is this question What does it mean to follow Jesus and it's very interesting. In the Bible we have a record after Jesus had. He died. Spend some time with his disciples teaching them preparing them for their mission. Peter preaches this tremendous sermon as recorded in Acts chapter two and as he preaches that sermon when he comes to the conclusion we find a group of people asking the very same question that you and I are asking today what does it mean to follow Jesus there in Acts chapter two beginning in verse thirty seven I'll read the question and then and then we'll go to you for the answer. The crowd hears Peter preach about Jesus as Lord in their lives preaching about Jesus the one they crucified and then in verse thirty seven it says now when they heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles Men and brethren what shall we do. And Peter was pretty quick with this response. That's right he didn't say he had to hem and haw or take a long time and consider. Peter said to them Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He called them to repent. Isn't that interesting. That is very interesting now this word repentance. You know it's not a word it is it is a word that has a lot of religious flavor if I can use that as that phrase not a term that we're going to see thrown around at the coffee shop. What is repentance John what does this mean this because again this is probing a question it's the question we're asking we've been presented with Jesus as Lord we saw him in Daniel nine Jesus precisely fulfilling the prophecy coming on time to be the Messiah. And then in your prayer during that show you asked that he not just be the Messiah. If he be the Messiah in our life. So it's something personal and so when asked the question What shall we do. Peter says and what it is and it's repentance includes the idea of being sorry for your sin. It includes that idea. It's difficult to repent while not being sorry for your sin. That's right. So repentance is about saying to God visibly or however you want to say to God or to somebody else but not about to say to God I am sorry that I did this. I confess my sins to you. It's part of it that's part of it and it isn't a sorrow for sin that originated in the head. It originates in the heart it is godly sorrow. The Bible talk. So a true sorrow for sin is included in this idea of repentance but repentance goes a step further. And John wrote in John one in verse nine if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. But he didn't. In the air he added and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness saying God's idea isn't for us to come to him. Ve forgiven in claims and then go and wallow in the mud again and come back and get hosed off and run back to the mud and come back to get hosed off the idea and the experience we may have is that we come to God B. claims dips and then and we don't have to go back and repeat some of those or any of those sins again. Yes So repentance is sorrow for sin and turning away from sin. OK Now that was twenty eight thirteen talks about talks about that very thing. So it's not only lip service you know it's life service it's hard service. Repentance is is sort of what we do. But in that in that it's OK. He can't separate God from the equation because God gets busy when we repent and in place of our sins he gives us righteousness in place of our sins he gives us a brand new heart. OK So there's a transaction that takes place that transform the nation all that needs to be remembered and you used a word there transform ational you know sometimes when you hear people talk about repentance. Now that word literally in the original languages means to be going one way and to reverse direction and go the other and that's a very much a behavior thing what we're doing. But you use this word transformation I want to probe that just a little bit deeper because we're not just talking about changing a behavior but transformation involves actually changing. How we think changing from the inside out so that not just my behavior because you know sometimes we can spruce you know in in English or is that phrase putting lipstick on a pig so you know you can spruce up the outside while the inside is all messed up still. But repentance is a transformation of the inside it is a gift of God because we can't change you know the Bible as a question Jeremiah says Can a leopard change its spots we can change our spots but it's a changing of the inside which then affects the outside I tell the story I've told it often. My little boy when he was well a big boy when he was my little boy just maybe two or perhaps three years old we was saying his prayers together at night and he prayed and dear Jesus help me to be good. I stopped him. Long story less long I said I don't want you to pray to be good. Don't pray to be good. Well he he knows I don't want to pray to be buried he's looking at me as if to say well what Daddy I said Jacob if you pray that Jesus will make you to be good you're praying in possibility. Jesus said there is none. Good but one and that is God. That's right so in essence you're not trying to be good you're praying to be God and he's not going to give you that. Instead pray that Jesus would live his life and here we can be good and we've got to get off this idea that we care and and that God can make us good instead of being good we need to be holy and we need to be righteous and that only comes from one place. The presence of Jesus. So it isn't make me good. It's come into my life and live your life and me then we can't be bad and it's Christ's goodness and Christ's work and we cooperate with that and assent and surrender to and Christianity is about surrendering to God and that issue of surrender you so you've said so much there that surrender God's grace God's mercy it's gone to working in us. So you see too often when we talk about this issue of behavior and we talk about repentance we we get the idea that maybe what we are where we're trying to go is that we just need to spruce up the outside but if God is living it's just like a prayer of your Son Jesus live in me then it is our dependence upon God because we cannot make ourselves good correct because we are we are. It's like. A child a two year old child what happens when a two year old child goes next day and you say don't touch the oven it's not the natural inclination is to reach out because we've been corrupted by the sin of our parents Adam and Eve and have an inherited this nature which is evil continually and the only one that can change that is God working in us and so Peter makes this cry to repent and be baptized. Paul wrote Don't be conformed to this world but be trains formed by the renewing of your mind. Yes repentance is and isn't just a renewing of your attitude and you know it does because you guys are going to try harder. Well you'll you'll be trying out until Jesus comes and then you. Beyond happy. It's a it's a change of heart it's a transforming of mind. Yes and that's what takes place in repentance God takes away our sins and gives us his mind his righteousness. Second Corinthians five if any man be in Christ that person is a new creature a new creation old things are passed away all things become new that happened in repentance with the given in clean and in place of the old heart. We receive a new heart of God to the original cardiac surgeon. Yes And I want to go off of that new heart idea the Apostle Paul in Romans Romans Chapter six as a matter of fact expounded upon that idea of a new heart a new life and one thing I want to clarify for for our for people that are studying because they're going to hear it you and I used interchangeably the idea of heart and mind and it's because in the Bible in the Bible writers as they write about the heart in the mind. Both of these both of these organs as we think of them are actually the Bible writers in the original language. The heart and the mind are really in essence one thing and that is the very it's talking about the very essence of who we are. And so repentance is about this change. Now I don't want anybody to be disappointed because as we turned away from Acts chapter two they're saying but wait what about this remission of sins the forgiveness of sins. We're going to have an entire show where we talk about forgiveness because that's a key piece. But Romans Chapter six Paul talks about this new heart this new life. John why don't you read verses one through four let's start there and we might get into verse five if we have time. What shall we say then shall we continue in sin that grace may abound he says God forbid how shall we that I did to sin. I'm so glad you brought this up. Live any longer therein. Don't. Do you know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death that just like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we also should walk in newness of life repentance. Really it's a grave really. We come to God in repentance the old us dies and in the place of the old us God recreates by His grace a new individual with a new mind and it's very interesting because the analogy the comparison that Paul makes is a comparison to baptism baptism with the death of Christ and if we look at the death of Christ Jesus was crucified Jesus literally dies on that cross Jesus is buried and then three days he rises again. OK. But when he rises again he's not stained by the by the beatings that he took. Now he has a couple of scars that will last on as a reminder but he has a new body a new body that's not broken a new body that's not dead. And so Paul uses this analogy to teach us that repentance and baptism is this transaction where we figurative we die the old man the old ways the old self stays in the water and then as we pull up out of the water we now walk in this newness of life. What does it mean John that the newness of life I mean it even that even has a sound a ring to it that that's appealing. What does that mean you know so many of us we are stained scarred we are wounded we are guilty. There's no escape from that you know except through Jesus. You get a new. STARTING POINT a new mind a new orientation a new a new grasp on life. God makes us new the old you is gone you don't have to live in shame you had to look look at your past and feel like a loser and a failure. You can say Well that was the old me. I've been made new by Jesus and I'm living a new life in faith and you know here's the amazing thing because some people when we talk about Christianity when we talk about making a decision to follow Jesus what does it mean to follow Jesus. Some people will say that's very kind finding that's very restrictive but you know in Romans six here Paul finishes this thought by saying Knowing this in verse six that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Freedom in Jesus Amen and that's what this issue of repentance is all about. So John in summarizing what does it mean to follow Jesus means to repent. Let the old ways pass away have a new life in Jesus. That actually brings freedom of the suffering that takes place when we live a life without God and it is hard to believe but our time is up with that and so what I think we need to do because somebody out there may be wondering or maybe hungering to follow this Jesus I think would be appropriate John if you had prayer to pray for that individual pray for us that we would follow Jesus pray Father in heaven will give us the gift of repentance to those who are reaching out you know who would come preciously near and give a new life. We thank you for it. In Jesus' name. AMY Hi everyone. Today I'm really thrilled to welcome Craig. It is written into our lives around the kitchen him and for being here with me. Hi I'm glad to be here with you have I found you know today I want to talk about breakfast and now you know a lot of people varying thoughts about brackets. What do you have for breakfast if we cannot. Well you know I'm very busy and so I like to get a good breakfast with a lot of nutrition so I typically have an all fruit smoothie. Sometimes I'll throw a little flax seed in there and then a green light. I do put some green algae times a little spinach and then and then I have some type of whole grain on the side. Campaign tactic when you talk about the whole grain What kind of whole grain. I like barley I like Sheen was one of my fave. Sometimes I'll have Kabuto and I So we like those grains they stick with you. OK Fantastic. Now I know a lot of people have told me that they don't really like to have practiced so much. They're not hungry for thing in the morning or this is no time for. Today I've got a really great recipe that's called Randy's overnights musically it's a recipe of my husband's and he makes that for me sometimes I have it and it's easy and it's one of those things you can just take with you know that's a really nice thing. Let's get to the recipe you talked about you or your kin one can read in all of this using good old fashioned bones and it's going to take to the ribs. It's going to be really good so I'm going to have you dumping stuff in the ball in the air if we go and we can talk about it the first time we're starting with a nice bowl of just then we're going to add some reason if you like. You have reached the voice mail box of three one eight seven three zero four nine zero one pitches for Again this is the time you're calling with trash Central's determiner for tomorrow if you have any questions coming back that money hundreds answering named six to six extension one serene. Here are five things you love. Liquid over and I thought oh it's something really thin and in the morning you just pull it from the fridge. You are good to go. That sounds like a good breakfast. If I want to listen I got all kinds of nutrition happening there. That sounds good and I was looking forward to having some Randi's overnighted you stray I riot eat your breakfast everyone is the best meal of the day but the next time I'm beyond questions what does it mean to really follow Jesus. John and I were only able to just cover a small portion of what it means to follow Jesus. I'd like to give you the book steps to Christ which will probe deeply into what it means to be a follower of Jesus. So here's the information you need to receive that free book. To request today's offer. Just log on to W W W dot it is written canada dot ca That's W W W dot it is written canada dot ca and selected T.V. Program tab for Canadian viewers. The offer will be sent free and postage paid for viewers outside of Canada shipping charges will apply if you prefer you may call toll free at one eight eight eight call I.W. That's one eight eight eight call I.W. call any time lines are open twenty four hours daily. That's one eight eight eight call I.W. or if you wish you may write to us at. It is written. Box twenty ten. Ottawa Ontario L one age seventy four. John what an encouraging study to know that someone like me with the past that I'm a little bit ashamed about can start over and have a new walk with Jesus. God specializes in those special projects you know you read in the Bible of Iraq. If you don't have a checkered history or a colorful past that God gets his hands on. We shouldn't let that keep us from coming to God in any way because God is able to give anyone everyone a brand new and you know one that is good news. John thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you and I want to thank you for joining us for this episode. It is written I hope you'll join us again next week. Until then remember it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

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