Choosing to be a Christian is the most significant and valuable decision that a person will ever make in his or her lifetime. There are a million different crossroads in life that bring people to this decision, and unfortunately, just as many false doctrines that will lead them away. If we are going to make it to Heaven then we need to know from the onset who we will follow and who we will serve: Jesus or someone who proclaims to know Him.
It seems that today more and more people are falling into the pattern of following a person who supposedly follows Jesus. This way they don’t have to study the Bible and they can depend on their leader to teach them everything that “they” want to know. After all, there are many leaders who proclaim to follow Jesus and who teach all kinds of accepted ways of life, so surely there is one out there who teaches what individuals want to hear. However, this is not only wrong according to the Bible, it is foolish.
In Matthew 4:19, Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And in Matthew 10:38, He added, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus continues, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” And then in Mark 10:21, He says, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus spoke again in John 8:12 and said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” In John 10:27 Jesus reassures us that we should follow Him, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
In John 12:26 Jesus promises, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”
Nowhere in the Bible does God ever tell us to follow anyone except Him. In fact, when we devotedly follow a person, in essence we make that person our god. What does the Lord say about that? He says in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t follow the leadership of our pastor; it means that we shouldn’t take every word someone else says as gospel. It means that we need to study the Bible ourselves and get to know God, learn who He is what His laws are and who we are in Christ and what is expected of us as Christians. It means that we become responsible for our own salvation and that we don’t depend on someone else to get us to Heaven.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” … Philippians 2:12
This doesn’t mean that we do any kind of works to be saved. It means that we accept our salvation as a gift from God. Jesus came from Heaven, lived on earth as a humble man and then was nailed to the cross because He was the ultimate Lamb of God and sacrifice for our sins. He was Holy and without sin, and He took upon Himself all of our sins and when He died He took them to hell and paid the punishment for those sins for us – a punishment that we all rightly deserved! He did this because He loves us. There is no gift more precious than this!
When we accept what Jesus did on the cross, we are saved from that punishment – from the judgment that the unsaved will be given when they leave this earth and face Jesus. The only way that we can get this truth inside us is to study the Bible and trust the Spirit of God to teach us all truth.
“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” … 1 Corinthians 2:11
“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” … Psalm 25:5
We need to study and get this truth deep into our soul so that we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt who God is, who Jesus is, and who we are in Jesus and what lies ahead for us. And when we follow Jesus and study His Word [the Bible] then we will know the truth the truth shall make us free. [John 8:32]
But we won’t know the truth if we follow people who follow Jesus because we won’t have that one-on-one with God alone. We put ourselves on a dangerous path that could lead us away from God and even into acts against God. If we don’t verify the truth for ourselves we can easily be deceived into believing a lie.
Being a Christian is not about us; it’s about Jesus. It’s about following Jesus and being part of who He is and sharing the gospel with others so they can know Him, too. This gospel is the “good news message” about the salvation that God has for us and the reward of being with Him in Heaven throughout eternity. It’s also a warning for those who don’t know Him that their destination is judgment and punishment with an eternity in total darkness engulfed in corruption and evil – apart from God.
When we love Jesus we follow Him with joy and thanksgiving. When we just want to be “a Christian” and feel that we’re entitled to the home in Heaven then we will follow people who think the same way. If we have no desire to love Him or study the Bible or give up our own pleasures and desires, then we will search for a “Christian” leader who teaches that Jesus loves everyone just as they are and that everyone is saved because of what He did on the cross. We won’t have to repent or change or commit to anyone except ourselves. And this lie will lead everyone who believes it to hell.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
… 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Therefore, we have many different doctrines and millions of followers who are missing the mark and who are not Christians even though they say they are and think they are. And if we follow these people then we will be part of the multitude on that broad path that’s following the great deceiver, the devil.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” … Matthew 7:13-14
Christians follow Jesus and not people. Christians know that Jesus is God and we love Him and serve Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Those who only think they’re Christians because they follow a religious leader have no love for Jesus or the Bible and will learn the hard way that He is God. And when they face Him on Judgment Day they will be very sorry – only it will be too late.
Who do you follow, Jesus or someone who proclaims to know Him? Your decision is crucial! And you better hurry up because time is running out and Jesus is about to return to issue judgment on all those who haven’t accepted Him.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” … Mark 12:30