Overview of How to Follow Jesus
- Probably for Christians the most important question is "How am I doing at following Jesus".
- These eleven verses will answer that question.
- The Bible verses are in green text. The questions are in red text.
- In the Bible verses the first word of each action we are to do or not do is underlined and the key word of each promise or result is bold.
(A1) How to Make Jesus Your Lord
If any of you wants to be my follower, you MUST give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. NLT
- Being a follower of Jesus is the same as making Jesus one's Lord.
- So how does one make Jesus their Lord?
- "give up your own way"
- "take up your cross"
- "and follow me"
- What does Jesus call a person who does all three of his requirements?
- A follower
- What do these 3 actions mean?
- "give up your own way" - Die to (give up) our own desires and live to serve Jesus' desires.
- "take up your cross" - Be willing to give up your own way SO much as to be willing to even suffer persecution for following Jesus.
- "and follow me" - Dedicating our life to learning and obeying Jesus' commands. The following 10 verses
- If someone doesn't do all three requirements where do they go when they die?
- Making Jesus your Lord is NOT just a one time event but a daily, if not hourly decision.
- If one wants to follow Jesus, Jesus says he must actually follow (learn and obey his instructions) him. To what degree? (1) Giving "up your own way" (your desires) and (2) being willing to even suffer for following Jesus. Are you willing to follow Jesus to this degree?
- The following 10 verses show how to follow Jesus.
(A2) How to be Saved
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. NLT
- So, how does one get saved?
- "is Lord" - Make Jesus your Lord (Col 2:6).
- "openly declare that Jesus is Lord" - Make Jesus our Lord (Col 2:6) and declare that to others (Matt 10:32).
- "believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead" - Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead which shows that God accepted Christ payment for our sins.
- What is the promise if we do these 2 requirements?
- "you will be saved" - We will go to heaven instead of hell.
- The next verse show how to live in such a way you'll experience the peace of God which surpasses ALL understanding.
(A3) How to Live
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (7) And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. CSB
- So, how are we to live?
- If we live this way what will we experience?
- The next verse will let us know if we are on the wrong path to heaven.
(A4) How to Go to Hell
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. NIV
- So how does one go to hell?
- Calling Jesus Lord but not doing "the will of my Father who is in heaven".
- So was this person not doing at least one of Jesus' 3 requirements in "(1) Mark 8:34" above?"
- Yes, They were not following (obeying) Jesus to the point of giving up their own way and suffering for him.
- Since obeying God determines everything the next verse tells us how to do obey Jesus fully.
(A5) How to Obey Jesus Fully
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it— not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it— they will be blessed in what they do. NIV
- So how does one learn to obey Jesus fully?
- "looks intently" into the Bible - Learning what it says and means.
- "continues in it" - Continually (daily) looking intently.
- "not forgetting what they have heard" - Review and talk about what they have learned.
- "but doing it" - Obeying and trusting Jesus more and more.
- What promises does God give those who do ALL 4 actions?
- "the perfect law that gives freedom" - They will experience freedom from the power and control of sin.
- "They will be blessed in what they do" - They will experience God's favor.
- Will we experience this promise more and more as we do those 4 actions more and more?
- We will do these all 4 of these steps for all 11 of these verses so that we'll experience God's blessings and help in our lives.
- The next verse tells what to do when we don't obey Jesus.
(A6) How to Deal With Sin
You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you. GNT
- Sin is (1) Doing wrong and (2) Not doing right. Sin is not doing any of these 11 verses.
- What is the wrong way to deal with sin?
- "hide your sins" - Ignore them instead of confessing and giving them up.
- What does God promise those who conceal their sins?
- They "will never succeed in life".
- What is the right way to deal with sin?
- "confess" - admit that I had broke God's perfect law.
- "give them up" - work at stopping doing that sin.
- What promise does God give those who do BOTH actions?
- "God will show mercy to you" - They will receive God's mercy (including forgiveness and blessings).
- Does God want us to keep confessing (and turning from) the same sin we keep on doing (unable to stop completely)?
- Yes, because God also commands us to forgive others who keep sinning against us: Luke 17:3-4 "If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive."
- Will we experience these 2 promises more and more as we confess and give our sins up more and more?
- The next verse tells us how to give up our sins.
(A7) How to Not Sin
With all my heart I seek you. Do not allow me to stray from your commands. (11) In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you. NET
- So how does one not sin?
- "With all my heart I seek you" - Level of our devotion to God. How much God is truly #1 in our desires.
- "Do not allow me to stray from your commands" - Level of our dependency on God. How much we ask God for help.
- "In my heart I store up your words" - Level of our time with God's word. How much we are doing James 1:25 (see #4 above).
- Will we sin less and less the more and more we do those 3 actions?
- "so I might not sin against you" - Yes!
- The next 3 verses are some of the things we are to do for "the sake of the Good News" in (A11), Mark 8:35.
(A8) How to Strengthen
But encourage one another daily, ... so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. NIV
- So how does one strengthen?
- "encourage" - By sharing Biblical truths, answers to prayer, and actions that counteract sin's deceitfulness. Also by praying for protection for them.
- Who are we to strengthen?
- "one another" - In the Bible this phrase refers to ALL fellow Christians.
- How often are we to strengthen?
- "daily" - Frequent.
- What is the result of doing #1-3 well?
- "none" - No followers will be hardened.
- What does the deceitfulness of sin do to people?
- "hardened" - It hardens them.
- How does sin come?
- "deceitfulness" - False promises and hides the real cost.
- What is sin's deceitfulness?
- Anything that distracts us from our focus on God and doubting his promises.
- What happens to those who are hardened by sin's deceitfulness?
- Miss out on God's promises and experience many sorrows and maybe even death.
- Are ALL Christians commanded to protect one another?
- Yes, this command was addressed to the whole church.
(A9) How to Witness
2 Timothy 1:8
So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. … With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer … NLT
- So how does one witness?
- "So never be ashamed to" - Don't be afraid or ashamed.
- "tell others about our Lord" - Witnessing is simple, it's just telling others about our Lord and what he has done for us.
- "With the strength God gives you" - Rely on God's strength, not our own strength.
- "be ready to suffer" - Being ready to suffer persecution and rejection. That's what it means to "take up your cross" in #1 "How to Make Jesus Your Lord" above.
- What are the promises God gives us?
- "strength God gives you" - God will give us strength to both witness and suffer (Matthew 10:19-20).
- "be ready to suffer" - As we tell others about Jesus we will suffer rejection.
- What is the solution to being ashamed/afraid to witness?
- "With the strength God gives you" - Use God's strength (ask for boldness - Acts 4:29).
- "be ready to suffer" - Expect, but not fear rejection (fearing God instead of people - Luke 12:4-5). Realize our reward in heaven will be great! (Matthew 5:11-12).
- Are ALL Christians commanded to witness?
- Yes, see #2 (Romans 10:9 "openly declare that Jesus is Lord") above. Also Matt 4:19-20, Acts 1:8, 8:4.
(A10) How to Make Disciples
go and make disciples … baptizing them ... (20) teaching them to OBEY everything I have commanded you. NIV
- So how does one make disciples?
- "Go" - Start trying to make disciples. Try to find people who want to grow. Great way is to give them this "How to Follow Jesus" 3x5 card.
- "make" - We all are commanded to make (form, construct, create) disciples.
- "Baptizing them" - Every follower of Jesus must be baptized.
- "Teaching" - Know Jesus' commands well enough to teach them.
- "OBEY" - Teach not just knowledge but also to OBEY.
- "Everything" - Teach to obey EVERYTHING, not just our favorite commands.
- "Commanded" - Can't teach effectively unless I am obeying them.
- What does Jesus call one who has been successful taught to obey everything he commanded?
- A disciple.
- Are ALL Christians commanded to make disciples? Yes, each Christian is to teach new Christians to OBEY EVERYTHING Jesus commanded INCLUDING the command to make disciples.
(A11) How to Save Your Life
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you GIVE UP your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. NLT
- What will happen if you hang onto your life?
- "you will lose it" - Go to hell.
- So how does one save his/her life?
- "GIVE UP your life" - Stop living for what I want.
- WHO must we give up our lives for?
- "for my sake" - This means living to please (obey) and serve Jesus INSTEAD of living to please/serve MY interests. That includes doing #1-7 of this card.
- WHAT must we give up our lives for?
- "for the sake of the Good News" - This means living to advance God's Kingdom through protecting, witnessing and disciple-making. That includes doing #8-10 of this card.
- Are you willing to do this?
- If not, what does God promise to those who hang onto their lives? "you will lose it".
- Will you start teaching this card to others?
- Go to www.equipped2disciple.com and learn the "Overview of How to Follow Jesus".
- If you are willing to start teaching this card then tell that to the person who gave you the card. He/She will take you through a short 11 week TRAINING course (all online and free) that will help you follow Jesus better by doing all 11 of these key verses.
(B) For Next Week
(B1) Add to Home Page: Put the Table of Contents web page on your phone's home screen so you can easily access the How to Follow Jesus Study.
Apple: View that page in the Safari browser, then press the share icon, select "Add to Home Screen", and name it "Follow Jesus".
Android: View that page in the Chrome browser, then press the 3 dots, select Add to home page, and name it "Follow Jesus".
(B2) Read next week's (01) How to Make Jesus Your Lord - Mark 8:34 training session. Can you do this?
(B3) The end result:
- After a week of significantly studying and applying there will be some positive changes in your life.
- After a month you'll see more changes and God's blessings.
- After 3 months you'll see major life changes and God's blessings IF you are spending significantly daily time learning and obeying God's word. The goal of this training is to start you well on the path. To not just learn and forget but to learn, remember, and do God's word for that only determines the outcome of one's life.
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