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.
- In the Bible verses the first word of each action we are to do is underlined and the key word of each promise (or result) is italicized.
(1) 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
- So how does one make Jesus their Lord?
- "and follow me" - Dedicating our life to learning and obeying Jesus' commands.
- How intensely must one obey (follow) Jesus?
- "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 suffer persecution for living as Jesus commands us to.
- If someone doesn't do all three requirements where do they go when they die?
- The following 10 verses show how to follow Jesus.
(2) 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?
- "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 will let us know if we are on the wrong path to heaven.
(3) 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?
- By 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 obeying (following) 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.
(4) 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?
- "look 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 2 promises does God give those who do ALL 4 actions?
- "gives freedom" - They will experience freedom from sin's control.
- "They will be blessed in what they do" - They will experience God's favor.
- Will we experience those 2 promises more and more as we do those 4 actions more and more?
- The next verse tells what to do when we don't obey Jesus.
(5) How to Deal With Sin
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. NLT
- What is the wrong way to deal with sin?
- "conceal their sins" - To ignore them.
- What does God promise those who conceal their sins?
- They "will not prosper".
- What is the right way to deal with sin?
- "confess" - admit that I had broke God's perfect law.
- "turn from them" - work at stopping doing that sin.
- What promise does God give those who do BOTH actions?
- "they will receive mercy" - 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 turn more and more?
- The next verse tells us how to turn from our sins.
(6) How to Sin Less
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 to sin less?
- "With all my heart I seek you" - Make seeking (following) God our top priority by far.
- "Do not allow me to stray from your commands" - Keep asking and depending on God for help.
- "In my heart I store up your words" - Saturate our mind with God's Words so that God's thoughts and not sinful thoughts come out.
- 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 verse tells us what is our source of power against sinning.
(7) How to Pray
Father, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. (3) Give us each day our daily bread. (4) And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us. And do not bring us into temptation. CSB
- So, how does one pray?
- "Father" - Address the almighty God as Father.
- "your name be honored as holy" - Ask that His name be honored.
- "Your kingdom come" - Ask that His rule on earth be extended.
- "Give us each day our daily bread" - Ask for our needs.
- "forgive us our sins" - Ask for forgiveness for our sins.
- "for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us" - Because we forgive those who sin against (wrong) us.
- "do not bring us into temptation" - Ask that we are not brought into major testings (loss of job, major medical issues, etc).
- The next 3 verses are how we advance God's Kingdom that Jesus just told us to pray for.
(8) How to Protect
But encourage one another daily, ... so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. NIV
- So how does one protect?
- "encourage one another daily" - By encouraging or urging one to obey God's instructions or remember God's promises.
- Who are we to protect?
- "one another" - In the Bible this phrase refers to fellow Christians.
- How often are we to encourage?
- "daily" - Frequent.
- Does everyone need encouragement?
- "so that none of you may" - Yes.
- 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.
(9) 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" - Asking for, depending on, and then experiencing God's 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 is the solution to being ashamed/afraid to witness?
- Fear God instead of man (Luke 12:4-5). Use God's strength and be ready to suffer rejection.
- 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.
(10) How to Make Disciples
Therefore go and make disciples … (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.
- "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.
- 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.
(11) 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 course (all online and free) that will help you follow Jesus better by doing all 11 of these key verses.