“Jesus’ gospel didn’t just call people to pray a little prayer for their sins to be forgiven so they’d get to heaven when they died... No, Jesus’ gospel called people to follow him no matter the cost and without conditions or excuses – to the end. Jesus never taught that you could be a Christian and not be his disciple.” Bill Hull p.30
“God doesn’t just want to blow your mind; He wants to rule your heart...True biblical faith radically rearranges the way that you approach everything in your life” Paul Tripp
What do most men think they’re signing up for when they become a Christian? What’s the difference between a “Christian”, a “disciple”, and a “follower”?
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus called out “follow Me” to Simon and Andrew (1:17) and James and John (1:20), Matthew the tax collector (2:14), the rich young ruler (10:21), and the crowds (8:34). And Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, continues to call out to men, “Follow Me”. By definition, a disciple of Jesus is “one who has heard this call of Jesus, and has responded by repenting, believing the Gospel, and following Jesus (1:15,17).
A call to follow requires a response of obedience from the heart that is in love with Jesus and seeks an increasingly close relationship with Him. Knowing, Believing, Obeying and Loving Jesus are all parts of the mosaic that make up Following Him. (Mic. 6:6-8; Ps 51, Matt. 7:21-23, John 10:27; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; Deut 10:12-22) Christ is not just an inspirational ideal or a ‘still life in a glass case.’ He’s an actual person – real, living, resurrected, reigning, and returning! When a man starts following Jesus, he begins to prove he believes what Jesus says.
What does it look like for you to follow Jesus? How would you describe your level of following? How does a man follow, walk with Jesus?
What does it mean to follow in the 21st century
Years after Jesus was already ascended into heaven, Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers walk after/follow Christ:
DO NOT WALK THIS WAY - Ephesians
2:2 [we used to walk] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.”
4:17...walk no longer as the Gentiles...in the futility of their mind.
DO WALK THIS WAY - Ephesians
2:10 walk in [good works].
4:1 ...walk in a manner worthy of the (Gospel) calling (Col. 2:6) 5:2...walk in love, just as Christ also loved you
5:8...walk as children of light...in all goodness, righteousness & truth See also
(1John 2:6; 3John 3,4 “walk in truth”)
5:15 Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
What insights about following Jesus do you see in these verses? What honestly comes into my mind when I hear the words, Follow Me? (hope, expectation, pain, drudgery, past failure, sweetness, etc) When did I make the transition from believing in Jesus to following Jesus? Have I made this transition?
Other brothers as examples
(1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:10- 11; 2Tim 2:22)
God has graciously provided Christ-followers around us so we can learn what following actually looks like in day to day life. Whose walk with Jesus has inspired (or is currently inspiring) you toward following Him more closely?
Gospel of Mark
This year in the Men’s Forum we will attempt to put ourselves in the sandals of those who walked with Christ. We want to gaze at Jesus - His words, His works, His character. Our lens will be The Gospel According to Mark. This shortest of the four gospels, probably the first written gospel, most action-oriented, primarily a gentile audience. Mark seems to be in a hurry to get to the cross, emphasizing Jesus’ redemptive mission for the world.
MARK: Useless to Useful.
Church history points to Mark as the author and the Apostle Peter as a main content contributor of The Gospel. What kind of man does God choose to write a gospel?
Family Greenhouse (Acts 12:12; Col 4:10)
What spiritual advantages are there growing up breathing the air of the Gospel? What are some ways we can foster a spiritual environment in our homes as men?
Internship with Apostles (Acts 12:25; 13:5; 1Peter 5:13;)
Are you humble enough to be a helper and not demand to be in charge (1Pet 5:5)? Whom are you staying tethered to so as to allow their life to rub off on you?
Losing His Scholarship (Acts 13:13; 15:36-40)
Character is manifested through your track record. Are you dependable? Can others count on you?
Finishing Strong (2Tim 4:11; Col 4:10; Philemon 24)
Have I experienced the principle that “Failure is never final when God is in the picture?” Even when we fail to remain completely loyal to Christ and His mission, God can requalify us as useful (2Cor 3:5; 12:9-10).
What encouragement do you take from Mark’s ministry? Have I ever felt myself disqualified or “unusable” by God? Why?