Discipleship is really a game of follow the leader
by Chris Forder
We live in a culture that more and more wants to silence Christianity. We are feeling this in many areas. The work place for instance is far more restricted. Someone in my own family was reported for talking to a colleague about Jesus. CRI is another example. But what is even more astonishing is that Christians are being scared into remaining silent in places they can freely talk about Jesus and their faith. Like, it is astonishing how a massive body of people who follow history’s most non-conformist leader (Jesus) – who went against the flow even in the face of opposition and persecution – how his followers now struggle to resist conforming to a world that distracts from and rejects all they stand for. Friends, we must look at what Jesus and the first Christians went through and learn from them, for they lived in a time where everyone (the Jews, Roman authorities, the Gentiles) were trying to silence the gospel, and yet Jesus’ followers continued to live out their faith. They were counter-cultural, awkward and they were ridiculed and guess what? They still saw many people become Christians. We don’t have to be like the world and sharing the gospel is the power of salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). And what did they do? They simply followed Jesus’ example. They were not silent because of fear or intimidation. I mean, out of everything Jesus taught, being prepared for abuse, opposition, isolation, insults and being different was one of the lessons he most commonly taught. Yet it is this teaching and example he set, that our generation is lacking in their lives. Matthew 5:14 says, his people are to be a light in a dark world, not ashamed to acknowledge their beliefs and behaviours that are so unpopular and different from the culture they live in. Brothers and sisters, we don’t want to be part of a Christianity that craves mainstream acceptance. We want, I want to be part of the Christianity that relentlessly pursues a focus on worldwide repentance. How do we do this, how do we make disciples who repent of their sin, trust in Jesus and surrender to his lordship? Simple, it’s by following our leader. We follow Jesus’ teachings and his example. Jesus was unpopular with some people, but many still listened and followed him. Jesus was hated by some but he continued to love and preach God’s message and people put their faith in him. The first disciples never stopped sharing the gospel, even when they were made fun of, even when they were imprisoned, even when they lost jobs and were disowned by family members. They continued to follow their leader. Let’s us do the same. Matthew 5:11-16 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. … 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
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