Pulpit Today Sermon
Why I Follow Jesus
by Robert D. Pace
There are endless reasons why I follow my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And when I get to Heaven I’ll be finding thousands of new reasons that explain why I follow him throughout eternity.
There are obvious reasons why I follow the Lord, but I’m not going into detail of those reasons. I’ll only mention them briefly here in the introduction. For example:
I follow Jesus because of his great love toward me. He took my place and died for my sins on the Cross. That alone is enough to explain why I follow him.
Next, I follow Jesus because of the many promises of his Word.
And I follow Jesus because he provides for all my needs.
(Transition) So far, I’ve spoken in the first person singular as it regards why I follow the Lord. But I trust the reasons that I personally follow Jesus are the same reasons that many other Christians follow him. With that said, here’s my first reason: Jesus is the One true champion of life.
I. Jesus is the One true Champion of Life!
We all have heroes. When we are young we imitate our heroes. As kids, we imitated them, dressing like them and trying to talk like them. As we grow older, we still have heroes; we choose those we admire and hold to their belief system; perhaps they are politicians or courageous, principled leaders of society. But for Christians, chief among them all is Jesus—the ultimate champion/conqueror of life. Let’s take a moment to consider what Jesus conquered:
(a) Christ conquered lack. (When he turned water into wine. When he fed the 5000 with three loaves and two fish.)
(b) Jesus conquered sickness & disease. He healed all manner of sickness. He especially healed the lepers. Leprosy is the incurable death sentence. It’s more ravaging than any disease known.
(c) Jesus conquered nature. (He cursed the fig tree and it immediately withered; he calmed the storm; he walked on water.)
(d) He conquered sin, death, hell, and the grave through his Cross and with his Resurrection.
Did you know that every person born into this world has been plagued with a death sentence? As the children of Adam, the curse of sin overwhelmed us at the moment of conception. But this is what Jesus delivered us from—sin! And what’s amazing about our deliverance from sin is this: God didn’t require the life of a bull, ram, or goat. The book of Hebrews tells us that these animals were incapable of emancipating us from sin and justifying us before God. That’s why our Heavenly Father sent his only begotten Son—Jesus—to be our Savior and Redeemer. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:44—49.
“If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man [Adam] was of the dust of the earth; the second man [Jesus] is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].
Praise God! Jesus, the man from Heaven, is life’s all time, undefeated champion!
(Transition) This next point is perhaps the main reason I follow Jesus. And it relates to the human conscience. God created man with a conscience to distinguish between right and wrong.
II. God Created the Conscience to Distinguish Between Right and Wrong
In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 is one of the most courageous claims Jesus made of himself. And when you couple this claim with John 10:7–9 it stands our even more:
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. (8) All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. (9) I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…. (14) “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
Now let me apply this passage: Inside each person is a truth detector. It’s called the human conscience. One of the chief functions of our Truth Detector is … to recognize truth—what’s right or wrong; what’s good or evil. That’s the purpose of the conscience. And when you’re true to your conscience it will acknowledge Jesus “is the way, the truth, and the life.” And this is why I follow Jesus! The conscience that my Creator put in me assures me that I’m on the right track to heaven.
If I were the only person with a conscience I’d have reason to doubt it. But I’m not. Everyone has a conscience. And it’s powerful! Unless we despise our conscience and repudiate it, it will work for our good. (There are people that have destroyed their conscience. It’s these people that God turns over to a reprobate mind. They can’t be saved. (Romans 1:28)
(Example) Think about how millions of people have had nothing but their conscience by which to live. OT people. Places where the Gospel has never reached, etc.
(Transition) But there’s something more God has done that convinces me that Jesus and his claims are correct. And it’s this: God created me with the Divine Knowing that eternity lies beyond the grave.
III. God Created us with the Divine Knowing that Eternity Exists
I love this passage of Scripture found in Ecclesiastes 3:11. Solomon said, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Solomon’s writing is what convinces me that there are no atheists! It’s because God took the initiative to place eternity in the deepest recesses of our being. In so doing, every human has a divine knowing— instinctive, innate knowledge—that eternity lies beyond the grave.
(Example) Each night, when sinners go to bed, they lay their body, soul, and spirit to rest. And it’s during these initial minutes of relaxation, before falling asleep, that people come face-to-face with themselves. For many sinners, this is the most terrifying part of their day! For it’s during these fleeting moments that their hearts, filled with eternity, speak so loudly.
(Insight) Let’s take a moment to parallel the physical with the spiritual: Let’s equate the size of our spiritual heart with our physical heart. The human heart is about the size of a fist, weighing between 10–12 ounces. It’s about 5” long and 3.5” wide. And it’s this organ, that’s the size of our fist, in which God has placed eternity. This hardly seems possible, but it’s a spiritual fact!
God designed our heart to do something that no other faculty of our being can do. And here’s what the heart can do. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:10
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Real, true, God-given faith comes from, and is ignited in, the heart! And this is the ultimate reason I follow Jesus. From the deepest part of my being, I believe Jesus is the Messiah and Savior of the world. I believe, and I cannot be persuaded otherwise.
What all this means to me, personally, is this: Jesus has an Incredible Future for Me! The ultimate destination for mankind is to spend eternally in one of two places—Heaven or Hell. I have chosen to spend eternity in Heaven. Consequently, Jesus is doing his best to get me there. Notice what he said John 6:39. Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.” Jesus was talking about you and me in this passage.
(Transition) Next next reason I follow Jesus is this:
IV. Jesus Shows Me how to Conduct Myself and Disciplines Me When I Stray From the Path of Righteousness
Hebrews 12 says, “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. (6) For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises every son He receives.” (7) Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (8) If you do not experience discipline like everyone else, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (9) Furthermore, we have all had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Should we not much more submit to the Father of our spirits and live? (10) Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. (11) No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who have been trained by it. (12) Therefore strengthen your limp hands and weak knees. (13) Make straight paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
What are the chief deigns of the Lord’s discipline? The Lord uses discipline to correct us from harmful behavior—behavior that harms us and behavior that harms others. There’s a difference between correction and punishment. Hell is reserved for punishment. But so long as we Christians are in this life God disciplines us for their good! He wants us to walk in peace with ourselves and others.
(Transition) Now for my final word, which sums up everything I’ve said: “I Follow Christ because, “I believe!”
This is the only way to follow our Lord Jesus Christ–it’s by faith! Four places in the Bible that say, “The righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). That’s how important a life of faith is to God! We must always hold to him “by faith” no matter what! Trust and hold to what he’s said in his Word regardless of how difficult some of his statements may be.
In John 6, Jesus fed the 5000. Afterward, he taught a group of his disciples that he was the living bread that had come down from heaven. He told them in verse 54, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (60) On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (61) Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?”
It was on this occasion that something grievous happed. Verse 66 says, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” [But then Jesus turned to his Apostles and asked:] (67) “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
But that’s when Simon Peter blurted out: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Don’t let the difficult passages of the Bible cause you to turn back, like the people of Capernaum. Always believe and trust in Jesus. As Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”