Follow Me

Team Pyro has served up another heaping helping of badly needed truth in this hour of rampant deception in their article entitled You say you want to be a teacher? Oy!.

Upon reading this challenging and inspiring post I could think only of one of the simplest, yet most profound commands our Lord ever gave; “Follow Me”. FOLLOW ME! It’s so basic, so clear, so unmistakable; and it’s a command He is still giving today in this very hour, even now in the very moments you are reading this post: “Follow Me”, He said. “Follow Me”, He still says. Oh how it wrenches my heart and pulls at my inner man, to the very core of my being! There can be no singularity, not even the immeasurable tug of the most intense galaxy-devouring black hole in the universe that can match the relentless power of the drawing of His Spirit!

It’s encouraging to me to see men of God such as Team Pyro who are willing to take a firm stand upon the authority of the Holy Writ and steadfastly and unwaveringly point to Christ crucified; the truth of the ages and the hinge upon which all of history rests and turns. In my view there has perhaps never been another time in the history of the church when such a deluge of poisonous heresy and rank apostasy have swept like a torrent across the barren, desolate spiritual landscape of Christianity. Whereas the advance of the damnable heresies of old were subject to natural obstacles in human communication and were heavily dependent upon painstakingly crafted letters and inefficient couriers, today’s brand of pop-apostate has book deals with Zondervan, prime time appearances on Fox News Channel, the power of the Internet, and a legion of gainsayers, soothsayers and spinmeisters at his beck and call. Let there be no doubt that today’s breed of deceivers are having a devil of a good time with so many tools at their disposal.

And just as the spring rains bring forth a flash of colorful blossoms and lush, tender grasses in the desert places so do these petulant, pompous purveyors of poisonous spiritual-porno bring to the surface glorious appearing fields of false converts. These stony-ground hearers burst forth having an appearance of beauty and the form of godliness, but in truth their root is very shallow and when the sun shines in its strength they are soon withered away. These are traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts. (2 Timothy 3:5)

Hear the Master’s parable of the sower:
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away (Mark 4:3-6)

And again:
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 3:16-17)

These false teachers, these blind leaders of the blind will often point to their flocks of goats and their fields of tares as evidence of the godliness of their teaching or the effectiveness of their witness. It’s no marvel that these deceitful charlatans can fill stadiums and sell millions of books based on nothing more than the opinion-poll savvy of their multi-million dollar cult of personality marketing machines and their slickly packaged self-esteem, human-potential, self-help, 40-day, Your Best Life Now, “Gawd Luvs Yew!” bloodless Nerf theology!! Yet these things need not take the faithful by surprise for we know the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4). I for one am fully persuaded that the aforementioned time has come.

But oh how quickly their fawning media coverage would vaporize if they might only make mention of the necessity of the blood! Oh how suddenly would they find that their schedules were not quite so full of appearances before the powers and principalities of this sin sick and dying world if they would but preach to them the gospel of law, sin, hell, repentance, salvation, and a life set apart to sanctification before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Infinite Creator and Judge of the Universe! Oh how instantly would they find their legions of devoted followers melted away like wax if they but spoke of that narrow Way, Truth and Life that is in Christ alone; the sole mediator between men and God! Oh that they might speak the truth that neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, where by we must be saved (Acts 4:12) and that no man comes to the Father but by Him! (John 14:6)

May the Lord God Almighty be merciful to us for straying so far from His holy ordinances and the high calling of Jesus Christ Who is the same yesterday, today and forever; in Whom there is no shadow of turning!

Oh Lord may we fall on our faces before you in humility and brokenness! We have forgotten your great and mighty deeds oh Lord! We are altogether gone astray! We have forsaken our spiritual birthright and traded it for a worthless bowl of worldly porridge! We have exchanged Your truth for a lie and traded the precious blood of Your Son for a false temporal peace and utilitarian social agendas! May we who are called by Your Holy Name stand in the gap in prayer and repentance for the spiritual perversion and harlotry we permit to rage virtually unchecked and unchallenged among the professing church!

Change us oh Lord! Create in us a clean heart oh Lord and renew a right spirit within us! Help us to be obedient oh Lord that we might be able to call ourselves unprofitable servants for at least doing that which we were commanded! Raise up uncompromising godly leaders who will stand as flints against the raging flood of the enemy and hold high the banner of the Lord!

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

What then shall we say to such a command from the Lord? What shall be our response? As for me…Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. – Isaiah 6:8

2 thoughts on “Follow Me

  1. Coram,
    A few weeks ago I was giving an invitation to some people for the gospel. I used the above scripture of Jesus saying, “If any man come after me….” After I was done another Christian brother told me I was front loading the gospel, that the scripture I quoted was not a call to salvation but was a call to Christians to serve the Lord, and I shouldn’t use it towards unbelievers.
    Am I interpeting this scripture wrongly?
    Eddie

  2. Eddie,

    That’s a fine and fair question and as such it deserves a careful answer; therefore I will do my best to give a fair and Biblical response.

    Clearly I don’t know the background of your gospel presentation, but assuming you laid out the “bad news” that all unregenerate men and women abide under the curse of the law and the holy wrath of God Almighty due to the fact that they are guilty law and covenant breakers and therefore are on a one way trajectory to eternal torments and damnation in hellfire, and then and only then that you laid out the “good news” of Christ’s perfect, sinless life and His vicarious, atoning sacrifice; pointing toward Him as being the singular Way, Truth and Life who is uniquely able to justify those who come to Him by grace through faith alone; reconciling them to the Father and miraculously imputing His perfect righteousness unto guilty sinners thereby translating them from spiritual death unto spiritual life…assuming all this ground was covered then we can proceed to your question about “taking up one’s cross”.

    First would say that I agree with your brother who rightly understood that Christ’s use of this particular call was in the context of Him speaking to His disciples – those who were currently following Him in at least some measure. But if they were already following Him, why would He command them to follow Him?

    Certainly Christ is revealing His hard commands to those who might demonstrate a curious, hanger-on, shallow faith, or else those who might show some interest in diligently following Christ, albeit in a purely superficial and sinful way with the expectation of selfish, temporal, personal gain (e.g. Judas Iscariot).

    But to your point I believe it’s completely appropriate to use Christ’s analogy of taking up one’s cross and following after Him in the context of the proclamation of the eternal gospel. Jesus Himself often challenged those who would align themselves with Him to “count the cost”.

    This is because truly following Jesus Christ isn’t easy believism – its death to self – and people need to be told that up front.

    You see in today’s modern professing Christian culture we admire the cross as an emblem of our justification and a sign of victory over death, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with this thinking per se; however in Christ’s day the cross wasn’t viewed with such enthusiasm.

    The Roman cross was and is among the cruelest and most degrading forms of capital punishment ever devised by the mind of man. In Christ’s day the lowest of the low, thieves, insurrectionists, murderers, etc. were crucified. Crucifixion slowly killed in the most brutal, agonizing, and publicly humiliating manner imaginable.

    Therefore Christ commanding His disciples to take up their cross wasn’t akin to telling them to put on a necklace with a little tiny golden cross on it. It was telling them; “You must be ready to die in the most unspeakably horrible way you can think of for My sake”.

    And the amazing part is that this hard command hasn’t changed one iota even to this day.

    With all this in mind I don’t see any problem whatsoever with a presentation of the gospel along with the hard commands of Christ. In fact I commend it and pray that the sovereign God of grace will use your ministry to the praise of His glory alone.

    Soli Deo Gloria!
    CD

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