Whoever Follows Jesus
John 8:12 ESV
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
Jesus Christ is the light (truth, righteousness, revelation) of the world. His word is truth, and the words that he speaks are truth and righteousness. As the light, he reveals himself to humankind, and he reveals his truth and his righteousness and holiness and his divine will and purpose for our lives. His gospel is truth and it is light. And the light is opposite of the darkness.
Darkness is all that is sinful, evil, wicked, corrupt, and immoral. It is the opposite of godliness and holiness. It is the opposite of truth and righteousness. It is lies, adulteries, fornications, sinful passions, greed, idolatry, sexual immorality, hatred, resentment, bitterness, and the like. And it is willful defiance of God’s moral laws and denial of Jesus as Lord.
And to follow Jesus is to listen to him and to obey him. It is to go where he sends us and to say what he gives us to say and to do what he tells us to do. It is to walk in his footsteps and to be becoming like him in heart, mind, and in character, by God’s Spirit, via our walks of obedient faith. And it is letting him work his will and his ways in and through our lives.
So, if we are doing the will of God, and we are following Jesus Christ in his ways, and if we are obeying his commands, by his Spirit, and in his power and strength, then we won’t walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin, wickedness). Sin will not be our practice. We won’t become idolaters, haters, adulterers, liars, thieves, users, abusers, manipulators, and tricksters.
Instead, we will be those who are walking (in conduct, in practice) in the light, in truth and righteousness, in obedient faith, in holiness, godliness, faithfulness, kindness, and love. And we will be saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and we will be living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives, by God’s grace, and by His Spirit, and in his strength and power.
If We Abide in His Word
John 8:31-32 ESV
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
We can believe in Jesus intellectually but not have genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ. James said that even the demons believe and they shudder. So, it is not enough to just believe that Jesus existed or to believe that he was God the Son who came to the earth and was born as a baby to a virgin mother, conceived by the Holy Spirit with God as his Father.
It is not enough to believe that he did and said the things that he did and said, and to believe that he was crucified on a cross for our sins, and that he rose from the dead, and that he ascended back to the Father in heaven, and that he then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers and that one day he will return as judge and to take his bride to be with him forever.
It is also not enough to believe that his sacrifice for our sins on that cross was in order to forgive us our sins, to deliver us from hell, and to promise us an eternal home with him in heaven. Many people believe these things, but they are not saved from their sins and they do not have the genuine hope of eternal life with God when they leave this earth.
Jesus said to those who had believed him that IF they abide in His word, then they are truly his disciples (his followers, his sheep). And to abide means to stay, to remain, to continue, to last. And this isn’t about just taking time to read his word each day. This is about what his word actually teaches. So, when his word teaches that I must obey him, then to remain in that word would mean that I would continue to obey him.
So, this is about putting the word of God into practice in our lives, and to keep on in doing that, and for that to last in our lives until the very end. For, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means to be one of his students, a learner, and a learner is not just one who stores knowledge in his head but he is one who applies the knowledge that he is learning to his life.
Also a disciple is a follower who learns from him how to live and then who applies what he is being taught to his life and to his actions and practices. So, where the Scriptures teach that we are to put off the deeds of the flesh and we are to put on righteousness, then if we are followers we will stop lying, cheating, and stealing, and we will be truth tellers, and honest, and generous with others who are in need. We will do what His word teaches.
And we will know the truth and it will set us free, because this knowing is not head knowledge only but it is applied knowledge. We will know that to follow Jesus involves us denying self and dying daily with him to sin and to self and us walking in obedience to his commands. And we will know that true freedom is freedom from slavery to sin, and it is freedom to live as slaves of God and of his righteousness in his power and strength.
Because You are Not Listening
John 8:43-47 ESV
“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
But not everyone today who professes faith in Jesus Christ listens to the Lord and to his word (in context) and does what it says. Many do not listen, and they do not obey, because they cannot bear to hear our Lord’s word, because it convicts them of their sinful lifestyles, and it calls them to forsake their sins, and it demands obedience to our Lord’s commands.
And this is because they are not truly of God because they never surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. They never died with him to sin, so they were never truly born again of the Spirit of God because they were not transferred from death to life and from darkness to light because they chose to remain in the darkness instead of remaining in God’s word.
So, their father is not God the Father, but he is still the devil, because they never forsook their lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience, because they just wanted a free ride into heaven without them having to do anything. But yes, we can’t do anything in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation, but faith in Jesus Christ is death to our old lives and it is being reborn to new lives in Christ to be lived to him and to his righteousness.
Therefore, if we are professing faith in Jesus Christ, and if we are claiming heaven as our eternal destiny, but we are still walking (in conduct) in darkness (sin, wickedness) as a matter of practice (habit) deliberately, it is not Jesus who we are following but we are following the devil. For, whoever is of God not only hears the word, but he is a doer of the word of God. And he honors our Lord as Lord (owner-master) of his life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
I Stand in Awe
By Mark Altrogge
You are beautiful
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You
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