{Talk to me Seattle} “Come Follow me” – The Call of Christ

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.

“Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
~ Matthew 9:9 NIV ~


People are always seeking after something in order to find fulfillment in their lives. Today, another great message from Ballard Church. This message focused on Matthew 9:9-13 and the calling of Matthew. The question proposed is: how are we following Christ and what does it mean to get up and follow after Him?

The guest pastor spoke on his own life and growing up within the Christian faith. His perception became one where he played the game – “Jesus Says,” (as it relates to the old game Simon Says) where rules were followed. As he relates how he followed the rules, he became cynical and judgmental toward those who were not following after the same rules. In relation to this, the Pharisees of the First Century had built up all these rules and requested that people change and follow the rules or they were not considered “righteous” in their eyes. Christ challenged this perception when, not only, did he call Matthew to follow after Him, he also went into the home with Matthew, other tax collectors and those considered sinners.

Today, many Christians may find themselves playing this “Jesus Says” game with those who are deemed sinners and are liken to the tax collectors of the First Century. Part of this is possibly due to fear of being around those whom we otherwise may judge and are cynical of. This is motivated by fear: Do we fear being around those who are not like us? Christ himself did not find it a problem to surround himself with the tax collectors and sinners. To Christ, these were the one’s who needed healing. These are the individuals who needed the mercy and love that Christ offers to one and all. In reality, no matter where we may find ourselves, we are sick because we all are sinners. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that we heeded the call to follow Christ.

As Christians, we must come to admit, acknowledge and have a deep awareness of our need to follow Christ and Christ alone. It is through following Christ are we able to find fulfillment in our own lives. In turn, through our following of Christ, we are able to approach those who also are sick and in need of following Christ – reaching out to them with the very love Christ has for all those who are seeking.

For Christians, we are being called out of our own arrogance and self-righteousness. We are being called out of the seat of the scornful and the seat of judgment. We are being called forth, not to follow after specified rules and regulations, we are merely called to follow after Christ. For those who are not Christians, Christ is calling you to follow him despite where you are currently at in your own life.

Here is the two perceptions from this message:

  1. Pharisee’s say – Change and then you are able to join us and follow us
  2. Christ says – Join us and follow after me and your life will change

Today, many people are like the Pharisees when they say, “When you are able to change your life and comply with the particular rules that are established then you are able to change and are able to join and follow us.” Yet, instead it is Christ’s message that says we simply get up and follow after Him and in so doing, we are able to change our lives through the power, love and relationship cultivated through Jesus Christ.

Here are four things to keep in mind:

  1. Being a sinner is not a disqualifer to follow Jesus Christ. In fact, the reason one is a sinner shows there is a need to seek after redemption that comes through Jesus Christ. Being a sinner is actually a pre-requisite in following Christ.
  2. Being a non-believer i snot a disqualifer. Even a Christian who is unsure of his/her beliefs is not a disqualifer in following after Jesus Christ.
  3. Invitation to follow Christ is an invitation to a relationship with Christ. The Christian faith is not established on a prescribed set of doctrines (while they are important); the Christian faith is predicated on the relationship we are able to cultivate with the Savior through our willingness to come to him and follow after him.
  4. Following after Christ ought to force me to focus on where I am at in my relationship with the Savior and not where any other individual is at or how they are living their lives.

Authentic Christian living is simply about following after the Savior. Whether you are a sinner (for we all are sinners), a non-believer or a Christian in a season of doubting their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ, or a Christian who continues to strive for a deeper and more fulfilling relationship. Wherever one is, the call is simple: Come follow me. We either stand up and follow Christ or remain seated and choose not to follow after him. What are you seeking after today in order to find peace and fulfillment in your life? Are you getting caught up in following rules and regulations or are you interested in following Christ?

 

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2 thoughts on “{Talk to me Seattle} “Come Follow me” – The Call of Christ

  1. I only disagree with one statement. Can we all be sinners after receiving the atonement/ Wouldn’t that be denying the power of Christ to take away our sins? What would the scriptures mean that declare once one is born of God, he cannot sin..? also the calling and election … I believe we can be perfect, without spot…

    Do weaknesses constitute sin? or since they are given to us of God, are they not just challenges to bring us to stronger characters in the end? or if you consider weaknesses sin, God made our sin, and thereby how can we be held accountable?

    Is it not more clear to understand the power of the atonement is indeed powerful enough to take our sins and thereby we are no longer sinners, but sons and daughters of God.

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    1. Those are some very interesting and important questions. Thank you for commenting Sandra.

      First, we must understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us Romans 5:8. The idea here is that “While we were still sinners”. I agree that the atonement does wipe away our past sins. That does not mean we are without sin. Christ essentially meets us where we are – while we are still sinners. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is that we recognize the reality of Christ’s crucifixion and atonement. We recognize that without Christ, there is no salvation or hope. Every person who comes to Christ, comes as they are. They don’t clean themselves up first and make sure things are aligned right in their lives. They don’t stop doing the things that they were previously doing. They receive forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ. The best example is the woman taken in the act of committing adultery. She was brought to Christ while in her “sinful state”. The religious leaders and community were ready to stone her according to the “law of Moses”. Yet, Christ asked who there among those people that were without sin themselves? No one was able to step forward and condemn the woman in her sins while they themselves were in their own sins. Christ seeing her converses with her and asked – “Where are your accusers?” She responds that they have left. Christ then informs her that he does not accuse her of any wrong doing. What does he say to her thereafter? Go and sin no more.

      Secondly, what this says is that when we come to Christ, we come to him as we are, for we all are sinners. Christians still have to contend with their sinful nature. They still have passions and desires that if fulfilled takes them away from the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. This does not mean they are weak or frail. It means that we still struggle with our own passions and desires. This is why Christians are changed from the internal when they follow after Christ because they learn to realize the depth and depravity of their own soul and continually are transformed into a more Christ-Like person. In essence, they are daily putting to death the carnal and sinful person. Or, more aptly put, a Christian is a daily living Sacrifice in following after Jesus Christ.

      I hope that answers your question.

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