"…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" Jude 3.
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Study 70 – FOLLOWING CHRIST WHATEVER OTHERS DO

Gleans from Monday Bible Study with Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

DLBC Gbagada HQ

10th December 2018

Study 70 – FOLLOWING CHRIST WHATEVER OTHERS DO

John 21:18-23; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Jeremiah 3:15; 23:4; Isaiah 30:19-21; Amos 8:11-12; Zephaniah 3:13;

Psalms 28:7-9

You will see the word ‘follow’ in verse 19, “Follow me”, and the word ‘following’ in verse 20, “seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following”, and then what Jesus said to Peter after he (Peter) saw John following, “follow thou me”. Our Lord Jesus Christ had just finished commanding and commissioning Peter to feed His lambs and sheep, His flock, and it was after that commandment He said to him, Follow me. He wanted to know how much Peter loved Him, and had asked him three times; and when the third time Peter broke down emotionally and confirmed that he loved Him with all his soul and all his mind, the Lord gave him the commission to feed His flock (John 21:15-17). This is what we are expected to do as a pastor, a teacher, HCF leader, worker and anyone in the Church; you know something, feed other people with that word of God. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). His ‘flock’ cover all who have received Him as Lord and Saviour. He has purchased them and provided eternal life for them, so if they are going to live in strength and grace of God, they must be fed with the word of God. What Jesus had told him Peter passed on to all people, pastors, leaders and ministers in the church feed the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-2). When God raises up pastors for a congregation and local assembly, His purpose is that they will feed the church of the living God with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). This was what Jesus meant when He told Peter to feed His lambs and sheep, that he will feed them with the knowledge of the gospel, truth and salvation, the Christian life and with understanding of what they will do and how to live to get to Heaven. “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:4). (Shepherds, pastors, teachers and overseers, are the same thing.) Their fear of the future, guilt, where they will go after death, that fear will be dealt with when they are properly fed with the word of grace, love and His mercy. When we are properly fed with the word of God, we will not be lacking; we will have what it takes to live the Christian life and to stand for righteousness.  Our sorrows, condemnation and fears are taken away when God favours us with teachers and pastors that will feed us with His word. The pastor is to show the way to salvation, sanctification, Holy Ghost baptism, healing from sicknesses and freedom from bondage; God has promised not to take our teachers from us and we shall receive spiritual guidance of the way to go (Isaiah 30:19-21). May these promises not elude us in Jesus name. Looking at the nations in these last days, there is a famine of the word despite the worship, entertainment, and traditional denomination, but the word is not there. There is a famine of hearing the word of God in churches (Amos 8:11-12).  But thank God, we have found the word here, and it will feed your soul and heart and make your life what it ought to be in Jesus’ name.  “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (Zephaniah 3:13). Feeding on the word of God brings a change, a transformation; it makes us to stop iniquity, telling lies, totally give up a deceitful tongue, and to be straightforward, honest, devoted unto the Lord. When the word enters in and bear fruits, then it will do a great work in your heart. The only thing that can lift us up forever out of our guilt, degradation and commotion of the world, is when we are fed with the word of God. May this Word keep feeding every one of us in Jesus name.

Jesus commanded and commissioned Peter to feed the flock and not to starve them (John 21:15-17). Feed them with the word of God, not the minimum but the maximum that you can give them that they are well fed. Nourish them, and don’t withhold the word of life from any one. Let them feast and be nurtured on the word. Don’t deprived them, feed them. Feed them don’t frighten, fight or frustrate them; don’t falsify the word but give them the right word that will nourish their soul; don’t freeze, fleece, forget or forsake them. Feed them faithfully, lovingly and purposefully for Christ’s sake. After commanding, feed them He said, follow Me. As we are fed with the word of God we must eat it, receive and believe it and measure our lives by the word. Allow the word to affect our life and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, so we will want to follow and walk in His footsteps. When the word comes to you, apply the word, grow, be enriched and guided by what you are hearing. Drink the Water of Life, desire the Bread of Life and digest the word, then you do it! Act on that word so that it will bear fruit in your life, declare it to other people as well and defend the word from error. Others may not follow or be sliding back, but you will follow.

3 points:

Point 1.  FOLLOWING CHRIST WITH UNCOMPROMISING CONSECRATION

John 21:18-19; Luke 18:28-30; John 13:36-37; Matthew 26:57,58; John 21:3; Matthew 10:37-39; 16:24-25; Luke 9:23

You have consecrated unto the Lord, and that consecration nobody will take away from you nor lessen it. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not” (John 21:18). In this verse, the Lord was telling Peter that he was going to grow very old. He said when he was young, he could decide where he wanted to go, but as he got older, he would be led to where he did not plan to go. (1) He was going to live to old age and will die young in the prison of Herod. You too will grow old, and not die young. (2) as he was getting old, those places he did not go when he was young, now people will lead him there, like the house of gentile Cornelius. {Just as your Pastor in obedience to the leading of the Lord is going to places where he would not have gone when he was younger. I pray the Lord will give you understanding.} “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me” (John 21:19). (3) The Lord was telling Peter, that when persecutions, difficulties, dangers come, he should not feel sorrowful for they are to glorify God.

Peter together with the other disciples had left all to follow Christ (Luke 18:28) and in John 13:36-37, “Simon Peter said unto him Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” The Lord was emphasizing to Peter that He was going to keep him alive and from all dangers, and then Peter will follow Him fully, faithfully and wholeheartedly later. However, a time came when Peter followed the Lord afar. “But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end” (Matthew 26:58). He started following, confessed following, consecrated to follow always, made a vow to give up all to follow the Lord, but he began to slide back, following afar off, till he stopped following and went a fishing. That was why Jesus came to him to restore him back to his first consecration, to follow Him. This is what the Lord is calling us to do. Look back at your life when you were newly converted and how you were following the Lord, your commitment and consecration. Is everything now conditional? This is why the Lord is calling you back to let your consecration be uncompromising, that nothing will make you change your mind of following the Lord. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Christ must be the Number One in your life, your commitment to Him must be non-negotiable, your vow/pledge of following the Lord must be Number One, nothing must come between you and the Lord.  There might be crosses that you are called to bear, difficulties, challenges that confront you, sickness, rejection of men yet the Lord is still saying that you will carry your cross and follow Him (Matthew 10:38-39). The Lord wants us to follow Him at all cost, at any cost, and at every cost. Whatever happens, the persecution, opposition, challenge, we must keep on following the Lord whatever the difficult or danger. “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). There are some things like pleasure, recognition, profession and situations that self will like to have, but it will slow you down, cut you off, decrease your commitment and put a dent/stain in your following the Lord. This is the time to have self-denial; give it up. Nothing will drive you back from following the Lord. There is no exception to following the Lord, no exceptions to salvation, holiness of life and heart. The same way the apostles followed the Lord eventually with all their mind, soul, heart, commitment and everything that they had, the same way the Lord is calling us to follow Him. There is no difference, His commandment, commission, calling, is still the same. Daily you bear your cross and follow the Lord. What does it really mean to follow the Lord? “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21). This means in your life, your obedience, faithfulness, loyalty, is measure with that of Christ. In whatever situation, challenge you find yourself, ask, what will Christ do?  We will follow His steps in Jesus Name.

Point 2. FOLLOWING CHRIST WITH UNCONDITIONAL COMMITMENT

John 21:20-21; Acts 3:1; 4:13; 5:18,28-29; Revelations 1:1,9; John 10:4-5; Ephesians 5:1-4,7; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 1 Peter 3:13

Sunshine or rain, up or down, mountains ahead, adversaries and difficulties I am following. “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following” (John 21:20a). Understand that Jesus had not spoken directly to John, nor given him a new promise, commandment or anything different yet he too followed: No direct commandment, revelation or encouragement. This is what I must do, follow Jesus intimately like John. I have decided and made up my mind to follow Jesus. I will follow. John was following without any condition attached, whether or not his name was mentioned. The Lord is calling us to this same unconditional commitment of following Christ. John did not slack back, and you will not. John kept on following Jesus when Peter was around and when he was not. He kept on following when all the other apostles had died; he was the last to die. I will keep on following, come opposition, persecution, pressure or whatever happens, you will keep on following. “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelations 1:9). John had his share of suffering, tribulations, imprisonment, persecution and opposition, and yet he followed to the end because he was a true sheep, child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4). True sheep follow Christ; they will not follow a stranger trying to lure them away, but the Lord only. As a dear child of God, you must keep on following (Ephesians 5:1-4,7). Those who are following the Lord do not have time for the defilements of the world, as their whole will is committed to the Lord. “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Once these Thessalonians made up their minds, affliction, persecution and misunderstanding could not stop them from following; they were awaiting the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter 3:13). That means your character, conduct, lifestyle and following the Lord good. This is our calling to follow the Lord and walk in His footsteps (1 Peter 2:21)

Point 3.  FOLLOWING CHRIST DESPITE UNCLEAR COMPREHENSION

John 21:21-23; 8:11,12; 12:24-26; Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:15-24; 2 Timothy 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Hebrews 12:14; Revelations 14:4-5,13

I cannot understand, what will this man do? Jesus did not give Peter an answer, but commanded him to follow Him.  Even though, you may not understand nor comprehend His ways, yet you will follow. “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?” (John 21:21). There are people that instead of concentrating on their own personal life, they are busy about other people’s lives, what will they do? There are some people who threaten to withdraw their consecration and commitment in the church if their questions are not answered and worries addressed. The Lord is saying what is that to you? Even when comprehension and what is happening to other people is not clear, the Lord is saying, “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me” (John 21:22). Stop all comparison or questioning, follow the Lord whatever others do or do not do. Following the Lord is what your calling is as a child of God. There was the case of this woman caught in the very act of adultery. The Lord forgave her and asked her to go and sin no more, not to go and do as the Pharisees and the Scribes that caught her who still indulged in their sinfulness (John 8:11). Jesus said don’t look at them, but go and sin no more.  You will not go back to lying, hypocrisy and darkness just like those religious people who went back to their sins (John 8:12). If you are going to follow the Lord, you will not look at Sadducee, Pharisee, Preacher, Pastor or worker who still indulge in sin. You will follow the Lord and not continue in sin in Jesus Name. Self must die, the carnal comparison in you must die (John 12:24). You cannot divorce your serving the Lord from following Him. You will serve and follow the Lord (John 12:26).

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). Here was Apostle Paul who had done so much for the kingdom of God and still following. His consecration of yesteryears was in the record of God, and yet he still followed after. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). This is what the Lord wants us to do, forgetting the past victories and pressing forward. You wake up in the in the morning and say “How can I be better than yesterday?” I press toward the mark. “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).  Temptation to revenge may come, but no, follow that which is good.

What are those things holding you back from following the Lord? “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). You want to purge yourself from all these things so that you can follow the Lord. You will follow after charity (1 Corinthians 13:1-7). The Lord calls us today to follow after Him in holiness, righteousness and charity. May God give us the grace to keep on following Him in Jesus Name. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). You will follow the Lord and your works, faithfulness and commitment to the Lord will follow you till the very end (Revelations 14:13). I will follow the Lord.

Ponder on this! Those who are following the Lord do not have time for the defilements of the world, they are busy following the Lord with their whole mind, soul and heart, and their whole will be committed to the Lord, that they don’t even think of those evil and terrible sins in the world. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Ponder on this! Feeding on the word of God brings a change, a transformation; it makes us to stop iniquity, telling lies, totally give up a deceitful tongue, and to be totally straightforward, honest, devoted unto the Lord. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Hard Sayings – You drink the Water of Life, desire the Bread of Life and digest the word that you are hearing and then you do it! Act on that word so that it may bear fruit in your life. Then you declare the word to other people as well. You defend the word from errors and falsehood. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Reflection – When we are properly fed with the word of God, we will not be lacking; we will have what it takes to live the Christian life and to stand for righteousness. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Words on the Marble – The Lord wants us to follow Him at all cost, at any cost, and at every cost. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

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