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Series: Not a Fan
This Week: Define the Relationship
“Men do not decide their future. They decide their habits
and their habits decide their future.” -Unknown
Nearly every Hollywood romantic comedy hinges on a dramatic moment when a couple finally must “define the relationship,” popularly abbreviated as “DTR.” Imagine the scene where one lover boards an airplane intending to leave the other forever — only to remain standing on the tarmac as the plane takes off: “I couldn’t leave,” the fellow coos. “We were meant to be together.” In real life, however, endings usually are not quite so predictable — and that’s where “the talk” comes in. In a romantic relationship, the define-the-relationship discussion involves questions such as: Are we “just friends” or more than that? Are we dating exclusively or is our relationship just casual? What exactly is the level of our commitment to each other?
Having this kind of discussion can seem risky because we don’t want to appear pushy and scare off the other person. If you have begun to feel strongly about the individual you are dating, asking if he or she shares your feelings can be a frightening moment of truth. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. It can seem risky to have the “define-therelationship” or “DTR” discussion with Christ. Things may be going smoothly and church is kind of fun, but what does your relationship with Jesus look like?
Imagine sitting across the table from Jesus when he looks you in the eye and says, “It’s time to define this relationship.” He wants to know how you feel about him. Is your relationship with Jesus exclusive? Is it just a casual weekend thing or has it moved past that? How would your relationship with him be defined? What exactly is your level of commitment?
This past weekend Kyle talked about the difference between being a fan and a follower. The difference between being “an enthusiastic admirer” or being completely committed to following Jesus Christ. Jesus isn’t looking for admirers. He isn’t interested in fans. He wants followers.
In this week’s Living It Out Bible Study we will dive deeper into these concepts and ask you to truly think about whether you are a fan or a follower of Jesus, and what that means for your life and, ultimately, your death. Be honest with yourself. Think about this quote when it comes to our discussion of fans versus followers: “Men do not decide their future. They decide their habits and their habits decide their future,” What do your habits mean for your future? There are certain behaviors, beliefs and actions that define a “fan” of Jesus and behaviors, beliefs and actions that define a “follower” of Jesus. It’s time to DTR!
THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE IN BEING A FAN OF JESUS OR A FULLY-COMMITTED FOLLOWER.
MONDAY — D.T.R. Time: Are you a follower of Jesus?
Big Point: We gloss over this question without truly considering what it means.
From Kyle Idleman’s book, Not a Fan: “Are you a follower of Jesus? Chances are pretty good that you just skipped over that question. You may have read it, but I doubt it carried much weight or had any real impact. Because it’s so familiar there is a tendency to dismiss it. Not because it makes you comfortable. Not because it’s especially convicting. The question is dismissed mostly because it feels redundant and unnecessary.”
Interesting quote from legendary singer, Bob Dylan: “Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Bob, why are you resisting me?’ I said, ‘I’m not resisting you!’ He said, ‘You gonna follow me?’ I said, ‘I’ve never thought about that before!’ He said, ‘When you’re not following me, you’re resisting me.’” –Bob Dylan
READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 7:13-14 (New International Version)
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Matthew 7:21-23 is one of the most sobering passages of Scripture. It tells of a day when many who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus will be stunned to find out that He doesn’t even recognize them. On that day many who call themselves Christians and identify themselves as followers will stand confidently in front of Jesus only to hear Him say, “I never knew you. Away from me.”
THINK…Find the answers
Matthew 7:13 refers to two gates—a narrow one and a wide one. Where does the narrow gate lead to?
Where does the wide gate lead? Why is it so difficult for people to get through the narrow gate?
Read Matthew 7:21-23. Why will God turn some people away from heaven?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Are you a follower of Jesus?
When answering this question, Kyle Idleman puts his readers into two groups— The “Jesus fish on the back of my car” group and the “Why is there a fish on the back of my friend’s car?” group. People in the first group are serious about their Christian faith but are so sure of their answer they quickly dismiss it. People in the second group consider the question irrelevant to them. It’s irrelevant to them in a different way than the people in group number one. It’s that the question doesn’t seem worth answering. They mean no offense, but they don’t follow Jesus.
Which group do you fit into? Why?
If you fit into the first group—The “Jesus fish on the back of my car” group—how seriously do you take this question? What do you use in evaluating whether you’re a follower of Jesus?
If you fit into the second group—the “Why is there a fish on the back of my friend’s car?” group—ask yourself this: What if? Pause for a moment and ask yourself, What if all of life comes down to this one question? What if there really is a heaven and hell, and where I spend my eternity comes down to this one question? Write any thoughts below.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
When praying today, ask God to help you to seriously consider and answer the question: Are you a follower of Jesus?
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 9-12
9:1 The first Passover was the year before when the Israelites left Egypt.
9:6-12 Notice how God didn’t change or lower His standards, but He did create an opportunity for them to participate at a later date. There are times when we think it’s okay to compromise God’s standards, but through wisdom and prayer, God will always reveal an alternative solution that enables us to honor Him. 9:14 It’s tempting to play down our faith when we have guests in our home, but we shouldn’t. Christ-followers live out their faith at all times, fans do not.
9:15-23 The cloud and fire were not natural phenomenon. They were the vehicle of God’s presence and evidence of his moving and directing His people.
10:1-10 The trumpets were an effective way of communicating with the tribes of millions of people. Even though the Israelites moved frequently, their stability came from the fact that God was with them each time they changed locations. 11:21-22 While Moses witnessed God’s power firsthand, he still questioned God’s ability to feed the Israelites. When we rely on our own understanding rather than trusting in God, we become short-sided and crippled in our faith.
11:23 “Has my arm lost its power?” How strong do you think God is? God’s strength never changes and is always available—we just have to live like it is!
11:34 Craving or lusting is more than an inappropriate desire. It draws our heart away from God. That’s why Jesus calls us to live out Luke 9:23 for our sakes.
12:9-15 Aaron and Miriam acted foolishly and then begged not to be punished for their sin. It’s hard to recognize our plans as foolish as we are carrying them out. In order to get rid of foolish ideas before we act on them requires that we must eliminate our wrong thoughts and wrong beliefs.