Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we shall share insights into the technique of following Jesus.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"And then 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 chapter Verse 24
Brothers and sisters, the hymnal declares, "I have decided to follow Jesus." To follow Jesus means to do the Father’’s will. Let’’s see if we can determine just what the Father’’s will is.
All true believers know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth, took on the form of a human being, lived the entire human life from birth to death, perfected that life, and in the process revealed God’’s will to all humanity. When he left he gave his spirit to continue his mission on earth: to reveal God’’s will to humanity. These quotes are significant:
"When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, ever the Spirit of Truth which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me." And ““when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak."
Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life. He is the revealer of the Father’’s will. In order to know the Father’’s will, we must believe in Jesus. When asked what the work of God was, Jesus replied that the work of God is that ““you believe on him whom He has sent." "And this is the Father’’s will which has sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." Now that we have narrowed our focus as to the nature of doing the Father’’s will, we are now in a position to understand just what it means to follow Jesus. Jesus says that if we believe in him he will give us eternal life, that he will resurrect us when we die the mortal death. But the catch is to believe in him, to become a disciple of Jesus.
The Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect; therefore to follow Jesus is to become perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. This is the meaning of the decision to follow Jesus. We must live our lives even as Jesus lived his in the flesh, supremely subject to the Father’’s will. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the way to the Father. No one comes to the Father except through him. No one knows the Father’’s will except by and through Jesus. He is the way from imperfection to perfection. He is the way to obey the Father’’s mandate. He is the guide. He is the personification of truth. Within his very being is the dual concept of the Fatherhood and sonship. He demonstrates the perfect relationship between man and God. This is truth--the perfect relationship between the heavenly Father and his sons and daughters. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God." And because we are sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, he gives us eternal life.
We know that God is love and this love is revealed in his son, Jesus, who demonstrated it in perfection when he lived on earth. If we believe in Jesus, we will follow Jesus. We will be his disciples. And he has said that if we love one another as he loves us, then all men will know that we are his disciples. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God; and we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world."
The technique of spiritual judgment involves determining the degree to which we have become like Jesus. If there can be found no likeness of Jesus in our souls, then we are condemned and guilty of refusing to follow Jesus and of disobeying the Father’’s eternal command to be perfect even as he is perfect.
When we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he begins to guide us in the process of becoming perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect. Remember he is the personal revelation of the Father and thus knows what manner of behavior is acceptable to the Father. As we interact with our brothers and sisters, the spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Truth, instructs us how we should interact with each other in a given situation. The technique of achieving perfection involves learning how to love more of our brothers and sisters as Jesus loves us. The Spirit of Truth not only guides us in these relationships but empowers us to recognize that those with whom we interact are indeed our spiritual brothers and sisters, children of the Father. This Spirit of Truth empowers us to understand them, to discern their motives, to befriend them, and finally to love them.
The technique of becoming perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect involves learning to love a great variety of other brothers and sisters, and so there must be some mechanism in place that will insure that we are given opportunities to practice. Our experience testifies to the fact that there is no shortage of brothers and sisters to love. Because the technique of growth requires learning progressively to love more difficult brothers and sisters, some sort of organized encounter must be involved so that this happens efficiently.
Bringing us into contact with one another in such a way that we have an opportunity to learn to love others who are different from ourselves is the function of the guardian angels. These stimulators of growth manipulate the moral and social environments, even the material environment in such a way that we often find ourselves in complex moral and spiritual situations where we get the opportunity not only to do the right thing but also the opportunity to do it with love and mercy. Through prayer and worship, we learn to follow Jesus, learn to obey the command to be morally and spiritually perfect in character as the heavenly Father is perfect, to love one another even as Jesus loves us. And if we love one another as Jesus loves us, we will serve one another and in the process perfect our characters.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of following Jesus. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day. Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.