Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us at the next Sunday worship service:
9:00am & 10:45am,
Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm




Most people like the comfort of having rules to follow. Rules give us a clear understanding of what is expected. Obey the rules and we feel safe, confident in our actions, and assured of positive outcomes. However, excessive focus on rules can make us arrogant and judgmental. Jesus did not give us a rulebook. Instead, He said, “Follow me.” The critical difference between rule-keeping and Jesus following is where we place our focus.

Something To Talk About:

  1. Being a sinner does not disqualify you from following Jesus: Being a sinner does not disqualify you from following Jesus; it’s a prerequisite. Everyone who knows anything about the gospels—and even those who don’t—knows that Jesus was a friend of sinners. He often drew the ire of the scribes and Pharisees for eating with sinners. Jesus recognized that one of the insults hurled against Him was that He was “a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!” (Luke 7:34).  We also find ourselves challenged by Jesus’ example to make sure we do not turn away outsiders in a way that Jesus never would. God loves them enough to die for them — even today. Of course, God doesn’t want people to remain sinners. He loves them too much for that. Sin destroys. It brings death. But the gift of God is life — and that gift is found in a Person: the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the best friend a sinner will ever have. All they need to do is follow Him.
  2. Being an unbeliever does not disqualify you from following Jesus: When Jesus says, “Follow me!” He expects us to trust Him enough to do just that. Granted, it’s frightening to step into the unknown, but the sheep don’t get to ask the shepherd where they’re going, nor do we. Moreover, following Jesus doesn’t mean fitting His plan into our lives; following Jesus means fitting our lives into His plan. Even without a compass, maps, or GPS, we can never be lost when we’re following Him because He’ll never lead us astray. Moreover, while we may not know the route He’ll take, we know we’ll be doing His work along the way. When we think about it, we also know that our final destination is well worth the trip. We should relate to non-Christian friends the same way Jesus related to those who did not follow Him. Jesus was kind, even when people didn’t understand Him. Jesus always spoke the truth even when His life was at stake. We are not to beat people with our views if we expect to follow Him even as unbelievers.
  3. The invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation to a relationship: We must put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. The  Lord died so we could have a living, vital relationship with Him, not just to institute a bunch of rules and regulations. That’s what separates religion from a relationship with God. Jesus came to set us free and allow us to live in a relationship with Him. No hoops. No checklist. No religion is required. Christianity is about living a vibrant, exciting life in Christ. Growing in your relationship with Jesus means knowing Him better and loving and obeying Him more. Very few people in the Old Testament had a personal relationship with God. Certain kings and prophets were given the Holy Spirit for specific functions, but everyone else worshiped God from a distance, using priests as mediators. The new covenant is much better: “…I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already.” (Hebrews 8:10-11).
  4. The invitation to follow Jesus is self-reflective, not judgmental: Our instinct is to see the faults and problems of other people while ignoring our issues and shortcomings. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.” Jesus’ point here wasn’t that we are not to make any judgments; He is saying that we are not to be hypocritical about it. Jesus wasn’t saying, “Don’t judge.” He was warning us against pointing the finger. There is a difference between judging and being judgmental. We must judge (or discern) as Christians between right and wrong, good and bad. But we must not have a judgmental attitude. Anyone who sizes others up with a swagger of superiority is not behaving Christ-like.  One of the best stories about the love of Jesus and the art of being non-judgmental is the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8: 3-11.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Talk about one of your favorite bosses, coaches, or teachers. What made it easy for you to follow that person?
  2. What does it mean to you to follow Jesus?
  3. Is there a difference between doing what Jesus says and following Him?
  4. What role does your mindset have in following Jesus?
  5. What stands in the way of deepening your relationship with Jesus?  What can you do this week to begin to overcome those obstacles? 
  6. In what ways can we be judgmental?
  7. How is the idea that Jesus wants everyone to follow him regardless of what they believe or how they behave comforting? How is it challenging?
  8. What are some things that make it difficult for you to follow Jesus?
  9. What is one thing you can do this week to begin to follow Jesus or to follow Him more closely?
  10. What was your main takeaway from this week’s message?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Jesus Says, “Follow me.”

Jesus extended an invitation to follow to every single kind of person imaginable — rich people, poor people, spiritual people, people who weren’t spiritual. He didn’t place a bunch of conditions on His offer. He just invited them to follow. One account of Jesus inviting someone to follow Him is found in the gospel written by Matthew. The story introduces us to the profound but simple idea of following Jesus. Matthew wrote: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9).

During Jesus’ time, tax collectors were the lowest of the low. They were hated. They were outcasts. They couldn’t go to the temple. They could only hang out with other tax collectors because even sinners didn’t want to be around them.

Jesus could have said some harsh things. but He looked at Matthew, the tax collector, and said, “Follow Me.” The crowd surrounding Jesus and Matthew probably thought they’d misheard Jesus. They must have been confused. Surely, He didn’t say, “Follow Me.” But that’s precisely what Jesus said. And Matthew would never forget it. Those two words, spoken by Jesus, changed Hs life forever.