For many, the Christian life feels like a long game of "Jesus Says":
Jesus says pray.
Jesus says give.
Jesus says go to church.
But upon further investigation, we discover that Jesus’ invitation to his first-century audience was an invitation to relationship. And it began with a simple request—follow me.
In this 8-part series, Andy Stanley takes us on a journey through the Gospels as he traces Jesus’ teachings on what it means to follow.
Part 1 - Jesus Says (Andy Stanley)
Jesus says to pray. Jesus says not to look over there. Jesus says to be nice. Jesus says to get up early and read your Bible. Lots of people think Christianity is all about doing what Jesus says. But what if doing what Jesus says isn't what Jesus says to do at all? Regardless of what you believe. Regardless of how you behave. Jesus invites you to . . . follow him. Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 8:34
Part 2 - Next Steps (Andy Stanley)
Religion says, Change and you can join us. Jesus says, Join us and you will change. There's a huge difference. Jesus doesn't expect you to be perfect. He just wants you to follow him. Being a sinner doesn't disqualify you from following him. Being an unbeliever doesn't disqualify you from following him. In fact, following almost always begins with a sinner and unbeliever taking one small step. Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 4:18-20
Part 3 - Fearless (Andy Stanley)
Sure, we want to follow Jesus, but where is he leading? What is the payoff to following him? Is it being a better person? Is it life in Heaven after we die? Is it a pain-free life? If you follow Jesus, you will be a better person. If you follow him, you will go to Heaven. If you follow him, you won't have a pain-free life. But that's okay because Jesus offers much more—a faith so strong it frees us from fear. Matthew 10:16-22, 28-13; Matthew 6:30-32; Mark 4; I John 4:18; Romans 8:35; John 16:33
Part 4 - Follow Wear (Andy Stanley)
Everyone is invited to follow Jesus. Being a sinner doesn't disqualify you. Being a doubter doesn't disqualify you. The goal of following Jesus is a faith that overcomes fear of the future or our current circumstances. It's a faith that gives us peace.
But what do people who follow Jesus look like? What do they wear? Colossians 3:12–14
Part 5 - The Fine Print (Andy Stanley)
During his time on earth Jesus invited misbehavers and unbelievers to follow him. We are all invited to follow him. You are invited to follow him. But there's something you need to know about following Jesus. It will cost you something eventually.
It may cost you money, career advancement, or even relationships. That's because Jesus offers us the choice of denying ourselves now or losing ourselves later. But you'll find that when you pay the price for following Jesus, you'll be glad you did. Mark 8:34–36
Part 6 - What I Want To Want (Andy Stanley)
Most of us don't become Christians with the intent of following Jesus. We become Christians because we were told obedience pays and disobedience doesn't. We become Christians hoping that spirituality will fill a hole in our souls. We become Christians hoping God will fix us or fix someone we know. Eventually, our agendas clash with Jesus' and we have to decide whether we'll abandon him or follow. Luke 22:42
Part 7 - Leading Great (Andy Stanley)
We don't usually associate leadership with the church. Leadership is about what could and should be. We assume the church is about what has been. But Jesus was the greatest leader who ever lived. He modeled a unique approach to leadership that defies our expectations but changed the world.
Jesus leveraged his authority for the benefit of those under his authority. Following Jesus means that, when we find ourselves in positions of authority, we do the same. Mark 10:32-37, 41-45
Part 8 - Unfollow (Andy Stanley)
Jesus invites everyone to follow him. Being a sinner is a prerequisite. Having doubts is a prerequisite. That's because we're all sinners and we all have doubts.
Following Jesus results in overwhelming faith, but at times it can also be inconvenient, costly, and even embarrassing. It can cause us to miss opportunities, lose business, or stand out in the crowd when we'd rather fit in. Even Jesus' earliest followers wrestled with this tension. But one of his disciples asked a question that put everything in perspective: "To whom shall I go?" John 6:54-55, 60-61, 66-69