Temple Baptist Church - 5-18-2011
A. In our verse for tonight, we find an interesting command. We are “commanded” of God to follow Him. It seems strange that the Apostle Paul had to command believers in the Church of Ephesus to follow the Lord.
1. The Lord saved them from a devil’s hell.
2. The Lord birthed them into the most wonderful family in the world.
3. The Lord fed them their daily bread.
4. The Lord protected them from both satanic and self-destruction.
5. The Lord had prepared them an eternal home in heaven.
6. The Lord had graciously and mercifully shown them a daily compassion.
B. It would seem only right that these “children” would want to follow a Father who did all of that for them. Often, children fail to appreciate what their parents do for them. I have seen many a teenager turn their backs on the wonderful heritage that they were born into and systematically destroy their lives and hurt their parents.
C. We call them foolish children who do so and yet we so often do the same things to our heavenly Father. He is so good to each of us. His way is the right way. He knows the end from the beginning so He knows where we travel before we go that way. He wants only the best for us and only offers the best to us. How foolish we often become in our decisions that we make.
D. Here, Paul describes those who follow the Lord as “dear children.” God loves all of His children! His love is unchanging, even when we are not what we should be but those who “follow” Him are especially dear to Him. The same with our children. When they follow right, they cause us little stress and we appreciate them. We do not love them more than our disobedient children but their manner of life is a blessing to us.
E. In God’s children, we find:
1. The Casual Follower. Those who follow the Lord at times and then drift back and forth. They are the “inconsistent believers.”
2. The Conditional Follower. Those who follow what they like and reject what they do not like. They are the “selfish believers.”
3. The Cautious Follower. Those who follow afar off. They remain close enough to see what is going on but not close enough to be an affective part of it.
4. The Committed Follower. Where He leads me, I will follow; what he feeds me I will swallow! Anywhere, everywhere, anytime, and every time—these follow the Lord. They follow closely and immediately.
F. Luke 9:23-25 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (25) For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Following in God’s steps:
1. Following Takes Desire – “If any man”
2. Following Takes Denial – “deny himself”
3. Following Takes Determination – “take up his cross daily”
4. Following Takes Devotion – “lose his life for my sake”
G. Following the Lord brings about:
1. Providence – Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
a. Our Steps are Orderly - Psalms 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
b. Our Steps are Ordered - Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
c. Our Steps are Observable - Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (We do not follow blindly)
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
2. Protection – Psalms 17:5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
a. He guards our Steps – Psalms 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
b. He guards our Situations - Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
c. He guards our Sleep - Psalms 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. (The safest place on earth is found in the will of God.)
3. Provision - Genesis 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day.
a. Convenient Provision - Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: (What I need.)
b. Constant Provision - Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread. (When I need.)
c. Complete Provision – Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (All I need.)
4. Promise – 2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (The end of the road will always be fulfillment of purpose. It is a life of no regrets.)