Today we begin a 4-part sermon series about the importance of knowing who to follow and how to do it. Knowing who to follow is simple. You must follow Jesus.

Knowing how to follow Jesus is a little more difficult. Fortunately, God gave us a great roadmap to show us exactly how to do it. The Bible is our owner’s manual for life. In it, we can learn everything we need to know on how to follow Jesus.

The Bible is a big book, and it can be confusing to try to figure out where to start. If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here are five simple steps on how to follow Jesus, based on what the Bible says:

1) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In order to follow Jesus, we must first believe that He is who He said He was – the Son of God. This may seem like common sense, but it’s actually a huge step of faith. trusting in someone we cannot see with our own eyes requires us to have complete confidence in Him.

2) Repent of your sin and turn away from your old life. Once we realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior, we must repent – which means turning away from our sin and choosing instead to live for God. This new life will not be easy; Satan will do everything he can think of to keep us from following Christ. But when we surrender our lives fully over into God’s hands, He gives us the strength needed for every battle.

3) Be baptized as an outward symbol. When Jesus was baptized, it was an outward sign that He had committed His entire life over into God’s hands. As believers, baptism is also our public declaration that we have died with Christ and been raised up with Him (see Romans 6:4-5).

4) Obey all His commands. What good would it be if we claimed to follow Jesus but still disobeyed Him? Obeying Christ is not always easy or convenient; but because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His commands are worth more than anything else in this world (Matthew 5:19)!

5) Following Jesus isn’t easy–but it pays off immensely! When trying to follow Him without looking back at the world or the things we might leave behind us, we receive a life that has purpose and meaning far beyond anything this world could ever give us!

Referenced Verses:
Isaiah 29:13
John 14:6
Luke 7:34
Matthew 15:3-7
Matthew 15:11
Matthew 23:1-39
Matthew 26:4


Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to Social Media Ministries, my name is Spencer Coffman. Thank you so much for tuning in today. If it is your first time with us, take advantage of the description below. You can find links to follow us on social media and also subscribe to our channel, podcast, etc. If you are a returning visitor hopefully you have already done all that. Thank you for your continued support.

Today we are kicking off a 4-part sermon series on the importance of who to follow, following Jesus, not man or religion or man-made religion or human-made religion, for the politically correct out there. So a four-part sermon series, this is part one.

Get ready, we are going to dive deep. We might have some discussion. You might have some questions that arise throughout some of these sermons, you might become opinionated, remember to be respectful in all of that. Feel free to post your comments below to engage in that discussion, sharing this on your social media accounts to solicit friends or family to also engage in the discussion is fine. You can get a team, support your viewpoints, no worries there. Just remember please be polite and respectful.

Let’s kick it off. You have to be very careful, you must be very very careful not to become too caught up in following what religion says. Now let’s really be very very clear here, you need to follow Jesus Christ. How do you do that? A good way to know exactly what Jesus says to do is to read your Bible, especially the New Testament. If you have a translation of the Bible where a certain text is in red, those are Jesus’ words. So if you read that and you do what it says, that is a really great way to follow Jesus.

Now some churches, some religions, etc, they take that and they base what they say to do, what their doctrine is, they preach from the Bible, etc, on Jesus. Going there and listening to that and doing what the pastor or preacher says in their sermon is another great way to learn what Jesus says.

This is not a sermon series against religion or against preaching or against any sort of thing like that, after all, that is what we are doing here. Social Media Ministries is committed to bringing you a new sermon each and every week on how to follow Jesus. All of these sermons are right from the Bible and so that is the main thing. Wherever you are attending your church make sure that your pastors or your leaders are based on the Bible. If they preach the Bible you are good to go.

That is the main thing. Make sure they are not getting caught up in tradition. We are going to dive into this and learn a little bit more about what Jesus said so that you are following Jesus and not something created by humankind.

Now let’s start out with some verses. All of these verses are going to be referenced below. If you do not have your Bible feel free to come back later and read them. Isaiah chapter 29 verse 13. Isaiah 29:13, it says, ‘The LORD says these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’

Their worship is made up of rules, they are far from me, this was Isaiah prophesying of stuff that happened then and then Jesus makes a reference to this later on. We are going to turn to John chapter 14 verse 6. John 14:6 says, ‘Jesus answered I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me you would know my father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ This is when Jesus is comforting His disciples.

He is the only way to heaven. Your religion cannot save you, your traditions cannot save you. Jesus, He says I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Not me, Him, except through Jesus. That is it. Your religion does not save you. Your works do not save you. Your good deeds do not save you. Your charitable giving does not save you. Your church attendance does not save you.

There is no brownie-point system here. There is only one way, no one goes there except through Jesus. Follow Jesus. Remember Jesus came here not really to reaffirm and build religion, He came here not to destroy it, but He came here to shake things up.

He came here to raise the bar, to say yes you guys have been doing this, that is fine, that is good but you are doing this and this and this and it is wrong, and you are doing this and this, that is good. But let’s be better. So He raised the bar and guess what, people did not like that.

People did not like that He came here and said you got to change this because they have been doing it this way. Who is this guy to come here and change all this? Is not this the son of a carpenter, He is just a stone mason or a bricklayer and so for that they started ridiculing Him. They call Him a glutton and a drunkard.

Luke chapter 7 verse 34 says, ‘The son of man came eating and drinking and you say here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Of course, it is not the healthy that need a doctor, it is the sick.’

So Jesus related that to it. It is not the righteous people who need to be saved, it is the sinners. So of course that is where He is going to go. The Pharisees were blind, the people were blindly following the Pharisees, and they were blindly leading. They were going right on tradition and that is it, people were blindly following whatever the Pharisees told them to do, eat this, do not eat that, dress this way, say these prayers, do this ten times, spin in five circles and stand on your head and you are good to go. All this kind of craziness, this tradition, the rituals, people doing things and not even thinking about them.

It is monotonous, they were robots following and a lot of religious practices do that today. How many times do people have to say prayers a day? Do they really mean the prayers? Are they saying them when they are supposed to or are they just saying them a number of times, one time a day to get them over with for the day?

People go to church or mass or service or gathering, whatever they call it. Are they going and really trying to get something out of it, or are they just going because they have to go every week? They throw on a shirt and they show up whether they are hungover or not, are they living the lifestyle or are they just going because they think they have to go? Brownie points, good works, they are trying to work their way somewhere.

Are they doing, saying these prayers just because they know they are supposed to pray before they eat? But it is some monotonous rehearsed thing that they really feel the words that they speak, if everything that they do is happening without emotion, without thought. But it is just monotonously rehearsed, they are robotic, they are not feeling what they are doing and they are missing something.

That is what Jesus was saying. He said this is no way to live, He encouraged people hey think for yourselves, stop doing what people are telling you to do blindly. Stop just going through the motions. Start thinking for yourself and feel what you are doing.

Let’s check out another verse, Matthew chapter 15 verses 3 to 7. ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said Honor your father and mother and anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death. But you say that if a man says to his father or mother whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God, he is not to honor his father with it.’

‘Thus you nullify the Word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by humankind.’

Very interesting. Jesus called them out. He came here and He said you guys are following tradition, these are just rules that you have come up with over the ages, over time, and you are just blindly going through the motions doing this, doing that. You have no feeling or thought going into what it means. Why are you doing this?

If someone asked you why you are doing this, do you have a reason? Do you have that heartfelt emotion that is going into that action? Or you say I do not know, we have always done it this way, or this is the way I was taught. Jesus says no, learn for yourself. Study the scriptures, do not simply accept them as told by someone else or religious leaders, but read, discover for yourself.

Jesus came here and was giving the people a mind of their own. He said in Matthew 15:11, ‘What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’ He said this when the Pharisees and Sadducees and the teachers were criticizing His disciples saying why do not they wash their hands? He says hey it is another tradition.

What is going on? Like you got to follow these traditions in order to do everything? No, it is not what you consume that defiles you, it is what comes out. Because it is what is in your heart that comes out of your mouth and that is what defiles you or makes you unclean.

Jesus came here and told the people that what they were doing was wrong, that you are going through all of these traditions. How many times in the New Testament did Jesus get ridiculed for doing something on the Sabbath? That sacred day. He says hey if someone breaks their leg or if your donkey or something stumbles, would you not help it? The people were so ignorant at that time and they still are today. We simply have these stories so we are a little less ignorant, but it is still around.

What are you doing with your time? Are you following religion, tradition, and rules? Or are you following Jesus who is supposed to be the root of whatever religion you are in? It is a good question and whether it is Jesus or God, Jesus says He is the only way, so you have to follow Jesus and of course the Father Yahweh.

Of course, I am not saying religion is bad. Religion is a great thing that provides comfort, support, and healing to the masses of people which is excellent. We need to gather with others. We need to be going to church. We need that community. We need that relationship.

But remember church is not a building, the church is us. We are going to talk about that again. This is a four-part sermon series so we have got a lot to cover and I hope you stay with me. The main thing is with what you are doing are you simply following traditions and rules that were invented by humans? Remember humans are flawed so following rules and traditions created by humans is not always the best thing.

Of course, you need to obey the laws, you need to follow the rules, etc that God established in His authority here. So we need to follow that. But if your church or your religion is telling you to do this, do this, do this, do this, what is the reason for doing that? Is it simply because they have always done it that way, or is there something behind it?

When you are doing these things like taking communion for example as maybe your church does every week, maybe they do it once a month, what is the reason for doing that? Do you honestly internalize that? Do you feel what you are doing? Do you understand what is going on there, the significance of it and are you appreciating what was done to make that happen? If you are just going up and taking it and getting your blessing and moving on you are following a tradition, you are blind. Open your eyes.

That is what Jesus came here and said to do and people did not like that because of course the elders and the churches or the rulers or the leaders at the temples and the synagogues they said this guy is causing all sorts of problems. He is giving the people a mind of their own. He is telling them to think for themselves. We are losing our control and that is why they did not like Him, among other reasons.

They plotted to get rid of Him. Matthew 26 they wanted to kill Jesus. The plot against Jesus. The whole chapter of 26 is a plot of them trying to entice Him and kill Him. They did this multiple times but 26:4 they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill Him. Sly way, so they were plotting evil here. It was not like they were trying to get rid of someone who was evil or bad, they were maniacally manipulatively plotting behind the scenes to eliminate Jesus because they were beginning to lose their control of the people they thought.

But really the people were starting to realize that they need to serve God, not man or humans, and these group of leaders did not like that. They wanted to be almighty and powerful. It was them that had the problem and that is what Jesus said over and over again.

One part of the New Testament He really lays into them. You guys are like white-washed tombs, you dress up all nice on the outside, and inside you are filled with rotting corpses. I mean talk about an insult. A brood of vipers which they were. They all walked around all high and mighty, ridiculing people, covering their mouths to anyone who might have been sick. When Jesus was the one that went up and embraced people with leprosy, outcasts and made them clean.

There is another lesson there. What type of person are you? Are you out there serving your community or are you hiding and being all high and mighty saying I am too good for that? They were losing their control and Jesus was giving the people a mind of their own. He was giving them eyes to see and ears to hear and He was encouraging them to start thinking for themselves. To follow God, to question, to ask questions, to learn more. He encouraged them to read their Bibles.

Remember at this point in time many people were illiterate, they did not know how to read or write and so they had to take whatever the authority said at what they said. They said this is what the Bible says and they could have been making something up, they could have been interpreting it incorrectly, but the people did not know how to read it for themselves.

In today’s world, you could ask a hundred people, you could ask a thousand people, and maybe only one or two would be illiterate. Most people know how to read now and if they do not know how to read they could listen to the scripture. It could be read for us through the Bible app, so we have the ability to read and understand it way more than they did back then.

We should definitely be forming our own opinions and learning ourselves and discussing it with others so that those opinions that we form are not incorrect but that they are correct. Remember they can only be correct through the interpretation of the holy spirit and that has to be given to you. You have to have that inside in order to understand the Bible. If you do not have that, ask for it. We would love to help you learn how to get it. Our other messages have talked about it before. But comment below.

We can continue on. Religion, remember it can be helpful in your walk with Christ, but it is Christ that you must follow. In everything you have to be like Him. He left a great example for you to follow. Remember that He left a really good example.

Let’s read one more passage. This is a little bit longer but we are going to dive into it, Matthew chapter 23:1-9 ‘Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples, the teachers of the law, the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat so you must obey them and do everything they tell you.’ Jesus is saying hey anyone in authority that authority has been established by God you must obey them, you must listen to what they say.

‘But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see.’

‘They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long. They love the places of honor at the banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues. They love to be greeted in the marketplace and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, you have only one master and you are all brothers. You are not to call anyone on earth father, for you have one father and he is in heaven.’

We talked about that in another message called One Father, so check that out if you have not seen it before or heard it before. What is Jesus saying here? He is saying hey the people who are leading your churches, your synagogues, your temples, your groups, those people were put there for a reason. Follow what they say if they are speaking from the book of the law, from the Bible. Follow what they are telling you because what they are telling you is coming directly from God’s Word. But if you see them out, do not do what they do, because not everyone practices what they preach.

Humankind, we are flawed, even myself, even your other pastor, your leaders, they are flawed as well. Now of course they may be trying really hard to be a good example, but do not do everything they do. We are sinful. I do not want you to do everything I do, because then whenever I mess up you are gonna mess up. That is where we get, do as I say not as I do, however how hypocritical that is.

What Jesus was saying here is these people they tie up heavy burdens, they love the places of honor, they dress so full of pride, they want to be greeted in the marketplaces. These people, He is saying, they are so hypocritical. Do not be like that. He is saying go out there and do and tell people what the Bible says. Tell people about Jesus but then also strive to be an example of what you are doing, exactly like Jesus.

Jesus was not all high and mighty and too proud to be with people and wanted to be greeted. No, He often said hey I will heal you but do not say anything. Hey, let’s withdraw. Let’s get out of here. Or He went and spoke and tried to keep the crowds less and He wanted to be with them and He was not better than them. He came here to be a servant and to show people and to lead by example and that is what Jesus is saying here. These people are not leading by example and so they hated Him for it.

But the people of course loved it because they said yeah we want more people like this Jesus. Not like these people who are always speaking down to us and condemning us. So the question is what are you going to be like if you are in a church or you are on a leadership team somewhere? Are you the type of person who is leading by example, who is following Jesus? Or are you the type of person who is using your position, your place of honor, as a means to exalt yourself? Stay humble, be like Jesus, follow Jesus.

And I hope that you continue to follow us because we have three more messages that will continue on in this series. Any comments, questions, place them below. Remember to be polite and respectful in your discussions.

Let’s pray. Jesus thank you for coming here and for setting the record straight and for showing us that tradition and doing things simply because this is the way they have always been done is not right. That we need to think with our minds and that we need to have eyes to see and ears to hear and an open mind and be willing and ready to accept and understand what is going on. That in order to do these things we must have that feeling and that emotion within, inside of us, so that we know why we are doing it and what the purpose is and that we understand exactly what is going on.

Thank you Lord for establishing and setting the rules and the formalities of how to meet together with others and what we are supposed to do and how we need to interact and pray and lead by example. Thank you for being the best example ever. I pray that each and every person out there will strive to be more like you each and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thanks again for being here this week. We have got three more in this sermon series so stay tuned for them. They are going to be great. God bless.