Thursday, September 18, 2014

Either We Follow Jesus In Everything or We Do Not Follow Him

There is a question every person who professes to be a Christian must answer: Am I a follower of Jesus Christ or not?

Now the question may seem to have an obvious answer. But I wonder how many people who claim to follow Jesus actually consider what following Jesus means. Too many people want to reduce the teaching of Jesus to "be nice to each other." But they also seem to want to separate His "nice" words from His commands. They cite the former (God is Love [1 John 4:8], Judge Not [Matt 7:1]) out of context and ignore His warnings and commands.

But there's a problem here. If Jesus is to be obeyed when He says to love each other, He is also to be obeyed when he says:

  • If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matt 7:21-23)
  • Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)
  • “If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. (Matt 18:15-17)
  • And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

And that's the whole problem with the Catholic who thinks He can separate Jesus' words of love from His warnings of judgment. We can't say we follow Jesus if we refuse to live as He has commanded. That command also includes giving His authority to His Church and heeding her.

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