“Following Jesus” versus “Liking Jesus”
I doubt Jesus likes Facebook much. Especially now (2020) – where faceless Facebook minions are actually censoring Christian conservative thought. [The Christian Post reported this about Facebook, – Facebook shuts down Christian ministry’s page with no explanation. – Source: 0% Soon]. I find it totally amazing that companies censor so willy nilly. In America no less!
You can “Like” anything on Facebook. For instance: You can really really like what Jesus stands for. But “liking” Jesus is so very far and away – not the same as truly following Jesus.
I think a lot of us start thinking: “Liking is loving.” Not so.
Liking is not loving. Just as: Wannabees are not action heroes. You have to act – to actually be a hero. And “liking” Jesus – is not enough to actually be an active follower of Jesus. There are actual “things that accompany salvation”, as it teaches in verse 9 of Hebrews 6:4-9. Hebrews shows the logic: If you don’t see those “things”, there was no saving moment.
What constitutes “following Jesus” – as contrasted with just “liking Jesus”?
Jesus urges us with His Gospel, a crisp, clear calling – “follow Me”. It’s not merely a gentle “Respond to me, okay, like me, please….” The call to repentance is an active, life-long response to Jesus.
And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19
This confuses some folk. Especially confusing to some are passages like Hebrews 6:4-9 (quoted below), which addresses this very issue. It is so popular today – “liking” someone or some thing. There’s a lot of noncommittal going on. “We like it, but… not so much as to commit to it.”
Many folk never make the saving decision to move out… accept the grace of His saving knowledge — actually make a 100% giving-over to Jesus’ saving moment in time. Are you actually “all in” for Jesus? Or are you idly sitting as the moments fly by?
I will not sit by idly
picking, chiding, playing, eating
flitting here and there
idly sitting moments fly
chiding all my moments by
let all around me go to hell
I sit there idly and I die
What did I do
with what I was
with what I had
with how I could have lived
with what I could have done
with what I could have been?
Entrance into the Eternal
There is a most definite “crossing over” moment, that very personal decision that takes you into the eternal (prior to death).
Butterflies go through a life cycle of five stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Inside the chrysalis [what many mistakenly call a cocoon], several things are happening and it is not a “resting” stage. The caterpillar’s old body dies inside the chrysalis and a new body with beautiful wings appears after a couple of weeks. – By Tricia Lobo; Apr 30, 2020 – Sciencing.com. For more, read: https://askinglot.com/is-a-chrysalis-alive
Accepting Christ is where one leaves the cocoon and literally becomes another creature. I thank God I left being a worm, crawling in the muck – and became a new creature in Christ. I’m flying free!
According to Hebrews, all these “likers” of Jesus (verses 4-5) fail “the entrance exam” to heaven. They die “a pupa”. They die in their cocoon (or rather – their “chrysalis”). They never get “the beautiful wings”, never have the incomparable joy of leaving the worm carcass and transforming into a new creature. They will never fly, never be free as a butterfly. They never did more than just… “like it”.
They like it: “…those who have …tasted and consciously experienced….”
Let’s read the six verse passage:
4 For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have [a]tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
5 and have tasted and consciously experienced the good word of God and the powers of the age (world) to come,
6 [b]and then have fallen away—it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance, since they again nail the Son of God on the cross [for as far as they are concerned, they are treating the death of Christ as if they were not saved by it], and are holding Him up again to public disgrace.
7 For soil that drinks the rain which often falls on it and produces crops useful to those for whose benefit it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God;
8 but if it persistently produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
Better Things for You
9 But, beloved, even though we speak to you in this way, [c]we are convinced of better things concerning you, and of things that accompany salvation.
– Hebrews 6:4-9
Let’s Examine Hebrews 6:4-9
First: They were “enlightened” (v4). They love to learn a lot. “We just totally love all we learn at church”, they say. “So encouraging.” 1
Second: They “tasted” (v5). They say, “What a terrific thing these Christian folks have in their faith. I can feel it! It’s so moving I can taste it. Being here encourages me.” “I like it!”, they say enthusiastically.
Third: They “consciously experienced“…
a. “consciously experienced”…
“The heavenly gift” (v4). This phrase must be referring to God’s free gift of grace through faith – what “saves a wretch like me.” But many folk think that that grace is found sitting in church. This is like the old garage/car analogy: sitting there, soaking-up the rapture of cruising the coast – does not make you a car. Just so, sitting in church “Liking what it’s all about” – does not get you saved. And soon the thrill is gone. (Read The Parable of the Sower: most specifically verses 12 and 13 of Luke 8:4-15.)
b. “consciously experienced”…
“The good word of God” (v5). “What moving, meaningful ways of thinking. So deep and mystic. I like it!“, they say.
c. “consciously experienced”…
“The powers of the age to come” (v5). They say, “Wow, what mystery, all this Bible prophecy prediction stuff – like the best-selling, thrilling novel. The rapturous feeling of meeting Christ in the air, being with all His myriad of angels! Wow. I like it.”
Fourth: They “shared in the Holy Spirit” (v4). They say, “Such a peaceful thrill – being with nice people who actually are “into” Jesus. I feel it in my bones! I don’t get this anywhere else. Makes me feel so loved and accepted. I like it here.”
And, sitting in church, or online, they love the thrill of worship (v4). They say, “I just can’t get enough of the experience of lively Christian worship music. Makes me feel clean and right with God. Wow, all that singing and dancing! It moves me to the core.”
Take a good look at what real Christians were willing to do for their faith: People of Faith and What They Did. The saints of God in Heaven did not “like” their way into Heaven. They were all-in. Their heart was 100% given-over to Jesus.
It is true that “the flesh is weak”, and Christians can continue to fail at being holy in life and conduct — but their heart is 100% His. They come back, repent, renew.
Salvation is not about being perfect. Salvation is about accepting Him sincerely and in truth.
After God sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world to die as a man on your behalf… do you think He will tolerate a life lived “ho-hum” for Him? What are you thinking! Are you just “trying Jesus”, liking Him, or have you given Him your all: all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Are you ready, steady – and able?
Excerpt: “In our walk as believers, the biblical norm we aspire towards as Christians is an extremely high standard. In fact, it is an impossible norm – unless we are consistently filled with the Holy Spirit. Are you? The only way we can be who we truly are in Christ – is to be filled by His Spirit.”
Excerpt from The Holy Spirit in You?
“When we accept Christ, the whole universe becomes our family domain! We become a child of Creator God. In an instant, in that very moment when we confess to God and repent of our sinfulness, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our life, Creator God Himself cancels His decree of condemnation (Romans 2:12; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:9) against us in His Court — and we are born again, made a brand new creature inside.
Our new life, spirit and soul, begins eternal life as the Holy Spirit of God, part of the “three in one” mysterious Triune God, takes up residence in our body. The Holy Spirit in us seals God’s new covenant promising us eternal life in Christ.”
Butterflies …a living example of our new life “crossing over” moment where a believer becomes a brand new creation in Christ – a brand new creature: …go through a life cycle of five stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
Inside the chrysalis, several things are happening and it is not a “resting” stage. The caterpillar’s old body dies inside the chrysalis and a new body with beautiful wings appears after a couple of weeks. – By Tricia Lobo; Apr 30, 2020 – Sciencing.com. For more, read: https://askinglot.com/is-a-chrysalis-alive
Where Did Jesus Claim to Be God? …from str.org
- BibleGateway Footnote: “Tasted” Hebrews 6:4 This is the same Greek word that is used in Matt 27:34 regarding Jesus’ tasting the wine mixed with gall during His crucifixion. After tasting what was being offered to Him He refused to drink it.
Perhaps the use of this word in this passage (vv 4-6) refers to those who superficially “tasted” the gospel and outwardly appeared to embrace the Christian experience, but inwardly never committed in full surrender to Christ.