Following (1 Thessalonians #3)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

We blame leadership for the bad direction oftentimes, but you could make a case that people don’t know how to follow the right people.

Following is what a healthy Christian does

  • Normal part of the new birth is following the one who led you out of darkness into light.
  • ye became followers of us, and of the Lord…
  • Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
  • People follow people and that starts as children.  You imitate what you see and hear Mom and Dad do and say.  The facial expressions they make.  The way they carry themselves.
    • The things that get said at home often get said in public by the kids at the most inopportune time.
    • Point being you attached some significance at an early age to what you saw and heard even if you didn’t know what to make of it.  But it was normal to follow your parents just as it is spiritually normal.
  • You got saved and started living your Christian life by seeing what other believers were doing and doing that.
    • You didn’t know why they did some things they did, but you just said this must be what godly people do.  You did know that the sin you were living in was against God.
    • 1 Corinthians 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Following is for mature Christians

  • Get over the idea that you don’t need a man to follow or a woman to follow.  That’s a juvenile response.  Immature children stiffen up when instructed.  Mature people know how to listen and take instruction.
    • Come with me Johnny, we’re leaving now.  Johnny says, NO!
    • For some of you that about sums up your spiritual life.
    • But if you’re one of those who doesn’t need anyone to lead you because you lead yourself, you’re not leading, your wandering.  Spiritually, you’re a vagabond, homeless.
  • A mature Christian comes to a Bible believing church and says, Lord, help me to be blessing and help me get nourished.
    • Immaturity says, I don’t really need anything.  Me and the “big guy upstairs” got this.
    • You know, the older I get, the less I know.  When I was young I knew everything.  Then I grew up.  Some of you spiritually already got it all figured out.  But that’s not a sign of your maturity, rather a sign of your immaturity.
    • It’s time to grow up and get an appetite for what you need.
  • The Holy Spirit of God just told you if you’re following people who are going in the right direction, you ARE following the Lord.  And if you’re not following people who are following the Lord it’s not because you’re independent, it’s because you’re lost in the woods.

Following is not for the faint of heart

  • received the word with much affliction…
  • There are some obstacles to following God’s people who are going God’s way.  Pride is the most basic one.  “I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do!”  Yea, yea.  Get over it.  Look, the people that follow the flock and follow Paul in this instance aren’t the weak ones.  They are the strong ones.  “I don’t need to follow anyone” is not a statement of strength but a statement of weakness and ignorance.  David said, Psalm 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies
  • Sometimes you’re weakened and led astray by your lusts
    • 2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    • What’s a lust?  It’s something you want and something you want now.  It’s the leech.  Give me, give me.
  • Sometimes you’re weakened and led astray by errors
    • 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
    • Led away by lies.
    • Sometimes you’re weakened and led away by tradition
  • Jesus said, ye do make the words of God of none effect by your tradition.
    • It’s the way we’ve always done it.
  • Listen, if you follow someone into battle, that’s not because you’re weak, it’s because you’ve overcome your fear.

Following brings fruitfulness

  • with joy of the Holy Ghost…
  • Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Ghost.  Following brings God’s blessing and fruitfulness.
  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit
  • Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
  • We love God’s blessing, but we don’t love God’s blessing God’s way.
  • If you were stumbling around, feeling your way through a dark place and someone flipped on a flashlight and said follow me, your WISE response would be to follow.  You wouldn’t have a discussion about the one with the light or  say, I don’t follow any man!

Learning to follow makes you worth following

  • In verse 7 the Thessalonians became ensamples to all that believe.
  • Paul said, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.