NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Matthew 4:19; 7:13-14, 21-23
- What is the greatest invitation you have ever received? How did you respond to it?
- How many people do you follow on social media? Why do you follow them?
- What did Jesus mean when He invited people to follow Him?
Food for thought:
What does it mean to follow someone or something? Spending time with a friend recently, she mentioned a kitten that traipses behind her everywhere she goes. We would say the kitten follows my friend. As a sports fan, I follow my favorite teams. That is, I stay informed with how they are playing and where they are in the standings, and keep up with their games. If we say someone follows a particular diet or philosophy, we understand that the person adheres to the guidelines, principles and practices associated with that diet or philosophy.
But what did Jesus mean when He said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19)? That is the question pastor and author David Platt explores in “Follow Me.” Did Jesus mean for us to tag along behind Him like the kitten? To keep up with what He was doing like a sports fan? To adopt a set of principles and guidelines like a dieter or philosopher? Platt stresses that one thing Jesus did not mean was to merely voice a prayer, even the so-called sinner’s prayer. He asks, “Should it alarm us that the Bible never mentions such a prayer?”
Indeed, Jesus Himself said that simply calling Him “Lord” would not secure anyone access to the kingdom of heaven — only doing the will of the Father would accomplish that (Matthew 7:21-23). So when Jesus said, “Follow me,” He must have meant more than saying a prayer or claiming that He is your Lord. Platt points out that Jesus also spoke of a narrow gate and a hard road that few would find, or at least be willing to take (Matthew 7:13-14). That road is strenuous enough that Jesus said following Him required laying down one’s life and taking up a cross (Luke 9:23-25).
Such dying to self involves a repentance that leads to a changed life. The idea one can attain rightness with God without seeing changes in one’s own life, attitudes and actions harbors a dangerous deception. Many have settled for saying the words of a prayer rather than following Jesus in His doing of the Father’s will.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.