How Does the Bible Help Us Follow Jesus

Last week, Jesus said there are two paths we can take in life. One is super popular; most people are on it. But it sucks the life out us. Just listen to our world today. It's self-righteous, controlling, violent, hateful; it's the wrong way. Even though most choose this path, Jesus says it leads to destruction.


But there is another way. Jesus says it leads to life, though few find it.


If you realize the road that everyone else is on doesn't work, there is a better way... and it works. If you ask, "What's that way?" Jesus said, "I am the Way..."


John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." 


He's not bragging, He is just telling the truth and inviting you to join Him.


Everything that Jesus did was to bring us back into fellowship with the Father. He doesn't bring you to a judge to condemn you; but to the Father to love you.


If that's missing in your life, Jesus says, "I am the Way to the Father."


That's what the cross was all about. That's what all the sacrificial lambs pointed to, what the miracles proved, and what Jesus forgiving people's sins was all about. Jesus says, "Come to the Father through Me. Trust Me to restore you, and I'll bring you close to the Father."


When you realize this is what you need and you trust Jesus, everything He did on the cross is given to you. Your life and the whole direction of your life changes.


But we live this new life by faith, for now, in a dark world where everyone takes a different path. And even for the most devoted, it's embarrassingly easy for us to lose our way at times.


Yet God gives us help. We need to accept it, take advantage of it. And one of the aids He gives is His Word. The Bible helps us to follow Jesus and mature into the people God says we are.


Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


Jesus is the Way, but to follow Him in a dark world, God gives us the Bible to light the Way.


There's a great example of the power of God's Word from Jesus' own personal experience but I think it's very helpful to us.


When Jesus began His ministry, a special word was given. A voice broke through the spiritual glass which conceals God from man; the Father publicly declared of Jesus, "You are My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."


Many perceive of God's Words to consist solely of commands, restrictions and penalties. But the Word of God which launched Jesus into public ministry was the assurances of the Father's love and pleasure. "You are My beloved Son, and I am so proud of You!"


And Jesus believed God's Words!


I'm sure they were deeply moving to our Lord.


Led by God's Word, Jesus went on to serve the Father and to love others, even those who hated him. This is a far different from the way of the world. And His actions were motivated by hearing and God's Word not the hubris of the world.


Just as the Word of God's love and pleasure launched Jesus' ministy, it launches you into a new life.


When you trust Jesus, the Father tells you, "You are my beloved son or daughter in whom I delight. You are as precious and holy to me as my only begotten Son. Today, I give you eternal life and I will never take it away. I am with you and shall never leave you. I forgive you and will never condemn you. And nothing in this world, nothing in you, and nothing that you do can ever get in the way of the love that I have for you in Christ Jesus."


God's Word sets us on our new path with Jesus, and His Word keeps us going with Jesus.


This is why we need to engage "heart and mind" God's written Word, because we don't hear words of life in the world.


People don't trust God's Word or God's love, so they run on empty, working and twerking to validate themselves and somehow merit these words from someone who can make them feel loved, important, valuable. We too often live here. Yet we are free in Christ. We have these promises given us by our Lord freely and certainly.


With these words and so many others, the Bible helps us to follow Jesus in a dark world. So to the point, the bible is God's word. So it's true and it works.


2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture  is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.


The original Greek says "all Scripture is God-breathed." The Spirit breathed into the human authors the very words that they wrote while honoring their personalities and their circumstances. But when you open your bible app or the pages of your bible, you are presented w God's very Words.


So many people want to hear from aliens and beings from other galaxies (SETI), yet we have in our hands, our Bibles, on our phones, wherever we are, we have God's Word from outside of our galaxy, from outside of space, time, and matter. From a completely different dimension and exprience.


And it works.


If you read and believe it, it will teach you what is real. If you allow, it will correct what is false. God speaks through it to tell us what really matters. He uses it to continually revive your weary heart and your vision of Jesus, enabling you by His Spirit to trust and follow Jesus even in the darkest of days.


Psalm 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, LORD, according to Your word.


The Bible works. God uses it to revive and to increase our faith in Jesus.


Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.


The Bible assures us of the Father's love despite our selfishness, of the Spirit's power when we are weak, and cutting through the fear and anxiety of this world, Christ assures us of His own steady control when the rest of world acts like its hair's on fire.


We particularly need to engage the Bible because social media gives this world unprecedented access and influence over our hearts and minds.


Self-righteous people on every side of every possible issue speak 24/7 in absolutes, spouting their proud opinions as facts, ignoring the words of life in Christ while authoritatively moralizing and trying to control us, telling us how to think, what really matters, how to live out our faith, what is good and evil.  


A wise person can realize the world's disdain for God's Word and admit it's greatest spokespersons are no friends of Jesus—and we can choose to no longer feed on their emptiness. The truth is, what they say does not bring us closer to God nor help us to love one another or to follow Jesus.


We need to discern their words and limit their influence just as Jesus did. I love His gentle honesty,


Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, since you do not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God."


The Bible is true and it works—precisely because it does not confirm our biases. It rarely sounds anything like CNN or Fox News; it offends everyone equally, yet saves ALL who believe. The writers throws shade at our idols and point the light directly on Christ.


The Bible points weary hearts to Jesus. It truly offers words of life. And it equips the believer to face every hurdle, every hurt, every challenge.


The Bible is God's Word and it works.


1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us [the apostles], you accepted it not as the word of mere men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe.


The Bible works. It is "at work in you who believe," helping you to trust and follow Jesus, even if it seems foolish to those who don't believe.


1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


The Bible works. It worked for Jesus. He held a fierce trust in it.


Mark 13:31 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."


Matthew 4:4 He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"


God's Word isn't given just to read it but to trust God and to live by it.


Jesus calls us to take a next step. Read the Bible. Believe it. And then act on it.


John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love [experience my love]; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.


Jesus ties our trust and obedience of His word to our experience of His love and His joy. This is how you abide close to me: keep my word; it is how you let me love you, guide, and protect you. There’s enduring joy in God's will.


If you seek to follow Jesus and go new places with Him in 2021, you need to counter the world's talking heads. You need more input directly from God. You need to do something which the world mocks: read this Book with faith.


I want to suggest a handful of next steps to take depending on where you're at.


1. If you haven't yet, get a bible, download the Bible App and begin to read it.


I read the NASB or the ESV. The NASB 2020 was just released online. A bigger release of the NASB 2020 is scheduled for April. Maybe get a good commentary like the Bible Knowledge Commentary.


2. If you read the Bible once or twice a week, consider doubling your time in the Word.


Start in the Gospel of John, then read 1 John near back of the Bible. Or read the Gospel of John then the Gospel of Mark and focus on Jesus. Or read Luke's writings, Luke and Acts. Or do a slow read through Paul's letter to the Romans. Read Paul's prison letters, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon.


Let God speak to you. Listen to it as to God. Ready to believe, willing to respond.


3. Read the entire New Testament this year.


If you are really ambitious, read the whole bible. Value the OT for the revelation of God's holy nature, and its promises of Christ. Value the NT as a whole new way of life.


4. If you frequently read God's Word, memorize a favorite passage two which you deeply trust.


And let God cement those in your heart as unassailably true.


Perhaps ask what you personally need to hear from God? About His love? His forgiveness? His power over sin? Or on a specific issue.


If, for instance, there a subject taught in His Word that you struggle to accept, do a deep dive. Open the concordance. Pursue what God says about the issue, and notice why, or consider why He says what He says about it. And in humility let God speak directly to a specific need and nail these down.


5. By God's Spirit, act on the truths that touch your heart.


Experience intimacy with Jesus, and discipleship to Jesus in a new way.


6. If you do these and you get God's Word, teach it, disciple another, share the good news of Jesus Christ.