What makes someone a follower of Jesus? Going to church? Donating money to good causes? Trying to be a good person? The answer is actually much simpler: all we have to do is follow the Leader. In this message, Dr. Stanley outlines exactly how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, surrendering our lives and mirroring His life of prayer, service, and sacrifice. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to www.intouch.org/watch

if i should ask you

simple question are you a follower of


how would you answer that

are you a follower of jesus well if i

ask that to some people they would say

do you mean

do i believe in god no i just said are

you a follower of jesus

well they might respond well i know

about him

that’s not the question and oftentimes

they would say well i do attend church

that that’s that’s not the question

either or they might say

when i go to church every once in a

while they observe communion and i

participate in that

no i ask you if you are a follower of


well i give to good causes

that’s not the question well

i think i’m a pretty good person i

didn’t ask you that

um i try to live a good life i don’t

drink and run around on my wife

i didn’t ask you that i pray

when i feel like i have a need of it and

ask you to ask you

if you were a follower of jesus

it’s amazing how many people have

different answers and then

i do consider myself a religious person

i didn’t ask you that either

well my parents were very religious

and i didn’t ask you that either and the

truth is

all of those answers any one of them or

all of them together

would not equal whether you’re a

follower of jesus or not

and many people think if certain

activities are true in their life

certain experiences then they they must

be a follower of jesus they must be a


not necessarily so and so

i want you to turn if you will to

matthew chapter 4

and look at this 18th verse

are you a follower of jesus listen to

what the scripture says

the 18th verse of matthew 4. now as

jesus was walking by the sea of galilee

he saw two brothers simon

who was called peter and andrew his

brother casting a net into the sea for

they were fishermen

and he that is jesus said to them follow


and i will make you fishes of men

and they immediately left their nets and

began to follow jesus

where does jesus christ fit into your


and so when i think about that that’s

going to be the title of this message

following jesus so what i’d like to do

in this message i’d like to give you

the activities the experiences of a true

follow of jesus so that you can decide

whether you are not

because there are certain things that

are absolutely essential

to a follower of jesus many people think

they are

many people are not sure many people


they’re not and many people

truly are followers of jesus so

the purpose of this message is simply to

clarify that

so i hope you have a pen and a pencil or

a piece of paper and i want you to write

this down

because when somebody says are you a

follower of jesus

you can say yes specifically

if you know how to say yes

and i want you to examine your heart and

ask yourself the question not that you

go to church not have you been baptized

not have you taken communion

not have you done all these things but

am i true follower of jesus so

what does the true follow-up jesus look


what does it sound like what are the

evidences what are the experiences of a

true follower of jesus

so i trust that you’ll write them down

now to be a follower of jesus

step number one you must be born again

john 3

3 says truly truly i say to you

unless one is born again he cannot see

the kingdom of god or enter the kingdom

of god

so the first basic step of being a

follower of jesus is being born again

so forget the church business baptism

and all that stuff

it’s being born again which is a matter

of confessing your sins

surrendering your life to christ

accepting his forgiveness of your life

and beginning to walk in his ways

first of all being born again have you

ever been born again jesus could not

have made it more clear

when he said being born again not just

being better

not just improving being born again

as a result of your confession

repentance and surrender

your life to christ is savion lord step

number one did you get that say amen

step number two and that is

if you’re a follower of jesus you’re

going to be a person who prays

listen to what he says an example of

jesus in luke 6

verse 12 it was at that time

that he went off to the mountain to pray

and he spent the whole night

in prayer to god well somebody says well

i pray how often do you pray well once

in a while no

if you are really a follower of jesus


is a major part of your life in fact how

do you start the day off

living in this world without talking to

god and how do you go to sleep at night

with perfect security without talking to

god how do you face the issues in life

without prayer that is prayer should be

a habit

and not only a habit but a very

important part of our life

pray about what pray about everything

and jesus prayed about many things

but what i want you to notice is this he

watch this this is the son of god he


his day alone with god how many times


i mentioned that to you about starting

the day with prayer and getting along

having a quiet time if you’re going to

be a follower of jesus

a follower does what the leader does


so first of all you’re born again and

secondly you’re going to make

prayer a very very vital

habit in your life so i would ask you

this question

most of you consider yourselves

followers of jesus

where does prayer fit in your daily life

is it something you do when you get in

trouble when you have a need when you

get sick

if you think about it or you almost had

an accident you thank god

but prayer pray without ceasing the


says jesus began his day

not just in this verse but other verses

began his day

alone talking to the lord and of course

the disciples they couldn’t stand it

they’re there to find them and interrupt


but prayer is the second very vital part

thirdly if you

really and truly are a follower of jesus

you’re going to listen to him in matthew

chapter 17

verse 5. listen what the scripture says

while he was still speaking a bright

cloud overshadowed them and behold a


out of the cloud said this is my beloved


with whom i am well pleased

listen to him that’s the scripture

and i believe one of the greatest


among believers is failing to listen to


god is the sovereign god of this


lord master over all things who

requires our obedience surrender and

our acknowledgement of his

rule as god in this society and in this


how many of us are listening to him

when is the last time you got on your

knees or you got by yourself and your

particular place the praying just said

lord today

i’m not going to tell you anything i

just want to listen to you

lord you say well i’ve listened to god

and he didn’t say a thing

do you know why the attitude wasn’t


the sovereign god of the universe who

loved you enough to send jesus to die

for your sins

is always available to hear the prayers

of his children who come to him

in sincerity it doesn’t mean we have to

come to him all

confessed up because sometimes we come

to him in order to

confess and repent of our sin whatever

it might be

but a follower of jesus is the person

who prays

and the person who listens to god as

well as talk to god

so i would ask you the question have you

been born again

what place does prayer have in your life

and how often do you take time

to listen to him or do you all do all

the talking

and many people pray like this lord i’m

coming to you today for my needs you

know all my needs and i’m trusting you

to protect me watch over me and care for


and you know what i’d like to have you

know the things in life on my prayer


and i’m going to trust you take care of

me today in jesus name amen

that is all about me myself

and i not all about or any of all about

worshiping holy god who deserves our

allegiance and obedience to walk

faithfully before him number four

if i’m going to be a follower of jesus i

must believe him

this simple verse for god so loved the

world that he gave his only begotten

son that whoever believes in him will

not perish but have everlasting life

trusting him faith in him john 3 16 for

example that verse

is absolutely essential in order for us

to follow him

if i don’t believe him i’m not going to

do what he says

if i don’t believe him i’m not going to

obey him if i don’t believe him

i’m not going to walk in his ways if i

don’t believe him i’m going to live my

life centered around what i want when i

want it

whatever that might be can you honestly

and truly say

i live by faith i trust god for my needs

i trust god for my difficulties hardship


i trust god when i’m in a sense of


temptation what part does faith have

in my daily life in a practical

kind of life so

number five if i’m a follower of

jesus i’m going to obey

i’m going to obey john 8

12 says i am the light of the world

he who follows me will not walk in


but will have the light of life that

is who follows me who obeys me

if i’m really and truly a follower of


obedience is absolutely essential and

besides that

it’s the desire of my heart if i

understand who jesus

is i would be absolutely foolish not to

obey him

the bible says the wages of sin is what

that’s pretty weak the wages of sin is


death right why do i want to sin against


if i know that ultimately there’s going

to be death

not just physical death it could be

death to my true

ability to love somebody it could be


to my opportunity from god to be blessed

financially because i’m disobeying him


and we should go right down the line


is absolutely essential to being a

follower of jesus

and you say well why do you spend all

that time with that

let me ask you a question why did you

spend most of those early

hours and days of your children’s lives

saying that it’s what you must do

i want you to grow up to be and you were

teaching your children to do what

to obey you because you wanted them to

grow up and be the best they could be

if you follow jesus you obey him

if you don’t obey him you thank him for

sending you enough heartache and

troubles and trials

to correct your sense of misdirection in


obedience to him is absolutely essential

and people don’t like to talk about

obeying god they want to talk about

how good god is for sure god’s good and

you know one of the reasons he’s so good

is because he teaches us to obey him

who is the source of every good thing

that comes our way

now i hope you write these down and i’m

trusting you when you before you go to

bed tonight

check yourself out in fact it’d be a

good idea

if you had this list right by your bed

so you would say okay lord

i know i’m a follower of you so i know

i’m born again

i’m praying and listening in other words

check yourself out

a true follower of jesus christ is going

to do

every single one of these so far we’re

right correct

amen that’s pretty weak but you’ll wake

up in a minute

you’re going to obey him and then

you’re going to love him if you’re going

to follow him

you’re going to love him listen to mark

12 30. you shall love the lord your god

with all your heart with all your soul

and with all your mind and with all your


look at that love the lord your god with

all your heart

not a divided heart half in the world

and half with god

all your heart with all your soul that

is all your very being

your whole personality and

he says with all your mind that is if i

love it watch this

if i love god with all my mind i’m going

to be careful

what i place in my mind what i think


who i think about and the kind of

thoughts i have

if i’m a true follower of jesus and love

him with all my heart soul

and my mind i’m going to be very careful

what i place in my mind you can’t listen

you cannot love the lord your god with

all your heart

and sit and watch something on

television that absolutely messes up

your mind

challenges your sense of obedience

challenges your sense of purity in your

heart now if you really and truly

love him and we come to this whole issue

of loving him

that love is going to affect what i


the way i think where i go what i say

what i do

loving is going to affect every aspect

of our life

so when i think about people saying oh

yes i’m a believer i’m a follower of


and yet they’ve not even thought about

how their activities

indicate whether they’re a follower or


then share him that is tell somebody

else about him

listen to what he said in matthew 28 19

you know these verses go therefore

and make disciples of all the nations

that is spread the word get to the truth

of the word of god

to all the nations the people who love

us the people who hate us

and i think about how that verse is

taking place today

all over the world there are people who

risk their lives

24 hours a day to get the simple truth

of the gospel

to the people around them jesus

sent his disciples into a world of


bitterness animosity and death

but it is our responsibility to get the

word out

so that means i’m to tell somebody

but let me ask you a question

when is the last time you deliberately


singled out somebody that you knew

really and truly

needed to know about the lord jesus

needed to be saved when’s the last time

you said something to them maybe just a

little something inviting them to

anything in order to get them

to the place that they’re saved and

begin to follow jesus

he said that to his disciples but he

meant for us all to do that

go into all the world and preach the

gospel yes

but we can tell them how one-on-one they

didn’t have television radio microphones

or anything

but they transformed the world of their

day and today

we have the privilege of penetrating

every single piece of earth

upon which you and i live we have the


and the capacity to get it there

but here’s the truth i’m not too sure

how authentic i would be

if i were not interested in somebody

it’s one thing to say everybody what

about somebody

everybody knows somebody that you say

something to at least spark their

attention about their relationship to


that’s what a true follower of jesus


we follow jesus not blind we

but we follow jesus sensitive to people

around us

who are not following him who

desperately need him every single one of

us knows somebody

today who needs christ in their life

a true fa watchers the true follower

doesn’t shut their ears

or their eyes or shut down their


we are sensitive to somebody else around

us who so desperately needs him

then of course number eight

serve him if i’m a true follower of


i’m going to serve him in some fashion

listen to what

the scripture says in john 12 26

if anyone serves me the father

will honor him that is crystal clear if

anyone serves me

the father will on him you want to be

blessed by god

that’s the shortest one of the shortest

promises in the word

listen if anyone serves me the father

will honor him

all of us have the capacity to serve the

lord in some fashion

well how do you serve the lord by

serving somebody else in some way

there are many many ways to serve the

lord but

the issue here i think is that he wants

us to give ourselves

away to others think about this is that

not what he did

he came into the world 30 years he lived

those working years as a carpenter and

then those last years he spent

preaching the gospel sharing the truth

and dying on a cross for you and me what

was he doing

he was serving the father

and every time you and i do something

that is

godly that’s wise that’s helpful

either in what we say or what we do what

do we do we’re serving him

so that’s what that’s what true

believers do followers of jesus

are not self-centered followers of jesus

look around them followers of jesus are

able to hurt whether people are hurting

followers of jesus

are able to discern when someone around

them is hurting

and nobody else seems to care or


followers of jesus are willing to serve

others by giving to them

by encouraging them in some fashion by

presenting them with the truth of the


or presenting them with the truth of the

gospel when they don’t want to hear it

followers of jesus make a difference

and then of course this is one we don’t


followers of jesus suffer for him

are willing to suffer for him

philippians 1

29 is a great verse for you

it has been granted for christ’s sake

not only to believe in him but also to

suffer for his sake

now you say well i don’t know why i have

to suffer to be a christian

you may not ever have to suffer to be a

christian but if i’m going to follow

jesus i’m probably going to suffer in

some way

you say well pastors don’t suffer you

haven’t lived in our shoes

and other people well if you follow

jesus you’re going to suffer watchful

you’re going to suffer rejection by some

you may suffer financially you may


job-wise you may

suffer in relationships

if you’re a true follower of jesus some

people don’t want you

in their in their circle you know why

they don’t want you

you make them feel uncomfortable

because there’s something about your

personality that doesn’t fit who they


they love the world you don’t you don’t

drink what they drink go where they go

dress like they dress and so there’s

something about you that you don’t fit

but the scripture says we’re to suffer

for him

that is we’re to be where we need to be

whether we’re accepted or not

we’re to do what we need to do whether

they like it or not

we’re to share the truth of the gospel

when it’s acceptable or when it’s


true followers of jesus

now if you’ve written those down which i

trust that you have

but i’m brother said by the bedside at

your house and

but tonight before you go to bed just

look over them

you don’t have to say everything i said

just born again pray

listen believe obey love him watch this

when you right before sleep

go over something like this and you go

to sleep with that in your mind that’s

the last thing you’re thinking about

all night long your mind

is working that truth into your thought

processes when you wake up in the


if you simply went over all those today

and you simply said lord i want to be a


of jesus today thank you that i’m born

again and

pray and so forth and go right down the


it will not take you very long you’ll

know them all by heart

because your mind has been programmed to

think the way god wants you to think

and what happens god transforms our life

without even realizing what’s happening

and that’s my prayer for you now you’re

here this morning maybe you just dropped

in this a visit

or maybe you’ve been coming several

several sundays

but you’ve never been born again you’ve

never trusted jesus christ

to save you and surrender your life to

him that’s step number one

and i would encourage you because you

see the rest of this doesn’t count

forget the rest of them until you deal

with the first one

because everything else is a step upon

the first one

and if you are willing to ask the lord

jesus christ to forgive you of your sins

and you’re surrendering your life to him

today and you want to build

upon this foundation of your faith in


he’s willing to forgive you of your sins

and he’s willing to start with you today

living the most awesome life you could

ever imagine

amen amen let’s stand if you will

father how grateful we are that in all

of your infinite wisdom you’ve made


simple enough for all of us to


and know that we could walk in obedience

to your will

etch these truths

into all of our minds and hearts father

i pray that you’ll bring to every single


memory tonight before they turn off the

last light

to read these over and to ask you to

work them into their heart

and after they turn on the light

tomorrow morning

to read them again and lord that you


bring them to their mind one of them or

all of them

during the day as they meet other people

listening to their heart aches and

problems and burdens

we are followers lord we want to be true

genuine life-changing followers

of jesus and we thank you for that in

christ’s name