by Vicky Kaniaru
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) – Evangelist Bill Britt highlighted the necessities of being a follower of Christ April 12 during Truett-McConnell College's weekly chapel.
Expounding from John 1: 35-40, Britt stated three important facts for believers: Christ must become one's priority, Christ must control one's plans, and believers discover their purpose when they follow Christ.
"We really need to understand what it means to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and the price there is to pay to be a follower of the Lord," said Britt, who also addressed the subject of baptism by stating that Jesus accomplished two things when he was baptized: he identified with humanity and he inaugurated his public ministry.
"Every serious believer that has ever followed Jesus for over 2000 years has gladly followed him in believers' baptism," said Britt, who added that, though water does not change the believer, it does not "belittle the meaning of our obedience in baptism."
"Why are there so many questions?" said Britt, regarding baptism. "Why don't we just read and do what Jesus says?"
Britt recounted a story of a pastor and his wife who finally decided to obey the Lord in baptism, and even though doctors told them for years they could not conceive, they bore two children after their obedience.
Citing verse 35, Britt highlighted how John the Baptist's disciples left John and started following Jesus. "In other words, when you become a child of God, you stop following what you were following and you start following Jesus," Britt said.
In the South, Jesus is important to everybody, but he is not preeminent in most people's lives, said Britt, who added, "Jesus doesn't give a rip about being important to you. He demands to be preeminent in your life."
Britt said the disciples asked where Jesus dwelt to emphasize that Christ controls the plans of believers who follow Jesus. "They wanted to know where Jesus was going to be, and they were willing to do whatever it took to get there," said Britt, who cited Mark 3:13-14, where Jesus appoints the disciples.
"Your first ministry is not to preach and teach, go to the mission field, [or] do whatever God's called you to do; your first ministry is to be with Jesus before you go for Jesus," Britt said.
"When you spend time with Jesus, you can go for Jesus knowing what his plan is for your life," said Britt, who recounted a conference he attended in Amsterdam, where he heard the Waodani man who murdered the evangelical missionary Jim Elliot address the audience. The man later became a Christian, and in a beautiful display of forgiveness, Elliot's grandchildren refer to their father's murderer as grandfather.
Jim Elliot and his friends were great athletes. They could have gone to any school and played sports but "yet they had a call of God on their life. They went to the mission field, laid their lives down for the Gospel," said Britt, who cited the quote for which Elliot is best known: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Elliot gave his life, and that reflected the sentiment of a Dietrich Bonheoffer quote to which Britt alluded: 'When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
Recalling a revival meeting he preached, Britt recounted the reaction of a man whose teenage daughter responded to God's call on her life to become a career missionary. The father stood and said, "That girl over there on the right is my daughter, and I don't want her to go to the mission field. But if that's what Jesus wants, I give my little girl to him."
"When Jesus becomes your priority, then you know his plan," said Britt, who continued that believers discover their purpose when they begin to follow Christ.
The rest of the story in John chapter one consists of somebody bringing somebody to Jesus, Britt said, who added that the reason God doesn't take people to heaven when they get saved is because "he left you here to be salt and light, he left you here to be a soul winner."
"We're so intimidated by the world," Britt said. "We're so afraid. We won't open our mouths. We just won't tell somebody about Jesus."
"Right now, while I'm in this beautiful building preaching the Gospel, there is a man in Iran, there are people in Uzbekistan, and all over the world in prison," Britt said. "They're awaiting their death sentence, they're going to have their heads cut off, and you mean to tell me we can't open our mouths in a free society and tell somebody about Jesus."
How can believers say they're saved and never share the Gospel? asked Britt, adding that when one is saved, "they'll have a heart to tell somebody about Jesus."
"Who are you weeping for?" Britt asked. "Who is on your prayer list you're praying for to get saved?"
Britt also alluded to biblical illiteracy and that believers do not read their Bibles regularly: "I believe if American Christians just start reading the Word of God, we would have a revival."
Speculating about conversations in heaven, Britt asked what modern believers' responses would be to New Testament era Christians if they asked how cars, airplanes, and cell phones were used to reach the world with the Gospel?
"Most of us are going to hang our heads and say absolutely nothing," Britt said.
Vicky Kaniaru is senior staff writer at Truett-McConnell College