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not a fan.

September 29, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Discipleship

Over the next few weeks, the blog will highlight some of the community groups that will be offered at NewLife this fall. Today’s post will highlight Dave & Heather Lanier’s group, that will meet at their home in Manchester on Tuesday evenings from 7:15-8:30 from tonight, Sept 29th – Nov 16th. The group will be going through a study based on Kyle Idleman’s book “not a fan”.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:34-36)

This past weekend was our annual men’s conference at NewLife. On Friday night, I shared about the gospel of Jesus, and contrasted it with two tendencies we have in our Christian walk: legalism and antinomianism. The main belief of the legalist is “If I perform well, God will accept or bless me.” The legalist tends to believe that if he is praying regularly, having his quiet time, and living victoriously over sin, that God loves him more. But if he is falling to temptation and not spending much time in prayer or devotion, that God is angry or disappointed with him.

The antinomian, on the other hand, believes “Because God has forgiven me, I’m free to disobey.” She knows that God is loving and forgiving, and as a result doesn’t feel much motivation towards holiness or discipleship. After all, God loves us and will forgive our sins, right?

The answer to both extremes, of course, is the gospel: the legalist needs to remember that we are justified, declared not guilty, accepted by God, not by our performance but by Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death. Our performance as a disciple can not change that. As Paul writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). The antinomian, on the other hand, needs to remember that choosing not to follow God has consequences, that sin leads to slavery and death, that through Jesus’ death, God proved that He loves us and that His way leads to life. As Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

This fall, Dave & Heather Lanier will be hosting a community group that will look at Kyle Idelman’s book “not a fan.” This engaging book challenges people to move from being fans of Jesus – people who admire Him and think highly of His message – to followers: people who have turned from their own self-centered ways to take up their cross daily and follow Jesus. There are many people who call themselves Christians because they believe intellectually that Jesus is Lord, but their lives show no evidence that they are repenting of sins and following Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many would fall on the antinomian end of the spectrum, believing that because God is loving and forgiving, they don’t actually have to follow him. Others may be on the legalist end, thinking that being a good person is all that God wants of them. But the reality is that God calls us to follow Jesus, to seek first His kingdom, and to serve Him as Lord.

If you are able, I would encourage you to be a part of this community group, so that you might learn what it means to be not just a fan but a true follower of Jesus.

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