Monday, October 20, 2008

If you are a Believer are you also a Follower?

Think about that for a minute.
My wife asked me the other day if the word believer was in the bible. I said, I don't know. I do know that the word believe was in there. So I did some research and found some scripture about believers. Some of them are Acts 16:1, 2 Corinthians 6:15, 1Timothy 4:12 and 1 Timothy 6:2. I didn't do any heavy research in the concordances, just what the back of my bibles had. That said, you may say well,what is your point then?
My point is, how many of us who do believe go up to someone and ask people are you a believer in our time of evangelizing? Usually the common answer we hear is yes, I believe in God, especially in the bible belt. Everyone in the bible belt is a believer right? (sarcasm) Anyway in the book of James we read the following: "You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder!"
A lot of people may say they are a believer for the following reasons; they go to church, they were baptized as infants in the church, they were told they are saved because they said a prayer, or they were born in the United States.
Perhaps it's not always best to ask a person if they are a believer in God when you first meet. Maybe we should say, are you a follower of Jesus. Or maybe we should add, have you been following Him since you believed.
You see a true believer should be producing fruit. I urge you to read the book of 1 John and see what a believer should look like. Listen to this as you read it, 1 John 2:4 "Whoever says, 'I know Him' but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked." So if you say you believe or are a believer, are you walking in the way Jesus walked when He was on earth?
1 John 5:1f "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments."
1 John 5:10-11 "Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son."
People who truly believe in Jesus are called sheep, followers, chosen, and saints. I am not saying the word believer shouldn't be used, but maybe we should be better at clarifying what we mean. Are you following Jesus since you believed? Is there fruit in your life? If you say you believe in God then you should be bearing fruit. You should be humbly seeking Him and wanting to do His will.


Lionel Woods said...

I like that follower. I think the term believer has too limited of a scope friend. To follow automatically encompasses believing, but believing may not encompass follower. A follower seems to be committed, it involves sacrifice, and submission. While believing can be done from a distance.

Tommy said...

I think that in scripture you find that the writers wrote to people who believed,and claimed to believe admonishing them to act on their belief. For example in James in the verses above and below the verse you mentioned, the writer tells them that faith without works is dead. The idea is that belief is a necessary step, but not the end all final act, you must continue to act in accordance with your belief. To say you are a follower would indicate that you believe and act upon it, so I believe that there would be great value in approaching new people with the question are you a follower of Jesus.