This will be brief, to the point, and, I hope, helpful. My appeal is to every member of our church: Be helpful. Specifically, help others to follow Jesus. Though there are still lots of things that we cannot do during lockdown, we can do the most important thing, the very thing every disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is called to: We can help others to follow Jesus. Are you? Will you?
Helping others to follow Jesus is clearly the priority assignment Jesus gives to his disciples. Perhaps Jesus puts it most clearly in these words: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20). If we have repented of our rebellion against God, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose again for our justification, then we are one of his disciples. “Finished en klaar,” as they say. If you have been born again, you are a follower of Jesus. This means you have the responsibility to help others to follow him as well. What does this look like?
It may look like evangelism. As we have opportunity to point lost sinners to the Saviour, let’s do it! Personally, I’m convicted that I don’t look for enough “gospel opportunities.” I am praying to be more “soul conscious” as I go about my days. I want to be involved in rescuing the perishing. I want to be used to reach those who are following Satan, sin, and self, and see them turned around to follow Jesus.
Helping others to follow Jesus also looks like what we around here call discipleship. That is, connecting with another Christian with a view to helping them to know and walk with Jesus in increasing faithfulness and fruitfulness. When Andrew told Peter about Jesus, and when Philip likewise told Nathanael, they were helping others to follow Jesus (John 1:35ff). When the new covenant believers in Jerusalem gathered daily, they were helping one another to follow Jesus (Acts 2:42–47). When Aquila and Priscilla instructed Apollos more thoroughly in the gospel, they were helping that brother to follow Jesus (Acts 18:24–26), and he subsequently helped others in Corinth to follow Jesus (Acts 18:27–28). When Paul wrote his many epistles to both congregations and to individuals, he was simply helping them to follow Jesus. And the rest, as they say, is history; history that has now landed on our shoulders.
In these days of “constraint,” we can still help others to follow Jesus. We can phone and/or Zoom one another, zeroing in on the theme of our walk with Jesus. We can meet at a restaurant for coffee and Christ-directed conversations. We can have Christ-concentrated conversations in our home. We can read a good Christian book together and meet to discuss what we are learning. I suppose that if we put our minds to it, we can come up with many ways in which we can practically be helpful to one another in our commitment to follow Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, helping others to follow the Lord Jesus remains an essential service. The main thing remains the main thing. Though everything may have changed, when it comes to our mission, nothing has changed. With God’s help, let us be helpful.
Helping with you,