Though None Go With Me

Though none go with me, still I will follow (3x)
No turning back, no turning back.

Everyone wants to be loved. No one wants to be hated.
Everyone wants to be received. No one wants to be rejected.
Everyone wants to be praised. No one wants to be persecuted.
Everyone wants a pat on the back. No one wants a slap on the face.
Everyone wants to hear, “Well done.” No one wants to hear, “I don’t know you.”

jesus-carries-the-cross christCompare this portrait with Jesus Christ. He was hated, rejected, and persecuted to save sinners (Matthew 26:67, 27:28-44; John 15:18-25). Jesus still receives such treatment from unbelievers. Only those who follow him will hear Jesus say, “Well done” (Matthew 25:21, 23). The rest will hear him say, “I don’t know you” (7:23, 25:12).

“Therefore, whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV)

True Christians take up the cross each day. They say no to sin and self and yes to the Bible and holiness, through the Holy Spirit’s power (Matthew 10:38, 16:24). They’re hated, rejected, and persecuted by this world as a result (Matthew 10:22-23, 24:9; John 15:18-20, 17:14; Hebrews 13:13, James 2:6-7, 1 Peter 2:19-21, 3:16-17, 4:12-16).

Still, few people learn the high cost of the choice to follow Jesus. Even fewer are willing to make it when they do. They tell everyone that they will follow but when no one joins them, they turn back. Choosing to follow Jesus, “though none go with me,” is hard to do. It may cost us our jobs, families, friends, freedoms, and even our lives. So we must count the cost (Luke 14:28).

natalie-grantPhil Robertson counted the cost when he spoke biblical truth on homosexuality last month. Christian singer Natalie Grant did not. She left the Grammys on Sunday night but refused to say why, which is deceitful. I don’t think it involved the homosexuality and witchcraft on display. Natalie just doesn’t want to offend her gay friends. Yet believing that “they have their convictions and I have mine” is worldly wisdom. It’s not biblical.

Natalie doesn’t want to be hated, rejected, or persecuted for the truth. This attitude is moral cowardice. The lyrics to “Same Love” show what the unbelieving world thinks of the church, the Bible, and God – as it was displayed at the Grammys. Who does Natalie think she’s kidding?

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago.
— “Same Love” (Macklemore)

natalie-grant jesus crossMy favorite Natalie Grant song is “Because of Love,” from Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails (2000). “Because of love,” Jesus left his throne in glory and died on a cross to save us from sin. Yet Natalie doesn’t know the sacrificial love of Christ or the transforming power of the cross. Through the Holy Spirit, gays can become straight. Many already have. Natalie could tell her gay friends about this love, but how can she share – in words or in music – what she doesn’t know? Jesus lived and died for the truth, which Natalie has rejected. She doesn’t know who Jesus really is.

The church has little transforming salt, light, and power today. The reason is simple. For each person who takes up the cross, 100 lay it down. For every Phil Robertson, there are 100 Natalie Grants. Where are the men and women who will be like Noah, Elijah, Daniel, Esther, John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul? Where are the Christians who will follow Jesus, counting the cost? Where are the people who will stand up and speak the truth in public, even if they’re alone? Until this happens, the church will lose both the kingdom and the culture.

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