Can You Call Yourself a Christian if You Don’t Follow The Word of God?

Doesn’t it make sense that someone who calls themselves a Christian — a follower of Jesus — obeys His Word? Of course! That’s what we find in Luke chapter 6. Here we have several important teachings that we need to pay attention to and apply to our lives if we want to call ourselves Christians. Let’s dig in…

Luke 6

One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.”

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

The Sabbath Law

The Jews got the Sabbath Law from Moses in the 10 Commandments. We find that in Exodus chapter 20…

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

Exodus 20:8-11 NLT

Is the “Sabbath” Saturday or Sunday?

It depends, but does it matter? The whole idea behind the Sabbath rest is REST. Do not work to earn money one day of the week.

I used to be an workaholic. Consequently, my health suffered. There is a reason God told us to work 6 days and rest one day. Which day of the week that is really doesn’t matter. Just as long as you rest from working. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do laundry or clean your house. How strict you observe this is up to you. I knew a gal once who was a Seventh Day Adventist. I invited her to a computer class on a Saturday and she said, “Sorry, that’s my day of rest and worship. No working allowed.”

Later, I worked with a guy in a retail store who would not work on Sunday at all. Now, we all had days off during the week. His had to be Sunday.

The Problem with the Jewish Sabbath

What happened is the Pharisees and the teachers of Jewish law added very strict rules to the Sabbath commandment. That’s why you see many Jewish people walking on Saturday to temple. They can’t drive a car or operate any machinery. These are the Orthodox Jews who still obey the strict rules. Back in Jesus’ day, they were not allowed to do anything strenuous. They considered it “work”. Jesus put them in their place.

Nonetheless, just don’t overwork yourself. Take a day off once a week. Period. Continuing…

Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles

12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:

14 Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
15 Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), 16 Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

What’s the Difference between a Disciple and an Apostle?

Jesus had many disciples following Him. A disciple is just that — a follower who tries to emulate — be like their leader or teacher. He chose 12 of them as Apostles — these He recognized as leaders who would go out and teach and make more disciples.

Why, if He knew that Judas would betray Him, would He pick him?

He knew His fate.

Historian Luke doesn’t want to leave out details that will factor in later in the story. Like when he mentioned that John the Baptist was arrested by Herod in Luke 3. It didn’t happen before Jesus was baptized, obviously, but it will factor in later.

Blessings and Woes

17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,

“God blesses you who are poor,
    for the Kingdom of God is yours.
21 God blesses you who are hungry now,
    for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
    for in due time you will laugh.

22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

“What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
    for you have your only happiness now.
25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
    for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
    for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
    for their ancestors also praised false prophets.

Here, Jesus basically tells us what to do and what not to do. Obey Him and you’ll be blessed. Disobey and you’re in trouble. Compare this “Sermon on the Plain” to the “Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew.

Love Your Enemies

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

This is the tough one. We can easily hate many people. Especially those we disagree with and those who disagree with us. Clearly, Jesus tells us that we need to respect everyone as human beings created in the image of God. One thing we can definitely do is pray for them.

Do Not Judge Others

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

This here is your basic “Golden Rule”– Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He’s warning hypocrites to clean up their act before trying to help a friend clean up theirs.

The Tree and Its Fruit

43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Building on a Solid Foundation

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Luke 6 NLT

How Strong is Your Faith?

When the cultural floodwaters rise do you go with the flow or stand your ground? If you’re faith is built on the solid Word of God, then you will be able to withstand everything this world throws at you.

On the other hand, if your faith is weak and you are just a Sunday morning churchgoer, then you’ll be washed away with the evil and perverted lifestyles, customs and habits of today’s world.

Jesus didn’t ask us to follow a set of strict rules.

As disciples, He calls us to Himself. We are responsible to read the Word and apply what it means to build a strong faith and a life with a solid foundation.

This faith will not perish when challenges and trials come our way. Thus, it is up to us to decide what we are going to do with His teachings. 

If you’re not obeying God’s Word, then don’t call yourself a Christian. You don’t have the right to call Jesus “Lord”. It starts in your heart.

How’s your Heart?

Let Jesus Change it

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!

23 thoughts on “Can You Call Yourself a Christian if You Don’t Follow The Word of God?”

  1. Aw! Sabbath rest. It is such an important conversation. One of the things I found fascinating about Israel is the level of traffic, what was open and what was closed depended on the owner of businesses. If a Christian owned something, they might be closed Sunday. If a Jewish person was running something it was Saturday and Muslims would close up Friday. I have no spiritual point, other than it was interesting.

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  4. Lately I’ve been a little stuck on the basics in John’s writing and it something we should all consider. We need to love everyone just the way Jesus did. God says unless we love everyone He won’t know us. Hate isn’t in God only love. It won’t be because He doesn’t love us that some will end up in hell. Notice I didn’t say we have to agree with everyone but only love them. I like your blog thanks for the good writing.

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