“We Will Follow Jesus”

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16.24)

     INTRO.: A song which reflects upon what is involved in following Jesus is "We Will Follow Jesus." The text was written by an unknown author. John Julian said, "This anonymous hymn for children is given in a few modern collections, including the Voice of Praise, 1887, where it is marked as American, the Scotch Church Hymnary, 1898 &tc." The tune is identified as a German melody. It is most likely of folk origin. Among hymnbooks published during the twentieth century by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. The only other book of my collection in which I have found the text is in the 1925 Hymnal–Church of the Brethren from the Brethren Publishing House of Elgin, IL (1940 edition) with a tune (Beachley) by Arthur Cottman.

     The song encourages us to do whatever is necessary to follow Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 says that we must follow Jesus because He calls us
"’Follow me,’ the Master said; We will follow Jesus.
By His Word and Spirit led, We will follow Jesus.
Still for us He lives to plead, At the throne doth intercede,
Offers help in time of need: We will follow Jesus."
 A. Jesus indeed calls us to follow Him just as He called the apostles: Matt. 4.19
 B. However, Jesus does not call us to follow and then leave us on our own to do the best that we can by ourselves; He provides that we be led by His Word and Spirit, because the sword of the Spirit by which He does His work is the word of God: Eph. 6.18
 C. And He offers help in time of need because He ever lives to make intercession for us: Heb. 4.14-16, 7.25

II. Stanza 2 says that we must follow Jesus even in the face of opposition
"Should the world and sin oppose, We will follow Jesus.
He is greater than our foes; We will follow Jesus.
On His promise we depend; He will succor and defend,
Help and keep us to the end: We will follow Jesus."
 A. The world and sin will certainly oppose us as we seek to follow Jesus: Jas. 4.4
 B. However, He who is in us is greater than anything in the world: 1 Jn. 4.4
 C. He has promised to succor and defend us in our temptations: Heb. 2.17-18

III. Stanza 3 says that we must follow Jesus though the way is dark
"Though the way may dark appear, We will follow Jesus.
He will make our pathway clear; We will follow Jesus.
In our daily round of care, As we plead with God in prayer,
With the cross which we must bear, We will follow Jesus."
 A. As we travel through this world following Jesus, the way may often appear very dark because this world is benighted by sin: Eph. 4.18
 B. However, He will make our pathway clear with the light of His word: Ps. 119.105
 C. And whenever we are beset by care, we can plead with God in prayer through Him: Phil. 4.6

IV. Stanza 4 says that we must follow Jesus to the end
"Ever keep the end in view; We will follow Jesus.
All His promises are true; We will follow Jesus.
When this earthly course is run, And the Master says, ‘Well done!"
Life eternal we have won: We will follow Jesus."
 A. We must ever keep the end in view because the end of a thing is better than the beginning: Eccl. 7.8
 B. This is especially true for the Christian because of the exceeding precious promises of God: 2 Pet. 1.3-4
 C. One of those promises is that when this earthly course is run, if we have been faithful we shall hear Him say, "Well done!": Matt. 25.21

     CONCL.: Julian referred to this as a "hymn for children." I am not sure that I know precisely what distinguishes a "hymn for children" from a "hymn for adults." Obviously, some songs have been specifically written for the express purpose of appealing to children or making truth more understandable to them. However, adults need to have a child-like faith, and children need to learn the truth that they will be following as adults. Therefore, whether young or old, as we reflect upon what is best for us in this life, we need to have the attitude, "We Will Follow Jesus."

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