(John LaVier served as the pastor of the Grace Church in Indianapolis, IN for 47 years until his retirement. He was one of the founding fathers of the Grace Movement who never wavered in his stand for the Word, rightly divided, as the following article demonstrates.)
Many times we have noticed various church bulletin boards, and have often wondered as to the source of the “words of wisdom” displayed on them. Most of them must have been taken from the almanac, for very few of them come from the Bible. One thing may be said in their favor; though often senseless, they are usually harmless as well. However, just recently, we were astounded to notice the following on the board in front of a large denominational church. It said: “Jesus Christ should be followed, not worshipped.”
Surely we are living in days of apostasy when a man who calls himself a minister of the gospel would have the brazenness to put such a saying in front of a church which pretends to bear the Name of Christ.
How can we follow Christ, unless we can worship Him as well? If the Lord Jesus Christ was not the Eternal Son of the Living God, then He was a deceiver of the basest sort, and is neither to be followed nor worshipped. If He was God manifest in the flesh, as He claimed to be, then He certainly is to be worshipped as well as followed, and like Thomas, we should prostrate ourselves at His feet and say, “My Lord and my God.” We need not speculate, though, as to whether He was or was not the God-Man. Hear the testimony of the Father Himself, who testified from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” We read also, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him” (John 5:23). Is God the Father worthy of our worship? Then so is God the Son.
The cry of these so-called Modernists, who are no more than christianized agnostics, is “Back to Jesus,” and it is sad to relate that some Fundamentalists seem to be echoing the cry of these infidel preachers. God’s program is not back to Jesus, but on to the Mystery. We are not to follow Jesus, a minister of the circumcision in the land of the Jews, but we are to be occupied with Him as He now is, seated at the Father’s right hand in the heavenlies, and made to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body.
The statement is often made that we should follow the Lord in baptism. If this is so, we ought also to follow the Lord in circumcision (Luke 2:21). We ought to follow Him into the synagogue on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16). We ought to follow Him as One under the Law, obeying them that sit in Moses’ seat (Gal. 4:4 & Matt. 23:1-3). We ought to follow Him as He proclaims the kingdom at hand (Matt. 4:17; 9:35; 10:7). We should heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead (Matt. 10:8). If anyone sues us, we should not contest the suit, but should give them even more than they demand (Matt. 5:40). If one would borrow from us, we should not deny their request, but should lend to them without expecting to be repaid (Matt. 5:42 & Luke 6:34-35). If we are going to follow Jesus of Nazareth, we should do all these things, for Jesus Himself taught and practiced them.
While on earth, “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. 15:8). He was a Jew among the Jews, confining His ministry to the nation Israel, and announcing Himself as their King. Israel having rejected Him, He went back to glory, and when Israel continued in their rejection, He revealed through the Apostle Paul His new program for this dispensation of the grace of God, so that now we do not follow Him in His humility, as the Messiah of Israel, but we follow Him as the glorified One at God’s right hand, and the Head of the Body.
The Apostle Paul, through whom the truth for this age has been revealed, says, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). If we are to follow Christ today, we must obey 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Thus, as we follow the Risen, Ascended Christ in Glory, according to the revelation of the mystery, we also worship and adore Him as the Blessed Son of God, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).