The Followers of Men, or of Christ

Paul the apostle stated in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (KJV). In the modern church system today, many of the ecclesiastical men will use this as "proof" as a means to gain followers to support their ministries.

Can these men use verses that seem to convey that they are deemed as “God’s intermediaries” to be followed?

Take a moment for a few seconds and think about all the religious men throughout history who have said that they are “of Christ,” and the masses who followed after them have ended up drinking their brand of "Kool-Aid."

What about all the religious sects and denominations that can be traced back to a particular man, or woman who claimed they were “of Christ?”

How many today do the same thing?

It is a sad fact that the majority of people who profess Jesus Christ follow after a particular religious person, group, or organization where they don’t take much responsibility to think for themselves. All of their road maps have been preconceived and tailor-made made by men for them to follow.

Does Scripture not say that we are to be "followers?"

Here are some more “proof” texts that we are to "follow,"

Wherefore I beseech you, be ye FOLLOWERS OF ME. – 1 Corinthians 4:16

Brethren, be FOLLOWERS TOGETHER OF ME, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. – Philippians 3:17

And ye became FOLLOWERS OF US, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: - 1 Thessalonians 1:6

For yourselves know how ye ought to FOLLOW US: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; - 2 Thessalonians 3:7

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to FOLLOW US. – 2 Thessalonians 3:9

It seems a pretty obvious notion to many that they are to follow certain religious men and their "ministries."

The Scripture verses seem to indicate this, does it not?

Unfortunately, most of the world has bought into this deception that they are to "follow" men because they have not rightly divided the word.

They are not able to discern the difference between "following" Jesus Christ, or “following" man on earth.

This article will attempt to clarify the concept of the word “follow” from Scripture and make four distinctions derived from the Greek that is imperative to be understood when reading the New Testament. Without a firm grasp of the term "follow," many will be deceived into making religious elite men as their mediators between them and God, rather than Jesus Christ who is the ONLY way to the Father.

I suggest following along by finding an online lexicon, interlinear Bible, or a concordance to delineate for yourself the proper meaning of "follow" as we are to understand it.

Pursue

The first meaning of “follow” comes from the Greek word “dioko,” which means to seek after, or endeavor earnestly to acquire something. It would also mean to pursue something good and virtuous. Here are some verses that portray this:

Let us therefore FOLLOW (diōkōmen) after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. – Romans 14:19

FOLLOW after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. – 1 Corinthians 14:1

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and FOLLOW after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. – 1 Timothy 6:11

FOLLOW peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: - Hebrews 12:14

From reading these few verses in the context of the Greek meaning, we should understand that what we are to "follow" (pursue) is something of virtue, not a particular religious individual person. The examples given are thing like peace, love, holiness, godliness, etc. Additionally, “dioko” is implied in a negative manner when one is pursuing ("following") man.

And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor FOLLOW them. – Luke 17:23

Imitate

The second meaning of “follow” derived from the Greek is “mimeomai,” which means to imitate, or be an imitator of someone. If you refer back to the verses in the introduction of the article, this was Paul’s intention when writing his letters to the ekklesia. Here are some more to examine:

That ye be not slothful, but FOLLOWERS (mimētai) of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6:12

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith FOLLOW, considering the end of their conversation. – Hebrews 13:7

How many times have you heard a church leader use this above verse in Hebrews to use his unbiblical hierarchical title to lord himself over others?

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be FOLLOWERS of that which is good? – 1 Peter 3:13

Beloved, FOLLOW not that which is evil, but that which is good. – 3 John 1:11

In the verses pertaining to Paul, he was not making any demands to “follow” him, or be “ruled” by him, but he was exhorting the ekklesia to imitate his example as he imitated Jesus Christ.

Following From Behind

The third term for “follow” derived from the Greek is “opiso,” which means getting behind, or following from behind, going off to follow someone, or joining someone’s group. It also can be deemed as going after someone, or something. The phrase, “Follow the Leader” may come to mind. This word fits perfectly for the human tendency to want to follow men who desire to gain "followers" by enticing them to back the agenda of some corporate, military, political, or religious entity.

But chiefly them that WALK AFTER (opisō) the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. – 2 Peter 2:10

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and GOING AFTER strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – Jude 1:7

For some are already turned aside AFTER Satan. – 1 Timothy 5:15

After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people AFTER him: - Acts 5:37

We can see from these few verses that the connotation is negative when we join some leader of a group and “follow” after him. Whether it is “good,” or “bad” in intention, it is not appropriate unless we are solely following Jesus Christ.

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye AFTER me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. – Mark 1:17

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come AFTER me, cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27

Walk with Me

The final and fourth definition of “follow” is “akoloutheo,” which means to accompany someone. Jesus used this term often when speaking to his followers.

But Jesus said unto him, FOLLOW (Akolouthei) me; and let the dead bury their dead. – Matthew 8:22

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, FOLLOW me. And he arose, and FOLLOWED him. – Matthew 9:9

And straightway they forsook their nets, and FOLLOWED him. – Mark 1:8

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples FOLLOW him. – Mark 6:1

If any man serve me, let him FOLLOW me – John 12:26

It should be clear that Jesus Christ was not asking his disciples to join some political group, or man-made agenda, but was asking them to walk with him (accompany) by “following” in his footsteps. He was not saying, “Get behind me,” but inviting them to walk with him in the same way before his Father. The following words expressed by Jesus will take a whole new meaning when we understand what he saying, “Follow me.”

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep FOLLOW (akolouthei) him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will NOT FOLLOW, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” – John 10:2-5

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW me. – John 10:27

If we are Jesus Christ’s true sheep, then we should be accompanying him in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is not about getting behind the religious big wigs within the institutionalized church system that make their demands of their dutiful minions, but “following” (akolouthei) Jesus Christ instead. Scripture takes on a whole new light while exposing the corrupt interpretations and hierarchical agenda of the man-made church system.

You Need to Follow Jesus Christ

To follow Jesus Christ means to understand his words.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come AFTER (opisō) me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and FOLLOW (akoloutheitō) me. – Matthew 16:24

Jesus Christ was not saying to get behind him to back up some cause out of human tendency, but to deny ourselves and accompany (walk with) him.

Can you see the difference?

Our Father in heaven does not want a bunch of mindless pew-warming minions getting behind a salaried official called “pastor” to promote his name and agenda, but He wants us to be with him (accompanying) at his side through His Son. Jesus Christ called us “brethren” for a reason. We are to be co-heirs with him as sons and daughters of the Father also.

Don't Follow a Man

You don’t have to look too far to see the crusading of the mindless religious automatons that have been programmed to gather support for their prestigious leader. Of course they may seem “good,” “right” and “noble,” but God sees their carnal zeal as making the Gospel null and void.

Even Paul did not say “follow me" as carnal men interpret his writing, but men have gone ahead and made themselves as salaried elitist leaders who are entitled to make all the decisions and responsibility on behalf of the people for God. Paul did not say for everyone to get behind him as he went about proclaiming his own religious agenda. He was saying to “follow” (imitate) his good example as he followed Jesus' example.

When we “follow” man, problems can arise quickly. Paul addressed this in his letters to the Corinth ekklesia. They were split on the issue of “follow,” or “get behind.” Their behavior was that of little babies who could not understand the deep spiritual matters that Paul wanted to share with them. They were caught up in following after men who were causing division.

For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” – 1 Corinthians 3:3-4

Can you see what these people were doing in the “get behind” me sense?

Today, we have thousands of religious sects and denominations called “Christianity.” Carnality is the foundation of their institutional system. “Get behind us,” or be deemed a “heretic.”

For the mind that is SET ON THE FLESH is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are IN THE FLESH cannot please God. – Romans 8:7

“Following” after religious men are carnal endeavours. It is solely Jesus Christ who we are to follow as fellow workers (servants) among our brethren (ekklesia). When our focus is not on Jesus Christ, then man will take precedence leading to carnality, shallow spirituality and a contentious spirit. The modern church system is a carnal antichrist entity as they “follow” their own seminary bred hirelings. They talk out of both sides of their mouth saying that they "follow" Jesus Christ, but in practice extol themselves and their “ministries.” Paul called it for what it was back then, and still applies today as CARNAL!

When man follow other man, rather than solely upon Jesus Christ, they will remain carnal and sinful and will never develop knowing the deeper things of God.

In the Old Testament, we see what happened to the Israelite’s when they did not want to deal directly with God. They preferred to follow Moses rather than have God speak directly to them.

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “YOU SPEAK TO US, AND WE WILL LISTEN; BUT DO NOT LET GOD SPEAK TO US, LEST WE DIE.” – Exodus 20:18-19

I wrote a series of articles called, The Call of God in His Seven Thunders that gets into more detail of what happens when people prefer to follow men instead of God. We must understand that there is a sense of urgency in the last days to throw out the man-made religious agendas through religious carnal men, but instead seek a face-to-face meeting with God through His Son Jesus Christ. If we don’t, we are in big trouble.

God told Samuel what would happen when men put other men between themselves and God.

And you shall cry out in that day because of YOUR KING which you shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day” -1 Samuel 8:18

The church system of today is no different. They are more comfortable following man and his government instead of God’s. This is idolatry.

When people start following man instead of God, they set up idols in their hearts. Jesus and the Apostles were not in the mentality of “follow,” but that of walking with, or accompanying them.

The leaders of “Churchianity” will be shamed for encouraging carnal behaviors by allowing people to be respecters of men. They boast about their growth, numbers and what they are doing for the accolades of men in the agenda of their man-made organizations. Their marketing tactic are, “Look at us and all the great things we are doing in our name, come join us!” All you got to do is ask, “Who is your leader?” to one of their automatons and you will get some mere man’s name.

Jesus said,

And whoever does not take his cross and FOLLOW (akolouthei) AFTER (opiso) me is not worthy of me. – Matthew 10:38

Stop following men, the only ONE we are to follow is Jesus Christ.

We are to work out individually our salvation with fear and trembling.

Are you sitting back in a pew and letting others do it for you?

Whose voice do you hear?

Your salvation is your own responsibility before God. Who you “follow” will determine your fate.

Who are you "following?"

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My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW me. – John 10:27

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Comments Appreciated 10 comments

KingdomCome 12 months ago from those of the Ecclesia

PandN- Again , you have writen a very insightful artical. True followers of Christ (disciples) are not found in churches of men. I believe what sadden me the most are those who stand at the pulpit claiming to be part of the body of Christ when in fact they are part of the anti- Christ system. They don't realize their own blindness and will lead others into blindness. Soon many will be involve in the pagan holiday called christmas. And many so called "pastors will be right there leading the blind followers right into it. Starting with the so called "pope". There are millions who will follow the pope right into a pagan holiday and never give it a second thought. How sad.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 12 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

AMEN


Rich kelley profile image

Rich kelley 12 months ago from The Ekklesia

Exodus 19:4-6 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coq_grSFINs


Rich kelley profile image

Rich kelley 12 months ago from The Ekklesia

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coq_grSFlNs

Sorry original line was wrong.


Neil Braithwaite 12 months ago

Aaron,

Great post.

However, the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 11:1 (Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.) you used in the first sentence is translated wrong. The word "followers" should actually be "Imitators."

mimētḗs (the root of the English term, mimic, "one who imitates, emulates") – properly, the positive imitation that arises by admiring the pattern set by someone worthy of emulation.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 12 months ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

KingdomCome,

I was talking to a fellow yesterday who I briefly met. He asked me if I was a church man. I responded that I was a follower of Jesus Christ and was NOT part of the institutionalized church system. He then told me about the church he went to. I said I knew of the name of the "pastor" who ran the church, and then he continued to ramble on and on how such a great a man he was. What he didn't know is that I used to go to that particular church. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to chat with him for that long.

This is a prime example of the "gospel" that church members preach. It has nothing to do with repentance and pointing to Jesus, but points to some hireling in a religious building and what he is doing instead.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 12 months ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Rich,

Father, glorify your name.” Then a VOICE came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This VOICE has come for your sake, not mine. - John 12:28-30

Jesus pointed out that the voice was not for His benefit?

Have you ever thought why?

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the VOICE was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very VOICE borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. - 2 Peter 1:16-18


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 12 months ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

As you know, the KJV is notorious for its translations.

Unfortunately, many fail to understand that they cannot follow man and the traditions of man and follow Jesus Christ at the same time.

Jesus must be our focus, the standard by which we should live by.

Jesus did not come to please himself like every other false shepherd out there does, but to please his Father.

We will never lead people into the Kingdom by being people pleasers, or following them. We must strive to be pleasing to our Father in heaven through the power of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul was not saying to imitate Paul, but to imitate Jesus Christ that was in him. As it should with any of our brothers and sisters among the ekklesia, we do not follow them, but follow Jesus Christ that is within them. We don't follow people, but we follow Jesus.

We should imitate our brothers and sisters who are in obedience to God as they are imitating Jesus Christ. It is not following flesh and blood, but the spirit of God (truth) that is within those that are one with the Father and His Son.


Neil Braithwaite 12 months ago

Aaron - You nailed it!

Paul had no selfish intention when he said to imitate him - it was Jesus' actions he was expecting others' to imitate - emulate.

Paul's worthiness to be imitated came only by his own imitation of Jesus.

The problem with most of today's pulpiteers is that they erroneously believe that their actions and words make them worthy of respect and thus emulation by their blind followers.

How many so called preachers would ever consider living a life as Paul did?


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 12 months ago

Sorry, this is copied from above comment,"Jesus must be our focus, the standard by which we should live by" - and He is. Once He occupies our hearts (John 14:23) we do live by... Who of the men is to judge those of God's children all over the world?!( 1. Kings 19:18)

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