Bible Message/Preaching : Imitating Christ: Growing towards the Perfect Man
1Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
(1 Cor 11:1)
15For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (1 Cor 4:15-16)
What does it mean to imitate someone?
Why should we imitate Christ? How can we do it?
How is 'becoming like Christ' different from the way most people understand 'discipleship'?
God created us in His image! Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Col 2:6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
28"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Mt 11:28-29)
5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (Phil 2:5-9)
Imitate the pattern of Love, Grace. Exercise repentance & forgiveness
When confrontation is required we need to do it, but in love (Eph 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ;)
24"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement" ( Jn 7:24).
We've also seen the conflict resolution God's way before.
2 Cor 5:16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.
Growth is not automatic - we must choose to grow!
What is needed is not legalism or religiosity - but walking in the Spirit
Mt 5:1-12 Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 13, 2 Pet 1:5-8
How do we grow?
Needs food - Need to learn
God's part & Our part - we need to accept and comply to what the Lord is telling us! By cooperating with the Spirit of the Lord
We need to change our way of thinking - Rom 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
There is peer pressure to comply us to the worldly style - but we can reverse the pressure by standing firm on our principles - makes people curious of why we're like that way!
Transformed by truth - You shall know the truth and it shall set u free Jn 8: 31-32 Reading & meditating on the Scriptures - accepting the authority of the Scriptures & understanding & applying it in our life Transformed by troubles
God's ultimate goal for us on earth is not our comfort - but character development - our growth!
May be we might complain "why this happens to me?" - we may have forgotten that earth is not heaven. Many interpret Jn 10:10 , the abundant life Jesus taught as perfect health, comfortable life style, constant happiness, complete realisation of dreams, instant relief from problems through faith/prayer. But we forget that this makes God a 'genie in a bottle' - to pursue our selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment/gratification.
Our life is not about us - but its about HIM!
2 Cor 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Growth through temptation - already done detailed on this.
Growth requires time - we must not give up, be persevering! Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.What are some changes that we've seen in our life since becoming a believer?
What change/growth is needed to be more like Christ?
(to be continued...)