Summary: Sermon series on becoming the mighty men and women of God Men often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing. - Aesop

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but imitation will get your beat down by Lucifer and without your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

John 1: 9-13 - The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and they are right…sometimes. If it is a show in Vegas, yes, it might be fun to watch an Elvis, Michael Jackson, Cher, Tina Turner, or Dolly Parton impersonators. While these imitations are entertaining, they are lacking the greatest thing the originals have to offer. This thing is the power or ability to be the original. Likewise, the first thing John reveals to us in his Gospel is ‘In the beginning, was God..’ or the original God.

Therefore, what is the role of imitation in the life of a child of God and those of us characterized as Christians? Paul’s correction of the church in I Corinthians 4:16 demands we imitate him, and in Ephesians 5:1 for us to follow God’s example as dearly beloved children.

The major problem is as Christians we have not. As an article I read during my research pointed out, if we read the Gospels with a fresh eye, as if we do not know how the story is going to come out, we have absolutely no concept what Jesus is going to do. Even if we did, he is healing or working miracles and as Christians, we are not. Therefore, as the article points out, I am afraid imitating Him is rather unrealistic because imitating Him just boil down to being a good Christian. This is where we obey the golden rule and treat everyone nice. It is labeled Christianity. However, I am sure this is not the Real Thing.

We are given a vivid example of the folly of imitation in Acts 19: 13-20. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus, I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus knew this, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number that had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way, the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Beyond the role of imitating Christ or the Apostle Paul, or some other saintly believer, what is the role of imitating the world, as the organized church and our temples, monuments and edifice quickly does? Since God is the author of all creativity, when the world copies His creation, and the church copies the world, we are just making a copy-of-a-copy; therefore blurring the original image. 1 john 2: 15-17 cautions us with these words. It says, ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Now, this will of God is plainly delivered to us in John. It reads, ‘To as many as received him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God.’ Although many people in our world have decided to reject the notion of God and God’s offer of salvation, some people have received him. To those that received Him by accepting what God had done, God empowered them to be just like Jesus, the Christ. He recreated or anointed those that believed as His children and adopted them into the household of God.

The method of this adoption or anointing is those who believe upon his name. However, it is not declared that we are made children by believing, but to the believer he gives the "power or anointing to become" a child. When we accept Jesus, the Christ as our lord and savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit of God empowers us to become what God recreated us to be. He leads us to yield to God. He instructs us to receive the Word into our heart. He convicts us of our sins and instructs us to repent of these sins. He empowers us as we surrender to the will of the Father. This is "being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God places the anointing that was on Jesus, the Christ upon us. We are Christ’s brothers, sisters, and the children of God by adoption enabling us to say "Abba! Father." John Wesley says, "The moment we believe, we are sons." Nevertheless, the Scriptures teach that when we believe, God "gives us power to become children." With just "belief upon his name", the "promise" that we can become a child is impossible because it lacks the confirmation of the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.