Summary: We look to Christ as our example, and He teaches us a positive type of humility that says I have ability and blessings which I will use, not for self-glorification, but for the edification of others.

You cannot imitate what you do not know. Any parrot

who learns to swear does not reveal its own character, but

rather that of its owner and example. To copy or imitate by

definition implies an original to go by. It is the original that

determines the nature of the copy. This concept is not

limited to paper, metal and material objects. It applies to

human lives as well. Practically all of life is an imitation of

one philosophy or another, one principle or another, one

person or another.

We are not living totally unique and original lives, for

we are all following patterns that existed before, and they

were lived by millions before we were born. The better we

are acquainted with the pattern the more we conform to it as

a copy. This, of course, explains why Christians can often be

so unlike Christ, and so much like the world. They are so

much more acquainted with the world. The example of the

world is constantly before them, and they begin to imitate

that pattern. The example of Christ is one to which they are

so seldom exposed that there is little chance for imitation.

The painter who would imitate Rembrandt, or the

musician who would like to be a copy of Beethoven must

immerse themselves in the works of these men. They will

succeed only to the degree that they know the original they

seek to imitate. It is obvious that this holds true for the

Christian life as well. How can we be Christ like if we do not

know what He was like, and how He lived, and what He


Every experience that life brings is an opportunity to

imitate Christ, but how can we do so if we do not know how

He would respond? He had a home, He played, He worked,

He went to school, He had joys and blessings, He faced

embarrassment and trials, and He had social pressures. He

had to take a stand on social and political issues. He lived a

genuine involved and complicated human life filled with

decisions, and it is worth all of the effort needed to become

acquainted with His life.

Before we launch out into this sea of living water we

need to chart our way so as to stir clear of the island of

liberalism that attracts so many as a landing spot, and from

which they do not depart again. What I am referring to is

the fact that the liberal element as far back as the 18th

century has made much of Christ as an example. They

cannot be surpassed in their stress on Jesus being the

supreme example of humanity. It was a very attractive

religion, but unfortunately, even though it was Christ

centered, it was not Christianity. It was because the Christ

it exalted was divorced from His deity. His example and

teaching was isolated from His atonement, and this left Him

as an example period, and not the Savior and Lord.

Understandably, the Evangelicals opposed this diluted

theology, and stressed the atonement. When ever the life of

Christ was mentioned they would say, “Yes, but His death

was more important.” The result of this emphasis was a

neglect of the lessons we are to learn from our Lord’s life.

James Stalker, the evangelical author of Christ Our

Example, said, “It is time to object to these divisions. Both

halves of the truth are ours, and we claim the whole of it.”

Why should we be robbed of any of God’s precious truth in

Christ just because it can be perverted and abused? To let

error have the monopoly on any truth is an evil, and a

departure from God’s will.

We cannot rightly ignore any part of inspired

revelation. It leads to the philosophy that says, “Ignorance

is the mother of devotion.” Certain truths are confusing to

the people, and so the way to keep peace in the church is to

keep people ignorant. Such was the thinking of many in the

past, and it worked. There was only one casualty and that

was the truth. The result was a loss of true Christianity. No

amount of peace is worth that price. As evangelicals we dare

not yield to the temptation of ignoring and hiding any part

of God’s Word just because it can be perverted. Even the

deity of Christ was once so exalted for the purpose of

denying the reality of Christ’s humanity. In fact, this was

the first heresy in the early church. No one could be so

foolish as to ignore the deity of Christ just because it can be

abused. We are to hold forth all of God’s truth.

This long introduction is to clarify what we are doing.

We want it clear that what we will be studying is vital and

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