Summary: This sermon speaks to a goal worth our time and effort, a goal we see modeled by the appostle Paul himself. That God would have all there is of... (fill in your name).
Although I don’t always make New Year’s resolutions I do love moments in our lives when pause and evaluate who we are and who we would like to become.
It is very easy in the busyness to keep on trekking along without ever stopping to examine where it is that we are headed. There are times when I look back and say where did that day go, or that week, that month, that year.
Or how did the babies get so old. Maybe you have said or thought this one I had plans to- dot, dot, dot.
It can be a difficult practice to pause long enough to make goals & a game plan. But in those times when I have the event, or the goal in which I wanted to accomplish comes about much more easier simply by having a clear measurable plan and a few tasks that will take me from where I am to where I want to be.
We see this practice being applied to business, menu planning, and church planning- yet we often are laxy dazy in our personal lives, specifically in our relationship with Christ.
As we enter in the year 2010 a natural break is created that gives us the wonderful opportunity to examine our lives, who we currently are, where we have come from and how we have changed over the past year, and how God wishes to shape us in the coming year.
The first thing we have to do before setting a goal is to determine what it is we wish to accomplish. For our purposes today we will call this the Goal in which we set all other goals by- this is the goal of becoming like Christ Jesus Himself.
The very essence of being a Christian hangs on being Christ like- imitating Him in our thinking, in our actions, in those things in which we love, and in the things in which repel us.
So how then do we get from our worldly state a sinners to people resemble a perfect Holy God?
Good question. Not enough will power in the world can bring us from point a in our lives to point b. We can not try hard enough, we can not have enough knowledge or education about the hopelessness of the situation we are in, we cannot feel sorry enough.
It comes through grace & repentance. The grace of God- He is the one of must give it, for it is His to give and then through our own repentance. Repentance by definition is the turning away from moral short comings or misdeeds, otherwise known as sins. That which is in opposition of Christ Jesus and His Character.
In the Christian life there is something in which we should caution ourselves against. It is the turning away of the past without the action of turning toward something. Often we feel regret for the past and know that we do not want to stay in it but we do not lay in front of us the goal of becoming anything different, the goal of becoming like our Savior.
That is why the second goal is of equal importance to the first. It is the goal of imitating.
Hebrews 6:12 implores us with these words, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7
There is also the warning not to imitate that which is evil and in contrast to God.
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
But it is this last call to imitate I wish to look at more closely. It is a appeal from the apostle Paul to those in his sphere of influence calling them to imitate his behavior because he has dedicated his life to imitating the life of Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:15-17 (New International Version)
15Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
If Paul is worth being imitated then we have to wonder, what kind of person was he. What do we know of him?
One way we can know him better is by examining what he says about himself.