Summary: The primary purpose of God is to form us into Christlikeness.
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A Vision for Christlikeness
Pastor Jerry C. Vargo
A. Defining Christlikeness¡K
2) What Christlikeness is NOT:
- It is not an ACT.
- It is not a RELIGIOUS LIFESTYLE
- It is not FORM
We must have a strong desire to be like Jesus if we are to become like Jesus. Often we have settled for typical American Christianity that focuses on programs and policies. We are content to come to church once a week, to call ourselves Christians, and settle for a ¡§form of godliness, but denying the power thereof ¡V 1 Timothy 3:5¡¨
3) What Christlikeness is and how do we get it¡K
1. To be Christlike we must live with the heart of Jesus.
A. Jeremiah 17:9 reveals some very sad news about our hearts:
"The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick; who can understand it?¡¨
B. All of us know that if we try to live life with our own heart we will surely fail to accomplish God¡¦s purposes for our lives.
C. To be Christlike we must get to know His heart and know His ways.
D. I want to read an excerpt from Max Lucado. It is found in His book ¡§Just Like Jesus:¡¨
What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes his boss, your mother becomes his mother, and your pains become his pains? With one exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn¡¦t change. Your circumstances don¡¦t change. Your schedule isn¡¦t altered. Your problems aren¡¦t solved. Only one change occurs. What if, for one day and one night, Jesus lives your life with his heart? Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ. His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His love directs your behavior.
What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family ¡V would they see something new? Your coworkers¡Xwould they sense a difference? What about the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy from Christ¡¦s heart than from yours? And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better? Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any chance you¡¦d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to traffic delays? (Ouch, that touched a nerve.) Would you still dread what you are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing? Would you still do what you had planned to do for the next twenty-four hours? Pause and think about your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus taking over your heart, would anything change?
E. Probing questions huh? Well, you know what? This is exactly what God wills for us. To be led by the heart of Jesus. Filtering every situation and every event through the heart of Jesus.
F. I don¡¦t know about you, but my heart often gets me into trouble. It is so wicked at times. My heart doesn¡¦t satisfy. Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalms 17:15:
¡§As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.¡¨
G. What we need to know is this: We cannot live our lives with the heart of Jesus apart from an ongoing intimate relationship with the Father. We must cultivate that relationship before we can live with the heart of Jesus.
How¡¦s your relationship?
2. To be Christlike we must think with the mind of Jesus.
A. How does this happen?
„X It won¡¦t happen by coming to church once a week.
„X It won¡¦t happen by listening to teaching tapes.
„X It won¡¦t happen by reading books about God.
„X It won¡¦t even happen by reading three chapters per day.
B. It will only happen by spending huge amounts of time studying the Word of God with diligence.