Summary: An old hymn says, “To be like Jesus is my song; To be like Jesus in the throng; To be like Jesus all day long. I want to be like Jesus!” And that is what God wants, too – for us to be like Jesus. (Powerpoints Available - #176)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(REVISED - 2016)
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #176.)
A few years ago thousands of congregations participated in Rick Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose”. In the churches that participated, for 6 weeks the Sunday morning sermons, the Sunday School lessons, the Wednesday evening Bible studies, & even the daily devotions focused on the question, “What on earth am I here for?”
Using Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life” as a guide, people in many congregations sought answers to that question. The answers they found were:
1. We were planned for God’s pleasure
2. We were formed for God’s family
3. We were created to become like Christ
4. We were shaped for serving God
5. We were made for a Mission
PROP. Well, I want us to focus our attention upon that 3rd Purpose – “We were created to become like Christ.”
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:29 (Msg): “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son… We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.”
ILL. In his book, “God Came Near,” Max Lucado writes about Jesus going into His carpentry shop for the very last time. Let me read a little part of it to you:
The heavy door creaked on its hinges as He pushed it open. With a few strides He crossed the silent shop & opened the wooden shutters ….
He looked around the carpentry shop. He stood for a moment in the …little room that housed so many sweet memories. He balanced the hammer in his hand. He ran his fingers across the sharp teeth of the saw. He stroked the smoothly worn wood of the sawhorse. He had come to say "goodbye".
It was time for him to leave. … So he came one last time to smell the sawdust & lumber. Life was peaceful here. Life was so … safe.
It was here that his human hands shaped the wood his divine hands had created. And it was here that his body matured while his spirit waited for the right moment, the right day – And now that day had arrived.
I wonder if He hesitated? I wonder if his heart was torn? I wonder if He rolled a nail between his thumb & fingers, anticipating the pain? I wonder if He wanted to stay? …
I wonder because I know He…knew what was going to happen. He knew that the feet that stepped out of the safe shadow of the carpentry shop would have no rest until they’d been pierced & placed on a Roman cross.
You see, He didn’t have to go. He had a choice. He could have stayed. He could have kept his mouth shut. He could have ignored the call or at least postponed it. And had He chosen to stay, who would’ve known? Who would have blamed him?
ILL. An old hymn contains these words: “To be like Jesus is my song; To be like Jesus in the throng; To be like Jesus all day long. I want to be like Jesus!” And that is what God wants for us too – to be like Jesus.
I. SOMETIMES IT SEEMS EASY TO BE LIKE JESUS
And if you’re a Christian, sometimes choosing to do what Jesus would have you do just seems to come naturally. Listen to this true story:
ILL. The story begins like this - One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying every book he had. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone take home all of his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”
I had quite a weekend planned (parties & a football game with my friends), so I shrugged my shoulders & went on.
But as I did, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran right into him, knocking the books out of his arms & tripping him so that he fell in the dirt. His glasses went flying, & I saw them land in the grass about 10 feet away.
He looked up & I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes as he began crawling around looking for his glasses. My heart went out to him. So I went over, picked up his glasses, handed them to him & said, “Those guys are jerks.”
He looked at me & said, “Hey, thanks!” There was the start of a smile on his face, one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, & asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, & we talked all the way home, & I helped him carry his books.