Summary: All who claim Christ need to become like Him.
INTRO.- ILL.- What do you think of my mustache? I haven’t always worn a mustache. I grew it for a fun program that we had at our last church and Elaine liked it so much that I just kept it. BESIDES, DON’T YOU THINK I LOOK AN AWFUL LOT LIKE TOM SELLECK OF MAGNUM PI FAME? Don’t answer that!
It’s more like “awful” than “look alike.” Besides the mustache, Tom Selleck and I have at least one other similarity. We are about the same age. He is one year younger than I am, but that’s where the similarities end. He is 6’ 4” and I’m lucky if I’m 5’ 8”.
Brothers and sisters, we may never look like some famous movie star, but we may find ourselves wanting to look like them, or be like them, or have what they have.
The “lifestyles of the rich and famous” are very appealing to many people. That’s why we have TV shows like “The American Idol” where the Ruben Studdards and the Clay Aikens line up as hopeful wannabes. They want to become famous.
Prov. 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
We do have an effect on one another, good or bad. We either sharpen one another or dull one another. We either have a positive influence on one another or a negative influence. We either build one another or tear one another down.
Generally, we all look up to certain people in life and want to be like them in looks and personality.
ILL.- As a kid, I thought Roy Rogers was it and wanted to be like him. Did you ever have any childhood idols?
Perhaps most of us had childhood idols that we admired and/or wanted to be like. Hopefully, as adults we have matured somewhat. Our desires are higher and holier. Our idols are more gracious and spiritual.
ILL.- In my Bible college days I looked up to many of my preacher/professors. They were great preachers. I wanted to be like them in the sense of being able to preach the Word. In some ways, I wanted to EXACTLY like them. Without realizing it, some of us young preacher boys would mimic those preachers.
ILL.- I remember one student in particular, brother Joe Garman, of American Rehabilitation Ministries, Prison Outreach, Joplin, MO. Whenever Joe preached he sounded like one of his idols, Cecil Todd. And that wasn’t all bad, because in those days Cecil was a very good preacher.
We do sharpen one another. We do rub off on one another.
Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and THEY TOOK NOTE THAT THESE MEN HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.” The character of Christ had rubbed off and changed Peter and John.
ILL.- Henry Drummond wrote, “A few, raw unspiritual men were admitted to the inner circle of His friendship. The change began at once. Day by day we can almost see the first disciples grow… Occasionally, they do a thing or say a thing that they could not have done or said had they not been living there. Slowly the spell of His life deepens…their manner softens, their words become more gentle, their conduct more unselfish.
“They do not know how it is, but they are different men. One day they find themselves like their Master, going about and doing good. They were not told to do, it came to them to do it. But the people who watch them know well how to account for it, ‘THEY HAVE BEEN,’ they whisper, ‘WITH JESUS.’”
The life of Christ had rubbed off. Peter and John were changed men.
And just as Christ’s life rubbed off on the disciples, so our lives rub off on others. Why do you think junior often acts just like his daddy? Or daughter Suzy acts like mommy? Or vice versa.
I Cor. 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
We may not be able to say, “follow my example,” because we don’t always do everything right. We all have our days, our down days, our bad days and during those times we wouldn’t want anyone to be like us.
But we all can say with Paul, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Imitate me in the ways that I imitate Christ. Follow my Christ likeness. The rest you can leave behind.
When I am lovely and loving, imitate me. When I am cantankerous or whatever, forget it.
PROP.- In our text, Paul’s Christ-likeness was evident in several areas of his life:
1- Christ-like attitude
2- Christ-like affection
3- Christ-like prayer
I. CHRIST-LIKE ATTITUDE
V. 7 “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, ALL OF YOU SHARE IN GOD’S GRACE WITH ME.”