Summary: As Christians we should follow His example. In this sermon I share several things I believe we should do as Christians to "Be Like Christ."
Read Scripture Acts 11:19-26
I want us to think about that last sentence for a few minutes this morning. The Disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Those who called themselves believers and considered themselves to be His disciples were referred to as Christians. Some scholars believe the term was first used as an insult or slur. In any respect it was used to distinguish the followers of Jesus Christ from other religious groups.
What does it mean to be a Christian? A little boy asked his father that question one day. The Father who had made a profession of faith as a child but had not been active in church since becoming an adult did his best to explain what it mean to be a Christian. After the father finished his explanation the little boy made a statement that cut his father to the core. The little boy looked at his father and said, “Dad I’ve never met a Christian have I?”
What does it mean to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ? That’s one of the questions I want to discuss this morning.
George Barna conducted a survey several years ago in which he asked people to use single words to describe Jesus. Here are a few of the words they used to describe Jesus. “Wise, Accepting, Compassionate, Gracious, Humble.”
Then Barna asked the same people to use single words to describe Christians. This time they responded with words like, “Critical, Exclusive, Self-Righeous, Narrow and repressive. More people today have a negative attitude toward Christianity than at any other time, except maybe during the First Century.
How many of you made a New Year’s resolution this year? Some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are, to lose weight, to exercise more, to quit smoking, to get out of debt, or to become better organized.
We’re three weeks into the New Year which is about how long most people end up sticking with the resolutions they made. As Christians I believe there is one Resolution that all of us should make and do our best to keep, and that is to become more like Christ.
Many people believe Michael Jordan was the best basketball player to ever play the game. In 1991 when Jordan’s popularity was at its highest, the sports drink Gatorade came out with a new advertising campaign aimed specifically at young people. The slogan was “I wanta be like Mike.” The commercial and slogan proved to be very successful and thousands of Americans especially young people began drinking Gatorade, not because they liked the taste, or because they wanted a healthy alternative to soft drinks, but simply because they wanted to be like Mike.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, I believe we should constantly be striving to become more like Christ. That’s the main thing I want you to get out of this message today. If someone asks you tomorrow what the sermon was about you can say, “it was about becoming more like Christ.” Now I know that is easier said than done.
It’s also something that doesn’t happen overnight. In fact it’s a lifelong process that the Apostle Paul referred to as “sanctification.”
Now Sanctification is a theological term that essentially means “to be ‘set aside’ or to be Holy just as God is Holy.” So our goal is to become more like Christ, but just how are we supposed to accomplish that goal. Well, the obvious answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts and actions rather than allowing our sinful nature to lead us into sin. Which is what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Galatians 5:16 when he said,
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Becoming like Christ is a lifelong process, so I want to share several things with you this morning that I believe we should all be doing in order to become more Christlike. First of all if we are going to be more like Christ we need to be…
I. MORE GOD-CENTERED AND LESS SELF-CENTERED.
I guess it’s just part of our human nature to be selfish and self-centered.
Illustration: Several years ago the Minnesota Crime Commission released a statement that backs up what the Bible teaches about our human nature. In its report it stated that “every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish, and self-centered. He wants what He wants when He wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toys, and so forth.” Those of you who are parents know it’s true. How many of you have ever had your toddler throw a fit in the line at the grocery store or Wal-Mart because you told them they couldn’t have a piece of candy or a particular toy they wanted. This study went on to say that “if permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions, to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up to be a criminal.”