Summary: This two part sermon focuses on seven characteristics of Christ that need to be revealed in the lives of His followers and His Church.
Most of us have seen the bracelets, and other items that have four letters: WWJD—What Would Jesus Do? Many of us have probably have some of those items today. This saying has become a guiding principle for many Christians.
The WWJD movement started in 1989 when the youth group at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, studied Charles Sheldon’s 1896 novel, In His Steps. In the novel, a group of church members try to allow every thought and action to be shaped by the question: “What would Jesus do?”
Calvary’s youth group took Sheldon’s model to heart and made up colorful woven bracelets to wear as a tangible reminder of that powerful question. Soon people throughout their community were wearing the bracelets, and it mushroomed from there. By the late ’90s, the letters WWJD could be found on a multitude of books, T-shirts, and other Christian merchandise. To date, an estimated 14 million bracelets have been sold.
But the message of WWJD should not be taken for granted due to overexposure. As simple as it seems, sometimes the question—What Would Jesus Do?—still leaves me wondering. And as I wonder how to apply WWJD, I began to realize that we need to do is to stop wondering about it and start working on it.
Charles Sheldon built his book: In His Steps on 1 Peter 2:21 which says of Jesus:
For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.
1 Peter 2:21 (HCSB)
So, it’s admirable and biblical to ask “What Would Jesus Do?” in the decisions we face each day, but what I want to challenge us with is that we accept an even greater challenge that that. I challenge us to go beyond “What Would Jesus Do?” and commit to “DWJD”—Doing What Jesus Did!
What did Jesus do? If we don’t know what Jesus did in his life, how can we expect to know what He would have us do in ours? With that in mind, I want us over the next two weeks to look at seven priorities that guided Jesus.
Jesus demonstrated intimacy with God by seeking him continually in prayer. Forty-five times the gospels tell us that Jesus went alone to pray. Every aspect of his life and ministry was saturated with prayer. Mark 1 gives us a glimpse of Jesus early in his ministry:
37Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. 36Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!”
Mark 1:35-37 (HCSB)
His life was swirling with people, needs, and opportunities. Jesus ministered around the clock. Still, he would make time to commune with the Father and concentrate on his purposes. He might sleep less or work less, but he would find time to pray.
If we are going to Do What Jesus Did we must make prayer a priority in our lives. This world is simply too tough a place for any of us to try and make it on our own. Not only that, if you want to be IN GOD’S WILL then you have to KNOW GOD’S WILL and that isn’t possible without spending quality time with Him in prayer.
Jesus demonstrated the love of God by accepting the castaways of society. This provoked great disdain from the religious establishment. But Jesus was much less squeamish than most about embracing the sinful and sickly, the unseemly and unimportant.
Luke 5 offers a good example. Shortly after accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow him, Levi (later known as Matthew) held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
30But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:30-32 (HCSB)
On the social scale of the day, tax collectors were some of the most despised individuals around. In some ways they were even more hated than the Romans themselves because they were seen as traitors to the Nation, and traitors to God. An upstanding individual would not associate with them at all. But Jesus not only talked to Levi, he asked the man to become his disciple.
If we want to Do What Jesus Did then we are going to have to learn to be accepting of all kinds of people. Every person on this planet has value to the Lord and we need to begin treating those different from us with the kind of love and acceptance Jesus gave to those around Him.