Summary: This is part two of a message focusing on seven key characteristics of Christ that should be revealed in His followers and in His Church.
Last week we began a two-part series on the difference between asking “What Would Jesus Do?” and being committed to “Doing What Jesus Did!” We looked at three characteristics out of the life of Jesus that shows us what He did. Here are the first three that we looked at last week:
1. Jesus was committed to PRAYER
2. Jesus was committed to ACCEPTANCE
3. Jesus was committed to COMPASSION
Today I want us to look at four more characteristics of the life of Jesus that show us how to “Do What Jesus Did.” Before we do, lets read together again the verse that spurred the whole “What Would Jesus Do” movement:
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)
4. Jesus was committed to TRUTH (He Confronted Hypocrisy)
Jesus demonstrated the heart of God by standing against lifeless religion. He openly confronted religious hypocrisy, inciting great opposition that ultimately led to his execution. Jesus repeatedly rebuked religious people who buried the true heart of God in their manmade traditions. He cleansed the temple because people were using God’s house for their own gain.
5Then the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ritually unclean hands?” 6He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 7They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men. 8 Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.” Mark 7:4-8 (HCSB)
What Did Jesus do? He went on record against people who act in the name of God to hurt others. He stood up against those who claimed to by holy but were wholly selfish in all that they did.
We need to do the same. If Jesus spoke out in defense of the truth then we need to “Do What Jesus Did” and be willing to take a stand for what is right. Further, we must not become so focused on what we might characterize the “evil” of the world that we forget that it was the “religious” people who took the majority of Jesus’ criticism. If there is anything that the Church needs today it is Christians willing to hold one another accountable, to deal with our own hypocrisy before we try to deal with the problems of the world.
5. Jesus was committed to TEACHING
Whether addressing curious crowds or the committed core, Jesus took advantage of every teachable moment. He was always helping people discover his Father. He lived and spoke the truth, a perfect expression of God’s character. Even though he was the incarnate Word, Jesus often directed people back to the written Word. Jesus often taught lifestyle principles through quotes from the Old Testament. He said of His ministry that He had come to “fulfill the law and the prophets.”
Many do not consider themselves teachers. If we don’t stand in a pulpit on Sunday or lead a study during the week, you may be tempted to think this aspect of Jesus’ life doesn’t apply to you. That isn’t the case. We all teach, if not specifically through formal instruction, certainly through our conversations and through our example.
Jesus taught when he talked one on one with Nicodemus and when he preached to thousands of people. His life shows us that teaching doesn’t demand an outline with three points that begin with the same letter. Teaching simply requires being so filled with God’s Word that it naturally overflows from our lives into the lives of those around us.
That was James’ point in his letter when he said:
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says. James 1:22 (NIV)
Paul put it this way to Timothy:
You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NCV)
“Doing What Jesus Did” means being willing to make a difference in the lives of others through our witness, which includes both our words, and our works.
6. Jesus was committed to SERVANTHOOD
Service marked Jesus’ life from start to finish. He served through sacrifice, putting the needs of others above his own. At the last supper, he put on a towel and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:2-17). His life of service culminated at the cross, where the Son of Man died to pay our spiritual debt.
Every Christian needs to have a way to express their relationship with Christ through service. Some leaders have used the expression: “Every Member a Minister” to describe this principle. As I thought about that statement it occurred to me that the most effective way to “minister to every member,” is for “every member to be a minister.” When that becomes a reality, then we are really going to be “Doing What Jesus Did.”