Summary: First in a series on shepherding/mentoring in the church.
Sermon for 1/14/2001
A. When the junior high school was having “Hero Day,” students were urged to dress up as their favorite hero. A preacher thought his son would want to put on some football pads, or a baseball uniform. But the boy surprised him by walking in with a coat and tie. “What’s this?” the father asked. “You’re not dressed like any hero.” “Yes I am,” the boy replied. “I’m dressed the way you dress.”
B. There is a story about four preachers discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version best because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American Revised Version best because it was closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. Still another liked a contemporary version because of its up-to-date vocabulary. The fourth minister was silent for a moment, then said, “I like my mother’s translation best.” Surprised, the other three men said they didn’t know his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes,” he replied. “She translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”
C. I think of a missionary doctor on a lonely village station, a very able doctor, but even more effective as a Christian and a leader in evangelization. Not long ago a convert was being baptized, a rare event in that difficult area, and he was answering questions to test his knowledge of the gospel. One answer he began safely enough. “I believe in God Almighty, and in the Lord Jesus,” but then he stopped and turning to the doctor he burst out, “and, sahib, I believe in you.”
A. Mentor, in a sense is dimension of shepherding. Shepherds feed, protect, and care for sheep; Mentors pull up alongside human beings and model behavior, values, and faith through the shared life.
B. We have a mentoring crises in this country. Usually, mentors are people who are elders- older, more experienced, stronger members of the group to whom the younger look for identity.
C. We long for mentors.
D. When we don’t find positive mentors, by default, negative ones usually find us!
E. Robert Bligh- “A boy cannot become a man without the help of another man. Most ideally a father, grandfather, uncle, or someone to whom he apprentices.”
F. Young males and females need mentors.
G. A young lawyer usually wants to be like an older lawyer, a young doctor usually wants to be like an older doctor.
H. A young and new Christian usually long to be like some admired Christian leader.
I. When we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by healthy, functional, caring people, we tend to become like them.
J. The reverse is also true.
K. The mentoring phenomenon is written into the psychological makeup of human beings and mentors are essential to healthy human development- especially from the age of four to six. My sons.
L. I believe that God has written the mentor concept into human nature and that is why the concept is written into the Bible.
M. Look up 1 Corinthians 11:1.
N. (1 Cor 4:15 NIV) Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.(1 Cor 4:16 NIV) Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
O. (Phil 3:17 NIV) Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
P. What an arrogant, prideful jerk!
Q. 1 Cor 11- Ever become imitators or mimic me is the literal translation.
R. Paul is asking these people to adopt all his ways. He is asking them to conform to his lifestyle and persona. He is asking them to stick to him. He is asking them to watch him and follow his example. He is asking them to be lead by him, to follow his path. Walk the way he does, talk the way he does, smile the way he does, act the way he acts. Be trained by Paul on how to live. Be a living illustration of the life of Paul. Paul wants them to follow his pattern, model. He wants the Christians to be made in the image of Paul. He wants them to be cut from his pattern. Do as I do.
S. All of us are examples to others whether we want to be or not.
T. We shy from being examples out of false modesty. Like Charles Barkley, I am not a role model.
U. Think about the situation here that Paul is addressing. He is talking to people, to Gentile people, who have never seen or heard Christians. They did not grow up in Christian families. They have no role models except the apostle Paul and his evangelists.