Summary: Becoming like Christ is is our ultimate goal. Go ahead and put on Christ. At first it may feel unnatural or uncomfortable, and maybe you may think, “Who am I trying to fool?” But everyday just keep putting on Christ and everyday you will grow to look more
Opening illustration: It is a story about a man who was born with an awful facial deformity. He grew up alone and lonely. When reaching adulthood, he decided to move from his town to begin a new life. On his way he discovered a beautiful mask that fit his making him look handsome. At first the mask was uncomfortable and he was afraid that people would find out who he really was, but he continued to wear the mask every day.
In his new hometown, he made many friends and fell in love. But one day a wicked woman from his old home came to his town and discovered this man’s true identity. In front of his friends and fiance, she forced him to remove his mask. When he removed the mask, it revealed a handsome face. His face had conformed to the mask.
Becoming like Christ is analogous to this. Go ahead and put on Christ. At first it may feel unnatural or uncomfortable, and maybe you may think, “Who am I trying to fool?” But everyday just keep putting on Christ and everyday you will grow to look more like him.
Introduction: Christ is an example to his people, in many things; not in his miraculous performances and mediatorial work, but in the exercise of grace, of meekness, humility, love, patience, and the like; and in the discharge of duty, in submission to ordinances, and in attending on them; and in the several duties, both to them that are without, and to them that are within; and also in his sufferings and death; not that he died merely as an example, but likewise in the room and stead of his people; but here he is spoken of, as an example, in a particular instance. It is the manifest design of Jesus here to inculcate a lesson of humility; to teach them by his example that they ought to condescend to the most humble offices for the benefit of others. Christ gave an example, not a church ordinance. It is our duty to follow the example and render the same kind of service to fellow Christians. To make his example a ceremonial and follow it literally would be to lose its spirit. Note the fact that not once else where is it referred to in the New Testament as a church ordinance, and only once mentioned at all. In 1Ti_5:10, it is named as a mark of a godly widow. Nor is there any mention of it as a church ordinance until the fourth century. The lesson is that he who would be greatest must be always ready to serve others in a spirit of humility and self-sacrifice.
In 1 Corinthians 11: 1 Paul tell us to take his own example in the matter now under discussion. As I deny myself; as I seek to give no offence to anyone; as I endeavor not to alarm the prejudices of others, but in all things to seek their salvation, so do you. Yet Christ being our perfect example, the actions and conduct of men, as related in the Scriptures, should be followed only so far as they are like to his.
1. What does it mean to imitate Christ?
It means to copy his or her actions as closely as possible. It is to model our lives after the characteristics of someone we look up to.
• Children imitate their parents (Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.)
• Students imitate their teachers
• Shouldn’t we imitate our Lord and Savior?
(a) How did Jesus put Himself at risk?
• 1 Peter 2: 21
(b) How did Jesus show His loyalty to the Father?
• Matthew 4: 8-10 (temptation to worship Satan)
© How did Christ serve others?
• Matthew 20: 28
Paul told the Philippians in 2: 3-4, not to be self centered but to look out for the interests of others. Philippians 2: 8.
(d) How did Christ respond to needy people?
Illustration: Tax collectors, Doubting Thomas, Assured Peter of His love
(e) How did Christ forgive (on the cross)?
• Paul told the Ephesians in 4: 32 – 5: 2
(f) How did Christ resist temptation?
• Matthew 4: 1-11
(g) How did Christ view possessions (treasures)?
• Matthew 6: 19-21
(h) How did the Father show His love for us?
• John 3: 16
Illustration: A class of little girls was learning to spell. They spelled a number of small words, such as “pig,” “cat,” “dog,” “cow,” and amused themselves by imitating the sounds that these animals make. Then little Mary was asked to spell “love.” She didn’t stop to give the letters, but ran and threw her arms around the teacher’s neck and kissed her on the cheek. “We spell ‘love’ that way at our house,” she said. The girls laughed, but the teacher said, “That is a beautiful way; but do you know another way to spell ‘love’?” “Oh, yes,” cried Mary, “I spell love this way,” and she began to put the books in order on her teacher’s desk. “I spell love by helping everybody when they need me.”