Summary: Let me ask you: "How would things be different if Jesus came & took your place?" Whether we realize it or not, that is exactly what He wants - to make Himself known to others through our lives. (Powerpoints available - #300)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this sermon available at no charge. Email firstname.lastname@example.org & ask for #300.
ILL. One Sunday as they drove home from church, a little girl turned to her mother & said, "Mommy, there’s something my Sunday School teacher said that I don’t understand." The mother said, "Oh? What is it?"
The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the world in His hands. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that’s true, honey."
"But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?" Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the teacher said was true.
With a puzzled look on her face the little girl asked, "If God is bigger than us & He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?"
That’s the point isn’t it? If we are Christians, when people see us, Jesus ought to show through - in our homes, our offices, our community, & in every aspect of our lives.
Listen to these words by the apostle Paul found in 2 Corinthians 3:18: "And we, who…reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness…“
Now I want to call your attention to 2 ideas mentioned in that verse.
#1, we who are Christians are supposed to reflect Jesus. In other words, when people see us they should be able to see Jesus in us - in what we say & in what we do.
#2, with each passing day we ought to be more & more transformed to be like Him. And again, that is to be evident in what we do & in what we say.
So, let me ask you: "How would things be different if Jesus came & took your place? Would anything have been different this morning as you got ready to come to church? What if He took over your job at work? Teenager, what if He sat in your desk at school? Or what if He took my place in the pulpit?
Whether we realize it or not, that is exactly what He wants - to make Himself known to others through our lives.
PROP. You see, as Christians, our goal should be to introduce Jesus to others - to make Jesus known. We should want everyone who doesn’t know Him now to come to love Him, to discover the hope, joy, & power He can bring into their lives.
In short, it is God's desire that we are to look like Jesus.
I. WE ARE TO LOOK LIKE JESUS
A. Now if that is ever going to happen, people must be able to see Jesus. But the eyes of so many people today have been clouded & polluted by the trappings of this world & the moral decay that surrounds us. So how are they ever going to see Jesus?
Well, if they're going to see Jesus, they'll have to see Jesus in us. That's why Paul challenges us to reflect Jesus in our lives by being transformed into His likeness. We must look like Jesus.
But what does it mean to look like Jesus? Well, I’m sure you realize that I'm not talking about growing beards or wearing a certain kind of clothing. Instead, it means to be like Him, to imitate the character & attitudes of Jesus.
In fact, in Ephesians 5:1-2 that is exactly what the apostle Paul urged the early Christians to do: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children & live a life of love, just as Christ loved us & gave Himself up for us …"
Be imitators of Jesus? What a bold challenge to undertake!
B. By the way, when people looked at Jesus what did they see? Well, they saw a Jesus who was generous with His time, His love, & His power. They saw one who was genuine in His care & compassion, & in His commitment to doing the will of God.
But let's pause for a moment & consider: What do people see when they look at us? Do they see us being generous in the same ways that Jesus was? Do they see us being genuine about our faith & our commitments?
People also looked at Jesus & saw Him to be incredibly receptive. He would welcome anyone who approached Him: the intelligent & the illiterate, the child-like & the childish, the prosperous & the impoverished, the dedicated & the desperate, the seeker & the sick.
He had such an open door to His heart that He is called a "friend of sinners." What better friend could anyone ever find than Jesus? And what kind of friend do sinners find in us?