Summary: In life there are good examples and there are bad examples. We need to set a good example for the lost to see and be drawn to and for the church to see and want to follow suit. Let's see what the bible has to say about that so we can set a good example.
SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE (part one)
As we are getting the word out, as we are giving people the message of reconciliation, we are to be living the ministry of reconciliation. That means we are to be setting a good example for others to see. We need to set a good example for the lost to see and be drawn to and for the church to see and want to follow suit.
One definition of example is a model or a pattern. To be an example means we are modeling something or setting a pattern to follow. Another definition is illustration. As in, 'let me give you an example of what I mean'. So, we could say that we are to be a good example at setting a good example. When you hear words like epitome that's what is being talked about. Derrick is the epitome of holiness. Ok, maybe not the best example.
In life there are good examples and there are bad examples. Let's see what the bible has to say about all that so we can set a good example.
1) Jesus was a good example.
We could spend a long time talking about all the ways Jesus was an example. However, I'll focus on the verses that specifically use the word example.
In humility and service.
John 13:12-17, "When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
Jesus didn't just wash their feet because he had nothing better to do. It was all for a purpose. Everything Jesus said and did was purposeful. In this case, we have Jesus setting an example of humility and service.
Service and humility do not always go hand-in-hand. I can serve out of pride. My motive can be looking to get recognized. However, I do think humility and service go hand-in-hand in regards to being humble. If you are humble you will be a servant. If you're not serving in any way there's a humility issue. There may be other problems going on like selfishness and ingratitude but these stem from pride so they can be resolved through humility.
Through humility I recognize the needs of others. Through humility I recognize how blessed I am and how grateful I need to be. Therefore, through humility there will be an attitude of serving. That's what Jesus is trying to get across to them. Everyone walked into that upper room knowing the wash basin was there but there was no servant waiting by the door to wash feet. And obviously no one was willing to be the one to take care of that lowly task.
Jesus waited until the meal was being served before he washed their feet. I think this was so none of them could try to say that they were going to do it. By that time it would've been clear that no one had the intention to wash feet. So he tells them that he is their Teacher and Lord. He is their leader yet he became their servant. Every one of them should've readily washed Jesus' feet yet none of them did.
'Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet'. He made it clear to them that he wasn't just doing them a favor; he was setting an example for them to follow. You have seen my example of humility and service-go and be like me. We need to have Jesus' attitude of humility and service. Do we think certain tasks are beneath us? Do we feel certain people are beneath us? Everyone was beneath Jesus yet he was the one serving others.
Washing feet was usually given to the lowliest servant yet Jesus didn't hesitate to perform it. And he even washed Judas' feet; the one whom he knew was going to betray him. That is humility and service-to wash the dirty, stinky feet of your enemy. Yet this is what Jesus did. Unfortunately, it didn't make an impact on Judas. Let that not be the case for us. We need to be examples of humility and service.
In suffering with dignity.
1st Pet. 2:19-24, "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.