Sermons

Summary: Discipleship means becoming like Christ

(adapted from Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life)

SERIES: “THE GROWTH FACTORS”

TEXT: ROMANS 8:28-29

TITLE: “THE EMULATION FACTOR”

INTRODUCTION: A. Have you ever noticed that the first thing people do when they see a newborn baby is

try to determine which family member the baby resembles?

1. She’s got her mother’s nose and mouth

2. He’s got his father’s forehead and chin

3. Look at those hands! They look just like Grampa Harris’ hands!

4. It’s even been said that couples married for a long time begin to resemble each

other

--Researchers from Yale University studied this phenomenon and determined that

people who live with each other for a long time often begin to unconsciously

mimic each other’s facial expressions.

--This mimicry becomes a form of “facial body-building,” literally shaping the

way we look

B. Who do you resemble?

1. I don’t mean do you look like your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa

2. I mean spiritually, who do you resemble?

3. Rom. 8:28-29 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those

who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God

foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he

might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

--God’s plan has always been to make you like Jesus Christ.

a. His plan from the very beginning has been to make human beings like Himself.

b. God is not promising that you, too, will become a god

c. God doesn’t want you to become a god

--He wants you to become GODLY.

d. Eph. 4:15 – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into

him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

--“God wants us to grow up…like Christ in everything”.

4. Babies are cute but if they remain babies something is very wrong

--God wants us to mature and develop

5. Unfortunately, lots of people grow older but never grow up.

D. There’s a process to grow into becoming like Christ

1. It doesn’t happen overnight

--It’s not like one day all of a sudden – “Presto, chango! Alakazam!” – you’re just

like Jesus.

2. The process of becoming like Jesus is called “discipleship”, and it takes an entire

lifetime.

F. How does God do it? How does God make me like Jesus Christ?

--There are three things God uses to make us like Jesus

1. All three are found in the life of Christ recorded in the Gospels

a. He had trouble in the garden.

b. He had temptation in the desert

c. He had trespasses on the cross.

2. If you’re going to grow to be like Jesus Christ, God’s going to take you through

these same experiences - one at a time.

a. The problem is, these things don’t automatically help you grow.

b. You have to have your heart ready, because if your heart isn’t ready you’re

going to become bitter by these things rather than better by these things.

I. GOD USES TROUBLE TO TEACH US TO TRUST

A. Trouble is not something we look forward too.

--We look at trouble as being unpleasant

1. In the Bible this word “trouble” is often called “trials”

a. “Trials” are situations designed by God to draw us closer to Him.

b. They’re not designed to hurt us; they’re designed to help us.

2. Erroneously, we think we’re in God’s will if things are going well

a. However when things are going well, it doesn’t take any faith and it doesn’t build any character

to function.

b. So God has to bring some things along in our lives to stretch us, to cause us to grow, and these

things are troubles or trials.

3. God wants to build character in you.

a. How does He do it?

b. Rom. 5:3-4 – “…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

4. All kinds of problems are going to come into your life – troubles, trials, difficulties – and you’re

going ask, “Why me Lord? Why is this happening to me?” as if your life is supposed to be a life

of comfort.

a. This is not the place for comfort.

b. This is the place for character development.

5. Please understand this: Every problem has a purpose.

a. I don’t care whether you caused it, somebody else caused it, the devil caused it,

-- every problem has a purpose.

b. And what is that purpose?

--It’s to make me like Jesus Christ; to build character in my life.

B. Jesus went through many troubles and trials in His life

--His greatest was the night before He was crucified.

1. Because He knew what He was going to have to face the next day, the intensity of the turmoil in

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