Summary: If we are to be imitators of God we need to be studying him so well that when people see us, they see HIM
Who are you looking at?
Growing up I used to love to watch an impressionist named Rich Little. He was so cool when doing John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and other such stars. One of my favorite shows was Rich Little doing “A Christmas Carol.” He did it solo, using his talents as an impressionist playing all the characters by impersonating many Hollywood stars. The hardest one to pick out was him, he was always doing someone else we never really saw the real Rich Little. When asked how he got so good he said, he simply studies the person and every little detail and voice and copies.
In this passage we are called to be imitators of God. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and if we are to show God our Love for him, we should imitate him. But who are we looking at?
In this passage we see several characteristics of God. If we are to be imitators of God we need to know who he is, how he acts, what pleases him, and what angers him. We need to study Him deeply. This is the idea behind the term Christian, it means Christ-like or “little Christ.”
Who do people see when they see us? Religious fanatics? Self-Righteous Bigots? Or do they see Jesus? In one of Paul’s Earlier letters he states "For all who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." I heard Dr Jack Cottrell talk about this. He said, when we became Christians, we put on a Jesus costume, so that when God sees us, He sees Jesus. So I ask again, who do people see when they see us?
To be Like God we have to:
1. Love Like God
b. Love without prejudice
People have said that there cannot be a place like Hell because a loving God would not condemn people to such a horrible place. I agree a loving God would not condemn people to Hell; a loving God does everything so that His Creation would not have to go to Hell, and He did everything through Jesus Christ our Lord. The model of love is Christ himself. It is because he laid down his life for us that we are to love others to the point of sacrifice.
John had something to say on this topic. In fact, he wrote a whole letter dealing with the Love of God. It seems strange that one called “Son of Thunder” who wanted Jesus to call down fire from heaven on a group of people would talk like that. It is all about the Change, who are we looking at?
John said: (1 John 4:8-12, 16-18))
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Who are we looking at? Who are we looking like?
The next characteristic is LIGHT
EPH 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
Light Shines on the darkness and the darkness flees.
As Children of the Light we:
1. Shine the light of TRUTH
2. We expose the darkness/evil as
Can we do this in Love? Yes, Paul tells us to speak the truth in love. (Eph 4:15)
We show people this love by shining the light on the Truth so that they can be set free
What is the truth?
In those who imitate God there is no hint of:
3. foolish talk
4. coarse joking
It is hard to live in this world and not somehow be touched by a few of these characteristics. The idea is not the absence of these characters, but it is that these characteristics have no influence on us, we are not participants in these items. These characters are not suitable for one imitating God.