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Who Do We Imitate?

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Loyal
How are our lives impacting others for Jesus Christ? Does our walk match our talk? Do we live what we say we believe? Can others see Christ in us? Or, is what they see our flesh?

Do we honor God by our lives, by what we say, and by what we do? Or, are we living to please our flesh, consumed with self-pleasure and with being entertained incessantly?

The Lord Jesus led me to read 1 Thessalonians 1 (Select vv. NASB).

We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you. Vv. 2-4

Could this be said about us? If not, why not?

Our work of faith

I am reminded here of Hebrews 11, which is often referred to as the “faith chapter” of the Bible. In it we read of the faith of many men and women of Bible times. But, what we read about their faith is concerning what they did as a result of their faith, which is then what proved that their faith was genuine.

Such as, we read that by faith Noah built an ark for the salvation of his household, and that Abraham, by faith, when God called him, obeyed by going where God was sending him, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith Moses accomplished the deliverance of the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt. And, by faith the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, because the people did what God told them to do, etc.

So, our work of faith is not works-based salvation, for we do not do things for God in order to earn or to deserve our own salvation, for we cannot. But, our work of faith is the evidence, the fruit, and the outgrowth of our faith, which is realized in our lives, in our heart responses to God, by doing what he has said to do.

Imagine with me, if Noah, for example, said he had faith in what God told him, but the ark was never built, and they all drowned in the flood. Where would his faith have been then? Would it have been genuine faith?

Our labor of love

What comes to mind here is a mother giving birth to a child. That is a labor of love, for sure! I gave birth to four children, so I understand that word “labor.” Yet, we do that because we want to see that child come to life. We do it for the end result, which is hopefully the breath of life being breathed into him or her, and for the hope of what he or she can become, though we may not all think that far ahead at that moment in time.

I think that motherhood, in itself, is a great picture of our labor of love, providing, of course, that what we are doing is love, for not all mothers love their children, which is really sad.

So, when we love God, with God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, we will want to do what his word says, for this will be our labor of love.

And, when we truly love others with that same God-like love, we will invest our lives in them, in helping, teaching, ministering, healing, and comforting, etc. We will persevere in the bad times, and we will hope for better times to come. For, our goal is the end result, and so we are willing to endure whatever we must endure, if it means the salvation of souls for Jesus Christ.

Our steadfastness of hope in our Lord

Hope never gives up! It endures. It doesn’t go back and forth like a see-saw nor is it easily persuaded by the thinking and opinions of other humans. It doesn’t believe one thing one minute, and then depending upon who we are with, change gears and proclaim a different belief all together. It is consistent, persistent, determined, and utterly convinced, but not in theory, but in how that hope is being lived out in our lives on a daily basis.

This is not to say that our hope is never tested, or that we are not tempted ever to doubt God and his Word, but that, by the grace of God, we endure the test, and we don’t yield to the temptation, and we remain steadfast in hope despite everything we might see in this world, which might seem to speak the opposite of hope. Yet, hope that is seen is not hope at all. But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Ro. 8:24-25).

As well, hope that is steadfast comes from God and is full of conviction, too.

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. V. 5

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear just words. I don’t want words that have no real conviction behind them, or that are not followed up with action, or that ARE followed up with action, but with actions which speak just the opposite of what the words say. Thus, the words end up falling on deaf ears, because they are just words, and empty platitudes.

God feels the same way. You know? He is not interested in empty forms of worship and of service, lacking in true repentance and obedience. He is not interested in hearing just words, either. He gets weary of our words if they are not followed with obedience and submission to his will for our lives. And, the same is true if, when we share our faith, we are just spouting off words, but what we are saying has no real substance in our lives. We can be really good at preaching, but how are we doing at living what we preach?

Are we living the kind of lives we would want others to imitate?

You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. Vv. 6-10

I admit, I have a hard time understanding how any human being could ask people to imitate them. What one of us never fails? What one of us is perfect, i.e. without any sin? I’m not perfect. I am not living in willful sin against God, but that doesn’t mean I don’t ever sin. In fact, I did today.

The Holy Spirit prompted me not to say something, but I had already started saying it, so I finished. I knew better. There are no excuses. And, as soon as I finished my sentence, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about it, and I had to confess my wrong to the person to whom I was speaking, and then I confessed my wrong to God, and I still feel horrible about it. But, thank the Lord that we serve a merciful and forgiving God! Amen!

So, just because we are not perfect, does that mean that people cannot emulate us and our walks of faith? I don’t think we have to be perfect, in the sense of absolutely sinless, for us to set the right example for others. We should not be walking in sin, and if we do sin, we should humble ourselves, own up to the sin, confess it where it needs to be confessed, and then turn from it to walk in obedience to the Lord. And, that is setting the right example right there for others to follow. But, we should not be among those who say, “Well, nobody is perfect,” in the sense of excusing away sin.

So, it is important that we walk the talk, and if we tell others that they need to repent of sin, and humble themselves before God, and turn from sin, and turn to God to follow him in obedience, then that needs to be our practice, too, for Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By the Spirit we should daily be putting sin to death and living to God, for in him alone is our hope found. In him alone can we even live for him, forsake our idols, repent of sin, walk in freedom, and serve HIM in love. And, he is the main one we should emulate (imitate), too, for he alone is perfect.

In Christ Alone
Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand…


Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 5:14 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this lesson from your word. Help us all, I pray, to walk in your ways and in your truth.
 
Active
My KJV says 'followers' not 'imitators'. Slightly different. Because if you imitate someone, you copying them. Not being yourself, and its not genuine.

Following means you follow their instructions just as the disciples followed Jesus and listened to what He said. Where they go, you go. Paul was writing to the church that had originally come from Judea, and already believers, christians were behaving so differently from the unbelievers.

PAul said how the jews tried to stop them speaking to the gentiles 1 thessalonians 1:14-16
 
Loyal
My KJV says 'followers' not 'imitators'. Slightly different. Because if you imitate someone, you copying them. Not being yourself, and its not genuine.

Following means you follow their instructions just as the disciples followed Jesus and listened to what He said. Where they go, you go. Paul was writing to the church that had originally come from Judea, and already believers, christians were behaving so differently from the unbelievers.

PAul said how the jews tried to stop them speaking to the gentiles 1 thessalonians 1:14-16
Evidently the word can be translated either imitate or follow. Webster dictionary has this definition of imitate: "to follow as a pattern, model, or example." So, it isn't in the sense of copying or mimicking in an insincere manner, but it is following the example of another and becoming like they are in the ways in which they are like Christ. So, it is more than just following, for following is obeying, going where God leads us, doing what he says, etc., but it is becoming like Christ, taking on his character, doing not just what he says, but doing the kinds of things he did and having the same kind of attitude, heart, values, etc. that he had/has. Jesus is our perfect model for how we ought to live our lives, but sometimes God brings into our lives godly people whose example we can follow, too, but we must always keep in mind that humans may fail us, so we should never put them on a pedestal. And, we must make certain that they are following Christ, too, so that we don't follow the wrong example, so we don't follow someone's example for how we should be living our lives if it is the wrong example to follow.
 
Active
Ok..maybe it is the same thing really, just KJV uses a different word.

I dont know if we ourselves can copy what Jesus does exactly but the thing about Jesus was he told his disciples they would actually do greater works than he did! maybe he meant to be encouraging?
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love
Also while we are following Jesus let us remember the warning from Paul about following men... even good men:

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." I Cor 11:1
This is to avoid following someone into a ditch.
 
Loyal
The beginner skier on the bunny hill has an instructor whom the beginner really admires...The instructor says "Do it this way, watch." And proceeds to show the beginner exactly how to do it....Then the beginner, instead of doing it the way he was shown, has a better idea....and wipes out....Time after time this happens and finally the beginner quits and goes away whining about how he can't do it...probably all the instructors fault.....What did he do wrong.....He did not imitate his favorite instructor.....We too can go off the rails if we do not imitate our Jesus......So many Christians I've heard complaining....What? Imitate God?! Just who do you think you are? Well.....I'll tell ya....I'm God's son....Ok? I imitate God! And because I do, I'm becoming more like Him!
Ephesians 5:1-2 (CJB)
5 So imitate God, as his dear children; 2 and live a life of love, just as also the Messiah loved us, indeed, on our behalf gave himself up as an offering, as a slaughtered sacrifice to God with a pleasing fragrance.
 
Loyal
Ok..maybe it is the same thing really, just KJV uses a different word.

I dont know if we ourselves can copy what Jesus does exactly but the thing about Jesus was he told his disciples they would actually do greater works than he did! maybe he meant to be encouraging?
If Jesus said we would do greater things He probably meant we will do greater things... Is it possible, Lanolin, that in imitating Jesus we do his Word and walk in it? Not simply his miracles but His life?
 
Loyal
The beginner skier on the bunny hill has an instructor whom the beginner really admires...The instructor says "Do it this way, watch." And proceeds to show the beginner exactly how to do it....Then the beginner, instead of doing it the way he was shown, has a better idea....and wipes out....Time after time this happens and finally the beginner quits and goes away whining about how he can't do it...probably all the instructors fault.....What did he do wrong.....He did not imitate his favorite instructor.....We too can go off the rails if we do not imitate our Jesus......So many Christians I've heard complaining....What? Imitate God?! Just who do you think you are? Well.....I'll tell ya....I'm God's son....Ok? I imitate God! And because I do, I'm becoming more like Him!
Ephesians 5:1-2 (CJB)
5 So imitate God, as his dear children; 2 and live a life of love, just as also the Messiah loved us, indeed, on our behalf gave himself up as an offering, as a slaughtered sacrifice to God with a pleasing fragrance.
Thank you, Bendito. I like that! :smile:
 
Active
If Jesus said we would do greater things He probably meant we will do greater things... Is it possible, Lanolin, that in imitating Jesus we do his Word and walk in it? Not simply his miracles but His life?
Well the miracles were special sure but His life is what we are meant to have, his grace and truth and kindness.
We just need to follow His commandments. And his commandments are not grievous.

I wasnt meaning we are all going to have signs and wonders everywhere we go, certianly some christians have those gifts but more importantly is the love Jesus showed to others.

Didnt john say no greater love is this that a man lay down his life for his friends. Well how many of us would die first to save another persons life? Actually there are many christians who do this more than you think. They wont necessarily boast about it though.
 
Member
Ok..maybe it is the same thing really, just KJV uses a different word.

I dont know if we ourselves can copy what Jesus does exactly but the thing about Jesus was he told his disciples they would actually do greater works than he did! maybe he meant to be encouraging?
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The Church does not teach this. . .because the Church is in apostasy. The Church teaches that we are stuck in the flesh as hopeless sinners. Yet those who were truly Baptized in Christ was been circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands. . .one that puts of the body of flesh with all of it's lawlessness. If Christ said that if anyone TRULY believes that they would do His works and greater then that is what he meant. It is a matter of true diligence and patience.

People don't seem to understand the difference between God's works and our own works of "righteousness." Christ died so that we might become the righteousness of God. Because we are supposed to be diligently conformed to the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and through repentance (the exact opposite of grieving the Spirit and being a son of disobedience).

The only way our righteousness is going to surpass that of the Pharisees is if we are actually more righteous than the Pharisees. And that can only be done through the path that Christ has set for us. Through His works, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

If you are not in the Vine then you will be burned. If you are in the Vine then they are now no longer your works, but Christ's. For you can do nothing of eternal significance without Christ working through you. This all happens through obedience and submission to God's anciently revealed will. For the Father and the Son are One. If you have heard the Son then you have heard the Father. Get what I am saying?

For He is LORD (Son) God (Father) Almighty (Holy Spirit) and He is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). You must work out our salvation, for it is actually God working in us to His good will and purpose (Phil. 2:12-13). His works are works that no man can boast in. For His works are faith and only faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). . . But yet keeping God's commands is what the Bible defines as "what is pleasing to Him" (1 John 3:22; Isaiah 56:4). Put two and two together and you get your answer. For true Biblical faith is dead without works and cannot save anyone (James 2:14). Because our salvation won't be revealed until the day of redemption (1 Peter 1:5).

It has not already instantaneously happened. That is why the future tense verb "shall be saved" is used. Salvation is salvation from sin and death. . .It happens when we are redeemed from sin and death. Predestination comes through Grace. Without that Grace no one would be saved. Therefore, the totality of Salvation is ultimately by Grace.

There is nothing you can do to earn predestination, for one who is chosen was chosen before the foundation of the world. it comes by Grace through faith. Faith without works is dead. Saving, Living, perfected Faith is coupled with works. Jesus is the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is His works, not our own. Lest any man should boast.

Hope this little nugget of info has helped.
 
Loyal
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The Church does not teach this. . .because the Church is in apostasy. The Church teaches that we are stuck in the flesh as hopeless sinners.
I'm inclined to believe this, although I wouldn't say "all" churches, but rather just "many" churches.
The "church" is no different from the world. We do the same sins, just as often if not more than the world.

Some churches teach the "only" righteous is Jesus's righteous, and we ourselves can do nothing righteous.
A lot of old testament verses are quoted to support that... "Our righteousness is as filthy rags.. (Isa 64:6; )
There is none righteous.. (Isa 45:21; )

and yet the Bible say it is those who do the "righteous deeds" who be resurrected into the kingdom of God.
(John 3:21; John 5:28-29; Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 5:10; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:14; Rev 20:12-13; )

The term "apostasy"... what does it mean? Falling away. You can't fall out of tree you've never climbed.
You can't fall out of an airplane you never boarded. You can't fall off a cliff you've never been to the top of.
Only the church can "fall away". The world/government/hollywood/sinners/non-christian etc... can't "fall away" from God.
They are already away from God.

And those people living just like they are in the world... are of the world.

I suspect all too often, we let our own experiences define our beliefs.

I've never walked on water... therefore no one can.

I've never raised anyone from the dead... therefore no one can.

I've never gone years without sin.... therefore no one can.

If we don't believe we can do those things... we can't.
 
Loyal
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The Church does not teach this. . .because the Church is in apostasy. The Church teaches that we are stuck in the flesh as hopeless sinners. Yet those who were truly Baptized in Christ was been circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands. . .one that puts of the body of flesh with all of it's lawlessness. If Christ said that if anyone TRULY believes that they would do His works and greater then that is what he meant. It is a matter of true diligence and patience.

People don't seem to understand the difference between God's works and our own works of "righteousness." Christ died so that we might become the righteousness of God. Because we are supposed to be diligently conformed to the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and through repentance (the exact opposite of grieving the Spirit and being a son of disobedience).

The only way our righteousness is going to surpass that of the Pharisees is if we are actually more righteous than the Pharisees. And that can only be done through the path that Christ has set for us. Through His works, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

If you are not in the Vine then you will be burned. If you are in the Vine then they are now no longer your works, but Christ's. For you can do nothing of eternal significance without Christ working through you. This all happens through obedience and submission to God's anciently revealed will. For the Father and the Son are One. If you have heard the Son then you have heard the Father. Get what I am saying?

For He is LORD (Son) God (Father) Almighty (Holy Spirit) and He is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). You must work out our salvation, for it is actually God working in us to His good will and purpose (Phil. 2:12-13). His works are works that no man can boast in. For His works are faith and only faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). . . But yet keeping God's commands is what the Bible defines as "what is pleasing to Him" (1 John 3:22; Isaiah 56:4). Put two and two together and you get your answer. For true Biblical faith is dead without works and cannot save anyone (James 2:14). Because our salvation won't be revealed until the day of redemption (1 Peter 1:5).

It has not already instantaneously happened. That is why the future tense verb "shall be saved" is used. Salvation is salvation from sin and death. . .It happens when we are redeemed from sin and death. Predestination comes through Grace. Without that Grace no one would be saved. Therefore, the totality of Salvation is ultimately by Grace.

There is nothing you can do to earn predestination, for one who is chosen was chosen before the foundation of the world. it comes by Grace through faith. Faith without works is dead. Saving, Living, perfected Faith is coupled with works. Jesus is the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is His works, not our own. Lest any man should boast.

Hope this little nugget of info has helped.
Oh, absolutely! You nailed it!! Thank you so much for sharing that. Glory to God!
 
Member
I'm inclined to believe this, although I wouldn't say "all" churches, but rather just "many" churches.
The "church" is no different from the world. We do the same sins, just as often if not more than the world.

Well yeah, you are right in that most churches are going the wide path that leads to destruction. But I do literally believe that there is not one single church in today's world that mirrors The Way. But I will say that there are indeed some heading in the right direction (but they are few and far between). The church today in general is not the ekklesia without spot or blemish is what I essentially meant, but I realize that the ekklesia of true blue believers are being revived slowly but surely.

Some churches teach the "only" righteous is Jesus's righteous, and we ourselves can do nothing righteous.
A lot of old testament verses are quoted to support that... "Our righteousness is as filthy rags.. (Isa 64:6; )
There is none righteous.. (Isa 45:21; )

and yet the Bible say it is those who do the "righteous deeds" who be resurrected into the kingdom of God.
(John 3:21; John 5:28-29; Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 5:10; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:14; Rev 20:12-13; )

Well, they are right and wrong. Only Jesus' righteousness is true righteousness, but that does not mean we can't do His righteousness through imitating Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many teach that Jesus was righteous for us. On the contrary, He is righteous through us. Jesus had an earthly mission and now He has a Spiritual mission. Yet many deny the true Gospel the kingdom of God by denying the Lord's Sovereignty. It is contrary to say, "Jesus is Lord" but yet not diligently obey Him. Not only as a lord. . .but as the LORD. That is why Jesus asked, "why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' but do not do as I say?"

Our own righteousness is indeed dirty rags. But if we abide in the Vine then we are no longer going through with our own works, but instead, we allowing Him to do His works through us. But as Jesus said, we must obey the LORD's commandments in order to abide in the Vine. Abiding in Christ is to abide in the Word. For Christ is the Word. That is why if we are just merely hearers of the Word we thus deceive ourselves. Most don't understand what it means to be truly believing in the Lord. True belief equals true conviction. . .and true conviction results in us doing the works of Christ,

Isaiah was saying that none are righteous on their own right. But in order to be justified, one must be literally declared righteous. Because to be justified means to be declared righteous. So obviously it is in fact possible to be righteous as a human being. The difference is initial justification (being cleansed from original sin and justified to inherit the Holy Spirit) and ultimate justification (diligently repenting and thus following Christ unto the end). Our friend Ezekiel puts it like this (and my own words in brackets): "And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, 'The [declared] righteousness of a [newly] righteous man [through acceptance of Christ] will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a [initially declared] righteous man will not be able to live by his [past initial] righteousness on the day when he commits sin.'"
(Ezekiel 33:12) For the wages of sin is death, and one cannot accept a free gift if they never drove over to the party.

The "righteous deeds" are done through the Temple in which God is operating, so long as one is not grieving the Spirit with Transgressions.
 
Active
Thanks Seth

I would say it depends on who is preaching at church, and their walk with God. As I have been in some churches where they teach things not quite according to scripture and then another day you will have someone (in the same fellowship) preaching who you can see is truly born again and has His light and they will open up scripture and explain it better.

Dont worry it seems when people totally on fire for Him start speaking the ones who arent are like what is he on about? Well they just need to ask Him for more oil.

Ezekiel 33 does explain it to anyone not really understanding what God sees, how he judges wickedness and looks at the righteous. What is the point of being christians if you cant ever be righteous. Jesus makes it possible and he starts by giving you a new name.

The reason why I had an issue with the word 'imitate' is because it can be miscontrued and people can act and pretend rather than 'follow'. Its like do you follow instructions or do you imitate them. Having Jesus in your life isnt like a game of chinese whispers where you just go on what the last person said and it could be all mixed up.
 
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