Thursday, November 21, 2013

EMULATE THE EXAMPLE

The word Emulate means imitate with effort to the degree of equal. The word Example means a pattern or model pertaining to something to be imitated. Examples are given for us to Emulate. Christ was our ultimate example. Christ SAID So That we can SAY. Jesus DID So That we can DO.

"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."  (John 13:15, 17)

"...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. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:20-23)
The Messiah died so that we would die with Him.  The Lord rose from the dead so that we would rise also.

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." - Romans 6:8

"He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." - 1 Thessalonians 5:10
The charge comes once again - imitate Christ and His ways - "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:15-16)  

In the Old Testament, Holy to many, means unapproachable.  One factor, if not the prime, contributing to this idea is found in Exodus 33:20 - "God continued, 'But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.'"  For all, except Moses and the Levitical priesthood, God's Holy Presence was unapproachable.  God made His Presence known among His people with signs like the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day.  And God showed His Presence among His people with wonders like parting the Red Sea, providing manna from Heaven, and many other miracles.  God was among His people, but was still set apart or Holy and accessible to only a few - directly.

Then Father God sent the perfect representation of Himself clothed in human flesh - Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  "Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8)  Peter even recognized the Holy character in Jesus just from the miraculous provision of a large sum of fish for his boats.  "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'" (Luke 5:8)

So, God was among His people once again, in the flesh, as Jesus.  Earlier God had displayed His power and presence with miracles and wonders.  Earlier God had set many laws that none could fulfill in totality, therefore a yearly blood sacrifice had to be made to atone for all that could not be fulfilled.  Now, Jesus is sent to atone or pay for all of humanity's sin (past, present, and future) once and for all.  In the meantime, during His earthly ministry Jesus was being our example. He was set apart yet in the world.  He was Holy, yet made His company with cultural scum like tax collectors and sinners.  The life of Jesus and His teachings were tender or compassionate toward the physically, mentally, and spiritually sick.  Those that were the religious doctors of the day, the Pharisees and Saducees, are the individuals who Christ had stern words for - "you brood of vipers" (Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33)

1 Peter 2:12 says, Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  Father God was in the world, but not of the world.  Jesus was in the world, but not of the world.  Because Christ ascended to the right hand of Father God and sent His Holy Spirit to empower the Believer - the Christian is to be in this world, but not of the world.

"but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)  

"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:7-8)

Emulate The Example -

  1. because "He who called you is holy"
  2. "so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."
  3.  "you will be blessed if you do"
  4. "this is commendable before God".