The Bible has a lot to say when it comes to examples. For instance it tells us to imitate those that are good examples.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.† 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.† 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:† 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly things.
Here Paul tells to follow his example and not those who do so but he also tells us we shouldnít follow the example of those who walk down their own path instead of Godís path.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.
But not only are we to follow good examples we are to be good examples to others. Please consider Paul tells Timothy in,
1 Timothy †Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Whenever we examine scriptures like this it should began to make us think about certain questions such us as.
Whose is my example I am to follow?
Who am I being an example to in my Christianity?
What kind of example am I being good or bad?
These are the three questions I want to examine this morning. So our first question is
Who should be your example?
Well first and foremost I believe every Christian should make Jesus there example after all he is foundation on which Christianity is built. Peter says this.
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:† 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";† 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;† 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.† 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
You see Jesus is our ultimate example and he made it possible that you and I can have eternal life. Paul says this,
2 Corinthians 8:9† For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
You see Jesus should be our first example because he will not change and he has never sinned.
Hebrews 13:8† Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Even as great as an example as the apostle Paul is even he recognizes Jesus as being the master example.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Now there are many beautiful passages in the Bible and one these comes from the lesson that Paul teaches us as Christians on how we are treat each other and how we are to serve God and he does by comparing what Jesus did for us and he served God.†
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,† 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.† 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.† 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.† 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,† 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,† 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.† 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.† 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,† 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,† 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.† 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;† 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
You see the lesson is simple follow in Jesus footsteps by being humble and obedient to god and be willing to put others before yourself and in doing so you can know with all your heart that you are pleasing God and that you will find yourself in heaven.
Jesus also showed us over and over again how love one another.
Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.† 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Not only did Jesus show us how to love by his many examples† he even commands to love one another.
John † "These things I command you, that you love one another.
The reason why it is so important that we follow this command and his example when it comes to loving one another is because he Jesus also says this.
John "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
certainly Jesus† is our primary example.
However we can also use those in the Bible that were very faithful to God as
our examples as† well. You can turn to
Heb. 11 and see the list of faithful men†
that were recorded in the OT and you can learn from their example. Now
the Bible records both their shining moments and when they failed. So not only
can we learn from their good we can learn from bad moments so that we donít
repeat their mistakes. For instance Paul talks about the sin of the children of
1 Corinthians 10:6† Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.††
We can also see that we can use the apostles and the first century Christians as our examples.
1 Corinthians 4:6 †Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Many times Paul set a great example of what a Christian is all about. Notice what he says in,
Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ† 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;† 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,† 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.† 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.† 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,† 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.† 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind;
This is great attitude for us a Christians to emulate. We need to understand as the apostles Paul did that we need to put our past behind us and instead focus in on today and how you can grow closer to God always keeping your sight on heaven and not allowing things of this world to become your priority. It also tells that we are not to be lax in Christianity because we are to press toward the goal for the prize of heaven.
Not only can we follow the example of those in the Bible we can also follow the example of those who are faithful today.
Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,† 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Paul also said to note those who walk this way. There are many of brothers and sister in Christ that we can look toward as an example because they are following Christís example. But please understand that people are human and they can become a bad example and so you should never make a person your primary example because if you do you will fall right with them if they fall away. So these others can be uses as examples but the only one that you can rely up 100% is Jesus Christ.
2. Who are you an example to?
Well first of all you are an example to other Christians especially those that are babes in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:6
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in
much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,†
7 so that you became examples to all in
Paul also told Timothy to be an† example to the believers.
1 Timothy Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Not only are we to be examples to our brethren we are to be examples to our children. When our children are growing up they learn many things from watching mom and dad because we are a great influence on their life. Now I have known parents who loved to drink alcohol and kept in their refrigerator and then they tell their children they are never suppose to drink alcohol. What a mixed message that sends. If they wanted to increases their chances that their children wont drink alcohol then they need to lead by example and not have alcohol in their home and to never touch a drop of the stuff. We should take our example that we give our children very serious because Jesus says,
Matthew 18:6 " But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Finally we are examples to the unbeliever. They are watching and many times they will base what Christianity is all about by watching your example. Notice what Peter says about this when Christian is married to non-Christian.
1 Peter 3:1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,† 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
You see by your example you can lead your mate to Christ. Peter also speaks of the importance of example to the world.
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,† 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.† 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme,† 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.† 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men --†
You see† whether you like it or not you are an example to those around you and this brings† us to our final question.
What kind of example are you?
Are you showing the world and those around that you are living your life for Christ? Are you showing your brothers and sisters in Christ that your are a mature loving Christian or are you being† a negative example? Think about your life and try to determine am I being Christ like example or a worldly example?
What kind of example are you when it comes to church growth? Do you set a faithful example by attending every service that you can and by being hear on time or do you only come when feel like it? Do you set a good example when comes to being a part fellowships are visitation programs or do you avoid such things and would rather just stay at home? Think about this real carefully is the example you are leading today helping or hindering the growth of the church?
Finally is your example that you† set worth emulating? If every member were to follow your example would the church be strong? Would it be growing? Would the members be here at all the Bible classes and all the worship services? Would the church even exist by following your example? One last question Is your example helping or hindering the cause of Christ?
I hope this morning lesson has really challenged you to think about the importance of examples. We learned the Christ is out ultimate example and we can always rely upon him because he does not falter. We can use the faithful example in the Bible and learn from their mistakes. We can even follow the examples of faithful Christians today. We have learned how important it is that we be good Christ like examples so that we can lead others to Christ. Then finally I challenged you to really think about what kind of example you are. If you have found that you are not being the example you that you should be then start making changes in your life today so that you can be a shining light in this dark world. Let us never forget that our actions speak louder than our words.