It’s funny how little kids repeat or copy everything their parents do. Both of boys are like little parrots, they repeat nearly everything Sarah or I will say. Sometimes it’s cute and sometimes it’s concerning. Kids copy their parents. They in a certain sense will bear the image of their parents.
In a spiritual sense, both men and women were put on planet earth as image bearers of God. That means we are to be His vice-regents, His ambassadors, to the created world. Now, obviously the affects of sin and the fall of mankind from paradise into brokenness, has in many ways ruined this.
Mankind was originally placed on earth to represent the beauty and reign of who God is to all creation. We were made to be in relationship with God and be spiritually connected to Him. But again, sin had broken this fellowship and hence ruined God’s original design.
I think most of us would say that there are not a abundance of role-models out there demonstrating what it looks like to be the type of person God has created us to be. I have often had the thought when my kids are copying me, I wish I had someone to copy. But the truth is, we do.
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
These verses are telling us that Christ is to be our ultimate example and pattern for us to imitate. Now on the one hand, that can seem crushingly impossible, right?
Be like God??
Love like Jesus??
And on the hand it is impossible. We can’t live like that in our own strength. But there is a few key words at the beginning and end of verse number one that I want to point out. THEREFORE. Whenever you see the word “therefore” in the scripture you need to look back and see what its “there for.” In Ephesians 1-4 Paul is reminding the church at Ephesus of their new nature and identity. He spends a lot of time talking about being yielded to the Holy Spirit.
to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
In these verses Paul tells us to renew our minds in the truth that we are new! Walk in the newness God has made you to be. Preach these truths to yourself over and over until it affects every area of your life. Remind yourself of this until it becomes so engrained that you LOVE to live like God and love like Jesus.
When we truly believe and continually live out the gospel, no longer do we live under a Law that forces us to do what we don’t want to do. Christ’s Spirit comes into us and changes our desires so that obeying Him is what we desire to do because we love our Father and want to be like him. The gospel frees us to obey God.
The other key phrase in verse one of our text is AS DEAR CHILDREN. Like I said earlier, for whatever reason my kids love to copy me. It’s not a drudgery for Michael to try to walk around in my shoes. He absolutely loves it. Even though its cumbersome and he trips all over the place, he loves to walk in my shoes. Children copy their parents as a force of nature, they cannot help it. That is exactly how our “imitating of God is to be.” Because Jesus has made us sons and daughters of God the natural outflow is we want to copy and live like our Heavenly Father. If we are going to be the Church we need to live like Jesus. Now to some degree that is a but of an oversimplification, but it is the baseline.
“By the aid of His divine Spirit we can copy God in His justice, righteousness, holiness, purity, truth, and faithfulness. We can be tenderhearted, kind, forbearing, merciful, forgiving; in a word, we may walk in love as Christ also has loved us.” – C. H. Spurgeon
Today, I would like to look to Jesus and see three aspects of Jesus and how what He did impacts the way we live. So if we are going to be the church, if we are going to be the church in our every day living, we simply have to let Jesus live through us. The first aspect of Jesus I want to look at this morning is…
The Sacrifice of Jesus – WE LOVE – Ephesians 5:2
Jesus shed His personal preferences for the benefit of others. He gave up heaven, He gave up the comforts of earth, so others could be restored to God. Jesus gave up the privileges that come with deity so that we could be saved. For the first time in all eternity, Jesus was hungry. Jesus got tired. Jesus sweat. Jesus needed to sleep. But it was so much more than that! We know the depth of someone’s love for us by what it costs him: if he sacrifices his life for us, it assures us of deeper love than if he only sacrifices a few bruises.
Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed by one of His closest followers. Jesus knew He was going to be beaten and have to endure a rigged trial. Jesus knew He was going to turned over the Romans. Jesus knew He was going to be whipped to the point He was unrecognizable. Jesus knew He was going to be crucified. Jesus knew He was going to be punished for sin He did not commit. Jesus knew His own Father was going to forsake Him. And yet, in love He sacrificed himself for us. We see the depth of Christ’s love by the greatness of what it cost Him. Because Jesus sacrificed everything so that we can know God, we too can sacrifice so that others can know God!
1 John 4:11
“Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.”
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we love! Chuck Colson told the story of a group of American prisoners of war during the Second World War, who were made to do hard labor in a prison camp. Each had a shovel and would dig all day, then come in and give an account of his tool in the evening. One evening 20 prisoners were lined up by the guard and the shovels were counted. The guard counted nineteen shovels and turned in rage on the 20 prisoners demanding to know which one did not bring his shovel back. No one responded. The guard took out his gun and said that he would shoot five men if the guilty prisoner did not step forward. After a moment of tense silence, a 19-year-old soldier stepped forward with his head bowed down. The guard grabbed him, took him to the side and shot him in the head, and turned to warn the others that they better be more careful than he was. When he left, the men counted the shovels and there were 20. The guard had miscounted. And the boy had given his life for his friends.
Can you imagine the emotions that must have filled their hearts as they knelt down over his body? In the five or ten seconds of silence, the boy had weighed his whole future in the balance—a future wife, an education, a new truck, children, a career, fishing with his dad—and he chose death so that others might live. Jesus said in
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
To love is to choose suffering for the sake of another. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can love others. We can sacrifice for others. Dads are we loving and sacrificing for our families? Are you giving up things you want so that your family can draw closer to God? Are you giving up your comforts to that your family can know God deeper? God calls fathers to gladly assume sacrificial responsibility for his wife and family. It begins with a special kind of care for Mom. God requires more of a husband in relation to his wife than God requires of the wife in relation to her husband (Ephesians 5:22–33; Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). Then, as an extension, fathers also shoulder a peculiar responsibility to initiate toward, provide for, and protect the family. God gives men the broad emotional shoulders for carrying the weight of the family, by faith. God means for dads to carry more burdens than moms, not less, and even with their strong shoulders, to regularly come to the end of themselves, and lean consciously on God with specific trust.
Are you allowing your life to be a conduit of God’s love that leads to sacrificing for others? Sometimes loving others is hard. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is not reciprocated. Sometimes you get nothing in return. But because of the sacrifice of Jesus you are FREE to love even if it costs you everything! Be imitators of God’s love as dear children! The natural outflow of a life that is overwhelmed by the love of Christ is a life that is radically sacrificial so others can also be overwhelmed by God’s love. We see the sacrifice of Jesus and how that enables us to love.
The Courage of Jesus – WE OBEY – Luke 22:42
Dictionary Definition of courage:
The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. To act in accordance with one’s beliefs.
Biblical Definition of courage:
Doing what God is calling and enabling you to do despite feeling incredibly overwhelmed.
In Luke 22:42 we see Jesus faced death even though He was overwhelmed. He didn’t let His loudest desire to overcome His deepest desire. It took courage for Jesus to say YES to the will of Father knowing full well what it meant for Him. It took courage to say NO to the loudest desire and YES to the deepest desire. . There will be times our fleshly desires will be loud and we will feel overwhelmed. There will be times when fear creeps into our heart as we consider following God. There will be moments when afraid of what other people might think if we obey the Father’s will. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed by life, overwhelmed by your job, overwhelmed at the prospect of being a Dad. There will be times men when we get overwhelmed and we just want to check out! Because of Christ we don’t have to check out! Because of Christ we don’t have to avoid our families, church, Bibles, or prayer! Because of Christ we can faithfully obey God with hearts filled with faith!
Jesus was overwhelmed, yet He tapped into courage, instead of fear. He faced every obstacle with a tear in His eye and the Word of God in his heart. Jesus knows how easy it is to fall into fear, so He enables us to have the courage to make the right choice.Every gospel enablement removes our fleshly excuses. Jesus gives us the courage to obey so don’t have to offer up excuses INSTEAD we can offer up ourselves as a sacrifice.
“Above all, be strong and very courageous to observe carefully the whole instruction my servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go.”
God knowsone of the primary things that derails obedience is fear. Perhaps it’s fear of missing out. Perhaps it’s fear of what others will think. Perhaps it’s fear things won’t go your way. Perhaps it’s fear God will ruin your life. One of the primary things that derails obedience is fear. Being the church in 2018 takes courage! Being a great dad takes courage. Being a great mom, it takes courage. Living for Jesus as a teenager, when practically everything in the world tells you otherwise, takes courage. Because of the courage Jesus demonstrated on the cross we can follow Him with faith filled obedience!
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
This is your new identity. Not victim. Not reject. Not outcast. Not addict. CONQUERER. 1 Peter say we are a ROYAL priesthood. We are Kings and Queens in God’s eyes! It is true, apart from Christ, we are nothing. But for those of us in Christ – we will never be apart from Him again, so stop living like you’re nothing – YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR and it’s time we started living like it! Because Jesus was courageous and Jesus lives in you, you can live courageously! Our lives can be marked by faith-filled obedience!
No more excuses. No more fear. Just courageous, faith-filled obedience to God’s Word. Because Jesus tapped into courage to obey the Father’s will, so can we.
We see the sacrifice of Jesus and because of His sacrifice we can love.
We see the courage of Jesus and because of His courage we can obey.
Lastly we see…
The Sensitivity of Jesus – WE CARE – John 19:25-27
This passage comes at the tail end of the cross. In just three short verses Jesus is about to cry IT IS FINISHED. Now, imagine everything He has endured. The pain. The agony. The separation from God. And in the middle of all His pain and agony He is still caring for others. I don’t know about you, but if I was in the middle of dying this horrendous death I might be tempted to focus only on myself. But not Jesus.
He was sensitive to His mother’s needs. While Jesus is dying He is making sure His mother will be taken care of. This would seem to indicate that Joseph, has at some point already died and Jesus wanted to make sure His mother was going to be taken care of. But we do know that Jesus wasn’t an only child and had brothers who very well could have taken care of their mom. If He wanted a reason to not take care of His mom he had a legitimate one. He could have said “Hey James, I’m dying on the cross right now, you can take care of mom.” But because Jesus was sensitive to the needs of others He met a need even when it wasn’t convenient and even though someone else could have done it.
He was sensitive towards her needs and the situation she now found herself in. You see being sensitive isn’t what we think of when we typically think of manliness. When we think of John Wayne, or other “movie hero’s” the word sensitive doesn’t come to mind. But those other men are not our example; Jesus is! Jesus was sensitive. He wept over people’s needs. Throughout Scripture you see Jesus looking at the plight of people and the brokenness their sin left them in and He weeps. He said in…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
That doesn’t sound super macho. The macho thing to say might have been to say to quote Maui from the cartoon Moana “Muscle-Up, Buttercup.” But Jesus says I will give you rest. Let me take that burden for you. As you continually yield who you are to Christ, He will care for others through YOU! Once you accept the life of Christ you don’t have to try to be a better man, He makes you a better man, by living His live through you!
“For just as through one man’s (ADAM the original Image Bearer of God) disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Jesus is the NEW prototype of man. This is why it is so crucial to abide with Christ. To spend time with Jesus, to daily yield yourself to Him!
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
I want to challenge everyone reading this to get a vision for your life that looks a lot like Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to hit your heart with how much you are loved and accepted. Then ask the Holy Spirit to show you where in your life you are not being an imitator of God as a dear child. It might be you are trying in your flesh. It might be there is no imitation at all. If you feel like you have so far to go there is HOPE! Hope is what helps bring God’s vision of your life to pass. Hope is the expectation that things can be different. Hope that He who started the work will be faithful to complete it.
Here is our takeaway. Reinforcement leads to Reproduction. As I reinforce Christ’s Sacrifice for me He is going to reproduce His love for others through me. As I reinforce His Courage in the midst of overwhelming obstacles His obedience will be reproduced through my life. As I reinforce His sensitivity to me His care will be reproduced through my actions and my life.