The Challenge Of Imitating Christ

 

1. God's Intended Purpose: Rom. 8:28-29 (God predetermined that those who love Jesus will conform to his image. Conforming to Christ's image does not mean being him, it means to be a close replica of him. Illustrate with hand-print in clay. The print is not the hand, but it is a close copy.)

2. Imitate His Knowledge: 1 Cor. 2:15-16, Col. 3:10 (God asks you to pattern your thinking after Christ's. Of course this does not mean you must attain the same level of knowledge as Christ, but you must imitate his mind set, his values, standards, priorities, motives, etc.)

    A. Perspective: Rom. 8:6-8 (The carnal mind set can not consistently submit to God's law. Before you can successfully control sin, you must have a spiritual mind. This means you must learn to value things as Christ values them. Illustrate with how the sinful mind sees [values] a beautiful woman verses how Christ sees [values] her.)

    B. Standards: Eph. 4:17-24 (This passage talks about the standards Christ expects us to live by. You must not live in immorality. Christ has not taught you to do this. Instead you must learn the standards Christ upheld.)

    C. Priorities: Jn. 6:38, 2 Cor. 8:9, Phil. 2:5-8 (Christ did not come from heaven for his own will, but for his Father's. He became poor for our sakes. Jesus shows a consistent pattern of putting a greater priority on the cause of God and the needs of others. You must arm yourself with this same attitude.)

    D. Motives: 1 Cor. 13:1-3 (It is not enough to do good deeds. What you do must be motivated by love.) Mt. 6:1 (Christ not only looks at your deeds but the reason you do them. To imitate the mind of Christ you must learn to imitate his motives.)

3. Imitate His Behavior: Mt. 16:24 (You must learn and practice self denial as exampled by Jesus. Bearing your cross does not mean tolerating inconveniences in life. It means crucifying, killing the sinful desires of the flesh.)

    A. Kill Sinful Desires: Rom. 8:13, Gal. 5:24, 1 Cor. 9:24-27 (The Bible teaches you to mortify, kill the deeds of the flesh, crucify it's passions and desires. You must constantly struggle to suppress the desires of your flesh and bring your life into submission to Christ's will. Paul compares being a disciple with athletic competition. You must exercise great self-discipline and try as though only one can win the prize.)

    B. Live The Holy Life: 1 Thes. 4:7 (God has called you to live a holy life. Holy means set apart. Does your lifestyle reflect a life that is set apart, different from worldly people around you?)

4. Imitate His Love: Jn. 15:13 (Jesus left an example of perfect love.) Mt. 22:37-40 (Jesus categorized love into two areas; an all consuming love for God, and loving your fellow man.)

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  • A. Loving God: 1 Jn. 5:1-3 (Your love for God must be expressed in obedience to his law.)

    B. Loving Christians: Jn. 13:34-35 (Proper love among Christians identifies us to the world as God's children.)

    C. Loving Your Enemies: Mt. 5:43-48 (You must imitate God in loving your enemies.)

    D. Actual Love: 1 Jn. 3:18 (God's idea of love involves action, not just feeling. It is hard to force yourself to have a positive feeling toward others, especially your enemies. But you can change your attitude toward others and the way you treat others.) 1 Cor. 13:4-8 (Real love is reflected in how you treat someone, not how you feel toward them.)