Imitating Christ – Not Knowing everything.

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1 Corinthians 13: 9 – 10

Did Jesus know everything? He knew of things in heaven and on earth, the word of God and there meaning, what people were thinking, what was in man’s heart, and how the disciples would die. Can you think of anything he did not know?

To answer this question we will need to see who really is this person we call Jesus. Is he fully God or is he fully man? We will look at Jesus being fully man next week. But is Jesus fully God as we find in the scripture? In Genesis it tells us that God hovered over the face of the earth and then he spoke everything into existence (concerning the world we know). Here we find the reality of how Godly Jesus was. The creativity of what God did come from his mind, and we can now call this mind of God “the father”. When he hovered over the earth we find that he had no body but rather it was the spirit of God that moved over the earth. What ever the father spoke happened. It was the voice of God that created all things. In John 1: 1 it tells us that it was the voice of God that became man. These three are one and can not be separated at any time. The mind of God is moved wherever he goes by his spirit and when he speaks it is by his voice.

How does God make the transition to become fully human as well as fully God? In Deuteronomy 18 he tells us that he will raise up a prophet from the Jews and he will command him what to say. Jesus himself tells us that it is the father who tells him what to say. (Jn 12: 49) Back to our question, does Jesus know everything? When asked when heaven and earth will pass away Jesus tells us that he does not know the answer because the father has not revealed it to him.

If Jesus does not know everything and we are his followers and he lives in us then 1 Corinthians 13: 9 would make perfect sense. We know in part and we prophesy in part. John 3 tells us that there are some things we might not be able to understand so what we do know that we speak of. Looking at the ministry of Jesus we can see that Jesus did not start out teaching about the kingdom of heaven and his death but he started with what his followers could understand. As his time on earth was coming to a close he spent much more time with them explaining what was to come. It was not until the day of Pentecost that they fully knew what Jesus had been telling them and then it was the father speaking through the spirit that taught them.

For know we will be content with knowing in part and sharing that knowledge with others. We will also be looking forward to that time when Christ returns in all his glory and then we will know fully. Since we know in part let us continue to learn from God asking him for the knowledge that we need to know.

God Bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love never fails

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1 Corinthians 13: 8

Why would Paul tell us that prophecies will fail, tongues (languages) will cease and knowledge will vanish? To answer this question let us go back to the Old Testament and hear the words that God spoke to two of the prophets.

God told Zechariah that in the past he had tried to send prophets but the people refused to listen to them. The prophets pleaded with the people to listen to God’s words but they still refused. Because they refused to listen, God sent the people into foreign lands. Now when the people cried out to God he refused to listen to them for a time. Then God spoke to Zechariah with another message that he said they would not listen too.

Again God speaks to Jeremiah and tells him that the people will not listen to God. When Jeremiah tells the people this they will not listen, they will not come to hear him and the truth of God’s word will vanish from them. From the Old Testament we can see that prophecies were disregarded, people stopped listening to God and the knowledge of God was removed from them.

In Matthew 13 the disciples ask Jesus why he often spoke in parables. Jesus replies by quoting Isaiah; they have hardened their hearts, refused to hear God’s word and refused to see what God is doing (paraphrased). And yet Jesus tells the disciples that the secrets of heaven are for them, and all those that believe in him. Jesus tells the disciples that they will be persecuted and hated because the people hated him. But Jesus encourages them by saying that he will be with them to the end and they are to be his witnesses throughout the world. If they are faithful to the end of their lives they shall see him again in heaven.

By being filled with the Spirit of Christ and imitating Jesus the disciples were able to pass the word of God down to us. We in turn are to pass God’s word on to others. Yes it is true that people will not listen to prophesies, nor listen to us speak, and therefore the knowledge of God will be removed from them. So why do we continue to spread God’s word if no one will listen? Take a look at the first few words of verse 8: (God’s) love never stops loving! Both the Old and New Testaments are the recordings of God’s love toward us that we might be saved. John 3: 17 is often over looked by many but it tells us that God’s love is so strong toward us that Jesus was sent that none of us should perish but all might have eternal life. God’s love compels us to share his love with others even if they will not listen to our words.

God bless you as you imitate Christ.

 

Imitating Christ – Love Endures All Things.

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1 Corinthians 13: 7d

In Mark 5 we have the story of a man being delivered form a large number of demons. When Jesus was asked to leave the country side this man asked to go with him. Jesus told him to return to is home town and tell them what had happened to him. The man return to his own people and spread the word of what God had done for him. As he was left behind, the love for Jesus enabled him to endure all he had to go through.

As we look at how love endures all things let us look first at what Strongs lexicon tells us about  “enduring”. The english understanding of this Greek word is: “is-under-remaining”.This is being defined as to stay behind, and persevere through misfortunes, trials and holding fast to our faith in Christ. It also means to bear bravely and calmly ill treatment.

From this understanding of love enduring all things we can see that Jesus was to some degree left behind on earth to endure all thing. In the ability to endure all things he is truly able to be an example for us to follow. From an early age Jesus knew what his life’s mission was to be and as he grew he was trained for that purpose. At the proper time he started his ministry. At first there was little resistance to him or his followers. As he grew in popularity and influence we find that some were rejecting him and calling for his death. The temptation that he would have faced may not have been exactly like ours but they were more intense. Just like us, he was tempted to have what ever he wanted when he wanted it, tempted to do what ever he wanted to do regardless of the out come, and he was tempted to have total power. In all of these temptations he did not sin.

There is one big difference between Jesus and everyone else. Jesus was born fully man and fully God. This gave him the ability to sin because of the sin nature of man and to resist sin because of the nature of God in him. Since we are not born with the nature of God, how then can we be like Christ? We are born with the sin nature in us, therefore we will sin. Romans 3 tells us that everyone has sinned. The solution comes from Revelation 20, it is when we open our hearts and allow Jesus to inter into our life. Our next step is to learn how to trust Jesus to lead our lives. We must be able to turn more of our life over to him and we must allow him to guide us in every situation. John the baptist said it this way; I must decrease and Jesus must increase. If we allow Christ to control our lives then we will be able to endure all things to the end.

May God bless you as you learn to imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love Always Hopes

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1 Corinthians 13: 7c

We often think of hope as something that we would like to have happen, this hope may or may not come to be. The hope in this scripture is a hope that we believe something will happen and that we are looking with anticipation for it to be accomplished. With this in mind let us look first at the hope Jesus had and then how he gives that same hope to us.

In Acts 2 we have a quote from the Old Testament concerning the hope that Jesus had. His hope included that the father was with him, that his faith would not be shaken, he would rise from the dead, God was directing his life, and that he would be filled with joy that God was with him. We can also add to this hope that God’s word was true. Jesus was not hoping for this to be true but his hope was that he knew it to be so and was looking forward to the end when it would come to pass. He was able to put the cares of this world in the hands of God and waited with anticipation for the fulfillment of God’s word.

Jesus taught his followers that God’s word was true and could be trusted. God’s word would give us forgiveness, salvation, entrance to heaven, what to do, say, where to go. God would also perfect our faith, provide for our needs, and protect our souls from Satan. Jesus also taught his followers not to trust in the government for they come and go according to God’s will. He also taught them that they would have difficult times but God would be with them in those times. Finally Jesus taught his followers that he would come and live in them; so we can say it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.

As we imitate Christ, he gives this same hope he had to us as well. We to will live in the hope with expectation that we will see Christ face to face when we reach our home in heaven.

Are you living in this hope? If you are not, pray that God will increase in you heart that you might become less. It will give you the expectancy of reaching our heavenly home. John said in 1 John 5: 13 that he wrote that we would know we have eternal life.

God bless you as you continue to imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love Always Trusts

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1 Corinthians 13: 7b

Love always trust, and Jesus loved at all times so does that mean he always trusted? It really depends on how you look at his life and what he would have put his trust in.

Jesus did not put his trust in the government. In Daniel 21 we are told that it is God who will put a king in power and also remove him from power. We will see throughout history that there were good rules as well as bad rulers and yet we are told to be subject to them by obeying the laws.

Jesus did not put his trust in people. Some people rejected him because he did not fit into their mold, some we indifferent to him, they would not go out of their way to be around him. Some just wanted what he could give them, if they did not receive their desires they left him. Others listened to his every word but left him because he asked to much of them.

These were the people that Jesus wanted to give his spirit to so that they would be able to trust in God always, but they refused that love.

Jesus always trusted in the father. Jesus would acknowledge the father wherever he went. He trusted him to keep him safe so no harm would come to him. He trusted in the word of God, and that God would hear when he called upon him. In short what ever need Jesus had he trusted God to fulfill it. Jesus gave this same love to his followers on the day of Pentecost and to all how believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we imitate Christ we will receive this same love for the father. We will always trust that God will fill us with his spirit. We trust that his word is true and will never fail. We will trust that he wants to prosper us spiritually for our good and not to harm us. We trust that he will always be there for us even in the worst of time, and that he will guild us all the days of our lives.

Even on our worst days we trust that God will not leave us even when we do not feel his presence.

Sometimes we wonder if we can really put our trust in him, we may have a situation in our lives that there seems to be no answer to how can God solve it? This is where our trust is truly tested, because he sees our past , present, and future and know what is best. As we go through our difficult days we will learn how God has helped us so we can help others going through those same situations.

By imitating Christ we will want to tell others how God has won our trust. What has God done for you? What has happened years ago is important but is he still doing something in your life today? Lets share it with other.

God bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love Always Protects

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1 Corinthians 13: 7a Love always protects

What do you think this verse means? The meaning that I had applied to it made it a very difficult post. The meaning I applied was that of a military term which meant that I was to keep them from any type of physical harm. The correct meaning is that we protect others by covering them as a tent, by keeping silent, keeping secret and by hiding the errors and fault of others.

Jesus always protected his disciples. Mathew was a liar and a thief, yet Jesus never said anything about him to others. On the night that Jesus was betrayed Jesus never said that it was Judas by name nor in his prayer in John 17. We find that he was the same with the faults of the others as well. When the woman was caught in adultery Jesus would have written the sins that had been committed but not the names of those who committed them. To the woman he tells her not to sin again.

Does this mean that Jesus will not hold us accountable if we break a commandment? God gave us his commandments of how to worship him, live our lives, and the penalty if we break those commandments. Jesus said that he did not come to do away with those commandments but to fulfill them. A few thoughts need to be considered here. We are to be held accountable for our action and are to confess our sins. Not all sins should be made public, there is a right time and place for this confession. Note the sinner is the one that does the confessing not others. The writer of 1 John tells us that he wrote so that we would not sin, and Psalms 119 says that we hide God’s words in our hearts that we would not sin.

It seems that in our world today that we want to hold every one accountable for their action and never let them forget what they have done. We also want to let everyone else know what they have done as well. By allowing the spirit of Jesus to dwell in us we will learn to protect others by not revealing the wrongs they have done.

May God bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love rejoices with the truth

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1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 13

6.Love… rejoices with the truth.

What is truth? In our world today it is very hard to tell what the truth is. In the news media we will often find that they will report the truth of an event, but when we find out the rest of the story we find that it was much different than it was reported. Many news company will give a different perspective on a story which will give us a different truth. So how can we know the truth? Or do we really want to know the truth?

There are a lot of people who are like Pilot when he asked “what is truth”. He asked the question but did not stay for the answer. Can we remember a time when someone asked you a question and then left with out an answer?

Let us look at what Jesus understood about the truth. In John 17: 17 Jesus asks the father to sanctify the disciples through the truth, and that the fathers word was truth. In John 16 Jesus calls the spirit of God truth and he will teach or guide us into all truth. Also in John Jesus tells us that he is the way, truth, and life, and to get to the father we must go through him. Let us remember that when Jesus was telling his followers about the truth he was referring to how God had spoken to those of the old testament and to to those writings.

The first verse of John goes back to Genesis to tell us that the voice of God, that created all things, is the same voice (word) that became flesh and lives among us in the person of Jesus. Jesus tells us that if we are to worship God then we must worship him in spirit and truth. We are able to do this because Jesus has sanctified us with his spirit and we can say with Paul that it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.

A little about sanctification. Justification comes to us when we have asked for and God has forgiven us for our sins (initial sanctification). Entire sanctification is when we no longer have a desire to sin because God has removed that desire through the Holy Spirit. In sanctification we are set aside for holy service unto God.

How can we be sure that we are imitating Christ the way we should be? 2 Timothy tells us that we are to study the word of God. He was referring to the Old Testament which will give us the commandments of God. It also tells the history of his people and gives instructions on how to live a Godly life. The New Testament gives us the life of Jesus, the history of the early church. and how to deal with sin. We are also to be filled with his spirit. As we study God’s word we will find ourselves growing to be more Christ like. Studying the word of God not only means memorizing the scripture but it also means that we are to put those scriptures into practice. How we do this will depend on the will of God for our lives. There are times when we get the wrong direction thinking they are from God and when this happens God will guide us back to his will.

God bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitate Christ – Fatherhood

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As we celebrate fathers day we might ask the question as to what makes a good father. To answer this we will need to look at God as the father of Jesus and, as creator, father of us all. There are many times that Jesus refers to God as his father and as we accept Jesus we are adopted into his family and become sons and daughters with Jesus.

What was the relationship that Jesus had with the father? God provided what Jesus needed. Jesus said that we do not live by bread alone but by the word of God. In Psalms it tells us that God would give his angles charge over Jesus so that no harm would come to him, Satan used those words while tempting Jesus in the wilderness. God trained Jesus in the things that he needed to live by. Jesus said it this way – a son can do nothing but what he sees his father do.

With the example that God gave to Jesus as a father, he shows the same fatherly example toward the disciples. Jesus provided the needs that they were required, food, shelter, money, training. He loved them and gave his life for them. In his prayer to God he said that he lost none of them except the one the scripture told about.

In first Corinthians Paul tells us that a father should be a husband to one wife. He must love, honor, nourish, and cherish her. The church has become the bride of Christ and Christ become the father of all believers.

As with Jesus we are to worship God. God will provide the training for what we are to do in life and when we are older we will not depart from the path God has called us to. God will protect our spirits. With every temptation he will provide a way to avoid it and no one can remove us from the hand of God. As children of God, he will discipline us when we disobey him but it is for our good. His discipline is designed to draw us back to him not to drive us away, while Satan will use our disobedience to drive us further from God. As with the disciple, God will tell us what we have done wrong and how to avoid it the next time we face that situation.

As fathers we are the example of who Christ is here on earth and we are to teach our children to be Godly. It is our responsibility to teach our children how to love God, this is the first responsibility. Second we are to teach them how to love their wives. Third we are to teach them how to discipline, provide for the family, and teach them what they are to do to live Godly lives. We do this best by our example.

If you are having trouble in these areas ask God and he will teach you how to be a better father.

May God bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love does not delight in evil

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1 Corinthians 13: 6

If love does not rejoice in evil why did Jesus spend so much time with those who were considered evil?

Jesus was walking by the place that taxes were being collected and called Mathew to follow him. Who was Mathew? He was a Jew supporting the Roman government by taking taxes. Furthermore he added to those taxes an amount that would help him live in a lifestyle he enjoyed. It is no wonder that people hated the tax collectors because they supported an occupying government and stole from their own people.

Let us continue to see those that Jesus spent time with. At this time a good Jew would not spend time with a sinner nor would a sinner be able to inter into the temple to worship. If a person had an illness it was commonly accepted that it was due to a sin and were outcast among their own people.

In Mark 5 we find that Jesus came to a place a demon possessed man was living and spent time with him. From here Jesus is approached by a woman who had been an outcast for twelve years and talks to her. Further into Mark we have the story of a Greek woman who comes to Jesus and Jesus heals her daughter.

Not only did many of the outcast come to Jesus but he also went to some of them. In John 4 Jesus “had to go” to Samaria just to meet the woman at the well. We also have the story of Zacchaeus another tax collector. Although not considered as evil, Jesus often talked to the Jewish leaders about their understanding of God’s laws.

Again, why does Jesus spend so much time with those who are evil or doing wrong? The answer is that he loved them in spite of what was going on in their lives. We often hear him tell others not to sin any more. With the woman at the well it was a way to inter the city to share the love of God with everyone there. The demon possessed man was told to return to his home and tell others what God had done for him. The love Jesus has for the religious leaders is seen by his continuous interaction with them. He answers all their questions and tells them to return to the true meaning of God’s word.

The love of Jesus see the wrong that is in us but does not enjoy it. This is why he continues to show people compassion, and mercy by spending time with them and sharing the truth with them. Not everyone that Jesus came into contact with accepted him, and then there were some that it took a while for them to accept his message.

As we imitate Jesus let us not enjoy evil in any form, instead enjoy the truth and share that with others. Just like Jesus, let us try to meet the needs of other and share what God has done for us. Has God helped you overcome a difficult time in your life? Has God given you a new understanding or taught you something new? Others will need to hear what God has done for you. We will find that many will not accept the love of God but do not let that stop us from doing what God has called us to do.

God Bless you as you imitate Christ.

Imitating Christ – Love Keeps no Record of Wrongs

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1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 13

5 it (love) … keeps no record of wrongs.

 

Going through the advertisements the other day I came across one that for a small fee you could find out almost anything about a person. It is sad to say that most of what we do is recorded someplace even if we don’t like it. Even among Christians there are things that we know about someone that we will never forget nor forgive. As Imitators of Christ are we showing his love for others when we remember the wrongs others have done?

There are many scriptures that tell us that when our sins are forgiven God will not remember them any more. Hebrews 8 says that he will not remember them, Isaiah 43 tells us that he will blot them out, in Psalm 103 they are separated from us as far as the east is form the west, and Micah 7 tells us that they are tossed into the deepest part of the sea not to be remembered again.

When Jesus called the twelve disciples he knew they were sinners, but he never recalled their sins. There were times that the disciple did sin but Jesus would remind them that they were wrong and needed to change. When sinners were brought to him, he would forgive their sins and tell them not to sin again.

Can we have this same type of love for other followers of Christ? One of the first things we need to realize is that we are all at a different stage in our walk with God. In your early walk with God you were probably corrected and as you matured you may have had the opportunity to correct fellow believers. As we grow in our faith some of our correction will come from other believers or from God’s spirit.

Second thing to consider is how do you want to be treated after you have been corrected? We will want to know that we are forgiven completely and never reminded of our fault. Next we would like to know that we have been accepted in fellowship just as we had never had a problem.

Finally consider this, Satan reminds us that we have failed and therefore can not be a true follower of Christ. Christ on the other hand forgives and forgets our past failures. Christ will encourage us to grow in his spirit until we have reached maturity.

Jesus has instructed us to treat others as we would like to be treated. In Mathew 7: 12 and Luke 6:31 gives us the same instruction when we are dealing with other believers or our enemies.

We will come across some who will have trouble in their walk with Christ and will often fail. As we love them by not reminding them of their fault we will be able to encourage them to grow in their faith.

God Bless you as you imitate Christ.

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