Be Like Jesus

Scripture: 1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 2:6, Colossians 3:10
Date: 10/05/2002 
We come to Christ just as we are, but by following Jesus we become like Him. His qualities will become ours: humility, patience, honesty, self-control, compassion, persistence and more.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

This morning represents one of the few times when I enter into a theme I need to present with trembling. And it’s not because it’s a controversial subject. It’s because it is the most important subject. It deals with the subject of being a Christian. Now I’d like to begin by reading a passage to you. The first letter of John, if you have your Bibles, I John 3:1-2. You please pray for me as I present this that I can do this in the power it deserves. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called sons of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” Now I want you to notice first of all John runs out of words to describe what a gift it is that we could be called sons of God so all he can do is invite us to behold. It’s amazing. And he goes on to say that the world did not appreciate Jesus so it shouldn’t surprise us that it doesn’t appreciate us. It did not know him. “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.” We’re still growing. “But we know that when He is revealed,” (by the time He comes) “we shall be like Him.” Now I want you to say that with me. Three words, “Be like Him.” Say that with me. Be like Him. We shall, say it, be like Him.

The goal of the gospel is to restore in man the image of God. The Lord did not come simply to forgive our sins. He came to give us victory over sin and to recreate in us the image of His Son. We’re the sons of God now when we come to Him by faith through justification, but when He comes through sanctification we shall be like Him. A Christian is not simply a person who is forgiven. Some of you have seen those bumper stickers that really have erroneous theology. “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.” Have you seen that before? They went around for a while. Maybe somebody realized it was bad theology and they took them off their car. Christians are not just forgiven. Christianity is not simply a big cover up. We do come to Christ in justification our sins are covered but then there’s sanctification. And the justification is useless if it’s not followed by sanctification. And then ultimately there’s glorification but you’ve got to have the sanctification in there. That means we are made holy. We come to Him as we are, He accepts us as we are, and then through following Him we become like Him. Do you want to be like Jesus? That’s what a Christian is. Is your desire just to be saved or to be like Him? Which desire is stronger as the days go by and you evaluate who you are and your progress in Christ?

Are you saying, “Am I getting to heaven? Am I going to make it? Will I be ready?” Or are you saying, “Am I being like Him?” People have a tendency to imitate and be transformed into the image of their gods, their idols. One reason the Bible is so severe against the practice of idolatry is because you become like what you worship and we’re not to make an idol of anything but God. He is to be the one that we are modeling our lives after. And we shall be like Him. Let me give you a couple of scriptures. This theme is all through the Bible. It’s often neglected. Matter of fact, I was looking for sermon illustrations and I’ve got various programs that have literally thousands of sermon illustrations in almost every dimension of Christianity and I was looking for sermon illustrations that dealt with the subject of being like Jesus and there was this big old gaping chasm. I couldn’t find any. All kinds on the atonement and the sacrifice, the love of Christ and the whole broad spectrum of different Bible subjects but when it came to Christians modeling their lives after the life of Jesus there seemed to be a vacuum. It was empty. You just don’t hear enough about the essence of Christianity, which is this. A Christian is a follower of not only Christ’s teachings, His example. We want to be like Him.

Let me see if I can nail that down a little, a few more nails to keep the board from moving. 1st John 2:6, same book you were just in. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” We become like our heroes. Is Jesus your hero? Colossians 3:10, And we “put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” We are renewed according to the image of the one who created us. Who created us? All things that were made were made by Him. He’s our creator. We are renewed in the image of the one who created us. We become like Him. 2nd Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled faith, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image.” As we behold the glory of Jesus we are “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Through the Holy Spirit as we behold Christ we become like Jesus. That’s what a Christian is, a follower of Christ, a follower of His teachings. Now I have about sixteen of probably a hundred different points I could pick from of areas of Christ’s life, characteristics of Christ. We’re going to behold a little three-dimensional view of Jesus. Who was Jesus? In order for us to model our lives after Christ and be like Him we need to know Him. We need to become acquainted with His character and His characteristics. And as we look at Jesus I want you to look at yourself. And I want you to be thinking as we go through some of these different principles, these different elements of His personality, characteristics. I want you to say, “Lord, I want to be like you. This is how He was. I want to be like Him.” And then ask yourself, “Am I like Him? I’m learning. I’m growing. I’ve got a long way to go.” But this is a time for you to evaluate if you are being transformed into the image of your Savior and your Creator.

First thing is the general mission of Jesus. What was it? I mean, everybody has a theme in life, a direction in life. If we’re going to walk as He walked then our mission should be His mission. There is a very deadly misconception that has contaminated a lot of Christian thinking that after you accept Christ you sort of live your own life and you sprinkle a little bit of Christianity in to satisfy the Lord. If you are a Christian then you are consumed with the same mission that Jesus was consumed with. Your job, your employment whatever it might be is secondary to the mission of Jesus. The work of Christians is to seek first the kingdom of God, first priority, the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Everything else is secondary. What was the mission of Jesus? That will be our mission. He says, Luke 19:10, you’ll need to write these down. I don’t have them on the screen but I have a lot of scriptures. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” And if you are following Jesus, if you want to be like Jesus, our mission is to seek and to save the lost. You read in the scripture reading, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” God the Father sent the Son to seek and to save the lost. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” You and I have been sent by the Lord to seek and to save the lost. John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” We have a work to do. It’s the will of God in the world, to seek and to save the lost.

Alright, point number one I want you to consider in the character and characteristics of Jesus. Jesus was humble, the humility of Christ. Now I mention this first and I had a hard time figuring out how to order these. The order may not be your order. They’re not necessarily in order of importance, but the reason I put humility first is the opposite of humility is what? Pride. What led to the devil’s fall? If you read C. S. Lewis’ book on Mere Christianity he’s got a chapter called “The Great Sin” and it’s dealing with pride. And I’ll admit that’s probably my biggest problem. Someone said, “Never are you more like Christ than when you’re humble and never are you more like the devil than when you’re proud.” And Jesus was the essence of humility. Just think about the fact that He who humbled Himself the most of all creation was Christ. I mean, how could you lower yourself any more than going from being the Creator to the creation? From being at the right hand of the Father to being on earth in the sinful flesh of mortal man? He humbled himself even to the point of the cross therefore God is going to exalt Him above every name. You know the Bible says, “He who exalts himself will be humbled and he that humbles himself will be exalted.” Follow me. The one who exalted himself the most is who? The devil.

He is going to be humbled the most of any creature, brought to nothing. He who humbled Himself the most is who? He is going to be exalted more than any creature. It says, every creature will bow and declare that He is Lord. Few places do you see Christ demonstrating His humility more than at the Last Supper when He explained to them… They’re all arguing which of them is the greatest and while they’re wondering in their hearts and musing who will be you know in His “cabinet”, who is more worthy? And they’re evaluating their worthiness and “I’m better than he is, and if he has a place I ought to be above him.” Jesus takes off His robe and gets on His knees and washes the dirty feet of those fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds and He said, “If I your Lord and master have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.” And I say “Oh, Lord! I have a long way to go!” But I want to be like Jesus, don’t you? I’m so proud. If I ever do anything right I want everybody to know about it.

If I do anything wrong I don’t want anyone to know about it because they might think less of me and I want everyone to think a lot about me. And this pride is such a cancer in our souls. Jesus was humble. Lord, I want to be like you, but be careful when you pray for humility. You know what you’re praying for? You’re praying that God will humiliate you. Now, I take that back. You know the Bible never says that God will humble you. No, I take that back too. God can humble you. You’re not supposed to pray, “God, humble me.” The Bible says humble yourself. God has given you a free will. Over and over in the Bible it says that we can choose to humble ourselves. If we don’t humble ourselves then we might be humiliated by providence or circumstance or the Lord. But God is inviting us to humble ourselves. You can make a conscious effort to respond in a humble way. It may not be natural at first because we’re naturally proud. We’re naturally selfish. Jesus was humble. Lord, I want to be like you.

Point number two. Jesus was patient. Phew! 2nd Thessalonians 3:5, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” May the Lord direct our hearts into that patience. Revelation 9:1, “I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” Here is the patience of the saints. And Jesus said, “By your patience, in your patience possess ye your souls.” One of the characteristics of God’s children that shows that you’re becoming or a son or daughter of God is when you demonstrate supernatural patience. Now, I am impatient. Those of you who know me now know that I am restless. I want things to happen. I want them to happen now. I’ve got a problem interrupting people. Pray for me. I’m doing better. The problem is, they’ll start to talk and I already know what they’re going to say before they finish and I don’t have the patience to let them finish saying it because it’s a waste of time so I interrupt and answer them before they’ve finished even their question. And sometimes I’m wrong. I think I know. But the Lord is teaching me, “Doug, It’s not only rude, it’s impatient.” And when I drive I drive like Jehu because I want to get there. You know you can really see people’s impatience on the road.

I’m one of these people that’s changing lanes, you know, trying to know how I can get one car length ahead because you know it’s at least half a second I’ll save that day. Heard about this man. He was at a stop sign and as the light turned green his car died when he accelerated. So he began to start it, try to start it but the engine was flooded and all these cars began to honk their horns in a chorus behind him and just aggravating things. Finally he gets out of his car and he walks back to the car behind him and he says, “Look, I’m really sorry. I’m trying to start my car. It can’t start. If you can try and start it for me, I’ll stay here and honk your horn.” That’s how we are, right? Just impatient. Jesus was patient. Greatest evidence of His patience is you’re still alive. I’m still alive. He is so patient with us and we’re so impatient with each other. We’re impatient with our children, our spouses. Lord, I want to be like you. How can you be a Christian? Be patient not only with you love, it should start there, but with the ones you don’t care much about. Be patient with everybody. Christ was patient.

Point number three. Jesus was pure. This is where the rubber meets the road. Christ wants us to be pure. He’s given us an example that we should walk even as He walked. John 14:30, Christ said at the end of His ministry, “For the prince of this world comes, and he has nothing in Me.” There was no defilement in the life of Jesus that the devil could point to. Now the devil could point to the filthy garments of the High Priest. He could point to you know different ones and Moses, and say, ‘Well, you know he lost his temper!’ But when he came to Jesus he had nothing to point to. The accuser of the brethren was silent because Jesus was pure. I want to be like Jesus. I’d like to be able to know that when resurrection morning comes and the devil wants to point at me that Michael the archangel will rebuke him because my sins are covered and I’ve been made pure. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” Matthew 5:8, “for they will see God.” Do you hope to see Him face to face someday? Who is going to see Him? The pure in heart. 1st Peter 1:15, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy.”

Now this is a promise and you may have missed it. Whenever you find the word “be” in a statement like this there is creative inertia in that word. When God said, “Let there be light” there was light. When He said, “Let there be a firmament” there was a firmament. When the Lord says, “Be ye holy” are you aware that in that statement there is a promise? There’s creative energy. God is saying to you, “Be holy.” If you believe it you can be holy. When Jesus said to the leper, “Be cleansed” he was cleansed. So when He says to you and I “Be holy” you can be holy. Now this is not a popular teaching, but it’s very Biblical and I’m not one bit ashamed to tell you so that no matter how unpopular it is the pure in heart will see God. We must be pure even as He is pure. Oh, Doug! You’re crazy! How can we ever be like Jesus? You may not feel that way now, but that’s what your goal is, to be like Christ. Don’t be satisfied with where you’re at now. By His grace strive to have a pure mind and a pure life so you can be like Christ and represent Him. Let’s face it, friends, if you’re going to be a good witness for Jesus is impurity ever a good witness? Doesn’t the world love to look at the hypocrites who claim to be Christians whose lives are defiled? They say, “That’s a Christian?” How much better is it if you can be holy, your witness and your influence for Christ?

The honesty of Jesus. Christ was truthful. John 8:40, Christ said to the religious leaders, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God.” The truth will set you free. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth.” He was the essence of truth. The Bible says that He was full of light and truth. Christ never uttered a lie. He never even shaded the truth. He never deceived. He said, “There are some things I’ve got to tell that you can’t handle yet. I’m not going to tell you.” But He was always speaking the truth. Notice this. In 1st Peter chapter 2, verse 21, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps.” This is what the Bible is all about, that we should be like Jesus. Jesus has left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

How? “Who committed no sin, nor was there deceit found in His mouth.” You know I… Maybe it isn’t good for a preacher to get up and make these confessions, but pray for me. You know I catch myself so many times saying things that really aren’t purely true. That’s a very damning thing for me to say on videotape. How are you doing, Doug? Fine. I’m not fine! Have you ever done that? How do you like this picture I painted? It’s beautiful. And I’m thinking, “What is it?” But you don’t want to hurt people. There’s a balance between knowing how to be supportive and truthful and not hurting people and you’ve got to really pray that God will give you the wisdom to know how to identify and clarify those things. Some people in the name of being honest are obnoxious and God has not called us to follow Jesus and be obnoxious because Jesus was not but He always spoke the truth. He spoke the truth no matter how dangerous it might have been. “Nor was any deceit found in his mouth; who, when He was reviled, He did not revile in return.” This comes into our second phase. “When He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Point number five, the self-control of Jesus. Matthew chapter 4, verse 2, “And when He fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” The three major temptations that Jesus faced encompass any temptation you might face and yet He was able to control those desires and resist the temptation. I want to read this other verse as well. Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but He was in all points tempted as we are.” Some people say, “Oh, Jesus doesn’t know what it’s like to be tempted. They didn’t have cigarettes back then. They didn’t have heroine back then. They didn’t have the Internet and all these things that are out there to tempt people today.” There are only three areas where anybody is tempted: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Jesus gained the victory in those areas and you can gain the victory. You can be like Jesus. When you say, “I can’t control myself.” Without Christ you can’t, but through Christ all things are possible. Yes, you can. I believe that I could probably find somebody here who will testify. Talking about if I were to just call for a show of hands. How many here have been given the victory over alcohol? How many have been given the victory over cigarettes? How many have been given the victory over cursing? Stealing? Lying? And you can just go on. You’ll see that there are people here who have received the victory in almost any area you can think of so don’t tell me He can’t give you the victory.

Everybody here can be holy. You can control yourself through Christ. I want to be like Jesus, don’t you? I get so irritated with myself when I lose self-control. And you know there are times when it’s easier, when you’ve had a good night’s sleep and you’ve had a nice breakfast and nothing’s happening. Nobody pulls out in front of you on your way to church. It’s very easy for me to control myself in those circumstances. But when you’re tired and when you’re hungry and people are being crabby and you know you start compounding those things it takes supernatural power to maintain self-control. But even then you can do it. Notice when the devil came to Jesus after He was tired and hungry and He was able to resist the temptations. The first Adam fell in the Garden. Adam fell in a garden with absolutely no excuse to sin. Nothing was going wrong, no irritations, no thorns, no poison ivy, nothing to bother him. He fell in those circumstances. The second Adam overcame in a wilderness, it says, with the beasts, hungry. Now if Jesus can overcome in those circumstances so can we. You can control yourself.

The compassion of Jesus. I want to be like Jesus. The Bible says in Matthew 9:36, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” That’s when He thought, “I need to feed them. They’re hungry. They’re going to go home and faint along the way.” He felt their needs. Now you know the word “empathy” “sympathy” pathos, it means to feel what someone else is feeling. You put yourself in their feelings. Now Christ being God is all-knowing. And because He’s God and He’s all-knowing. Not only is He omniscient, all knowing, and omnipotent, all powerful, and omnipresent but you can add to that omnipathic. Some of you remember a member here who moved back to Washington, Bob Faber, and he brought this to my attention one time that God is also omnipathic. He feels everything. Now you and I do not have that divine ability. I can’t know everything you’re feeling. Jesus is aware of every nerve ending in your body and every creature in the whole cosmos, isn’t that right? He feels it all.

That’s why He said, “Inasmuch as you’ve done it unto one of the least of these you’ve done it to Me because I feel the relief.” Anything you do for anyone Jesus feels that. You and I through the Holy Spirit can have our pathos enhanced. Where we can feel what others feel. He can give us that tenderness, that compassion to care about others. He didn’t want to send them away hungry so He fed them. Jesus had compassion. Lord, I want to be like You. Don’t you? When He comes we shall be like Him. Well, we need to start now. Some people think that verse there in John chapter 3 says, “When He comes, we’ll be like Him.” Meaning that when Jesus comes in the clouds He’s going to wave some magic scepter and poof! We’re going to be like Him. That’s not how it happens. If the Lord can do it that way then Lord, do it now! Amen? If He’s going to miraculously wave the wand and go abracadabra and we’re all going to suddenly have the temperament and character of Jesus then Lord, do it now! But it’s because we cooperate with Him through sanctification to develop those characteristics we are becoming like Him now so when He comes we will be like Him. Are you becoming like Him now? Are you satisfied with where you’re at? I’m hoping that as I read through the characteristics of Jesus you’re doing a little internal evaluation. The Bible says we should all examine ourselves whether we be in the faith.

The persistence of Jesus. Are you a quitter? Jesus was not a quitter. He was tenacious. He was determined. You think about the story Christ told of the shepherd. He’s got ninety-nine sheep and one of them is lost and it’s cold and rainy out but he goes out and he looks and he looks and he looks and how long does he look? He looks until he finds the sheep. He is persistent. He was persistent in His mission. How many times during that life in the ministry of Jesus did the devil try to discourage Him? “Bow down and worship me. You don’t need to die for the world. I’ll give it to you. They don’t love you. They’ve forsaken you.” At the cross His disciples left Him. Just all through the ministry of Christ the devil was probably saying in the Savior’s ear, “Why would you do this for them? There’s got to be another way. Give up.” But He would not. He would do His Father’s will. That’s why He said in the garden, “Lord, if there’s any other way… but if not, I’m committed. I will persist to go forward.” John 17:4, “I have finished the work You have given Me to do.” He would not quit. Isaiah 42:4, a Messianic prophesy, a prophesy about Jesus, “He will not fail or be discouraged.” You know Moses said to Joshua before he entered the Promised Land, “Be thou very courageous. Be thou very courageous.”

Over and over again Joshua was commanded, “Be courageous.” The word Joshua is the word Jesus and he was a type of Christ. As he was going to lead those people into the Promised Land he would not be discouraged. And Joshua in the Old Testament never gave up. Not until they had the Promised Land. Christ did not quit. Do you get discouraged? Do you lose your courage? You give up? I want to be like Jesus. Luke 9:51, even when it came time for the cross He would not turn away. When “it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up,” to be lifted up on the cross and received up to heaven “that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” You ever seen someone steadfastly set their face? You know they’ve got their direction and they’re not going to, you can’t turn them. Christ was focused. He was persistent. He was determined. I want to be like Jesus. Who was it? Thomas Edison that said that his genius was “99% perspiration and only 10% inspiration.” Somebody did a study. I heard this just last weekend. I can’t remember who did this study, but they looked at the lives of a number of successful people. You know what they found? Their IQ and intelligence level was not noticeably higher than any of their peers. The thing that was different about them was their determination. Some of the great success stories in history, Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Graham Bell and you look at some of these people and their intelligence wasn’t… it wasn’t that they were geniuses, they were determined. They kept trying and they kept trying until they found the answers. They did not give up.

I want to be like Jesus. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. He had peace about Him. I want the peace of Jesus, don’t you? I mean there are some benefits to being like Jesus. It’s not only the struggle of being holy. God is saying, if you be like Jesus you’ll be at peace. When you’ve got these other characteristics you will have peace. Can you ever find a place in the life and ministry of Jesus where He was wringing His hands and fretting? Point to that scripture. Where does it say, “Jesus was worrying”, “Jesus was anxious”, “Jesus was scared”? No, He was always serene. He was never fretting. He was never worried. He was never anxious. That’s why the Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing. Fear not, fear not, fear not.” He’s in the stern of the ship in a storm and they wake Him up, “Lord! We’re perishing! Don’t you care?” I mean they looked at Him and He looked so calm. “Don’t you care? If you don’t care about yourself, don’t you care about us? We’re perishing!” And He gets up and He says, “Peace. Shhh. Be still.” He said, “Shalom.” And all the elements quieted down. The Bible tells us that when we have the Spirit of God and we follow Christ we have a peace that passes understanding. In other words you can’t explain it. It doesn’t make sense. In the world there are times when we expect you should be anxious. You should be nervous. You should be worried. You should be afraid. And I’m not talking about the kind of attitude you might have if your front tire blows out going down the freeway.

God designed your adrenaline to be released at those moments. It’s called survival. I’m talking about the ongoing attitude where people are fretting and worrying. I’d like to have the kind of peace… You know, after Peter walked with Jesus three and a half years he finally learned the secret and he could sleep in prison, Acts 12, sleep in prison on death row ready to be executed the next day and he’s sleeping chained between two soldiers. The kind of peace that Paul had in a storm when everybody else is afraid they’re going to drown and Paul said, “I’ve talked to the Lord tonight and you folks don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve been praying for you.” He wasn’t even worried about himself. To be able to have the kind of peace where you say, “I know the time of my departure is at hand but I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve finished my course, I’ve kept the faith.” Fearless. Would you like, let me see your hands. Would you like to have that kind of peace? I want to be like Jesus. I want to know that I am in God’s will. You know, one of my heroes is Whitfield, the great preacher, and several people, you know he was a real threat to the church a number of years ago because he was preaching outdoors and thousands were coming.

They called him “the Trumpet of the Lord” because he could speak and they would hear his voice miles away. He had this voice just… I think Benjamin Franklin did an experiment… I said miles… Ben Franklin did an experiment when Whitfield was preaching in Philadelphia and he said he could hear him distinctly a mile away. Incredible voice! They called him “the Trumpet of the Lord”, but the organized church was extremely threatened and several threats were made against his life. People would throw bricks at him and they tried to get mobs to attack him and stab him or… Someone asked him, “Brother Whitfield, aren’t you afraid?” And he said, “No, I’m immortal until my work is done. As long as I’m in God’s hands I have nothing to be afraid of. And if I go it’s God’s plan. I’m not worried.” Oh, I’d like to have that kind of peace, wouldn’t you? And that’s the peace that Jesus had. Up until His hour came when they tried to throw Him off a cliff or they tried to stone Him He would pass peacefully right through their midst, completely unfettered, unafraid. I want to be like Jesus.

I’d like to have the boldness of Jesus, which is our next point. He was not intimidated by people’s position or possessions. He would boldly say, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men and neither will you go in yourself nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” He would say in the presence of King Pilate or the governor or King Herod, “You have no power at all against me.” Pilate said, “Don’t you know that I’ve got power?” And Jesus said, “No, you don’t.” You don’t talk to kings like that when they’ve got their hand on the execution switch! You say, “Whatever you say!” He said, “You don’t have any power over me.” Bold! Fearless! Honest! You don’t have any power but what God gives you. Acts 4:13, notice what it says about the disciples. “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they’d been with Jesus.” Now don’t you want to be like Jesus?

You know, one of the characteristics that they noticed who had been with Jesus is they were fearless the way Jesus was. They were bold! They spoke the truth with boldness and even though they did not have a lot of formal education and some of the earthly criteria they had that authority and that boldness when they spoke and they could say, “I could see that he’s been with Jesus” because they’re like Jesus. That’s what the gospel is all about. You spend enough time like Him people are going to say, “That’s a Christian because they’ve got those characteristics of Christ.” That holy boldness. Jesus went into the temple. This is the place where you’ve got the most entrenched traditions of the Jewish Nation. They’ve got a way of doing things there and it’s been condoned and sanctioned by the religious leaders. And He went in there and said, “I don’t care how long you’ve been doing it. I don’t care that you, maybe, have been authorized by man, this is wrong.” And He began to turn the tables upside down and say, “This is my Father’s house and I’m speaking in His behalf and this is uncalled for.”

I’ve seen people do that in church before. And there’s been a couple of occasions where I saw a saint get up and say something in church because what was happening up front was inappropriate and they got to their feet and they said, “This is inappropriate!” Now you want to make sure it’s really inappropriate before you make a fool out of yourself like that, but I’ve respected their courage because they cared more about what God thought of them than what the church or the people thought of them. Jesus was much more interested in what His Father’s will was than what people thought and so He had this inherent boldness. I’d like God to give me that courage. You know there’s going to be days when we’ll be brought before kings and rulers for our faith and that’s not the time to be timid about what you believe. Amen?

The tenderness of Jesus. I mean, here you see Him in one vignette He’s throwing the tables over, He’s got a whip of cords in His hands and everybody’s running and scurrying out of the temple. And then you know what happened immediately on the heals of that? The children came in and sat around Him and they were singing. Something about Jesus where the sinners and the religious leaders were terrified of Him but the children were drawn to Him because He had this divine tenderness. They were not afraid. Mark 10:14 &16. These mothers brought their children to Jesus and the bodyguards, the disciples said, “Oh, no, no. He’s busy. We’ll get this in His appointment book but you know we’ve got to protect Him from the crowds.” And they tried to scurry the mothers off. “He hasn’t got time for these kids. He’s teaching theology. This is important!

He doesn’t have time to do cradle roll because that’s not important.” He said sarcastically. And Jesus said to them, He was greatly displeased, greatly displeased, and He said to the disciples, “Let the children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” And He took them tenderly up in His arms, He put His hands on them, He blessed them. Jesus said, “If you’re hard or crude or mean or rough with these little ones, it would be better for you that you had not been born, that a millstone be tied about your neck and you be cast into the depths of the sea.” That would be the opposite of being tender. The Lord wants us to be tender. Tenderness with children not only means physical little humans, there are baby Christians and I’ve observed sometimes other church members do not act very tender with baby Christians. “What’s the matter with you?

Didn’t you know you’re not supposed to wear that? Didn’t you know you’re not supposed to do that? And you’re not supposed to eat that?” And they jump all over them and they give them a hard time. And they’re just so sensitive, they’re baby Christians, they didn’t know, they haven’t had time to spend fifty years reading what you’ve been reading and they get hurt and they’re offended and they leave the church. And Jesus says, “If you should offend one of these little ones that believes in me, it would be better for you that a millstone be hanged about your neck.” You know how many people have been driven from the church because of a lack of tenderness? I want to be like Jesus, don’t you? If you’ve got something to say to someone, please say it tenderly, say it in love. You can be bold. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to know how to schedule those things.

And not only that when He was tender He’d touch people. A leper came to Him imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, if you’re willing you can make me clean.” Jesus was moved with compassion. He stretched out His hand and He touched Him and He said, “I’m willing.” The tender touch of Jesus. He would even touch those who were unclean. You know one of the things that attracted me to Karen is that she is a kinetic communicator. Some people sit and they talk and it’s all audio information. Communication with Karen is physical and audio. She always puts her hand on people. She touches them. She puts her hand on their hand, on their shoulder, and it’s… I like that the way she does it because she’s tender. I’ve talked to some guys and they touch you when they talk too and they’re going like this on your shoulder. And that’s very annoying. That’s when I pray I can be patient like Jesus. I was talking to someone last week and I kept thinking, “Lord, am I supposed to react to this?” He kept going like this to me while he was talking to me and he wasn’t even mad. Just like that. And I wanted to say, “Do you always do this to people?” I’d say, “If I talk to you an hour I’m going to be bruised.” I didn’t say that but I was thinking that. He had this tender touch.

Point number twelve, the devotion of Jesus. The Bible tells us, Mark 1:35, “Now in the morning, having risen up a long while before daylight, He went out and departed in a solitary place” by Himself “and there He prayed.” If the Son of God felt the necessity for personal devotions, especially if any of you think He had any advantage that we don’t have, if He did this how much more do we feeble mortals need quality time with the Lord? Now I think, I hope everybody here, if you have a family, you take time in your family to pray, thank God for His food, but then also read with the children, have prayer with them in the morning and when you put them in bed. You know, I was listening this week to Focus on the Family and some of you maybe heard this program where Dr. Dobson was saying they did some sort of survey and they found out that young adults, adolescents, that are well rounded and stable and secure, that perform well, one characteristic they found is that they have four times with their parents. They noticed that there was a common thread that went through their lives.

The parents spent time with them in the morning before they went to school, (It doesn’t even tell about the time. They just had time with them.) when they came home from school, together at dinner and at bedtime. And they noticed that the children that had those four things did extraordinarily better, emotionally, stability, than the ones who were missing one of those components. That really got me and I thought, “Boy! I’m going to make an effort to be there at those four times with the kids.” We always have morning and evening prayer and Karen always picks them up but I thought, “I need to be there more.” If our children become like us because of time with us then if we’re going to become like Jesus then we need time with Him and that comes through regular devotions, in reading His word. Did Jesus know the Bible? He knew it well enough to quote it to the devil. Did He pray? The ministry of Christ began and ended with prayer. He walked with God in prayer. He came out of the water after His baptism, He prayed by the shore. Hanging on the cross, closing words were a prayer, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” His whole life was one of prayer. He was in constant communion with the Father. We need more devotion.

Point thirteen, the faith of Jesus. Now we often hear about faith in Jesus but you know the Bible talks about the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12, speaking about the redeemed, “Here is the patience of the saints…” we’ve already talked about patience. “Here are those who keep the commandments of God…” they don’t just know about the commandments. They keep them. “And the faith of Jesus,” not faith in Jesus. They have the faith of Jesus. They are like Jesus. I want to have the faith of Jesus. How strong was His faith? You know you think about when that Roman Centurion came to Christ and he said, “Lord, I want you to heal my servant. You don’t need to come just speak the word. I know that you have that authority.” And He spoke and it was done. Christ marveled at his faith. Jesus cursed the fig tree and the disciples came back the next day and they said, “It withered from the roots after one day.” They said, “How did you do that?” He said, “This is nothing. If you’ve got faith like a mustard seed you can move mountains.”

I want to have that faith of Jesus where when you speak and you have faith and you pray you know that you’re in harmony with God. You know I think that we’re going to see more of the miracles, the healings, maybe even people being raised from the dead. I don’t believe that the work of Christ in the world is going to end with less power than it started with. What do you think? Didn’t Jesus say, “these miracles that I have done, greater things than these will you do because I go to the Father”? That’s a mind-boggling concept that you and I might do “greater things” because He went to the Father. Why? Because we’re going to be like Him. I’d like to have the faith of Jesus, the kind of faith in the Father, trust that He had.

Point fourteen, the sacrifice of Jesus. You know now we’re really treading on sacred ground. Jesus had a selfless love for humanity where He was willing to lose everything. He was going to put everything that He was and had on the altar for you and me. That’s called a sacrifice. First John 3:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” You see? God is telling us many, many times we are to be like Him. Jesus showed His love for us in that He laid down His life for us. Do you love the church so much that you’d lay down your life for the church? I know a man who was a great evangelist. I should say I know of a man. I knew his daughter. I don’t know him. And he lived at a time where a number of his relatives gave up the faith and slipped into apostasy and he prayed with tears and he said, “Lord, I love your church. If I should ever give up the faith and bring shame to your cause, take my life before that would ever happen.” Not too long after that he died in the Lord of a brain tumor.

And his wife used to say, “You know, the Lord answered his prayer. He was sincere. He would rather die than do anything that would hurt the church.” Do you have that kind of faith? That sacrificial love for the Lord where you would say, “Lord, your people are so important to me because they’re so important to you that I’d rather be lost that they might be saved.” Isn’t this the kind of sacrifice that Paul had when he said, “Lord, if it means that I’m cursed that Israel might be saved then let me be cursed”? Isn’t this the kind of faith that Moses had when he prayed on the mountain, “Lord, take my name out of your Book but save your people”? A sacrificial love! Jesus demonstrated that. He sacrificed everything; His position, His peace, His very flesh that you and I might be forgiven.

The forgiveness of Jesus. Now this gets tough. I want to be like Jesus, but you know this is, for me, a really hard one. And I always find myself saying when Jesus says, “Even as your Father in heaven has forgiven you, so you should forgive others” I say, “Yeah, Lord, but…” And I think about what somebody did to me to hurt me and, “Boy! This was really tough. You want me to forgive that? I mean, there must be some fine print somewhere that excludes these things.” I’m always looking for that loophole that will allow me to nurture and cherish and cultivate this anger I’ve got against this person or this group that hurt me so deeply. You too, huh? You’ve got some of those? “And, Lord, if I forgive them, who’s going to get even with them? At least by being angry somehow I feel like the war is not over and they won. If I forgive them it’s like they won.

So I’ve got to stay mad. I’ve got to harbor that somewhere.” The Bible says that Jesus said, “Father, forgive them” even when they were driving the nails into His hands. That’s hard to ask for the blessing of those that are doing that to you. He was thinking about the welfare of the ones who were killing and crucifying Him. How selfless can you be? Now you just think, “Oh, Doug, we can’t have that kind of love.” Oh, yes, we can! Was Stephen like Jesus when they stoned him? He had spent so much time with Christ that he had the very character of Christ and when they were hurling stones at Stephen his closing prayer was, “Father, do not lay this sin to their charge.” In essence he’s saying, “Father, forgive them” just like Jesus did. A real Christian is paying for the conversion of their persecutors to have that kind of forgiveness. That’s supernatural, would you agree? It doesn’t come normally.

And then, finally, my sixteen facet in this jewel of the character of Christ, the love of Jesus. Maybe that should have been first, but I wanted to finish with it. I want to be like Jesus. How could we ever love like Jesus? Only way is if you’re dead and He’s alive inside you and your body becomes His temple and it’s not you that live but He that lives in you. Revelation 1:5, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Romans 8:37-39 and you know this one, one of the great scriptures in the New Testament, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The Son of God became man to enable men to become the sons of God. What’s a Christian? I want to be a Christian. What is a Christian? A Christian is a follower of Christ. That doesn’t just mean a Christian is someone who accepts the salvation that He’s provided. It means that we accept Him as our model, our Lord, our God. We want to be like Jesus. I want to have the love of God shed abroad in my heart.

I want to be like Christ. Now the only way to do this, when He comes we shall be like Him if now we are learning through sanctification to continue to keep Him before us. It’s like you become the photographic plate in a Polaroid camera and as you are beholding Christ you are exposed to His image, the light of God is impressed on the chemical in your substance and you reproduce that image. The camera is going to reproduce the image it’s aimed at. By beholding we are changed from glory to glory. Where have you got your camera aimed? You become like what you worship. The image of Christ will be impressed upon your soul if you are zoomed in on Him. If you are focused on Christ you will soon look like Christ. You are a photographic plate. You are going to look like what you worship. You are going to be like who you worship. I want to be like Jesus, don’t you, friends? This is what a Christian is. This is the essence of the gospel. And our church will explode with new souls when we really grasp this principal. If we are trying to be like Jesus day to day in all our interaction with the sons of men there is nothing that is more powerful a witness than a Christlike life. When you are like Jesus you are a walking billboard for the church bringing people to Jesus. I want this experience. I really do. And I pray this is your desire. You pray for me, will you? I’ll pray for you. If this is your prayer, let’s sing 311, “I Would Be Like Jesus”. I thought that would be perfect with our sermon title. Let’s stand as we sing.

This is a Christian church. What is a Christian? A Christian is not simply a person who has had their sins covered by the blood of the Lamb. A Christian is someone who is following the Lamb. We reflect Jesus. “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” And when He comes we will be like Him. If not, we’re taking His name, Christian, in vain. I want to be like Jesus, is that your prayer? We can’t do it without His help, but Christ said that through Him it is possible to be like Him in the world. That’s my desire. That’s my prayer. If it’s yours let’s sing together verse 4.

Father in heaven, Lord, this is our desire, our prayer, the essence of what it means to be a Christian to be like our Master. This teaching, this theme is found all through the gospel and I pray that we’ll not allow anything to eclipse this truth. Help us to keep our cameras aimed at our King that that image might be impressed on our souls that we might reflect the love, the patience, the sacrifice, the determination, the compassion of our Master. Bless us, Lord, that we might be Christians not only in word, but in deed is our prayer in His name. Amen.

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