Examples of Examples in Scripture (1)
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Examples of Examples in Scripture (1)
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Sunday, February 24, 2019 am
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (7)
Examples of Example (2)
Examples of Good Examples
As we continue to examine the importance of shining as lights in this dark world, we have considered what the Bible says about being an example. We have noted several descriptions of examples and last week we looked at our ultimate example, Jesus Christ. In this lesson, we want to notice some other examples in scripture and the influence they had (and have) as a result of it.
I. Examples of conduct
- Much like Jesus, the NT writers appealed to various examples for us to learn from them.
- The prophets – James 5:10 – examples of suffering and patience – a study of the prophets describe some of the suffering they endured as they taught the truth. They were threatened, ignored, persecuted and some were even put to death. Yet in all these things, they continued to present the word of God without compromise.
Reading what they endured could be a tremendous encouragement to us.
- Job – James 5:11 – Job is a specific example of perseverance. In the book of Job, we find a man who lost virtually everything – his family, wealth and even his health. He didn’t understand why, but in all that he endured, he never cursed the Lord or denied Him. He did express a desire to question him, but he never denied Him.
When we are facing difficult situations, we can look to his example for strength to not give up.
A REASON is also given in the text – Job saw the end intended by the Lord – that He is compassionate and merciful. Job was taken care of.
- Paul – Philippians 3:17 – join in following my example, and note those who so walk…
2 Thessalonians 3:9 – Paul notes how he conducted himself properly among them and sought to not be a burden to them. His example was true and demonstrated his genuine character.
1 Corinthians 11:1, 4:16 – Paul directly says, “imitate me”. There were so many qualities of his life that are worthy of imitation.
- Joseph, an example of forgiveness – Genesis 45:5-15, 50:18-21 – Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers. They had done egregiously against him, but in the end he rejoiced to see them and did forgive them. In Genesis 50 he is clear that he is not in the place of God and would take care of them.
- Esau, brother of Jacob – another example of forgiveness. Genesis 33 records Jacob returning to Canaan to receive his inheritance. He is fearful of Esau, but he was glad to see Jacob and embraced him. Even though Esau had been mistreated, he forgave Jacob and accepted what was right.
We see in Esau (and Joseph) that we cannot harbor grudges and refuse to forgive others, even years later.
- Hebrews 11 – “By faith” – examples of faith and endurance in every type of circumstance imaginable – God’s people as examples. A great chapter that teaches us to trust God and not give up. Every example has his own story and example for us to follow – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon and Barak, Samson, Jephthah (4 judges), David, Samuel, the prophets, etc. When you are struggling with your belief and faith, read this chapter. Notice their confidence, even many not having received the promises themselves, but they accepted that knowing what God had in store (Hebrews 11:13-16).
II. Jesus took note of the example of others
- Throughout the ministry of Jesus, we read of numerous individuals that He interacted with. Many showed great faith and other godly qualities. Jesus was quick to recognize them.
- Mark 12:41-45 – the widow with two mites. We often quote this to observe that God doesn’t view giving the same way that man does. But consider also that Jesus noticed this widow and commended her conduct. Jesus appealed to her example of the heart of proper giving. She helps us to better understand that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
- Matthew 15:22-28 – Jesus casts the demon out of the daughter of a Syro-Phonecian woman. In this brief account, we find a conversation and at the end, Jesus commends her for her faith.
He recognized the good in people, and often pointed it out.
- Mark 14:3-9 – when Mary anoints Jesus feet with a very costly oil. The disciples are critical of the action, observing the oil could have been sold and helped the poor. But Jesus commends her for her example and act of honor to Him. Further He notes that “she has done what she could.”
There is something to learn from that expression alone – we need to do what we are able to do.
Consider especially vs. 9, Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Her EXAMPLE is recorded for all of history to learn from it.
- Luke 7:36-39 – Jesus is visiting with Simon, a Pharisee for a meal. A woman from the city came in and stood at His feet weeping. She began to wash His feet with her tears and to wipe them with her hair. Simon was indignant, and observed that if Jesus were a prophet he would know that this woman was a sinner. But Jesus used the occasion to teach about forgiveness, gratitude and hospitality. In 7:44ff He said, “Do you see this woman?” He then proceeded to contrast her humble act and his failures. Jesus, ON THE SPOT, observes her example. AND then He forgives her sins and commends her faith.
- Matthew 8:10 – The context – Matthew 8:5-13 describes Jesus entering Capernaum, where a centurion (likely, a Gentile soldier) pleads with him to come and heal his servant who was at home paralyzed and dreadfully tormented (possibly demon possessed). Jesus agrees to come, but the centurion notes that he is not worthy and doesn’t need to come to his house. In fact he tells Jesus to just say the word and the healing would take place. Notice how Jesus responds in vs. 10, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel. Jesus points to this great example of faith.
- We can learn much from the example of Jesus, as we noted last week. But we can also learn from those He recognized for THEIR examples.
To be continued in our next lesson