Jesus, Our Ultimate Example
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Jesus, Our Ultimate Example
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: 1 Peter 2:21
Sunday, February 10, 2019 am
Lights in a Dark World (6)
Examples of Example (1)
Jesus, Our Ultimate Example
This year we are examining the importance of being a proper example. We are in the midst of talking about what it means to be an example. We have talked about various descriptions of examples (salt, an aroma, leaven, an epistle, a pattern, and light). We now want to devote a few lessons to noticing some people in scripture that were examples. By reminding ourselves of these, we see how we can learn from others. Today, we begin with the ultimate example. This will be followed up with a lesson about some godly examples, examples in the church, and finally some examples NOT to follow. Then we will move forward from there.
Years ago, a popular fad among professed believers was to show the logo, WWJD. It stood for “What Would Jesus Do?” While it is certainly possible to abuse that phrase, as many do today, to justify immoral practices and relationships and doctrines, the sentiment is very Biblical and even needed. In all we do, we need to look to the example of Jesus. Thus, when in a difficult circumstance, we should ask, “What would Jesus do?” BUT, let us ensure that the way we answer is true to what God’s word actually says. I want us to keep this in mind as we consider our ultimate example, Jesus Christ.
I. Imitate Christ
- There are many passage that simply challenge us to follow the example of Jesus.
- Jesus invited His disciples to follow Him – “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). It was an invitation to learn from Him.
- Matthew 10:38 – Jesus calls for us to follow Him (Luke 14:26-27). In fact, He warns that if we do not follow Him, we are not worthy of Him. This was (and is) a strong statement designed to help us comprehend the gravity of the situation.
- Mathew 11:29 – a famous invitation, “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…”. He is here to teach.
- 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Paul commended these brethren because “you became followers of us and of the Lord…”
- 1 Peter 2:21 – Jesus left us an example in suffering. More on this in our next section.
- Hebrews 12:1-2 – we are to be looking to Jesus. In our race for life, Jesus is at the finished line (having already run the race).
- 1 John 2:6 – he who says he abides in Him, ought to walk just as He walked. Self-explanatory.
- Romans 8:29 – God desires that we be speaks of be conformed to the image of His Son. This is another way of saying we follow His example.
II. How Jesus is Our Example
- Obviously, in every aspect of His life, we can learn from Him. But there some occasions where He is specifically referred to as an example. That will be the focus of the rest of our lesson.
- Philippians 2:5-8 – humility is a foundational quality that we all need. We need it as we approach God, as we deal with others and even as we consider our own personal standing.
There is no greater example of humility than Jesus. In heaven, He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God (because He was), but He left heaven and became flesh, not to live as royalty, but as a common man, without sin, He died for us on the cross.
Is it any wonder we need to follow His example? How many did Jesus influence in the dark world where His light was shining because of His humble disposition? How about us? 1 Peter 5:5-6 calls for us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us.
- 1 Timothy 1:15-16 – showing longsuffering (toward Paul). In this text, Paul declares his sinfulness and unworthiness. Because of his sinful past, he had no legitimate standing before God. BUT, Christ Jesus appeared to him and used him to carry out His plan to the Gentiles.
In so doing, Paul says that Jesus demonstrated “all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
How do we act, when we are falsely accused and hatefully treated, especially when we are doing what we know to be right? When we are wronged do we show patience and longsuffering, LIKE OUR LORD? What an example we have in Him to consider when we are mistreated for one reason or another.
Ephesians 4:1-2 describes how we are to walk worthy of our calling, “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…”
- Ephesians 5:1-2 – walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us. Paul challenges us to be imitators of God (follow His example) and to walk in love. We walk AS Christ also has loved us. There is no greater example of true love than that of Jesus. John 15:12-13, was a call to His disciples to love one another, even as He loved them (and us). This was the same occasion where He noted our love for one another is an example to the world – John 13:34-35.
Later, in 1 John 3:16, John will note that we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
Christian love is critical to every relationship we are in – whether it be our family, brethren, friends, neighbors, or even our enemies – we need the love of Christ dwelling in us. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes that love.
- John 13:15 – an example in serving. This was also the night of His betrayal as His disciples were likely arguing about greatness among themselves, Jesus washed their feet. Then He asked them if they knew what He had done. His answer to them was our text. Just as He served, we are called upon to serve one another. Matthew 20:25-28, on an occasion leading up to the Jerusalem entrance, Jesus is dealing with arguing disciples and calls for us to be servants noting, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
IF we will learn to serve others as Jesus did, we will have much greater opportunity to share the word of God with them. Remember this saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” You show that you care by serving.
- Romans 15:2-3 – Christ did not please Himself. We learn from the example of Jesus, our need to obey God the Father. Again, there is no greater example of this than Jesus. In the garden, He prayed and submitted to Him (Matthew 26:39ff). In John, one of the ways he defended Himself was by noting that He obeyed the Father. John 6:38, For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Is it any wonder He can tell us that it is not enough to say, “Lord, Lord”, but we must do what is commanded (Matthew 7:21-23)?
- 1 Peter 2:21-23 – in suffering (Hebrews 12:2-3 – He endures hostility). One of the greatest examples for us was the willingness of Jesus to suffer as He did. The cross was torture. And for Jesus, that was just the culmination. He endured suffering in many different ways because of His love for us.
In Matthew 10:24-25 he warned that a disciple is not above his teacher.
Again, our example is demonstrated to others by what we are willing to endure for Him. People are watching to see how we deal with adversity. When we are suffering, think of Jesus. That is one of the great points of 1 Peter (suffering and submission). Consider 1 Peter 3:13-17.
- Hebrews 3:1-2 – He was faithful to God who appointed Him, Jesus is described as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.” He was faithful to God who appointed Him, just as Moses was.
Faithfulness is the idea of being dependable and trustworthy. One who can be counted upon to do as requested and expected. There is a need for faithfulness in our lives. 1 Corinthians 4:2 speaks of a steward being found faithful. When we stand before God, we want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant,…enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21 & 23) This was said to the 5 & 2 talent servants who were faithful to their master.
Consider this: To whom did God say, “I am well pleased” twice? Jesus (Mathew 3:17, 17:5).
Again, this dark world desperately needs to see what true faithfulness involves. When Jesus is shining in us, they will see faithfulness.
- Colossians 3:13 – In a passage where Paul is challenging us to be holy and act like brethren, among the things he calls for us to do is forgive one another, “even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.”
Again, we find our ultimate example dealing with an attitude and action is not easy to do, but oh so needed. Look at the bitterness around us in society and the hateful way people are treating each other. We are witnessing an unwillingness to forgive, regardless of how long ago they did something. While there is more to the attitude than that, it shows how broken and DARK this society is.
IF we want to be forgiven by God, we must be willing to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15). Jesus taught it! AND He lived it! Luke 23:34, while on the cross, Jesus uttered those words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
As we can see, Jesus is an example to us of how we ought to live in so many areas of our lives. That is why He is the ultimate example for us to follow in everything. That is why we should ask ourselves when facing difficult situations, WWJD? If there is to be any redemption in this world, it will be manifested as we shine the light of Jesus to those around us. How are you doing with this?
In our next lesson we will notice some human examples of being godly examples. In these studies, may we learn to shine as lights in this dark world. Think about it.