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Imitate The Imitators

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(B.I) We should imitate the imitators because we are citizens of heaven not enemies of the cross destined to destruction.The purpose of this sermon is to encourage my audience to not only become mature disciples but also to fight their sin nature and strive to make disciples.

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Pre-intro:
Be a leader not a follower! How many of you have had that said to you before? In our passage today, we are going to talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And that is the name of our sermon series: Following Jesus. This is the 6th sermon in this series we have 1 left and then we will be moving into the book of Ephesians.
Be a leader not a follower! How many of you have had that said to you before? In our passage today, we are going to talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And that is the name of our sermon series: Following Jesus. This is the 6th sermon in this series we have 1 left and then we will be moving into the book of Ephesians.
But until then what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? (Pause)
But until then what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? (Pause)
If you said it means to be a disciple of his, you would be correct.
If you said it means to be a disciple of his, you would be correct.
Into:
Into:
Do you wonder if it would have been easier to be a follower of Jesus’ during the time that he walked the Earth? Or even shortly after he walked the Earth and live, died and resurrected, then ascending back into heaven right in front of the very eyes of his followers. I have reflected on that thought a lot lately.
Do you wonder if it would have been easier to be a follower of Jesus’ during the time that he walked the Earth? Or even shortly after he walked the Earth and live, died and resurrected, then ascending into heaven right in front of the very eyes of his followers. I have reflected on that thought a lot lately.
I think it is easier for us to be followers of Jesus than it would have been for the early church. And why I say this is because it is our natural disposition to seek new information but the old information or you could say life experiences are still influencing our though process. And even though we are in a technologically advanced culture we are still influenced by the history and our life situations. However, it is so easy for us to be sucked into some new ideas and concepts – Just get on Facebook for an hour and tell me I am lying.
I think it is easier for us to be followers of Jesus than it would have been for the early church. And why I say this is because it is our natural disposition to seek new information but the old information or you could say life experiences are still influencing our though process. And even though we are in a technologically advanced culture we are still influenced by the history and our life situations. However, it is so easy for us to be sucked into some new ideas and concepts – Just get on Facebook for an hour and tell me I am lying.
To take this thought even further we could say that we are constantly being sucked into some new ideas that always seem like they are going to bring us the fullness of joy or give us fulfillment that we were lacking. Many times, these things raise all kinds of questions about the things that matter most to us – our faith in Jesus.
To take this thought even further we could say that we are constantly being sucked into some new ideas that always seem like they are going to bring us the fullness of joy or give us fulfillment that we were lacking. Many times, these things raise all kinds of questions about the things that matter most to us – our faith in Jesus.
Some of the things we experience make us question our faith in a God who we thought came to Earth 2000 yrs. ago as a man, lived the life we couldn’t live, died the death we deserved, and 3 days latter resurrected from the dead. Now a days there are so many philosophical ideologies that test your faith. There is a secular religion that calls itself science when in fact it is not science but a religion and its even taught to you in school. Yes, I am taking about evolution. There are so many things that seem to try to convince us that there is a wiser way to have the fullness of joy rather than being a Christian.
Some of the things we experience make us question our faith in a God who we thought came to Earth 2000 yrs. ago as a man, lived the life we couldn’t live, died the death we deserved, and 3 days latter resurrected from the dead. Now a days, there are so many philosophical ideologies that test your faith. There is a secular religion that calls itself science when in fact it is not science but a religion and its even taught to you in school. Yes, I am taking about evolution. There are so many things that seem to try to convince us that there is a wiser way to have the fullness of joy rather than being a Christian.
You might be thinking “wait, I thought you said it is easier for us to be disciple of Jesus in comparison to the early church, but yet you just laid a foundational argument for why it is harder for us to be followers.”
You might be thinking “wait, I thought you said it is easier for us to be disciple of Jesus in comparison to the early church, but yet you just laid a foundational argument for why it is harder for us to be followers.”
Well, that is because you’re looking at it from your own American, individual perspective. The difference is you have the historical record of the lives of the past saints that you can research and observe with experimentation (which is a working definition of science). They did not have as much of a historical record of fellow believers to follow and imitate, but you do. As we get further way from the cross the more proof there is.
Well, that is because your looking at it the same way everyone else in history would have been looking at it as well – from your own individual perspective. The difference is you have the historical record of the lives of the past saints that you can research and observe with experimentation (which is a working definition of science). They did not have a historical record of fellow believers to follow and imitate, but you do.
You see, throughout church history there have always been these types of self-deceptive concepts that have tried to infiltrate the church. As people who have rebelled against God we’ve always pursued what we thought would bring us the fullness of joy when in fact the fullness of joy was right in front of us. But as Christians, God has given us new life and has sent the Spirit of God to indwell with us. And because of this regeneration our lives will progressively be shaped and molded to be more and more like Christ. This is called sanctification. One of the ways that we can see the fruit of sanctification is through discipleship – discipleship is a fancy way of saying being taught to learn from or imitate someone. And that is what our text is focused on so turn with me to To see what it looks like to be a disciple.
You see, throughout church history there have always been these types of self-deceptive concepts that have tried to infiltrate the church with false philosophical ideologies. As people who have rebelled against God we’ve always pursued what we thought would bring us the fullness of joy when in fact the fullness of joy was right in front of us. But as Christians, God has given us new life by sending his Son who in return sent the Holy Spirit of God to indwell with us. And because of this regeneration our lives will progressively be shaped and molded to be more and more like Christ. This is called sanctification. One of the ways that we can see the fruit of sanctification is through discipleship – discipleship is a fancy way of saying being taught to learn from or imitate someone. And that is what our text is focused on. So, turn with me to To see what it looks like to be a disciple.
Text:
Text:
17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Paul start off by saying “Brothers, join in imitating me.”
Paul start off by saying “Brothers, join in imitating me.”
Paul is appealing to us by saying “Brothers”. This is a term of endearment that that stresses unity. Kind of like when we say “hey Bro. Wasp” but it is also meaning family…more importantly he is imposing the same family unity that he spoke of in 1:27 As followers of Jesus we are adopted into the family of God. In God’s family there is unity. In the family of God our main goal and purpose is the same:
Paul is appealing to us by saying “Brothers”. This is a term of endearment that that stresses unity. Kind of like when we say “hey Bro. Wasp” but it is also meaning family…more importantly he is imposing the same family unity that he spoke of in 1:27 As followers of Jesus we are adopted into the family of God. In God’s family there is unity. In the family of God our main goal and purpose is the same:
”standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” (, ESV)
”standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” ()
Therefore, discipleship is important...
Therefore, discipleship is important...
But what else is Paul saying here? He said:
But what else is Paul saying here? He said:
17 …join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
17 …join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
(T.S) Why would we imitate anyone?
(T.S) Why would we imitate anyone?
That sounds like a prideful statement!
That sounds like a prideful statement!
What is meant by imitating anyway?
What is meant by imitating anyway?
Is he saying he is the family leader, so we should imitate him and the others who imitate him? After all he is telling us to keep our eyes not only on him but on people who “walk according to his example” That sounds egocentric! Is Paul saying that if we are claiming to be Christians that we have an obligation to follow a set of rules and standards that he has set up for church leadership? Maybe he is just wanting the Philippians money, so he can buy a new car or a jet because it is getting hard to walk on all of these mission trips. (Pause)
Is he saying he is the family leader, so we should imitate him and the others who imitate him? After all he is telling us to keep our eyes not only on him but on people who “walk according to his example” That sounds egocentric! Is Paul saying that if we are claiming to be Christians that we have an obligation to follow a set of rules and standards that he has set up for church leadership? Maybe he is just wanting the Philippians money, so he can buy a new car or a jet because it is getting hard to walk on all of these mission trips. (Pause)
NO… That’s not what Paul is saying here. That would contradict everything that he just said in 3:1-11 Paul said in v.8
NO… That’s not what Paul is saying here. That would contradict everything that he just said in 3:1-11 Paul said in v.8
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (, ESV)
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (, ESV)
(Scale Illustration) Paul says, imagine life being placed in an antique balancing scale. On one side you have all of life’s luxuries…house…car…job…easy living…not being persecuted for religious believes…all your man-made rules and religious rituals…even some more harder topics like your health…safety. Put all those things on one side of the scale and on the other side of the scale put the value of knowing Jesus on the other side. The scale is flipped over by the weight of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. Paul says everything else besides knowing Jesus is trash. Even life itself is nothing compared to knowing Jesus. He says in
(Scale Illustration) Paul says, imagine life being placed in an antique balancing scale. On one side you have all of life’s luxuries…house…car…job…easy living…not being persecuted for religious believes…all your man-made rules and religious rituals…even some more harder topics like your health…safety. Put all those things on one side of the scale and on the other side of the scale put the value of knowing Jesus on the other side. The scale is flipped over by the weight of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. Paul says everything else besides knowing Jesus is trash. Even life itself is nothing compared to knowing Jesus. He says in
“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (, ESV)
“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (, ESV)
So, when Paul is saying to “imitate” him he is not meaning in an egocentric way. He is saying join him in the way he loves Jesus and sets his mind on heavenly things.
So, when Paul is saying to “imitate” him he is not meaning in an egocentric way. He is saying join him in the way he loves Jesus and sets his mind on heavenly things.
Paul uses this theme of imitating him throughout many of his epistles. Don’t let these words be superficial, Paul is not pointing to himself when he says to imitate him. He is pointing to Jesus and the justification that comes from the cross. So, every time he mentions imitating himself; what he is truly saying is
Paul uses this theme of imitating him throughout many of his epistles. Don’t let these words be superficial, Paul is not pointing to himself when he says to imitate him. He is pointing to Jesus and the justification that comes from the cross. So, every time he mentions imitating himself; what he is truly saying is
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” ()
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” ()
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
And that is our first fill in the blank on your message application points.
And that is our first fill in the blank on your Message Application Points.
(Map) As Christians we are commanded to keep our eyes on the imitators and imitate them.
(Map) As Christians we are commanded to keep our eyes on the imitators and imitate them.
(T.S) And this is what discipleship is all about.
(T.S) And this is what discipleship is all about.
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
Christians are to set their eyes on their leaders. That’s what vs. 17 says.
Christians are to set their eyes on their leaders. That’s what vs. 17 says.
We are to examine them.
We are to examine them.
We have all these past saints that have endorsed massive persecution for the sake of the gospel. Just think about the life of Paul. Just a few verses up he talked about being a persecutor of the church before Christ converted him. Tradition tells us that Paul was beheaded for his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about that as you are going through doubts and hard times. For instance, if the early church was just making all of this up would Paul (who was a persecutor of the church endure so much pain. He told us about some of his persecutions in :
We have all these past saints that have absorbed massive persecution for the sake of the gospel. Just think about the life of Paul. Just a few verses up he talked about being a persecutor of the church before Christ converted him. Tradition tells us that Paul was beheaded for his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about that as you are going through doubts and hard times. For instance, if the early church was just making all of this up would Paul (who was a persecutor of the church endure so much pain. He told us about some of his persecutions in :
23Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
23Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
24Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
24Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
25Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
25Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
26on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
26on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
27in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
27in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
28And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
And you think you have it hard here in America. What you go through is the equivalency of having a bad hair day. Wake up church. Do you understand what the cross of Christ has done?
And you think you have it hard here in America. What you go through is the equivalency of having a bad hair day. Wake up church. Do you understand what the cross of Christ has done?
(CPS/T.S.) Imitate the Imitator.
(CPS/T.S.) Imitate the Imitator.
Not only are we to examine them, but we are to learn from them.
Not only are we to examine them, but we are to learn from them.
The cross of Christ will radically change you. (Pause).
The cross of Christ will radically change you. (Pause).
But don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that we will be supper Christians who will not sin. Paul is not saying that either when he tells us to imitate the imitators. He addressed this issue just a few verses up in he says,
But don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that we will be supper Christians who will not sin. Paul is not saying that either when he tells us to imitate the imitators. He addressed this issue just a few verses up in he says,
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
In other words, Paul says that he is not perfect, but he is striving to be more and more like Christ.
In other words, Paul says that he is not perfect, but he is striving to be more and more like Christ.
And this is the same with anyone who is an imitator of the imitator. Especially those whom God has called to preach and teach his word. Many people say that if you could see what was in my heart you would never allow me to take the pulpit again. I do not agree with that and the Bible does not teach that either. says:
And this is the same with anyone who is an imitator of the imitator. Especially those whom God has called to preach and teach his word. Many people say that if you could see what was in my heart you would never allow me to take the pulpit again. I do not agree with that and the Bible does not teach that either. says:
18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This means step by step you are being sanctified. A good definition for sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us freer from sin and more like Jesus in our actual lives.
This means step by step you are being sanctified. A good definition for sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us freer from sin and more like Jesus in our actual lives.
In other words, a Christian leader should be able to stand in front of his congregation with a movie screen of his life playing behind him and you should be able to see not only the grace of God but also the words Imitate the imitator
In other words, a Christian leader should be able to stand in front of his congregation with a movie screen of his life playing behind him and you should be able to see not only the grace of God but also the words Imitate the imitator
And this is why discipleship is so important.
And this is why discipleship is so important.
(Application) Look to be Mentored or become a mentor
(Application) Look to be Mentored or become a mentor
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
(CPS) Imitate the Imitator.
(Map) The aim of the people of God is to look to the glory of God.
(Map) The aim of the people of God is to look to the glory of God.
(T.S.) But how can you tell who to imitate in a culture that so many different leaders sound legit?
(T.S.) But how can you tell who to imitate in a culture that so many different leaders sound legit?
Paul gives us the answer to that question in
Paul gives us the answer to that question in
18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Notice these are people within the church. But they are not Christian. How can that be? Well, they are called nominal Christians. These are people who identify as followers but are not true followers. They produce no fruit. They come to church. They participate in ministry, but they are enemies of the cross of Christ. They focus of worldly pleasures and those pleasures are things they glory in, but it is to their shame. These might be sexual sins, some form of idolatry. It could be the way treat others. It could be the fact that the world must revolve around you. These people are enemies of the cross. It is one thing to sin, but it is quite another to sin and then glory in it.
Notice these are people within the church. But they are not Christian. How can that be? Well, they are called nominal Christians. These are people who identify as followers but are not true followers. They produce no fruit. They come to church. They participate in ministry, but they are enemies of the cross of Christ. They focus of worldly pleasures and those pleasures are things they glory in, but it is to their shame. These might be sexual sins, some form of idolatry. It could be the way treat others. It could be the fact that the world must revolve around you. These people are enemies of the cross. It is one thing to sin, but it is quite another to sin and then glory in it.
When someone understand the Cross of Christ They understand what Christ did for them – Sin discussed you when you are a Christian, it makes you sick. And this is because the Cross has powerfully transformed the Christian to look to the glory of God as says,
When someone understand the Cross of Christ They understand what Christ did for them – Sin discussed you when you are a Christian, it makes you sick. And this is because the Cross has powerfully transformed the Christian to look to the glory of God.
says,
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
And like Paul, it saddens me to say some of you in here right now are enemies of the Cross of Christ. You have deceived yourself to think that all you have to do is come to Crave or join a ministry team, and you can continue to walk in sexual sin. This passage says that those who set their minds on these type of things
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame…
(Map/B.I.) We should imitate the imitators because we are citizens of heaven not enemies of the cross destined to destruction.
When Gods word says “their god is their belly” It means they hunger for sin rather than righteousness. This is a direct result of the fall of mankind which will lead to hell.
But like Paul, it saddens me to say some of you in here right now are enemies of the Cross of Christ. You have deceived yourself to think that all you have to do is come to Crave or join a ministry team, and you can continue to walk in sexual sin. This passage says that those who set their minds on these types of things will end up in hell if they don’t repent. Let me remind you says,
(Illustration) Becoming our own god… (intro. fallen man/death, hell) () Gospel call… repentance and response…
19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame…
When Gods word says “their god is their belly”
It means they hunger for sin rather than righteousness. This is a direct result of the fall of mankind which will lead to hell.
(Illustration) Becoming our own god… (intro. fallen man/death, hell) () Gospel call… repentance and response…
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