“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1CO 11:1
I. Introduction: Jesus Christ the Standard for Ministry
II. Biblical Examples of Christ-Likeness in Ministry
III. The Ideal Realized Fully in the Life of our Lord and Savior
IV. Conclusions and Applications
Aims and Objectives
“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart,
from a good conscience, and from sincere faith …” 1TI 1:5
In this concise summary of Paul, we find the three elements which are crucial to each and every child of God who desires to be faithful and effective in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul actually works backward, from the outside to the inside, from the visible to the invisible. We will reverse this order, looking instead at the development of the spiritual life along the lines of learning, living, and leading others.
First in the sequence is “sincere faith,” which is literally “un-hypocritical faith.” It is evident that we live out what we truly believe. A hypocritical faith is that which claims biblical orthodoxy but denies it in conduct (TIT 1:16). But before anyone can live out God’s Word, it must be learned and received into the regenerate heart by faith. The effect of truth being received by faith is that of spiritual growth in the life of the believer (HEB 4:2-3; 1PE 2:2; 2PE 3:18).
Next comes “a good conscience”—the inner result of a life lived in accordance to the Word of God. This does not imply sinless perfection, which is found only in Christ Jesus. What it does imply is a growing conformity to His image, and the consistent overcoming of our sins and weaknesses, as we apply the truths of the Bible to our lives.
The final ingredient is the expression of the love of God as the outpouring of the inner well-springs of our spiritual life (JOH 7:37-38). The indwelling Spirit of God becomes the source of this life-giving flow as we grow in our faith (ROM 5:1-5). It is the manifest love of God in all its expressions (1CO 13:4-8; GAL 5:22-23) that convicts and convinces the world of the truth and power of the Gospel message (JOH 13:34-35).
The aim of our study, then, is to first understand this simple precept, and then to incorporate the power of it into our practice in daily living. To explore the truths of Scripture, and to experience the mighty presence of the living Savior in our lives, is the great adventure to which we are called. To learn the truth, then to live it out, and finally to lead others to it, is the very definition of dynamic Christian living.