FOLLOWING IN THE STEPS OF CHRIST.
1. Peter says: "For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps." 1 Pet. 2:21.
2. The apostle Paul tells us to be "imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." 1 Cor. 11:1.
3. One of the reasons that Christ left heaven and came to this earth, was to set a pattern or example for us to follow, while on earth.
4. After Peter had exhorted us to follow the steps of Jesus, he further says: "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." 1 Pet. 2:22.
5. The Hebrew writer says: "Tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. 4:15.
6. There are many different ways in which we are to follow in the steps of Christ.
I. FOLLOW CHRIST BY DOING THE WILL OF GOD.
A. It was characteristic of Jesus that He did the will of His Father.
1. In His prayer, just before He was taken to be crucified, He said, "Not my will, but thine be done." Lk. 22:42.
2. It was more than a prayer, it was the way He lived.
a. He said in Jno. 4:34, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work."
b. And again in Jno. 6:38, "I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."
3. Jesus did the will of the Father without question or quibble.
a. The Hebrew writer says: "Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb. 5:8,9.
B. If we follow His steps, we too will walk in obedience to the Father.
1. Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." Mt. 7:21.
2. We become children of God through obedience, and, as children, should continue to obey.
a. Let's take time to read: 1 Pet. 1:14-23.
3. In marking our pathway to follow, Jesus says: "If any man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Mt. 16:24.
a. Luke's account says: "take up your cross daily." Lk. 9:23.
II. FOLLOW CHRIST BY SERVING OTHERS.
A. When the disciple argued about positions of honor in the kingdom, Jesus told them:
1. "Whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant."
2. He then pointed to himself as an example, saying: "Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for man." Mt. 20:27,28.
3. Peter said of Jesus: "Who went about doing good." Acts 10:38.
4. The Son of Man came to a world full of sin, and He tells us why. "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Lk. 19:10.
5. This was His whole purpose in coming, to save us from our sin. a. Paul wrote: "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father." Gal. 1:4.
B. If we would follow His steps, we must do as He did.
1. To love your neighbor is to serve him in his time of need.
2. Jesus, in depicting the judgment scene in Mt. 25, tellls us the following: vss. 41-43.
a. These, of whom He spoke, were not immoral people such as liars and thieves, sexual perverts and murderers; they simply did not serve their fellowman. Consider the good Samaritan; Lk. 10:25-37.
b. So, the admonition to us is clear, if we would follow Jesus, we must serve others.
III. FOLLOW CHRIST IN PURITY OF LIFE.
A. It seems that the worst charge that His enemies could bring against Him, was that He was "a friend of publicans and sinners". Mt. 11:19.
1. Even though He faced the same temptations that we face, ye He did no sin. Heb. 4:15.
2. When Paul spoke of Him as our High Priest, in Heb. 7:26, he said: "For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners."
3. There was no spirit of retaliation when He was abused.
a. Peter says: "When he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not." 1 Pet. 2:23.
b. Such is the life He commends to us.
B. Knowing that "frinedship with the world is enmity with God" Jas. 4:4, Jesus exhorts us to keep ourselves "unspotted from the world." Jas. 1:27.
1. The Lord told His disciples, "Ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world." Jno. 15:19.
a. So, being cleansed from sin, we ought to "abstain from every form of evil", 1 Thes. 5:22.
2. As members of the body of Christ, Eph. 1:22,23, the description of the church in Eph. 5:25-27, should be especially meaningful to us. Let's take time to read it.
a. Only when we follow the steps of Jesus in purity of life, can the church be without spot or wrinkle, etc.
IV. FOLLOW CHRIST BY ATTAINING HIS ATTRIBUTES.
A. When Jesus saw pain or sorrow, or hurt of any kind, He was moved by it.
1. When He saw a group of people who were "distressed adn scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd", He was "moved with compassion for them." Mt. 9:36.
2. Peter says: "Gird yourselves with humility to serve one another." 1 Pet. 5:5.
3. Jesus came from heaven to die for us because He loves us. Jno. 15:;;1;3.
a. He also commends this love to us: "Love one another, even as I have loved you." Jno. 13;34
4. When Jesus taught a lesson on how to live, He set the pattern by His own example.
B. Jesus teaches us to pray. Mt. 6:9-13; Col. 4:2; 1 Thes. 5:17.
1. But He gave an example. "He withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed." Lk. 5:16.
2. Before choosing the twelve apostles, Jesus prayed all night, Lk. 6:12-16.
3. When He was pressed by the needs of the multitude seeking His help, we are told: Mk. 1:35.
4. The Lord tells us to be "steadfast, unmoveable." 1 Cor. 15:58.
a. And He showed us what He meant as He went to the cross and died there to save us from sin.
5. He tells us to be "tenderhearted, forgiving each other", Eph. 4:32.
a. And from the cross we hear again His words: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Lk. 23:34
6. If we are going to follow His steps, we must partake of those principles that guided His life.
V. FOLLOW CHRIST BY GOING TO BE WITH GOD.
A. At the news that Jesus was leaving them, the apostles were upset.
1. But Jesus assured them with the words found in Jno. 14:1-6.
2. Jesus went back to heaven to be with God, Acts 1:9-11, where He was seen by Stephen, Acts 7:56,57, and where He now is.
3. Paul writes about Him in Rom. 8:34, "It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God."
B. What a blessed assurance it is that we can go where He is.
1. But this is His promise in Jno. 14:3.
2. This is why Paul wrote, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain...But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ." Phil. 1:21-23.
3. Just as Jesus looked forward togoing back to be with the Father, Jno. 17:4,5, so we should "Seek those things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God", Col. 3:1.
4. When we truly "seek first" the things of God, Mt. 6;33, we follow Christ.
C. Jesus has invited us, "Come unto me" Mt. 11;28.
1. If we follow his steps throughout our lives here on earth, we have His assurance that we will be in His presence in heaven. 1 Pet. 1:3,4.
2. When we follow His steps, we are following the path that leads to that eternal home.
1. Are you following Jesus?
2. If we do not follow Him, we cannot be saved.
3. We can follow Him by doing His will.
4. By becoming a Christian and by living as a Christian.
5. Why not begin to follow the Lord even now?
By Jim Sasser
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