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by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | August 3, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/03/14
The Importance of Ritual
INTRODUCTION: A rite is a formal procedure in a religious or solemn observance. A ritual is the prescribed action or words of the rite. Ritual is the way of doing things to observe the rite. In rituals, symbolic meanings are enacted. The ritual is a symbolic action. For instance, in baptism, the ritual of immersion conveys the meaning of the action done by Christ in conversion.
Anthropologists tell us that we use ritual actions to bring order, continuity, and meaning to our existence. Birthdays and Christmas celebrations are rituals. Sunday dinners and weddings are rituals. Holiday celebrations are rituals. Weddings are elaborate events because they signify and give significance to the love of the couple forming a new home. Religious rituals pass on the meaning and the experience of the faith. Christian rituals enable us to express our love to God and allow God to express his grace to us. Esther and Mordecai established a day of celebration, Purim, which Jews still practice to this day. Let’s use Purim to see why ritual is important.
RITUAL BRINGS ORDER OUT OF CHAOS.
*Purim was founded after a time of chaos and confusion for the Jewish people. So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction… (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur)(vv. 23-26).
*Yearly and weekly rituals enable us to mark time, rest, and celebrate life.
RITUAL MEMORIALIZES IMPORTANT EVENTS.
*Purim forever marks the days of the Jews’ deliverance. On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them…The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them (vv. 1-5).
*Passover marks the exodus. Christmas marks Christ’s birth. The Lord’s Supper marks Christ’s death. Easter marks Christ’s death and resurrection.
RITUAL UNITES A COMMUNITY TOGETHER.
*Purim is a custom observed by the Jewish community every year around the world. The Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants (vv. 27-28).
*Christians can become closer through regular observance of weekly and yearly rituals.
RITUAL BRINGS JOY AND CELEBRATION.
*Purim is a designated time for the Jewish people to enjoy God’s providential care and rejoice in their victories. Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor (vv. 20-22).
*Christians need a time to celebrate God’s goodness and break from the mundane and routine cares of this world.
Rituals open the door to experience God in fresh ways.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | July 27, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/27/14
INTRODUCTION: God governs the affairs of men and women, all nations, and all creation. God is in control! We call this invisible guidance from God “providence.” We make choices; God directs them to do his will. The story of Esther shows us that God’s providence prepares us for his purposes. We left chapter 5 with Mordecai about to be hanged and the Jewish people threatened with extermination. Esther has hatched a plan to save her people. How will her people and her father be free of the wicked Haman? Today we discover that God’s providence preserves us through life’s problems.
THE STORY (Chapters 6-10):
- Chapter 6 – Xerxes rewards Mordecai and Haman is humiliated.
- Chapter 7 – Haman goes to the feast and Esther reveals his plot to kill the Jews and her family. Xerxes has Haman hanged.
- Chapter 8 – Xerxes promotes Mordecai and allows the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies.
- Chapter 9 – The Jews win a great victory and celebrate with joy.
- Chapter 10 – Mordecai is honored by the king and his people.
MORE PRINCIPLES OF PROVIDENCE IN ESTHER:
*Evil is real. It has a human face. Then Queen Esther answered…”For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated”...King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?” Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” (Esther 7:3-6).
*God protects and delivers his people from harm. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them (Esther 8:16-17).
*One person can change the course of history. Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews (Esther 10:3).
God’s providence is always at work so we can rest in his care.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | July 20, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/20/14
INTRODUCTION: God governs the affairs of men and women, all nations, and all creation. God is in control! He may not be visible to us but he steadily guides this world toward his desired ends. He arranges the events, decisions, ambitions, and will of people to bring about his purposes. He maintains and sustains his creation. He raises up nations and let’s them pass away. We call this quiet, invisible guidance from God “providence.” Providence comes from the Latin word “provideo” which means “to see beforehand” (pro=before; video=to see). God sees things before they are going to happen. He directs the course of the world events to fulfill his plans. Proverbs 16:9 states: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We make choices; God directs them to do his will. God’s providence prepares us for his purposes. Like Esther, we need to be ready to do his will.
THE STORY (Chapters 1-5):
- Chapter 1 – Queen Vashti displeases the king and is removed
- Chapter 2 – Esther pleases the king and is made queen
- Chapter 3 – Haman is promoted by the king and plots evil
- Chapter 4 - Mordecai mourns the king’s edict and seeks help
- Chapter 5 – Esther makes a meal and sets a trap for Haman
THE PRINCIPLES OF PROVIDENCE IN ESTHER:
Key Verse: Mordecai told Esther: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
- God can use any circumstance to accomplish his purpose.
- God can use any person to accomplish his purpose.
- God can use any moral climate and culture to accomplish his purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
What is God preparing you to do? Are you ready?
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | June 22, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/22/14
INTRODUCTION: All of us can identify with the struggles of life that come our way. We recognize that we must endure sorrow and suffering as well as joy and fellowship on this journey with our Lord. The Book of Ephesians has provided the basics for completing the journey. Chinese pastor Watchman Nee wrote a book on Ephesians entitled Sit, Walk, Stand. The three words describe the outline or divisions of Paul’s book. Christians are to sit in the provision of Christ. They are to walk in the ways of Christ. They are to stand against the enemy of Christ, the devil. Ephesians 6:10-20 reveals the way we are to “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11). God has equipped us with everything we need to stand for Jesus in this life.
GOD WANTS US TO STAND STRONG FOR HIM.
* We are in a spiritual battle. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Eph. 6:10).
*We must persevere to the end. It is an unending battle. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:11-13).
GOD WANTS US TO KNOW THE NATURE OF THE BATTLE.
*The conflict is a wrestling match. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12).
*The enemy has an organization designed to defeat us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).
*We must know our enemy and prepare against his attacks. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11).
GOD WANTS US TO USE THE RESOURCES HE HAS GIVEN.
*We have to consciously put on the armor God has given us for the fight. “Put on the full armor of God” (6:11). “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…” (6:13).
*Our armor is the entire wardrobe of our salvation experience:
- Truth and righteousness – “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” (6:14).
- Readiness to share the gospel – “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (6:15).
- Faith – “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (6:16).
- Assurance of salvation and effective use of scripture – “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (6:17).
- Pray and watch – “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (6:18).
We are in a never-ending battle with the devil until Christ returns. In the meantime, we have everything we need to stand strong and resist the devil’s attacks.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | June 15, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/15/14
Family and Work Relationships
INTRODUCTION: Followers of Jesus develop good relationships in their marriages, home lives, work demands, and daily contacts. The main ingredient for good relationships is “submitting to one another in the love of Christ” (Eph. 5:21). Mutual submission out of reverence for Christ is the key to all good relationships. This kind of humility and respect needs the power of the Holy Spirit to make it happen (Eph. 5:18). This approach to relationships works in family interactions and in employer and employee relations. Paul explains this in Ephesians 6.
PARENTS AND CHILDREN HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE HOME THAT CREATE GOOD RELATIONSHIPS.
*The responsibility of children: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (6:1-3).
*The first duty of the child is to obey: “obey your parents”
- It is the Christian thing to do: “in the Lord.”
- It also is the “natural” thing to do: “for this is right.”
*The second duty of the child is to honor: “honor your father and mother”
- The practical reason for this is that the Bible promises long life to a child who obeys his parents. “so it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth”
*The responsibility of parents: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (6:4).
- A negative to avoid: “do not exasperate your children”
- A positive to affirm - nurture: “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”
God uses the family to fire the bricks that build the foundation of a strong society.
THE CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES OF WORK CREATE BETTER WORKERS, BOSSES AND RELATIONSHIPS.
*The responsibility of workers: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (6:5-8).
*If you work for someone, obey them:
- With respect (5).
- With commitment (5).
- With Christian devotion (5).
- With sincerity (6).
- With a good attitude (6).
- With proper motivation (7).
*The primary sin of the worker is a lack of honest effort: “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart” (6).
*The cure is to work for Jesus as your boss and not your employer or a paycheck: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (7-8).
*The responsibility of employers: “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him” (9).
*If you employ someone or supervise someone, treat them with:
- Respect and integrity (9a)
- Christian devotion (9a)
- Compassion (9b)
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | June 8, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/08/14
INTRODUCTION: Followers of Jesus develop good relationships in their marriages, home lives, work demands, and daily contacts. The main ingredient in a good marriage is “submitting to one another in the love of Christ” (Eph. 5:21). In fact, mutual submission out of reverence for Christ is the key to all good relationships. This kind of humility and respect needs the power of the Holy Spirit to make it happen (Eph. 5:18). Depending on the Spirit and Christ’s love enables us to truly drop our own agendas and work to deepen the relationship. A marriage built on mutual love and respect endures. The marriage blends diversity, unity and humility to create a bond that is flexible, strong and undivided. Each spouse must take responsibility for the lasting relationship to succeed:
THE WIFE AIMS TO SUPPORT AND RESPECT HER HUSBAND IN THE SAME WAY SHE LOVES THE LORD.
*The rule for the wife in the marriage relationship is: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” (5:22).
*The reason is for the rule is that the husband provides leadership and cherishes his wife: “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (5:23).
*Therefore, wives should support and honor their husbands just as the church follows Christ’s lead. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (24).
THE HUSBAND SEEKS TO HUMBLY CHERISH HIS WIFE IN THE SAME WAY CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH.
*The responsibility for the husband in the marriage relationship is love and sacrifice: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (5:25).
*The husband needs to learn to look out for his wife just like he looks out for himself. He is to care for her, encourage her dreams and goals, and provide the best for her physically and spiritually.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church…” (5:25-29).
THE UNITY IN THE MARRIAGE IS TO BE A PICTURE OF THE HARMONY BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH.
*The oneness of marriage is like the union of Christ and his church. “For we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (30-32).
- Marriage requires the spouses to leave their families.
- They cleave to one another and form a new home.
- The two become one flesh in purpose and unity and body.
BOTH WIFE AND HUSBAND WORK TO LOVE AND RESPECT ONE ANOTHER IN THE HUMILITY OF CHRIST.
*Both spouses have the responsibility to make the marriage work. Both spouses have their unique contributions but both must humble themselves to make it happen.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (5:33).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | June 1, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/01/14
Heaven’s Prescription for Good Relationships
INTRODUCTION: Jesus changes the way we live. Followers of Jesus choose to embrace the new life they have in Christ. Paul says we are to put off the old way of life and to put on the new way of Christ. The basis of this new life is love (Eph. 5:1-2). This means that we must live as children of light instead of children of darkness (5:3-17). Followers of Jesus develop good relationships in their marriages, home lives, work demands, and daily contacts. Good relationships arise out of spiritual power and voluntary cooperation. How do we get to that place in our spiritual lives as Christians?
NURTURE THE SPIRIUTAL SIDE OF YOUR LIFE (5:18).
*Let the Holy Spirit stimulate your life and actions. Avoid competing stimulants. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…” (5:18).
*The first step to good relationships is to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
*Develop a relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit and do not leave him out of your life and associations. “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
It takes spiritual power to live a life of grace and love.
PRACTICE THE PRINCIPLE OF PRAISE (5:19).
*Singing is a way to express joy to God and encourage one another. This includes scripture songs, congregational hymns, and personal spiritual songs. “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit…” (5:19).
*The source of our singing is joy in the Lord. “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…” (5:19).
A person of praise and joy encourages people to have hope.
DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF THANKSGIVING (5:20).
*Thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude. “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:20).
*Thanksgiving does not depend upon the circumstances. It is a pre-determined choice. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).
An attitude of gratitude looks for the good in others.
COOPERATE WITH OTHERS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE (5:21).
*The practice of “mutual submission” is the second step to all good relationships. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”(21).
*”Submitting” is an attitude of respect for and cooperation with others in our relationships. The principles of mutual submission:
- Have the courtesy to let me be myself.
- Have the decency to include me in your plans.
- Have the humility to share your problems with me
Jesus lived his life this way:
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26-28).
Respect and cooperation build bridges to strong relationships.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | May 25, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/18/14
Light and Darkness
INTRODUCTION: Jesus changes the way we live. Followers of Jesus choose to embrace the new life they have in Christ. How? Paul says to put off the old way of life and to put on the new way of Christ. The basis of this new life is love (Eph. 5:1-2). But love has ethical and moral boundaries. This means that we must live as children of light instead of children of darkness. Followers of Jesus live differently. Paul describes the difference in Ephesians 5:3-21.
FOLLOWERS OF JESUS WALK IN PURITY (3-6).
*Be pure in body – your external walk. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…” (3).
*Be pure in mind – your internal walk. “…or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people”(3).
*Be pure in speech – your verbal talk. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words…” (4-6).
*The character of God and the wrath of God motivate a pure walk. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient”(6).
FOLLOWERS OF JESUS WALK IN LIGHT (7-14).
*You have a new nature of light and holiness, so live like it. “Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…” (7-8).
*Light up your world with goodness, right living and truth. “(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)” (9).
*Discover what pleases God and do it. “…and find out what pleases the Lord” (10).
*Avoid darkness and expose it for what it is. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (11-14).
FOLLOWERS OF JESUS WALK IN DISCIPLINE (15-17).
*Be wise in the way you live your life and use your time. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (15-16).
*Find out what God wants you to do and do it. “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (17).
Followers of Jesus live differently. They walk in purity, light, and discipline.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:5).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | May 18, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/18/14
New Nature, New Life
INTRODUCTION: Jesus changes the way we live. Followers of Jesus choose to embrace the new life they have in Christ. How?
PUT OFF THE OLD WAY OF LIFE (17-19).
*The life without Christ is marked by…
- Futile notions - “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…” (17).
- Muddled thinking - “They are darkened in their understanding…” (18).
- Alienation – “and separated from the life of God…” (18).
- Ignorance – “because of the ignorance that is in them…” (18).
- Hardness of heart – “due to the hardening of their hearts”(18).
*Their life is based on sensuality and becomes…
- Spiritually calloused – “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality…” (19).
- Impure – “so as to indulge in every kind of impurity…” (19).
- Greedy – “and they are full of greed.” (19).
We must put off the old nature and its practices.
PUT ON THE NEW WAY OF LIFE (20-24).
*Jesus Christ gives us a new life and a new nature. “That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus” (20-21).
*We have the power to put off our old nature and put on the new person we are in Christ. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self…” (22-24).
*The new self is marked by…
- A new likeness – “put on the new self, created to be like God…” (24).
- A new conduct – “created to be like God in true righteousness...” (24).
- A new mind - “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (24).
We must put on the new nature of Christ and live like Jesus.
PUT INTO PRACTICE THE NEW WAY OF LIFE (25-32).
*Put off the lie; speak the truth. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (25).
*Put off sinful passions even though you are angry. “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (26-27).
*Put off stealing; put on constructive labor. “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (28).
*Put off corrupt speech; put on helpful speech. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (29-30).
*Put away all evil conflict; put on tenderness and forgiveness. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (31-32).
Why should we live this way? “God in Christ forgave you.”
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | May 11, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/11/14
Follow the Leader
INTRODUCTION: All of us are familiar with the childhood game “Follow the Leader.” This childhood game is a picture of a larger reality. We all pattern our lives after someone or something. Who do you pattern your life after? Who patterns his or her life after you?
WHO DO YOU PATTERN YOUR LIFE AFTER?
*All of us have role models. Who is your role model?
*Human models often fail us.
*Paul says to use God as your role model. Pattern your life after God.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children…” (Ephesians 5:1).
- You have the power to follow God because it is your new nature.
- God’s standard is “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
*The best example of God is his son Jesus Christ. God wants us to be like Jesus. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).
*The best way to imitate Jesus Christ is to walk in love. “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
- The way of love is to forgive. The supreme trait of Jesus is forgiveness. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
- The second aspect of love is sacrifice, selfless giving. “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (5:2).
Who do you pattern your life after? Are you following Christ?
WHO PATTERNS HIS OR HER LIFE AFTER YOU?
*Are you aware of your influence?
*Have you considered who may try to follow in your footsteps?
*You can be a leader that people follow!
- Paul wrote to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
- Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
*The best way to lead is to set your eyes on Jesus and trail him! “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”(Hebrews 12:1-2).
Who patterns his or her life after you?
Is your life setting an example worth following?
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