Volume. XXVIII, No. 9
Sunday, 01 September 2013


Be Ye Imitators of Christ


Introduction

 

Whether rightly or wrongly, in every culture, society and level, people always imitate or emulate someone that they admire, mesmerise, adore and respect, either consciously or inadvertently. The world never ceases to imitate their favourite 'idols' or 'superstars', even long after they are gone. Some people are obsessed with imitating their favourite rock singers such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson; others are crazed about imitating Hollywood actors and actresses. Children also constantly imitate their parents, either positively or negatively. Inevitably, pupils and apprentices mimic their admired and respected teachers, lecturers and professors either in schools, colleges or universities. It seems only reasonable and logical for every disciple of Christ to imitate his Master,. However, unfortunately, many disciples of Christ today betray their loving Master who redeemed them with His precious blood and regress willingly to follow their old and mean master, Satan, who once enslaved them in the bondage of sin and misery. Do you talk, behave and think like your Master who redeemed you out of darkness into the marvellous light with a great price? Or, do you talk, behave and think like people who are without Christ – controlled, influenced and dominated by Satan? Have you been allowing worldly philosophies, which are embedded in secular songs, magazines and TV shows, to corrupt your mind and take a stronghold in your heart and soul? It is unacceptable for God's chosen people to conform to the popular culture of our day, the degenerated and godless moral standard and practices which are accepted as a norm by the Sodom and Gomorrah that promotes homosexuality and other immoralities as neutral or harmless. Therefore, it is a must that every Christian imitate Christ and Him only by renewing his mind every day (Romans 12:1,2) and meditating only on whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of good virtue, and anything worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Consider these basic questions: first, why must Christians imitate Christ? Second, what does it mean to imitate Christ? Let the word of God answers these questions based on the first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians.

 

Why must Christians imitate Christ?

(1 Thessalonians 1:4-6)

 

Firstly, it is because we are commanded to imitate Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls’ (Matthew 11:29). Apostle Paul also, at least four times clearly in the New Testament, urged his readers to be followers of him (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:7). Why did Paul command his readers to imitate him? Because the Apostle Paul was one of the closest and most faithful followers of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), and he commanded, not requested, his readers to take after his example of following Christ (Philippians 2:5). Therefore, whether you be a minister of God, professional, teacher, student or housewife, it is imperative that you imitate Christ for it is commanded by our LORD and reemphasised by Apostle Paul, who was a great follower of Christ himself.

 

Secondly, it is because of who we are. Christians are not only commanded to follow Him, but Paul reminded us that it is also because of who we are: the elect of God. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 1:4, ‘Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.’ Paul knew that the Thessalonians were the elect of God. But how did Paul know that they were the elect of God? Was it simply by calling each other Christians among themselves in the church? No. Paul gives us three reasons why he knew that they were the elect of God. Paul said in verse 5, ‘For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.’ The first reason why Paul knew that they were the elect of God is because the gospel was not only preached unto them, but they also believed and were given much assurance in the power of the Holy Ghost! In other words, they did not simply know about Jesus, they had a personal relationship with Christ. They were not just church goers, they also knew Him as their Lord and personal Saviour! Secondly, Paul said in verse 6a ‘And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord...’ Not only that they heard and received the gospel and had much assurance in the Holy Spirit, but verse 6 says, it is because they became 'followers of us' and 'of the Lord'. Who is the 'us'? The 'us' is referring to Paul and his co-labourers. Therefore, the second reason why Paul knew that they were the elect of God is because he knew that the Thessalonians were followers of apostle Paul and of their Lord! In other words, they did not only profess themselves as Christians, but they also talked, behaved and thought like Christians! The final reason why Paul knew that they were the elect was that they also possessed great joy in the Holy Ghost even amidst much afflictions and sufferings (2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Peter 4:13; James 1:2). Paul in verse 6b says, ‘... having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.’ Did not our LORD also, for the joy that was set before him endure the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrew 12:2)? Let us imitate His example which He set before us.

 

What does it mean to imitate Christ?

(1 Thessalonians 1:7)

 

The word 'followers', or mimetes in Greek, that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 11:1 also means to imitate. To imitate Christ means to impersonate or emulate Christ. Since our Lord has ascended into heaven in His physical body, how then should a Christian imitate Him? Well, it is by abiding by the teachings Christ has given us and imitating the examples set for us by the great men of God in the Bible like Paul, Peter, John and the rest; this was exactly what Christians in Thessalonica had done. 1 Thessalonians 1:7 says, ‘So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia’. It is obvious that they emulated the Christlike examples set by Paul and other disciples of Christ who followed Christ closely and faithfully (1 Thessalonians 2:7-11) and by abiding and holding fast to the teachings of Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:11, 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:15) which he received from the Lord. And what are the godly examples that the Thessalonians set for the Christians in Macedonia and Achaia? We need to go back to verse 3 of 1 Thessalonians 1 (cf. 2 Thessalonians1:3,4), which says, ‘Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father’. Notice that Paul mentioned three things that Thessalonians did in verse 3, namely: work of faith, labour of love and patience of hope.

 

……..to be continued next week.

 

Preacher David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Dn Colin Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Edwin D’Mello.

*Blessed Father’s Day to all fathers & grandfathers.

*Welcome to Hope: Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm

*Please note: The Lord’s Supper will be held next Lord’s Day.

*Session thanks Brothers Edwin D’Mello, Tony Law, Yaw Chiew Tan & David Weng for their faithfulness & contribution to Hope BPC.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan (Adl); Bros Jonathan Liao (N & S Korea) & Joseph Selvanayagam (Amsterdam); Sis Grace Gan (S’pore); & others who are travelling. 

2. Ordination of Bro David Yeo as Elder.

3. Installation of New (7th) Session.

4. Church Activities, in the past week.

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor & Sis Myung Ki; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sylvia White; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe (hip surgery next week); Bro Len Pearson (Lobethal); Sisters Margaret Hooper (post-op), Michelle Lee (post-op), Anne Tan (post-op), Grace Gan’s father (healing) & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & post-op)

3. God’s comfort in grief: Mrs Sylvia White; Mrs Helen Jenkins & family; Bro Pirun Pech

4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).

6. Kuching Missions: Bro Jeremy Teo & family.

7. Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.

8. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng. 

9. Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan (Melb); Rev George van Buuren (Bris); Bro Agus & Sis Henny Wibowo & family (Syd); Mr Tony & Sis May Zhang (NZ); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (Adl); Sisters Shu Ai Cho (Mal/China), Michelle Lee (Melb),  Lin Poh (Kch) & Peng Ha Yeo (Syd); & others who are travelling. 

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Job - Bros Timothy Ngoma & Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for stable jobs.

12. Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth - for PR).

13. Hope BPC - new Pastor; New Elder & Session

14. Year 12 students: for strength & encouragement in their studies.

15. God’s guidance & wisdom for Australian electors in the Federal Election on Sat, 7 Sept.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063