Living Examples of Jesus Christ
Living examples of Jesus Christ is something that we all should be.
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
12 April 2015
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 John 1:1-10
1 John 2:1-8
Living examples of Jesus Christ is something that we all should be.
Jesus Christ may not be walking in the world today as He did 2,000 years ago, but He still should be seen in us, that is, if we are truly living examples of Him.
Jesus called us to be these living examples and even to pray for this to happen in our lives when He told us to pray for our heavenly Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This is also what we are told about in Acts 4:32-35…
32. And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them.
We have seen a lot of congregations who claim that they believe, and for the most part they are of one heart and soul, but their oneness is also in following the corrupt ways of this world, particularly when it comes to causing or ignoring the suffering and death of animals.
Simply put, they have no empathy for animals, except perhaps for their own “pets”.
They can’t deny this either, because they eat the tortured remains of these animals and their byproducts.
However, among these congregations there are a few people who are true believers and have soft and caring hearts and souls; these are the people that this Bible passage is speaking about, for they are on the narrow path that leads to salvation, a path that we should all be on, but relatively few are those who find it.
Those on the narrow path are the ones who are living examples of Jesus Christ.
33. And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
34. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales,
35. and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.
We believe that the main reason that they were doing this is because they expected Jesus to return very shortly, but today there are many other ways to help those who are in need.
The main issue today is to have true empathy for the suffering of this corrupt world including all our fellow human beings, all the animals, and the environment in which we all live.
This is what makes us true peacemaking children of God who live in the heavenly will of God and do everything we can to help free creation from its present horrible corruption.
As living examples of Jesus Christ we can be witnesses to the world around us and make real positive changes.
In 1 John 1:1-10, we are given some encouraging examples of how to be these living examples.
1. What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life —
2. and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us —
3. what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
If we also believe these things then we will not only have our joy made complete, but we will find that we have been transformed as living examples of Jesus Christ in the world around us.
Let’s also think about some of the other things we have heard from the beginning, the beginning of the Bible; note what we are told in Genesis 1:26-31…
26. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Remember that God is all spirit; thus, our likeness to Him was to be a spiritual likeness, and this is why we believe that Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), for we are to be living examples of the spiritual image of God.
Additionally, Jesus had a physical body when He was incarnate upon this earth, which also should tell us that in everything we do and say, we should be living examples of Jesus upon this earth.
And our rule over this earth and the other living beings upon it must be one of love and compassion, which includes protecting them all from all physical and spiritual harm from the devil and those who follow him.
27. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28. And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Again our rule over this earth and the other living beings upon it must be one of love and compassion, which includes protecting them all from all physical and spiritual harm from the devil and those who follow him, but this time God tells us how this should be.
29. Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
“It shall be food for you.”
The wording of this phrase makes it a commandment; it is not a suggestion.
From the beginning humans were to eat only plant foods and never harm or kill any other living being for food or any other reason, and the same holds true for the animals, as we are told next.
30. and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
From the beginning there was to be no death, just as it is in heaven.
31. And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Those who live this way are the ones who are living examples of Jesus Christ.
With these things in mind, let’s return to our 1 John passage.
5. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
Another way of understanding this verse is to understand light as righteousness, and darkness as sinfulness, and there is absolutely no sin in God, which is further proof that we are to be loving, compassionate, peacemaking children of God who do our very best to protect His creation from all harm and corruption.
We are to be living examples of how it was in the beginning and how it is in heaven.
6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
7. but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
This is further proof that the loving, compassionate, and peaceful way of living we are talking about is the way we should all be living.
So John goes on and explains these truths so that we are without excuse.
8. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
But His word is in all those who are living examples of Jesus Christ.
Let’s continue on with what we are told in 1 John 2:1-8…
1. My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
2. and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
This does not mean that we can keep deliberately sinning or living in the corrupt ways of the world, for that shows willful intent and the lack of a truly repentant heart, for such people do not really have the love of Jesus in them and are not living examples of Him.
Verse 2 also tells us plainly that this gift of forgiveness is for the whole world, and not just for certain people or churches as we have heard many pastors say.
3. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
Again, we see this.
Salvation involves more than just saying that we believe in Jesus Christ; it involves doing the things that Jesus taught us to do.
We have to separate ourselves from the evil ways of the world with all its pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death.
We are to be living examples of Jesus Christ before God and the world around us.
4. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5. but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
6. the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
This is what it means to be living examples of Jesus Christ.
7. Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
8. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
The true light is Jesus Christ, and the light that shines forth from those who are living examples of Him, and who show the world around them how to help end the suffering and corruption of creation for every other human being, for all the animals, and for the environment in which we all live.
This is the light that chases away the darkness, and we should all be a part of it.
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