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To Be Like Jesus


 

Victory SDA Church

On September 17th of this year, I stood before this congregation and made a presumptuous statement. I said I expect to be back in two weeks. I missed the next seven Sabbaths because I was physically unable to attend. Even though the bypass and aorta replacement surgery went well, there were other unforeseen problems which caused the extended absence.

I am convinced that God had something besides patience to teach me. I am ever so much more aware of my mortality than I have ever been before. I receive each breath, each beat of my heart as a gift of God and a token of His love. And that is what I want to speak about today, God’s love.

The greatest gift God has given the human race is of course Jesus. And Jesus came to demonstrate the love of the Father. Sadly for most, God’s love and the death of Jesus, is for naught. Sadder still would be the fact that many within the body of Christ, who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior, will one day hear these words from the Savior’s lips, “I never knew you.”

To be like Jesus, in the spoken word, in our deeds, in our thoughts, in our general behavior, yes and in character especially, this must be our goal,

I will divide this sermon into three parts, and by the way it will be a dialogue. First we will discuss what Jesus was like in Character. Second we will discuss what Jesus was not like in character. And third we will determine why it is important for each one of us to be like Jesus in character.

What Jesus was like in Character

Turn to Galatians 5:22,23 "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…." Indeed Jesus was in every respect, all of these and so much more.

(C) How was Jesus love?

Love - Jesus’ love for all mankind, was evident every moment of His ministry, but it was the scenes of Calvary that call for our deepest emotion.

That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of such amazing love we cannot fathom. The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Savior's love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character. 2T 212.3

(C) How was Jesus Joy? You never read a scripture that says Jesus laughed.

Joy and Peace - It is often said that Jesus wept, but that He was never known to smile. Our Savior was indeed a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief, for He opened His heart to all the woes of men. But though His life was self-denying and shadowed with pain and care, His spirit was not crushed. His countenance did not wear an expression of grief and repining, but ever one of peaceful serenity. His heart was a wellspring of life, and wherever He went He carried rest and peace, joy and gladness. {SC 120.3}

(C) How was Jesus longsuffering?

(C) Give me an example of Jesus’ gentleness.

(C) What was the faith of Jesus like and why must we possess it?

(C) What is meekness and how did Jesus show us meekness?

(C) Certainly Jesus lived temperance and that needs no further discussion.

We could continue to explore other traits of character that Jesus possessed, however we will suffice it to say that in every way He is our example of how to live the Christian life.

But now I want to discuss:

What Jesus was not like in Character – (C) How many people believe that Jesus ever got angry? Let’s have some examples.

A common mistake of many Christians is to believe that Jesus was ever angry. He was not. Anger is a Satanic characteristic and Jesus never demonstrated such behavior. You might say wait a minute. Surely Jesus was angry, when with a whip in His hand, He drove the moneychangers from the temple and turned over their tables.

The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy does not use the word anger or angry and would not in the sense that we understand the meaning of those words. When we are angry, our emotions are involved. The breathing may be heavier, the pulse may increase and the words may be louder than usual, not to mention the fact that often angry people are less selective in their choice of words.

The thought of Jesus being angry may be better termed indignation. However this word defined in human terms would include anger. The indignation of Jesus would better be described as righteous indignation, for Jesus, though visibly irritated by the actions of others, was never angry.

Rather, Jesus was sorrowful for the ones He directed His indignation to. These were those He came to die for. But their foolish choices and failure to investigate His mission, put them where He could do nothing to save them.

I read this from Desire of Ages.

“As Jesus came into the temple, He took in the whole scene. He saw the unfair transactions. He saw the distress of the poor, who thought that without shedding of blood there would be no forgiveness for their sins. He saw the outer court of His temple converted into a place of unholy traffic. The sacred enclosure had become one vast exchange. {DA 157.2}

As He beholds the scene, indignation, authority, and power are expressed in His countenance. The attention of the people is attracted to Him. The eyes of those engaged in their unholy traffic are riveted upon His face. They cannot withdraw their gaze. They feel that this Man reads their inmost thoughts, and discovers their hidden motives. Some attempt to conceal their faces, as if their evil deeds were written upon their countenances, to be scanned by those searching eyes. {DA 157.4}

The confusion is hushed. The sound of traffic and bargaining has ceased. The silence becomes painful. A sense of awe overpowers the assembly. It is as if they were arraigned before the tribunal of God to answer for their deeds. Looking upon Christ, they behold divinity flash through the garb of humanity. The Majesty of heaven stands as the Judge will stand at the last day,--not now encircled with the glory that will then attend Him, but with the same power to read the soul. His eye sweeps over the multitude, taking in every individual. His form seems to rise above them in commanding dignity, and a divine light illuminates His countenance. He speaks, and His clear, ringing voice--the same that upon Mount Sinai proclaimed the law that priests and rulers are transgressing--is heard echoing through the arches of the temple: "Take these things hence; make not My Father's house an house of merchandise." {DA 158.1}

Slowly descending the steps, and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity (sternness) He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the money-changers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill-gotten gain. Jesus does not smite them with the whip of cords, but in His hand that simple scourge seems terrible as a flaming sword. Officers of the temple, speculating priests, brokers and cattle traders, with their sheep and oxen, rush from the place, with the one thought of escaping from the condemnation of His presence. {DA 158.2}

The indignation of Jesus was righteous and void of anger. Not so with fallen man. The indignation of fallen man is usually followed by anger. But Jesus was never angry with any person. His mission was to save all mankind. When He rebuked He did so with a loving concern for that individual. He wanted no one to be lost. As I have read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I never found a single case of Jesus displaying anger towards another human being. Yes He called them hypocrites, and yes He called them vipers, and yes He called them whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones, but always with a sorrow in His heart for these he had come to save. But by their choices they had put themselves where Jesus could not reach them.

Yes Jesus did some justifiable name calling to many a scribe and Pharisee, but always with compassion as He knew their lost condition. As I said, in my study of the four gospels this past week, I did not come across a single instance where Jesus ever rebuked or reproved his disciples, the brethren or any of His followers, in a manner void of love. Everything Jesus did as our example was done with a deep love and compassion of the soul he addressed.

Here is our example, Jesus. In all our dealings with every at church, including church members, visiting SDA members, and with all visitors, they deserve our deepest love and compassion as they are a fellow member of the human family that Jesus died to save. Have others seen Jesus in you? And what about on the job, at the store, or on the phone? Do strangers see Jesus in you, or do they hear Jesus in your voice? If not, why not?

Why it is important to be like Jesus in character

All have trials; griefs hard to bear, temptations hard to resist. Do not tell your troubles to your fellow mortals, but carry everything to God in prayer. Make it a rule never to utter one word of doubt or discouragement. You can do much to brighten the life of others and strengthen their efforts, by words of hope and holy cheer. {SC 119.3}

There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil. Do not discourage such a one in his hard struggle. Cheer him with brave, hopeful words that shall urge him on his way. Thus the light of Christ may shine from you. "None of us liveth to himself." Romans 14:7. By our unconscious influence others may be encouraged and strengthened, or they may be discouraged, and repelled from Christ and the truth. {SC 120.1}

If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ for us, the same spirit will flow out to others. We should love and respect one another, notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us large-hearted and generous. {SC 121.1}

Once again, Gal. 5:22, 23 "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." You know the gifts of the Spirit are many, and every Christian has one or more of those gifts. But when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, it is not a choice of one or more. True, born again believers abiding in Jesus have all the fruit of the Spirit, and they have it 24/7. Nothing is missing in the list, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. They have it all. As you evaluate yourself, do you see anything missing? If so you have a work to do. You need to wrestle with God until you have the missing fruit.

The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are those which marked the completeness of Christ's character,--His love, His patience, His unselfishness, and His goodness. These attributes are gained by doing kindly actions with a kindly heart. . . . Christians love those around them as precious souls for whom Christ has died. There is no such thing as a loveless Christian; for "God is love." . . . "This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you." This is the fruit that is to be given back to God. {SD 102.3}

Genuine faith always works by love... Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. (Listen) If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn. {6BC 1111.4}

Matthew 5:48 Is a command of Jesus, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Why did Jesus command this? Can less than perfect stand before God’s throne? How can we become perfect? Emptied of self and clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. The sanctified life is a moment by moment walk in a constant attitude of prayer.

(C) What do you see as barriers to the Christian attaining to becoming perfect? Self. Pride. Position. There is no room for Jesus in any heart that has not been totally emptied of self. Pride is probably the one evil trait of character that prevents conversion more than any other. Pride leads to self-exaltation, evil surmising, gossip and many other Luciferian characteristics.

1 Peter 1:16 states, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

It is quoting

Leviticus 19:11 “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.”

2 Corinthians 7:1: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Would it say that if it were not possible?

Listen, “Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” {EW 71.2}

2 Peter 3:14 "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless."

Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation. A great work is required of the Christian. We are exhorted to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Here we see where the great labor rests. There is a constant work for the Christian. {1T 340.4}

In summary I must ask each of you this question. Is the face you bring to church, the same face you wear all week? Do the brethren in Church, as well as visitors to Victory, see Jesus in you? Does your family and friends, your employer and co-workers, where you shop and do business, do they all see Jesus in you?

In closing I want us to look at and understand 1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” Unfeigned means not pretended, but genuine and sincere.

Let us read together from the testimony of Jesus, the last quote on your announcements (RH May 21, 1895), states, “The seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character.” {7BC 970.3}