|Sunday, August 19, 2018|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1
ave you heard the idiomatic expression “imitation is a disease”? It is one of the fallacies shovelled down our throat. I am sure you have also heard , “Orunmila” only heaven knows those that will be saved. It is another fallacy. Here is the deal, don’t just take matters on the superficial surface, judge words, prophecies with scripture. You know why, Isaiah says“
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8. Why will the word of God stand forever, because Jesus is the word. The word became flesh. They did not believe it was the word that became flesh. The religious Jewish leaders and Roman leaders tested the immortality of the word . They framed up Jesus with trumped up charges, and crucified the flesh (the Word). Buried it. But the Word is not buriable so the Word bounced back the third day! The Christians call it resurrection!The bottom line is that the grass withers, the flower perishes but the word of God is forever. The last time I checked Jesus is still sitting at the right hand of the Father, immovable, unshakable -The Way, The Truth and The Life.
So back to our idiomatic expression, 1 John 5:13 ”These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” So it is not at the gate of heaven you will know whether you will make heaven or not - if you believe in Jesus and you are imitator of Him you are guaranteed heaven!
Bottom line, there is nothing wrong in imitating people. We all at one time or the other do imitate people, what is however critical is who you are imitating, what you are imitating in the person and why you are imitating him or her.
In some Ministries the followers of the leader feel its right to imitate the way he dresses, talks, prays, and even walks. With time they find out they are imitating wrong things, with time it fizzles out. There are still many parishioners that are still imitating their pastors, whether with their hair styles, the way they shout hallelujah, kneel down before praying , carry bottles of water around , go around without shoes or even wear white garments, some are competing with their leaders in purchasing exotic cars, if not jets!That is not what Paul is advocating. Paul as Saul did not even know Jesus in the flesh, as Peter , John , and James did. So when he is saying be imitators of me as I am of Christ it is obviously not the way we are doing it today by imitating our ministry founders , bishops and overseers in dressing or other mundane idiosyncrasies.
Below are some ways the Holy Spirit would want us to imitate Paul as he imitated Christ:
1. Total surrender.
When Saul was confronted and told to stop the nonsense he was doing persecuting Christ and Christians ,he put a stop to it from that day. No more persecution of Christians.Rather he became a loyal Christian.Acts 9. He gave himself to Christ. It was a spiritual, radical , total turn around. Let us totally give our lives to Christ, in truth. Stop persecuting Christians!
Stop persecuting Jesus. Rather totally surrender to him, he will transform your life as he did for Saul. I see you becoming the Paul of our generation!
2. Total Obedience.
He called Jesus Lord and made him Lord.Today there is so much Jesus in our mouth not in our heart or attitude. The way Paul imitated Jesus was in total obedience to his direction. Throughout Jesus ministry you will hear him say , I cannot do anything of my own, except what heaven ( My Father) says even to point of death . Ph 2: 5-9. Paul imitated Christ even in dying for the gospel as a martyr in Rome. Paul would not go anywhere unless he clarified from heaven.
3. In zeal for the gospel:
I recall a time Jesus healed Peter’s mother in-law . Peter then wanted Jesus to remain in Carpernum. Jesus said I must go to other cities to preach the gospel . Paul imitated Jesus in missionary trips. First , Second, Third Missionary trips. One must wonder where the other leaders were when this man was breaking this fallow grounds. You and I need to imitate Paul in breaking new grounds for Jesus. Let us reach out to the unreached with the gospel !
4. In suffering.
In 2 Cor 11:23-30. : let me give you two verses to refresh you memory from this passage:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool ) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.24 Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one. “
What do we count today, blessings ! Sure there is nothing wrong in blessing, but there is a place we need to be imitators of Paul as he was of Christ- area of suffering and sacrifice . Jesus suffered on the cross he gave his life for the brethren Paul imitated him.
In 1 Jn 3:16 we are encouraged to imitate Christ by laying our lives for the brethren.
5. In Teaching.
The teachings of Jesus were peculiar. They were heavenly peculiar revelations.Surely not of this world. Four synoptic gospels devoted to his teachings. John says no books of this world can contain Jesus teachings. What of Paul? Almost two- thirds of the New Testament were his teachings. The Acts of Apostle could clearly be called the Acts of the Holy Ghost and if you like the Acts of the Holy Ghost through Paul! Paul received peculiar revelations from heaven. The world is not waiting for recycled information but fresh revelations from heaven. That is an area we need to imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus. Get intimate with Jesus, get heavenly revelation and download it for your generation,just as people are tired of recycled politicians, they are tired of recycled sermons!
6. Heavenly rewards.
6. Heavenly rewards.
Jesus prayed the father to restore the glory he had from the beginning . John 17. Paul says ‘awaiting me is the crown of righteousness “. If we imitate them rightly we shall surely have the right rewards.
Conclusion: There is nothing wrong in imitation . We are encouraged to covet spiritual gifts. What you need to watch is who you are imitating , why you are imitating the person and how you are imitating the person.The focus of imitation as shared above is rooted in godly character not flamboyant charisma.The word for imitation in our time is mentorship. 1 Cor 11:1 Could very well read, ‘get yourself good mentors like me as I got Jesus to mentor me!’