February 24, 2011 Devotion Sharing

1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 6:12; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5–7; 2 Timothy 3:10–15; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1–2:2

Not all arenas of life require imitation to learn or grow in.  Why is personal imitation and following a real example such an important way to grow in Christian life?

Personal imitation and following a real example is such an important way to grow in Christian life for several reasons.  Christian life is not just one arena or area of life, but it is all encompassing.  It involves our thoughts, our actions, what we say, what we do, our values, our desires, how we treat others, our character, our virtue, our maturity and so on.  It is fully comprehensive and has to do with everything in our lives.  And a lot of Christian life is not easy.  It can be difficult, against our own desires or our own nature or what we would do by default.  Having an example and imitating that real example gives us encouragement that Christian life and growing in Christian life is possible, that it can be done as we see it being done and being lived out right before us in people that we know.  It also can encourage us by being able to do it together, that we don’t have to live it out on our own.

A lot of Christian life is foreign to us.  We may read the word of God and acknowledge and agree with it, but we don’t know what it looks like concretely when played out in daily life, or in relationships with other people.  We need examples and we need to imitate those examples to even know and learn how to life Christian life.

It is also one of the clearest ways to learn, as seeing it lived out leaves little room for doubt or confusion about what or how it should be done.

And this is the way that Jesus first demonstrated for His disciples, that they and we should all follow the example of Christ.

What words from the text describe the specific factors required for such imitation to effectively occur?

The words from the text that describe the specific factors required for such imitation to effectively occur are words like “live according to the pattern we gave you”, “remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you”, “you know how we lived among you for your sake”, “you know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings”, “continue in what you have learned and become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures”, “what you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching”, “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you”.  These words express factors such as being in close proximity and sharing life with those you are learning and imitating from.  You have to know well those whom you are imitating, knowing the person, knowing all about their life, knowing how they live, and that requires a pretty close relationship and a lot of interaction, a lot of time spent together.  Also, you need the word of God, as that is what is taught from those you imitate, and it is the source of what we are trying to live out.  And finally, you need to guard what you have learned and imitate, to guard it well, to keep it as the pattern of sound teaching.

Note the relationship between Paul, Timothy, and the “reliable men” envisioned in 2 Tim 2.  What is the gospel transmission process and context envisioned by these texts?

The relationship between Paul, Timothy and the reliable men in 2 Timothy 2 must have been extremely close.  Paul and Timothy’s relationship and it’s extreme depth and closeness is clear from all of Apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy.  And Timothy’s relationship with the “reliable men” must be close to know whether or not the men are reliable or not.  The gospel transmission process and context envisioned by these texts is one of life on life, through direct teaching and handing down and imitation and example from one person to another.  It is one of master/disciple-apprentice, teacher/student, but closer than that, because it involves not just teaching in an academic sense or just a spoken sense, but it is in a lived out sense, a witness and lived out together sense.  It is “entrusted”, passed along to not just anyone, but people that you know, people that you have become close with.

Submitted by Dave Wu, Gracepoint Berkeley


Not all arenas of life require imitation to learn or grow in.  Why is personal imitation and following a real example such an important way to grow in Christian life?

Personal imitation and following a real example is such an important way to grow in Christian life because it is the very way that Jesus taught his disciples and calls each of us as he said “follow me.” It is a powerful way of setting an example and influencing people. Actions speak a lot louder than words so rather than merely hearing the word of God and preaching it, when I see it being lived out, it is very powerful, real, and something I can actually carry out in my life. According to these passages I can mature through imitating as I see the outcome of my leader’s life and know all about their teaching, life, love, endurance, etc. Ultimately after imitating, I too can be a model for others and be a “Paul” to other “Timothy’s”.

What words from the text describe the specific factors required for such imitation to effectively occur?

-“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ”

Ultimately Jesus is our model and the example we must follow, not mere charismatic people. Leaders need to recognize that they are representing Christ/his character/his ways to those they minister to. We need to be wary that leaders are actually Christ centered and want others to become imitators of Christ.

-“…spoke the word of God to you…Consider the outcome of their way of life…”

-“What you heard from me…”

-“…things you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses…”

Before we can imitate, we need to hear the word of God being taught to us. This is a factor required for imitation to occur that leaders teach and talk a lot on what it means to be a Christ follower. Hence before becoming a model to others, I need to know the Bible well and be able explain Scripture and Christian living.

-“You know how we lived among you for your sake”

-“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me…”

Not only should a Christian know the bible well, but also daily applying the word into their lives. This is what determines a Christian’s authenticity. Christian have no choice in being an example because people are watching how we live and judge Christianity and God based on our lives. This is where Christians actually walk the talk and are consistent with our words and actions. Failure to be a good example can cause others to be hindered or become uninterested in God. The life that A. Paul lived becomes the strongest testimony for the truth of his message. It is a testimony of God’s power, mercy, and purpose in his life. It’s not mere imitation of external behavior but seeing the outcome of their live and sacrifice and wanting to follow that example.

– “…continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it”

“…keep as the pattern of sound teaching…”

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you”

As we receive teaching and examples of lives of those older and more mature than us, we need to imitate by continuing in growing in this knowledge. I need to be faithful in continuing, in guarding, and keeping the sound pattern of teaching that I have been entrusted with. To imitate is a continual process and calls for daily application.

APPLICATION

I have been personally been given the privilege and blessing of so many examples of older brothers and sisters who I can imitate and follow. When I first came to this church, I was refreshed on seeing people taking God and His word seriously and actually living it out in their daily life. They strove to prioritize His word, they love people, and they give their time, money, and efforts. They put aside their own agenda to share the gospel. They live simple yet passionate lives in serving God and his people. It was powerful and I wanted to imitate my leaders and their lives, seeing how the outcome is godly character and a beautiful life for God. I have been blessed with many “Paul’s” in my midst that I can be a “Timothy” to including Pastor Ed, Kelly Kang, P. Jonathan and Susanna, P. Will and Esther Kang, Michael and Joanna Kang, Emily Kim, Cynthia Peng, and many, many more. Moreover, Steve and Suzanne Suh have been leaders that I have imitated and followed the last nine years of my life. I am so thankful for their examples of sacrifice, wisdom, and love for God and people. I see their life and I am continuing to grow and mature.

Now I am one of the older sisters in this church and have the privilege to model the Christ centered lives that I imitated. It is a privilege and entrustment that I take on fearfully as I know the impact it can have on people’s lives. Sometimes I get asked how I live this Christian life and serve, but the reality is that I am merely imitating those who have gone before me, taking small steps of obedience and being faithful to those that I am a younger and older sister to. I need to be a reliable person who not only knows the word of God but clearly and faithfully lives it out in my daily life, in my decision, in my interactions with people, in my agenda, etc so that I can be a model for other younger brothers and sisters.

Submitted by Myra Chen, Gracepoint Berkeley

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