Being An Example To Others
Paul's life was an example for others. You are a model for others. Somewhere, somebody is trying to be just like you. The turning point in your life will be at which you view your daily work as being done to edify and inspire others.
Alright thank you very much and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing okay today? I trust so. Bless your heart. I am feeling pretty good. Praise the Lord. (Laughs) No complaints to bring to the complaint desk of heaven today. This is your friend Bob Cook, and I am glad to be back with you for few moments of sharing from God’s blessed eternal, inherent, infallible, inspired word, the Bible.
You and I are looking at the first epistle of Paul. The first letter that he wrote to the people of Thessalonica, we call it 1st Thessalonians. And Paul was saying, that his ministry to them, he says, “Our gospel came unto you not in word only.” He said I did have something to say but it wasn’t just words, “but also, he said, in power,” our word dynamite or dynamic, Greek word dunamis. Power – God’s eternal, undying, interminable power. And he said, in the Holy Ghost – the conscious dependence. Remember we talked about that, the conscious dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit of God makes you an extension of divine workmanship.
Conscious, that is a good phrase you may want to remember it. Conscious dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit makes you an extension of divine workmanship. Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Then he said, I came to you in much assurance, plerophoria – much assurance. And that same word then as we recall, it was used in the assurance, full assurance of understanding, the full assurance of hope, and the full assurance of faith.
Everything God does in your life is on the overflow basis. God never skips. He never skips. It is always on the overflow. If you find that you are doing something that does not abound, you can be sure that you have not been in touch with your blessed Lord about it or have not been in touch long enough about it. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The overflowing life is the norm in God’s way of dealing with His people.
So he said, you know what manner of man we were among you for your sake. Now that is about how far as we got the last time. He said, you know what kind of people we were. You actually are a model for others. It may jar you a little to realize that somewhere, somebody is trying to be just like you.
When when our brother Graham began his ministry suddenly catapulted into national and international fame by the great working of God in the Los Angeles campaign in 1949. It was amazing to see how many people tried either consciously or unconsciously to duplicate his preaching style. People chuckled about it after a while because there were so many, you may say little Billy Grahams around.
The same is true of a successful song leader. People around will adopt his style. And I must say that when I was in youth for Christ, people would joke with me and say you know Bob Cook, there’s a lot of people that are little Bob Cook’s around. I suppose that it is inevitable that that should be so, but it is a little scary when you realize that somewhere, somebody is duplicating what you are.
He said, you know what kind of a person I was and you became a follower of me, and then you became an example for other people who followed you. You see that comes out in verses 6 and 7. So he said, you know what manner of people we were for your sake. He had in mind that what he did was done not for himself but for those to whom he ministered.
Now, let me tell you the real turning point in your life would be the point at which you view your daily work as being done so that other people will be helped and strengthened, edified, built-up, inspired, and that there would be no danger if they duplicate the lifestyle you are following.
There is no room then for one to say well, it does not do me any harm, therefore I can do it. That is not the point. Maybe it does not do you any harm but what about the person who is following you, what about the person who is duplicating your lifestyle. O that is the point at which you may pause and think. Yes, better think about this before I do it.
He said you know the kind of a person I was for you. What I was, you know Popeye says I am what I am that is all I am. Well, what Paul was he was for the other person. “I lived it”, said he, “for you and then you became followers of me and of the Lord.”
Now, we go on then unto this 6th verse where they are turning around. And now you and I take our place with thee, people in Thessalonica. Now we are looking at Paul, here is this holy man of God and he is living a life that is an inspiring life and that it is one that is exemplary. It is one that is worth following, one that is worth imitating, and there we are looking at him. He said, you were followers of me but he says, and of the Lord.
Now, this says two things: first, it says that the only safe place is following God’s will and of the Lord; and the second is that any, any influence you and I may have has to be related to the will of God. Ye became followers of me and of the Lord. The tie-in between your life and mine on one hand and at the will of God and the dynamic power of the indwelling Holy Spirit on the other – that combination is the only basis for successful Christian ministry.
Followers of me and of the Lord. Now, what is the basis of the “and of the Lord, having received His word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost.” You are only safe in duplicating another believer’s dedication if it is based upon the eternal word of God. Having received the word, you are only safe in duplicating another believer’s dedication or imitating even to use a different verb. Another believer’s dedication, you become followers of me Paul said. You are only safe in imitating or duplicating another Christian’s dedication if it is based on the eternal Word of God.
You can see that rules out so much of what we do. He walks a certain way. He talks a certain way. He dresses a certain way, therefore I will. That has nothing to do with it. It is only the points at which the individual is obeying the word of God that are worth duplicating. Only the points that are based on obeying the word of God in anybody’s life are worth duplicating. That screams out a lot of things, doesn’t it? Oh yes.
I had a friend years ago who used to get up at 4 o’clock every morning and read the Bible. His favorite book was Romans and so when you met him, he was likely to say, well I was up at 4 this morning reading Romans. Well, I felt little guilty at that point because I had slept until probably 7, (Laughs) and I had not read through Romans that morning. Well, I found out later of course that he got up at 4 and read the Bible for a while, and then went back to sleep. (Laughs) I never found that out until after he gone to heaven. I tell you when I get to heaven, and look him up. I will went to him and say hey I found out something about you, you went back to bed after you got up at 4 in the morning. (Laughs) Well.
You see the fact that he got up to read the Bible is wonderful but it is not necessary that something you and I have to do. Wesley thought that anybody was backslid, and who was not up and on the job maybe even preaching by 5 in the morning. He used to get up very early, and he would be preaching to the minors or to the factory people or whatever crowd he might have very early in the morning. Well, I wish him well. He became the corner stone of great segments of blessed belief, didn’t he? And wrote so many songs, and preach so many sermons, and was a great scholar beside, but that does not necessarily mean that you and I need to be standing at the entrance to some factory at 5 o’clock every morning. It only means that he did it.
But the great truce of the Word of God, thus saith the Lord. That is what you and I must obey. You became followers of me, and of the Lord having received the Word. So let us get off to detour following somebody’s ideosyncrasy. My father used to call ideosyn-crazies. (Laughs) Do not get on following some personal trait of another believer, attractive though it may be you stick to the Word of God
Now he said, you receive the Word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost. Time will run out before we can talk about this. Just let me say that the Christian life applies the Word of God in spite of circumstances. The circumstances around you need never determine your reaction to the will of God. “You receive the Word in much affliction with joy”. We will talk about that the next time we get together.
Father God, in Jesus name help us to receive your Word and do your will. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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