Imitators of God

IEph. 5:1, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” 

Introduction

   The Greek word “mimetes” (mim-ay-tace’) translated as “follower(s)” means an imitatorNow the word “imitator” can be used in both a positive and a negative manner.  It can mean to follow as a pattern, model, or example.  It some times has the concept of appearing like, to resemble.  Also, the word imitator might include the effort to mimic, to counterfeit, and to copy.  In Eph. 5:1 it is used in a positive way.  At the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden, God created man in his own image.   

Gen. 1:26-27. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:  and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  

Adam and Eve did not retain very long God’s image in their lives.  After their disobedience they were driven from the paradise of the Garden of Eden.  Today, you and I can once again possess the divine nature. 

2 Pet. 1:3-4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”   

In the following verses of that passage, the Apostle Paul enumerates seven Christian graces that a child of God should add to his faith.  One of those graces is “godliness.”  It means:  reverence, respect, piety towards God, godliness; the quality of being godly, or taking on the likeness of God. 

Jesus Christ was Immanuel, which means:  “God with us.”  (Matt. 1:23-25).  Jesus, as the Son of God, was of the same essence as the Heavenly Father, He is of the Godhead  

Col.2:9 In reference to Jesus Christ:  “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  

John 10:30, In this passage Jesus declares:  “I and my Father are one.” 

John 8:19, “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father?  Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father; if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” 

1 Pet. 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called:  because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” 

Discussion

Let us now consider how we can and must imitate the Heavenly Father: 

I.                   WE ARE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD IN LOVE.

A.     Love is the very essence of God’s moral nature. 

1 John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 

B.     God demonstrated His love in the gift of Jesus. 

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Rom. 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 

C.     How can we imitate the love of God?

1.      In our obedience. 

1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:  and his commandments are not grievous.” 

2.      In devoting ourselves to reach out to the lost souls of humanity.

3.      By showing our love to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Those who are “the children of God.” 

John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 

Gal. 3:26-27, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” 

II.                WE ARE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD IN MERCY.

A.     The Heavenly Father is a God of mercy. 

Eph. 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” 

B.     His mercy has been shown to us in the forgiveness of our sins.

1.      Because of our sins, we deserved to be punished, but God extended His mercy by way of Jesus Christ.

Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

2.      God does not want anyone to be lost.  Therefore, He is giving us adequate time to repent and obey the gospel of Christ. 

2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 

3.      Every saved person praises God for His mercy toward him. 

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” 

C.     How are we to imitate this mercy?

1.      In being ready and willing to forgive those who have wronged us. 

Eph. 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” 

2.      Only those who forgive can expect forgiveness. 

James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” 

Matt. 6:9-15 (Jesus taught His disciples how to pray), “After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thou kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” 

III.             WE ARE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD IN HOLINESS.

A.     God is holy. 

1 Pet. 1:15-16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [life]; Because it written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” 

B.     What does it mean to speak of the holiness of the Almighty?

1.      He cannot be tempted with evil. 

James 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:  for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” 

2.      He cannot even look upon sin. 

Habakkuk 1:13 (The prophet says unto God):  “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” 

Gen. 6:5-6, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” 

3.      Furthermore, our sins separate us from Him. 

Isaiah 59:1-2, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear.” 

C.     How can we imitate His holiness?

1.      We must train our minds to think the right thoughts. 

Prov. 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…” 

Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” 

2.      We must learn to abstain from every form of evil. 

1 Thess. 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 

3.      We must follow the sinless example of Christ. 

1 Pet. 2:21-22, “For even hereunto were ye called:  because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:” 

IV.              WE ARE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD IN FAITHFULNESS.

A.     God is trustworthy!  We can rely upon His Word and promises. 

1 Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

B.     We know that God is faithful because:

1.      He has never failed man at any time, nor will He ever do so. 

2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 

2.      Therefore, He has never mocked us with false promises.

3.      He is faithful in upholding His Word. 

Rev. 21:5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write:  for these words are true and faithful.” 

Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” 

C.  How can we imitate His faithfulness?

1.       By keeping every promise and pledge that we have made unto Him.

2.      By performing every responsibility and commandment that He has placed upon us.

3.      By observing faithfully every principle of holiness enjoined upon us under the new covenant.   

Rev. 22:14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”                                     

Conclusion

   Those of us who have become Christians have pledged our lives unto God.  And in doing so, we should strive to imitate His moral attributes in our own lives.  We are blessed in having Jesus, His only begotten Son, as our example. 

--Dub Mowery

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