Power of My Example
Years ago I had a meeting with my family at the Cracker Barrel restaurant. At that meeting, I began to recognize the impact I had on so many people. For good or bad, I have had an impact on others. Some would not even be alive if it were not for me, or if I had made other decisions.
The argument is not whether we have had an impact on the lives of other people but what kind of impact.
It is not just limited to dads and moms, but to grandparents. It also includes anyone you touch in your daily life because people know who you are and are influenced by you to some extent.
For Christians, we are to be examples as Christians. People know us by our relationship with Christ. So, one is not a school teacher, but a Christian school teacher, or Christian business person, or Christian doctor, and so on.
If people know of our relationship with Christ, they identify us by that relationship. People are watching us and some follow our example.
In view of this, we are supposed to be examples of Christ in this world to our children, neighborhood, fellow workers or classmates.
There are no excuses for not being a good example. Being the right kind of example is a part of being a Christian.
1 Corinthians 4:
 Therefore I urge you to imitate (μιμηταί) me.
 For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Being an example of Christ today is always rooted in the biblical example of Christ. Note verse 16 of our text: “Therefore I urge you to imitate (μιμηταί) me.”
Many today ask “What would Jesus do?”
This is well and good as long as we know what Jesus did! The problem is that many start making stuff up about their own view of Jesus as they perceive him rather than how he is revealed in Scripture.
Edgar Guest was a poet who was active in the first half of the last century. Toward the end of his career he wrote a poem titled, “Sermons We See.”
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.
1 Corinthians 11:
 Follow my example (μιμηταί), as I follow the example of Christ.
The poet continues:
I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
1 Timothy 4:
 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Note also that Timothy’s job is more than just telling people what to do, but showing them what to do by his example. As Christians, we not only set the standard by what we say and believe but by what we do in living out that truth.
Why do you suppose speech is the first thing on the list? Perhaps it was the hardest.
 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
The Bible says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
The Bible also says that “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).
Here is the point: This is hard to do!
The Bible says “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:3). So, the next time we talk, ask ourselves “What would Jesus say?”
Next, he says set an example “in life.” Not just a life, but a life that is ordered in a particular way. Perhaps “a way of life” would be better.
 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
This is how we set an example for the believers in life. We become like our teacher who is Christ. Or, as Paul said in our text, “Follow my example (μιμηταί), as I follow the example of Christ.”
 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Notice that Jesus calls this a new command. Love is not a new command. What is new is that we are to love as Jesus loved: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
We should ask, “How did Jesus demonstrate his love?”
Love is often defined by the extent to which one is willing to act in behalf of another. Note the example of the story of the Good Samaritan. The good Samaritan was willing to stop and help the one who had been robbed.
Paul also says set an example “in love.”
 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
Many of us think we cannot do this because we are imperfect, but we do not have to be perfect to set the right example.
The Christian life is a process toward maturity, which means we are not going to be perfect in the way we always live our Christian life. But others also need to see what we do as a Christian when we fail or struggle to live the Christian life.
Note that Paul often admitted he was not perfect but at the same time encouraged the brothers to follow his example.
1 Timothy 1:
 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
In the same way, we can provide an example to our children and others by working through our imperfections. So, being imperfect and knowing that does not exclude us from be an example for Christ.
Love is demonstrated when we care for and correct those who stumble in life:
 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
 In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
In your teaching show integrity, seriousness  and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
J B Myers