Volume: 931 November 6, 2023
Theme: Christian Example
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“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” II Thessalonians 3:8-9
Every Christian is responsible for a very important task: to be a good Christian example (“ensample”) to others. Many do not read the Word of God for themselves, have not learned what God has for them to do, and are more reliant on a godly example than they should be. It is dangerous to their spirituality to totally follow someone else, but it does happen.
For this reason, Paul the Apostle was aware of eyes attuned to his behavior and actions. He wrote some important points to be “… an ensample unto you to follow …”. In II Thes. 3, he pointed some of them out:
- That obedience and understanding of God’s Word would be seen in his life, and God would get the glory. If we are a godly example for someone, it should always be God and His work that get the glory, not us!
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:” II Thes. 3:1
- Keep your distance from others who are not doing right (“disorderly”), even if they are Christians (“brethren”). He defines “disorderly” in verse 11 as those who are lazy and not working and those who are meddling in other people’s business (“busybodies”). Association with those types of people may give others the impression that you are also like the crowd you are with.
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” II Thes. 3:6
- Do not stop living and doing right. Others around you, even Christians, may be acting worldly, not obeying God, or not involved in reaching others for Christ, but that is no reason for you to abandon your post! Keep on keepin’ on, no matter what others are doing. Do not tire of doing it alone.
“But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” II Thes. 3:13
It would be better for all if each Christian faithfully read God’s Word and obeyed all that he is shown but not many do that. They often follow the actions and behavior of those they associate with. With this reality in mind, our responsibility to be a proper, godly “ensample” is thrust on us. Lead those who are watching or following your example down the right path. There are eyes on your testimony — constantly!
“A godly, virtuous man shines the purity of his righteous life. He is a lighthouse set by the sea-side, whereby mariners sail safely and avoid danger because of his light. But, he that lives in sin is a false lantern, which shipwrecks those that trust him and follow his example.” — Fellthan, 1668
A godly house should be the best proof of true Christianity. It is not my church; it is my house that knows me best. It is not my pastor; it is my home companion who can best judge me. It is the servant, the child, the wife, and the friend that can discern most of my real character.
A good man will improve his household. Rowland Hill once said he would not believe a man to be a faithful Christian if his wife, children, servants, and even the dog and cat were not the better for it. That is being a good Christian.
If your household is not the better for your Christianity, if men cannot say, “This is a better house than others,” then be not deceived; ye have nothing of the grace of God.
Let not your servant on leaving your employ, say, “Well, this is an odd sort of a Christian family. There was no prayer in the morning, and I saw no prayer at night. I was kept at their home all Sunday working. Once a fortnight, perhaps, I was allowed to go out in the afternoon when there was nowhere for them to go so that I could hear a Gospel sermon. My master and mistress went to a place where they heard the blessed Gospel of God; as for me, I had to work.”
Surely, Christians should not act that way. Carry out your godliness throughout your home.
Precepts instruct us what our duty is, but examples assure us they are possible. Examples resemble a clear stream wherein we may not only discover our spots and sins but also be encouraged to wash and clean them.
When we see men like ourselves, united to frail flesh and in the same condition as us, but they overcome the most glorious and glittering temptations, we are encouraged in our spiritual warfare. We are encouraged that we, too, can get the victory over such temptations and sin.
“Men can ‘live’ long after they are dead. They can outlive their memory and may be more enduring than any monument of brass or marble.
“Their example may be like the circles rising around a sinking stone. The waves it makes grow wider and wider, embracing a larger and larger sphere, until it dies in gentle wavelets on a distant beach. Likewise, your example can also reach a distant time. Take care, then, how you live now.” —Guthrie
A child from a filthy home was taught at school to wash his face. He went home so much improved in appearance that his mother scrubbed her face. When the father came home and saw the improvement in domestic appearances, he also cleaned his face.
The visiting neighbors also saw the change and tried the same experiment until all on that street were cleansed. The next street copied their example. Soon, the whole city felt the result of one schoolboy washing his face.
This tale illustrates the best way for the world to be washed of its sins and pollution. It can start by cleansing our hearts and lives.
A man with grace on his happy face, Christian cheerfulness in his heart, and consistency in his behavior is a sermon that many will see and will impact many lives. Your godly Christian behavior and attitude will make a difference!
“The flower blossom cannot tell what happens to its fragrance. Neither can any man tell what becomes of his influence and example.” — Unknown
Recognizing hope in unexpected places,
Displaying courage and character that shines forth on our faces.
Joy unrestrained in heartfelt authenticity,
Facing challenges without sinking to fleshly complicity.
Persevering by faith against all odds,
Battling exhaustion through the lenses of facades.
’Tis grace that is unleashed from Heaven above,
Telling the story of our Father’s great love.
Beyond the most painful chapters in each of our lives,
We are met by the mercies of God as our hearts He revives.
This pathway of hope strengthens our testimony in the Lord.
Growth and vitality permeate our hearts and minds as we lift up His Sword.
Our commitment to God will reveal our willingness to obey,
May we always be mindful that salvation was costly as on Calvary’s cross He did pay.
Whatever your circumstances, Christ is your truest and most loving friend,
Hope is assured as you receive God’s favor and victoriously run the race to the end.
“One watch kept on time is good to set the time of others. On the other hand, if one is not on time, it will be a poor example for others to set their time by. Christian, be careful by whom you set your ‘time’.” — E. Cook