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! Introduction
            Every animal on earth resembles its parent.
A duckling looks like its parent duck, a lamb looks like a sheep, a calf looks like a cow.
Even in some cases where the resemblance isn’t that close, it can be proven that the child belongs to the parent by DNA testing.
We have been studying “The Purpose Driven Life” and today we come to the section that encourages us that we also were created to look like our parent.
As sons and daughters of God, we have been created to look like Christ.
How close is the resemblance?
What hope do we have of ever looking like our parent?
Do we desire to look like our parent?
Is Your Life Goal Christlikeness?
When our children were in school, they were given an assignment in an English course to write out the goals they had in life, the kind of things they would like to accomplish.
They wrote down all kinds of things like fly a jet, read certain books, and so on.
I remember that when I was in high school, I bet a friend that I would be a millionaire by the time I was 25.
If not, I owed him 25 cents.
Apparently even then, I did not have very strong aspirations in this direction.
I have seen a number of these kinds of lists of hopes, dreams and goals, but in all the lists I have seen, I don’t think I have ever seen one in which someone wrote, “I want to be like Jesus.”
Of all the things we could strive for in life, shouldn’t this be on the top of the list for every Christian?
It isn’t just that God desires that we become like Jesus.
It is much more powerful than that.
It is that God has created us for this purpose.
When God first created human beings, he made them in His own image.
We read in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
After God created all the animals, he created another being which was not like any of the animals, it was a being much more like Himself and that, of course, is the human being.
A part of the image of God in us as humans is the ability to choose.
Animals operate mostly out of instinct, but human beings have the ability to plan and choose.
God created us to make a choice and the choice we made was the choice to disobey God.
As soon as Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and as soon as Adam joined her in that disobedience, they exercised one aspect of their being in the image of God, but in that same moment, they also destroyed much of the image of God in them.
The choice to sin resulted in the image of God in us being marred.
But God is not easily deterred from his purposes and so He sent Jesus to this earth.
Jesus was God in the flesh.
He was fully God, but He was also fully human.
When we look at Jesus, we look at God.
He is fully and completely the image of God.
But He is also fully human and it was as a human that he obeyed God completely and so as a human fully displayed what God had originally intended every human being to be.
Through His death on the cross and resurrection, he made it possible for human beings to have their rebellion forgiven and to once again enter into the newness of becoming what they had originally been created to become and that is like God.
Galatians 2:20 tells us that with Christ living in us, we now have the possibility of becoming like the one who has died for us.
We can become like Jesus.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This is God’s plan, His intention for us.
The idea is put very clearly in Romans 8:29, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
The phrase “predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” indicates God’s plan for those who follow Him.
He has created us and intends for us to be just like Jesus.
Warren says, “Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives.
His purpose is far deeper; He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven.”
What are the things that you hope you will yet accomplish in life?
If we are honest with ourselves, our hopes often revolve around our happiness.
We want to be comfortable, to have ease, to have abundance, to enjoy pleasant living, to find meaning in work, to experience some interesting and perhaps even exciting things, to have nice things and to be free from worry.
We work hard to accomplish these goals and we plan activities that will achieve these things.
We drive towards these things and to some measure we achieve them, but these are not the things we have been created to achieve.
We have been created to be like Jesus.
Does Christlikeness define how we set goals, plan the activities of our life and work towards the things that are important to us?
Is God’s creative intent for you finding its central place in your life?
Having been created to be like Christ, are you cooperating with God’s purpose for your life?
What Does Jesus Look Like?
If someone would have told me to draw an okapi, I would not have been able to do it because I had no idea what it was.
Would anyone here know how to draw one?
Even now, although I know that it is a forest giraffe that lives in Congo, I still would not be able to draw a very accurate picture of it.
I have never seen one or a picture of one and so I don’t know what colour it is, how tall it is, if it has a long or short tail and many other things I don’t know.
Drawing is a form of imitation and if we don’t know anything about what we are to imitate, we can hardly do it.
The same is true for us in Christ.
We are to become like Christ, but if we don’t really know much about Christ, how can we imitate Him?
I John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
What an amazing verse.
It tells us that we will be like Jesus when we see Him.
That tells us that seeing Jesus allows us to become like Jesus.
Of course, it speaks about seeing Jesus when He returns and indicates that at that time, when our eyes are perfectly open to see Him as He really is, then we will become what God has created us to become - like Jesus.
But the truth indicated here also gives us a great hint about how we must now become like Christ and that is to observe Jesus.
It is as we come to know Jesus, as we see Him as He truly is that we will be able to become like Him.
Knowing what we are to imitate will allow us to imitate it.
Knowing Christ will help us become like Christ.
Therefore, if we want to become what we have been created to become, it is imperative that we spend much time looking at the image of Christ.
What is Jesus like?
I won’t draw a comprehensive picture this morning, but let us look at a few Scriptures which give us the beginning of an image of what Jesus is like so that we can know what we must imitate.
!! A. Servant
Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus is a servant.
His whole life was a life of service to God and service to people.
Repeatedly we seen Him talking about obedience to His Father and we also see Him making Himself available to all kinds of people in their need - healing the sick, feeding the hungry, comforting the sorrowing.
The ultimate picture of servanthood is the image of Jesus hanging on the cross.
When we remember his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in which he prayed, “not my will but yours be done,” and when we realize that he went to the cross not for his own sake, but for ours, we know that Jesus truly came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.
If we want to imitate Jesus, we must imitate Him in his servant attitude and His servant lifestyle.
!! B. Compassionate
            Jesus is also clearly a man of compassion.
One passage which demonstrates this is Matthew 9:36 which says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
He saw not only the surface needs of people, but saw the deep hurt in their hearts.
He knew that they were utterly lost.
More than that, he cared deeply.
He looked at those lost people and didn’t dismiss them.
He didn’t look at them and think, “they should know better.”
He loved them.
Once again, it is his love as demonstrated on the cross that most clearly shows how much he loves.
If we are to imitate Christ, we will need to learn to imitate him in his compassion.
!! C. Gracious
            We are also presented with a picture of the graciousness of Jesus.
One of the incidents which powerfully depicts this is the story of the woman caught in adultery.
Those who brought this sinful woman to Jesus wanted from Him what they knew the Old Testament law demanded.
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