REFLECTING THE CHARACTER

OF CHRIST

(PART 1)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.           A few years ago, the Dallas Morning News reported that an elderly North Dallas couple, the Davenports, was sitting at home one quite evening, enjoying a delicious meal.  As they were finishing up their meal, a burglar broke into their house, pointed a gun at them, and demanded money.

 

2.           While Mrs. Davenport frantically searched through her pursue for some money, the burglar noticed that the television was on, so he asked Mr. Davenport what they were watching, and he said, “The 700 club.”  “Are ya’ll Christians?”, the burglar asked.  “Yes” Mr. Davenport replied.   And the burglar said in all seriousness, “Me too.”

 

3.           That criminal honestly believed that he was a Christian.  However, he was deceived because his lifestyle and character proved that he was not a Christian at all.

 

a.  Jesus once said,

 

*   "By their fruit you will recognize them” (Mt. 7:16).

 

4.           It’s easy to say that we are Christians, however, the truth is, that our character, not our tongues, will reveal who we really are.

 

5.           As Christians, our character should be like Christ' character.  We are to strive to be like Jesus.

*    (1 Jn. 2:6)  “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

 

6.           How is your character?  Is your character like Christ' character?

 

THE POINT IN TODAY'S LESSON IS THAT OUR LIVES NEED TO REFLECT THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST

 

THIS MORNING, I AM GOING TO PROVIDE TWO PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRIST THAT WE NEED TO DEMONSTRATE IN OUR LIVES.

 

I.                           FIRST, AS CHRISTIANS, WE SHOULD BE KIND-HEARTED JUST AS JESUS IS KIND-HEARTED.

 

1.           In (Mark 10:13-16), we see the kindness of Jesus being bestowed upon the little children.

 

*   In (Mk. 10), people were bringing some little children to Jesus hoping that He would touch them, but the disciples rebuked the people.  When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, ‘‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.

 

2.           In this passage, several parents were bringing their children to Jesus hoping that He would bless them. 

 

a.      Now, we must remember that in their culture, the Jewish people believed that children should be seen not heard.  They were not the center of attention like they are today.    The disciples thought that Jesus had no time for the children, so they scolded the parents, shooing them away and telling them to leave.

 

3.           Boy, were the disciples wrong.  Jesus became displeased with His disciples' statement and in firm and patient voice, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” 

 

4.           You can imagine the little children rushed to the ground where Jesus sat.  Jesus was probably smiling as He hugged the ones nearest Him.  After several minutes of conversation, Jesus probably took the children one by one into His tender arms and pronounced His blessings on them.

 

5.           From this story, we can see the charter of kindness that radiated from Jesus.

 

6.           As Disciples of Christ, we to are to be kind to others.

 

*   (Eph. 4:32) “Be kind and compassionate to one another…"

 

a.      To be kind means “to be friendly, and warmhearted in nature.”

 

(1)         Robert Burns once said,

 

The heart benevolent and kind is the heart that

most resembles God.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

Dan Clark, an actor, songwriter, recording artist, and video producer once wrote an article that can inspire us to be kind.

 

Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.  Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter.  This family made a big impression on me.  There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12.  You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money.  Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.  The children were will-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands.  They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants and other acts they would see that night.  One could sense they had never been to the circus before.  It promised to be a highlight of their young lives.

 

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.   The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.”  He was smiling and basking in pride

 

The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted.  He proudly responded, “Please let me buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.” 

The ticket lady quoted the price.  The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver.  The father leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?”  The ticket lady again quoted the price.  The man didn’t have enough money.

 

How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

 

Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground.  (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word).  My father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”

 

The man knew what was going on.  He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation.  He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, “Thank you, thank you, sir.  This really means a lot to me and my family.”

 

My father and I went back to our car and drove home.  We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without.

 

7.           This story exemplifies the kindness that we are to have as Christians.  The kind of kindness that reaches out to others with the love of Jesus.

 

8.           When we are kind to others, people can see Christ living in us.

 

9.           William Wordsworth once wrote: The best portion of a good man’s life, is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

 

II.                         SECOND, AS CHRISTIANS, WE SHOULD BE EMPATHETIC JUST AS JESUS IS EMPATHETIC.

 

1.           In (John 11), we see the empathy of Jesus.  In (John 11), we read that Lazarus, one of Jesus’ closes friends, died.  Now when Jesus finally made it into town to see His deceased friend, He was met by Mary, Lazarus’ sister.  And in (verse 33), it reads:

 

*   When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  ‘‘Where have you laid him?” He asked. ‘‘Come and see, Lord,” they replied.   "Jesus wept."

 

2.           Why was Jesus crying?  He was hurt and sad because His friend passed away. 

 

3.           Just as Jesus was empathic, we must do the same.

 

a.      To be empathetic means “to experience another person’s feelings from that person’s point of view.  It’s considering the feelings of others.  It’s putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

 

4.           We are to rejoice with those who rejoice; and mourn with those who mourn.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

Charlie, an art teacher, was once visited by a former student of his.

 

His former student, Angela, had been in his art class nearly five years earlier.  He remembered here as a quiet, plain girl who mostly kept to herself.

 

Now she was a confident young woman, and a mother.  She had come to see her former art teacher and she had an agenda.  She told her art teacher:

 

“When I was in high school, my stepfather abused me.  He hit me and he came into my bed at night.  It was horrible.  I was deeply ashamed.  I told no one.  No one knew.”

 

“Finally, during my junior year, my parents went away for the weekend, leaving me home alone for the first time.  It was at that time that I had planned my escape.”

 

“They left on Thursday evening, so I spent the entire night preparing.  I did my homework, wrote a long letter to my mother, and organized my belongings.  I purchased a roll of wide plastic tape and spent an hour taping all the outside doors and windows of the garage from the inside.  I put the keys in the ignition of my mother’s car, put my teddy bear on the passenger’s seat and then went to bed.”

 

“My plan was to go to school as usual on Friday and ride the bus home, as usual.  I would wait at home until my parents called, talk to them, then go to the garage and start the engine.  I figured nobody would find me until Sunday afternoon when my parents returned.  I would be dead.  I would be free.”

 

Angela had held to her plan until 8th period art class, when Charlie, her art teacher, perched on the stool next to her, examined her artwork and slipped an arm around her shoulder and encouraged her.

 

Angela had gone home that Friday afternoon and written a second, different letter of good-bye to her mother.  She removed the tape from the garage and packed her teddy bear with the rest of her belongings.  Then she called her minister, who immediately came for her.  She left her parent’s home and never went back.  She flourished and she gave her art teacher the credit.

 

Charlie gave his interpretation of why Angela had given him credit for saving her life.  He said, “Angela had decided in that moment, in that art class, that if a casually friendly teacher cared enough about her to take the time to stop, make contact, look at her and listen to her, then there must be other people who cared about her, too.

 

5.           Brothers and sisters, we need to genuinely care for people and when we do, we can make a huge difference in their lives.  At times, we may not know that our empathy is making a difference, however, it is.  

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      This morning, we have been challenged to be more like Christ; to exhibit the qualities that make Jesus so wonderful.

 

2.      So far, in our series on Reflecting The Character Of Christ, we have noticed that:

 

a.      AS CHRISTIANS, WE SHOULD BE KIND-HEARTED JUST AS JESUS IS KIND-HEARTED.

 

b.     AS CHRISTIANS, WE SHOULD BE EMPATHETIC JUST AS JESUS IS EMPATHETIC.

 

3.      With the help of the Spirit of the Lord, may we strive to exhibit the beautiful Characteristics of Christ.

 

4.      At this time, the Lord's invitation is now offered for anyone who may be in need.  Please come as we stand and sing.