One of the things about having an office job is that there are times when you go to bed and you think you don’t need a shower this week. I was interstate for some meetings and because I was alone, I did not feel the pressure of my wife to have a shower. So I went to bed thinking that I didn’t need a shower, man. I just jumped into bed. Yesterday I had one shower, you know. I’m lying in bed. I felt a little clean. He could bother getting up, sleeping. I woke up the next morning and I thought, I better take a shower now and I didn’t notice even though I thought I was clean. I had everything. I thought I should have showered last night and I saw the presence of God here and thought, I’m pretty well and then his presence arrived. I thought, man I just needed that little shower. I just want you to put your hands up ’cause I feel your presence here and I feel that it may, may not have anything important in your life right now. When you come into his presence, his presence here revitalises you. Father, I pray right now for each person so that you revitalise a single person Lord God.
As we have been through this week Lord God serving you, I only ask and I ask that even in this service Lord God, from the top of everyone’s head to the souls of their feet, all those who fill them with new life and new joy and strength. We thank you for your presence, Lord. In the name of Jesus. all the world said, amen. Let us give the Lord a hand of praise. He is incredible. Praise be to God. Look at the person next to you and tell them that you smell fresh. Awesome. Feel free to take a seat. Thank you team worship. How awesome is our worship team? How cool are they? For those of you wondering, no, victory is not my son. It feels like that sometimes. You know what it is, a son in the Lord. Praise God but it’s so good to see you and thank you for joining us and as you probably said you could tell by the fact that it was difficult to get a parking spot this morning.
We had a special service where we prayed for the school staff, our school personnel in the first service and, obviously, many of our boys who came to the second service, our staff from school, they came first. So we’re a little lighter in the second today. But the very presence of God is here. Amen. Which is incredible. Anyway, it’s so good to be here. It’s so good to see you all and God is doing great things between us and between our church community and I’m looking forward to sharing with you this morning. I want to share with you from the fifth chapter of Ephesians. Ephesians chapter five and I’m going to read only one verse. Ephesians 5:1 says this, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children”. Read that again. Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children. Let’s pray. Father, I thank you for your word. I only ask and pray that we help to be more like you. I thank you and praise you for that Lord in the name of Jesus. Amen. Therefore, be imitators of God are beloved children. When you become a Christian, we are actually born again, is the phrase that we really use. The Bible tells us in other parts of chapter five from Ephesians that we are actually adopted into the family of God. So, actually we became legitimate children of God and because of that, what he wants to do is give us his features. You know, being a Christian is so amazing. It’s more than getting a ticket from heaven after dying. It is more than that.
The spirit of God comes to live within you and he transforms us so that we can be more like him. So, we don’t have to be tied down because of the way we were brought up. We don’t have to be bound by some of our natural tendencies that he gives us to transform. He can change us. The Bible says that he changes us from glory to glory. That’s part of the process of sanctification. In Christ, you become justified. So, what that means is that it is as if I had never sinned. So, what that means is that you automatically become a citizen of heaven but then start messing with your business. Have you ever realised that? He begins to change us from glory to glory that is called being sanctified and that is why it is not saying something there that is not possible, you know how I can imitate God you know God of God, but actually the apostle Paul says that there are imitators of God. Why? Because we are his dear children. In reality also says it in another part of Corinthians chapter eleven. He says to imitate me even as I imitate Christ. So we may be imitators of God but what does that mean? Wants us to be one such chip off the old block. He wants us to be more and more like him.
A number of years ago when we lived in Ipswich, I found out that one of my sons and another friend had decided, you know and I was very young and creative and he decided he wanted to draw a picture. So what he wanted to do was draw the new car of his father’s friend with a stone. So he and his friends started drawing on the guy’s car with a rock. I didn’t do it for a long time but there was enough scratching. It was an Audi by the way and so I found out about it and obviously when I found out about he, he was a little upset, you know, you know, really I needed that fruit of the spirit of self control to be evident in my life and so for some reason, mothers they know these kinds of things. My mother called me and because he had heard about it and basically, he told me, she says, now right before you kill him, she says, you need to know, remember something. She goes, when you were his age, you used to stand on the side of the road and throw stones at the cars as they went by and she said, so just remember, don’t you be different to him and then I realised, yes praise be to God. Uh, it was such a chip off the old block. However, God wants us to be more and more like him. Why? Because we are his children. He wants us to be imitators of him. We are his representatives for so many people.
We are the only Jesus that people actually see and that is why people make their judgments about faith, his judgments about Christianity, his judgments about Jesus for his interactions with people like us. So he wants us to be more and more imitators of him. Now, you could be here and you could be saying, well, how can I really do that? Well I’m glad you asked because we’re going to talk about that today. Now, you may have remembered, I told you before that in the nineties, I used to work in a Christian bookstore and the Christian bookstore was called Word Bookstore and when you are involved in an industry like that you know that there is some work talk and that you understand. Learn about that industry. One of the things that really surprised me at the time was the fact that people would actually steal from Christian bookstores. I found that quite incredible. Actually, I remember one time there was an old lady coming out of our bookstore and she had one of those old carts and it was like the leather that could not be seen inside. I just had this trolley. My boss thought it would be better to check it out. He checked it on the way out. Was full of CDs, hymns, praise and worship, Christian music contemporary, and that was stealing from our bookstore.
So Youth CD is a record we used to listen to and we had stores that we’d go and buy it. They don’t exist anymore but anyway, and so yes. So someone really stole that. People would steal the most incredible things. I was always a little disappointed that there was an article that I thought would have been funny if it was stolen and you know, this sometimes the Christian world can be a bit extreme. We used to sell this perfume. I really don’t want to call it perfume because perfume is supposed to smell good, but we used to sell this perfume and it was called Essence from Jerusalem and look, I don’t know if I don’t know if it smells like Jerusalem really, but I’m not sure, so it’s how I want to smell. Do you understand what I’m saying? Oh and so they stole and no one stole that by the way. Nobody told you. There was a woman. We used to know her as the essence of the lady of Jerusalem because every few months she came. Do you have more essence of Jerusalem? It’s like, yeah, we always have to buy a bottle. It’s for you every time you come back and so anyway but no one stole that.
Now, do you remember in those days, there were these bracelets that you used to buy and they were like, you know, material bracelets and they said WWJD? So those were the most stolen items in Christian bookstores around the world. WWJD. Do you know what WWJD means? What would Jesus do? So think about it. There were thousands of people all over the world. In which place would Jesus bangles? That whip from your Christian bookstore local. Now I don’t know. All that Jesus would do but I think I probably wouldn’t have done that. Do you know what I am saying? But the feeling is really good. What would Jesus do? That is what it means, what would Jesus do in this situation? We can do what Jesus did. He wants us to be more and more like him. It is one of the great callings of the Christian life. Be his representative, to be like him. And so I want to talk with you today about being more like Christ.
How can we imitate to Christ and there are many ways, but I am only going to choose four and so so if you are taking notes feel free to write the left side of your page the letters WWJD because each of these dots start with these letters like this four ways in which we can imitate Christ. The first way that we can imitate it is the first W. We can imitate his walk with the Father. Mark 6:46 says this. When he sent them away, He went to the mountain to pray. So when Jesus sent them to the mountain to pray. The reason why I put that verse there is because that verse is repeated many times in the gospels. You would have seen the life of Christ, he ministered all day and then very often prayed all night. So it was a continuous thing. Wanna say, he even got annoyed with the disciples when was in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross because he said you could pray for me with me for 1 hour. His expectation with them was that they would pray like him. Really pray. So Jesus had a very, very active prayer life. Now, the thing is, I would have thought, if there was a person that he had an excuse for not praying or if there was a person good enough not to pray, it would have been Jesus but in reality he prayed even more than his own disciples.
If Jesus prayed, how much more should we? Yes, Jesus lived that lifestyle, how much more should we? And prayer is not a religious duty, understand that through Christ, we have a relationship with God. We have the best adviser. We have the best mentor. We have the best adviser. We can put all our burdens on him. We can put all these things together so that he can give us advice. The Bible says that the word of God makes me wiser than my enemies. There are actually great benefits to praying. You would know in Matthew chapter six because we talked about Matthew chapter six every time we do the 21 days advance. Jesus says, when praying, go into your room and pray and your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you openly. Look at this. It does not say if you pray. It does not say if you feel led to pray. It doesn’t say if your wife or mother prays for you. He doesn’t say when you’re in trouble, he prays. He says, when you pray, you are telling each person, which part of our lifestyle should be a sentence. Not by legal obligation, some kind of legalistic obligation but because he says, your father who sees what you do in secret tells you will reward openly. There are benefits actually. He helps us with our life. That’s why sometimes the busier you are, the more we really need to carve time into prayer. Martin Luther, the famous reformer, actually said, I am very busy today. I can’t spend less than three hours of prayer. What was he saying? I’m not saying you have to pray 3 hours. I’m saying this, that actually being able to do everything that God has called us to do in our lives. We need to be more and more in regular contact with him. I’ve found it with myself. Like many of you, I am quite busy. A very active lifestyle but we have to forge that eternal. What I usually do is go for a prayer walk. I’ve told you before, round the lake or usually finish halfway, have a coffee from Blackboard Coffee and then walk on the way home and it is in those moments before going to work that God is downloading things in my heart. What do I have to do that day? It helps me prioritise and I’m fine. I am easier to assume the responsibilities than God gives me why?
He rewards us for praying. So if you want to achieve all that God has for you in your life. As Christians, it is important for us to spend time in prayer and it is not about finding the time. It is about more than doing the time. I heard about this conference that a professor gave on teaching time management to his class and what he did was he got a big jar and he got into the platform and it had these rocks like yay big and said, How many of these can I fit in this jar? The students said, oh you could probably fit about four. So I grabbed one, two, three, four, approached the neck of the jar and said, how much more can I fit? They said, you can’t fit anything else. So, from behind the desk, I grabbed a bag of pebbles and grabbed those pebbles and poured them into the neck of the jar. They got in between everyone’s hollows and they got to the top and then he said, how much more can I fit?
They said, well, nothing else fits now and behind the desk, he pulled out, took a bag of sand and grabbed that sand and poured it down the neck of the flask and filtered to the bottom and he went all the way to the top and said, today I tortured to the director of time management. What is this? The student said, we don’t know. And he said, well if you want to fit in everything, you put the big rocks first. The big ones priorities, the key important things. If you want to fit everything, do those things first. Who knows when you wake up in the morning, you’ve got all these lesser grainy things in your mind. I have to do this. I have to do that. Have to do when what happens is that if we give them priority, we miss some of the main things that are really important to us. It is so important to prioritise those things but I found this, you prioritise that first, everything else makes sense.
Seek first the kingdom of God in his justice. All these other little things will be added. Everything makes sense when we prioritise the main things in our lives. One of the ways that we can imitate Christ is that we can imitate him with the father. The second way we can imitate him is we can imitate his works of power. Jesus says in John chapter fourteen verse twelve. He says with all certainty that I tell you that he who believes in me works that I do, he will also do. And works greater than what he will do because I go to my father. So what is he saying? He is saying, greater works than I have done, you shall do. What is it about? Well, the works he’s talking about are a show of power. If you look at the ministry of Jesus Christ, yes, there are great elements of teaching. Yeah, there’s, you know, kindness, but more than that, the vast majority of Jesus’ ministry was really a show of power. So often when the people interacted with him, that’s why he had so many crowds following him for the display of power he made. He did healing, he did signs, he did wonders and he said, works greater than me, you will. So what does it mean? It means we can do it too. that through Christ, we can see the power of God really touched and transformed lives. It’s not like, oh yeah, Jesus did that back then but me that’s not for me because I can’t do it. No, I am God. No no no no. You are a child of God. In the name of Jesus, we can see people healed, set free, lives transformed and touched and changed by the power of God. We are your representatives. We are your ambassadors. we carry your authority. In the name of Jesus, we can see that happen. To our church, I know I’m preaching to the choir because of the church that believes in signs, wonders and miracles.
We have seen people cured of cancer. We have seen people do mighty deeds, demonstration of power during the whole life of our church and the history of our church and the same God who did that back then can still do that right now and how do you do it now? He does it through his people and that’s really talking about you and me. Really we can see the power of God move. What that means is that the true likeness of Christ is incomplete without a show of power. It’s not really Christ-like without a show of power. I grew up in a church that basically the impression I got was that the height of Christianity was pleasant. That the nicer you were, the more Christ you were but I think they informed me a little because of the photos that I saw of Jesus, you know, there were pictures that were made of Jesus and you know it, I don’t know if any of you have seen those pictures where Jesus had, you know, long blond hair and white porcelain skin and long flowing white robes surrounded by children and small lamps and remember that think oh Jesus must have been a hippie, you know, but It was not. He was a chippie. He was a carpenter. Did not seem a hippie and not only that, it was not always nice but it was always powerful.
I told you the story before about the time when there is an account in three of the gospels about when Jesus healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. The Jesus who I knew growing up would have interpreted it that way. Jesus is there and Simon Peter approaches him. Oh Jesus. What Pete? My mother in law. She is not well. seriously? Yes, she feels bad. She could have Covid. Well. What’s up? Could you come and see her, of course? How are you? I’m not doing too good, Jesus. I feel a bit evil. Oh poor. Watch someone go do chicken noodle soup. Now listen here. I will say a little prayer and I will come to visit you in the morning. That is not what happened. This is what happened. Peter is coming to Jesus. Jesus what? my mother in law and her She’s sick. Ok, where is she? This way. here? yes. why? Get up. Now get me a coffee because the Bible says you got up and you served him through Christ, resemblance is not only being kind is a demonstration of the power and presence of God.
You know, God can heal people through your prayer so that you interact with someone and you can just ask some of the questions, can I pray for you? I wish I could honestly say that the 90% of the people I ask to pray for them actually say yes. still surprises me every time. The number of times I thought They were going to say no and they didn’t. Most of the time they say yes and you go out and pray for them and there are times when they are healed in place. It’s amazing. All we have to do is have the courage to do that. People I always get asked, what is the key to seeing the power of God move? What is the key to see the power of God move and people go and do courses and travel abroad and they are going to look at things to see what is the key to power of God? Spend a lot of money. I want to save you a lot of money today and I am going to tell you what is the key to move in the power of God, okay? This is a version of North Queensland, okay?
The key to seeing the power of God move is to have a partner. Try it. Can I pray for you? Look what God does. The apostle Paul did not pray for more anointing. He prayed for more audacity. Coming out. You could be the answer to someone’s prayer. You can be someone’s fix and all you have to do is realise that Jesus Christ himself said, greater works that he did, you will do it too and all you have to do is say, can I pray for you? Yes. Why? We can use it, we can imitate their works of power. This year in our church, the year of outreach. Believing for more and more people coming to meet Christ. I can tell you that I believe more and more that it is going to come through the people of our church. People in our church in your daily life. You are going about your business doing your thing, living busy lives and you meet someone’s way and then you realise that person needs some help and you just ask, can I pray for you? And you will be surprised what really happens. You can imitate their works of power. The third thing we can imitate. Now, when you write a sermon and want to make your points memorable, I really want to do a WWJD that really fits with my sermon. The problem was that at that moment I was struggling to find a start with J and so what I did was pass through the thesaurus and couldn’t think of one. The biggest difference between Christ and the leaders of the day was actually his attitude.
He wasn’t one of the judges out there finding fault by thinking that it seemed that he was sucking lemons all the time. He was really someone who enjoyed life. interacted with the people. Uh the Bible tells us in John 10:10, the thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus says they can still have life and they can still have life more abundantly. Being a Christian is more than getting a ticket to heaven after you die you get a new life and he transforms us and helps us and helps us to be winners. That is why as Christians, we can go through for the same as everyone else but you don’t have to affect us so much why? because we have access to life available in Jesus Christ. We are his representatives. God He doesn’t want us to be Christians walking around, judging everyone, it fails to find every person and that type of thing that looks like we’ve been sucking lemons all time. God wants us to be people full of vitality, full of life, cosy, friendly, happy, enjoying, enjoying the life that God has actually given us.
We need to be people as the French would say who have a bit of eve. I mean, that’s what annoyed religious leaders of the day about Jesus and did silly things like going to parties and going there and he was the people who religious leaders would accuse him of as a glutton. Do you understand what I am saying? But he was someone that people loved. why? For your love and acceptance. That’s how it is supposed to be. We need to be the most attractive people on the planet and I’m not talking about Botox friends. Amen. It is the Gold Coast. You do it. No problem. This is all good, but that’s not what you’re talking about. Our attractiveness needs to come from the light of Christ in our inside. That we need to be people who are full of his life and his strength. Amen. we need to be people with some Christians, their testimony is this. before knowing the Lord, it was wicked and boring.
Now that I’ve met the Lord, I am no longer evil. But it’s still boring. Amen. He supposes that we are people filled with the life of God. Amen. Jesus would be surrounded by people. Jesus never sinned but he had life and vitality, amen and that is what God called us to be. That is why the Bible says in the Psalms, one of the benefits of being a Christian, one of the benefits of knowing the Lord is that he renews your youth like the eagles. So what that means is we don’t have to be grumpy when we are old. To the person next to me and says, I’m talking, he’s talking to you. We can be full of that vitality, full of that life. Look at Janet and Greg. Did you know that Janet is 100 years old? Look at her up here, laughing. That’s a lot of Botox folks. She got more Botox than the Egyptian mom. Do you understand what I’m saying? No, just kidding. Just kidding. Just kidding. Where there is life and there is vitality. Never more I will preach here again. Amen. Now, God has called us to be people. His example is that life. Amen. God wants people. We could be the only Christ people see. the only one Christ. What will they see through my life? One who is critical, condemning, putting down people or someone who he simply loves the life that Christ has given me and is willing to share it. It’s the greatest thing I found being Christian. I discovered that I did not need anything external to make me happy.
I became a Christian at the age of 19. The biggest difference was this, I just started to enjoy life. I started the things I thought I needed to do to make me happy. Things I thought I needed to do to cheer myself up. He didn’t need to do more. I just had this life in the interior and I enjoy having enjoyed even the simple things in life. Why? Because Christ is in me and he is in you too. Yeah we want to imitate him, let’s imitate it as the French, and the latest is this, we should imitate his acts of kindness. Matthew 5:16 says, let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven. So, he says there that our light shines, people see it through our good deeds, our good works. So, the fourth thing we have to do is that we need one of the ways in which we can imitate Christ is that we can imitate their actions of kindness. His actions of kindness. The goodness it is one of the less spoken fruits of the spirit. Believe which is one of the least spoken values to be a Christian. But one of the things about being Christians is that like Christ we should be kind.
Says in Acts 10:38, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit with power, who went to do good and heal to all who are oppressed by the devil. It doesn’t say it was out there being good. Oh, he’s a good boy. No, it was not that. He was doing you know, they call us for good plays. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are the work of God created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Know, oh, are you saying we’re supposed to do it right? Yes, we are. We’re not supposed to sit around talking about theology all the time. We are supposed to be out and about in our daily lives doing good. That’s why this year really we are emphasising those ministries we do that are quite well just doing good in ministries. things like our arm care and these other things we do. We just are doing fine and we’re doing it without transactions. I don’t know the exact figure. I understand. I think in some place among thousands. I’m going to say four thousand. Could be mistaken. If I’m wrong, I’ll tell you next time, but I think we fed approximately 4000 people a month through our caring arms. How good is that? Praise God.
It is not transactional. No we’re saying, we’ll give it to you if you come to church. We will give it to you if you give us your bank details. No. We only do acts of kindness with nothing to change. Why? Because that’s like being like Christ. That is one of the biggest things between having talked about this here before. We are a kingdom type of church, not an empire church. An empire type of church only does things that they benefit from. Those are not us. We are the kingdom. We do things which may not even benefit us, but we do because I believe that’s the way Christ is. It is not transactional. Even in the scope of the offer that is open at this moment, it goes to those ministries that are only going to do things kind to the people. When we do kind things for people, when we bless them, they know who we are. They know that we are Christians and it is a great witness and representation of Christ already times, they will come into the life of our church, but sometimes they may not, but maybe somewhere in the clue, they end up coming to the kingdom and one of the reasons it’s because they had to interact with a group of people who are really nice to them. Earlier today we had a service for everything our staff who are in our work for our school. And know that in our school we would have around 50% in all the fields. 50% of the family church goes. That means less than 50 percent. I mean more than 50 fifty percent don’t go to any church anywhere. I have no affiliation. Which means that for many of these children the only thing they have of Christ is their teacher or the person who is interacting with them. Maybe at your workplace right now.
He is the only Christian that people in your workplace really know that it could be you. And my breath would be this. Let them see Christ in you. Let them see how good God is. Not a judgmental evil God, but a God who is loving. A God who is accepting. One of the things about our church is that we believe in acceptance before repentance. What that means is that you don’t have to clean yourself up before you come to church. Come to church, we will accept you and then God will cleanse you on the journey. If you could clean yourself properly, you wouldn’t need to be part of a church. But in the same way we think we can be loving to people before there is any change. Loving and kind to people who can’t give anything In return. And honestly I think it’s actually like Christ. Amen. And so for each one of us, myself included, and that each of our churches is that we would be Christ as imitators of God. Why? Because we are much loved children. That when someone sees me and when you see, let him see the Christ in you, the hope of glory and so my prayer for you today is this, that when people see you, they see Christ.
At our first service, we prayed for the people who really work at a school or do they work at our school? and the reason we do that is because we think we’re graced by that and we believe that each person in that kingdom is a missionary, who is called by God. If they call you to work for our school, praise God. We believe that God has called you to do it. If God has called you to work in another school, then we believe that God is with you to go and be a part of that space. And that’s why I want to pray for each person because I know that there might be some in this room who weren’t here in the other service. And if you are, then what I want to do is this, I want to pray for everyone in this service to work for our school or work at another school. If that’s you, can you stand up now? I think there are a couple of you here. Marvellous. Come on, give these guys a round of applause. How awesome is that? And I want to pray. And I want to pray that people see Christ in you wherever you go. Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask for each person who is standing. And I ask and I pray that the Lord help them to help people to see Christ in them, Lord God. What people would these people be were able in the midst of everything they do with the deadlines, with the work, with the long hours, which actually would help them Lord to be true reflectors of you. I thank you for that Father in Jesus name. I know your strength this year. I know his wisdom. And I pray that you anointing be with them. I thank you and praise you for that Lord in the name of Jesus. Amen.