1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.…
I. WE OUGHT TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF FORMER SAINTS, SO FAR AS THEY WALK IN THE LAWS OF GOD.
1. Though by nature all be sinners, yet by grace many in all ages have been saints.
2. The lives of many saints are recorded for our imitation (James 5:10, 11, 17; Philippians 3:17; Philippians 4:9).
3. But everything recorded of them is not to be followed.
(1) Not such actions as are condemned.
(2) Nor all such which are not condemned (Genesis 19:8; Genesis 27:25-27; Genesis 42:15-16).
(3) Nor all such as are approved. For —
(a) Some things are only in part approved (Luke 16:8; Exodus 1:19-20).
(b) Some things were done by the extraordinary call and instinct of God (Numbers 25:7-8; 2 Kings 1:10; Luke 9:54, 55). So Abraham offering Isaac.
4. In our imitation of the saints we must observe —
(1) Whether what they do be according to the law of God.
(2) The circumstances of their actions (Amos 6:5). Read, then, the lives of former saints, and follow their examples, especially the particular graces wherein they were eminent (Numbers 12:3; 1 Samuel 3:18; Job 1:21; Acts 5:41).
II. CHRIST IS THE GRAND EXAMPLE WHICH WE OUGHT TO IMITATE.
1. What is it to imitate Christ?
(1) As He did it.
(a) Understandingly (John 4:22).
(b) Obediently (Luke 2:49; 1 Samuel 15:22).
(c) Sincerely John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 1:12).
(d) Wholly (Matthew 3:15; John 17:4).
(e) Believingly (John 11:41, 42).
(f) Cheerfully (Isaiah 53:7; Hebrews 10:34; Romans 12:8).
(g) Humbly (Matthew 11:29).
(h) To the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
2. What are those works which we are to imitate Christ in? Christ was truly God from eternity (John 1:1; John 8:58). He became truly man in time (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5), and He was and is truly both God and man in one person (Acts 20:28). Whatsoever He did in the flesh He did under one of these three notions.
(1) We are not to follow Christ in what He did as God; such are His acts —
(a) Of omnipotence. Healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, etc.
(b) Of omniscience (Luke 11:17; Luke 13:32).
(c) Of sovereignty (Matthew 16:2, 7).
(2) Nor in what He did as God-man, in the acts —
(a) Of His prophetical office (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 15:15; Acts 3:22).
(b) His priestly office. Satisfying for our sins (1 John 2:2), and interceding for our souls (Hebrews 7:25).
(c) His kingly office (Isaiah 9:7).
(3) But we are to follow Him in what He did as mere man.
(a) He was subject to His parents (Luke 2:51). This subjection consisteth in reverencing them (Leviticus 19:3); in obeying them, by hearkening to their instructions (Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 23:22) and performing their lawful commands (Colossians 3:20; Ephesians 6:1); in thankfulness, by acknowledging their care and providing for their necessities (1 Timothy 5:4; Genesis 47:12; John 19:26, 27). Consider — This is pleasing to God (Ephesians 6:1), and hath a promised blessing (Ephesians 6:2, 3; Exodus 20:12).
(b) He committed no sin 1 Peter 2:22; Isaiah 53:9; 1 John 3:5). How are we not to sin? We are not to love it (Psalm 119). We must imitate Christ in —
(e) Meekness and holiness.
(g) Finishing His work.
(h) Taking all opportunities of doing good.
(1) Watch always over thy heart (1 Peter 5:8; Proverbs 4:23).
(2) Live as under the eye of God.
(3) Consider thou art a Christian.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.