An example, or “Say and do not”Bro. David Chancellor
3/27/2011 6:00 PM
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
Jesus was describing, the religious leaders and problems of the religion of his day. The problem should concern us still: “they say and do not.” Most people don’t appreciate the bossy person who won’t do the job himself. People can say what ought to be, but won’t do it, in some cases. Some sinners can tell you what a Christian ought to be. It lacks impact if you don’t do it.
They did things to fit with their traditions and wanted honor and recognition. It was all about appearances.
If we would lift up Jesus, we need to both do and share with others what a Christian should be. Are we saying what should be said? Are we doing what we say?
We should have the assurance that we are living and doing what God wants us to do. We should be able to say, “Do as I do.” Are we living such that others could follow our example and be walking with Jesus? If it isn’t that way, we need to consider what we’re doing. Talk is cheap. Live the life.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
This describes “saying and doing not.” If you’re living like this, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You know what a Christian should be, but your life isn’t like a Christian should be. You can’t do that and tell the world how they should live. You can’t tell them to follow your example.
Jesus came to set the captives free. He came so you could both say and do his will.
This was a Pharisee of the Pharisees describing his life as a Pharisee. It was an experience of saying and doing not. If people picture this as the life of a Christ, it’s no wonder people struggle with Christianity. Some would leave you in captivity when Jesus came to set the captive free.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 11:1
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
If Romans 7 was a Christian experience, how could he say this here? Paul’s experience wasn’t the same as Romans 7 anymore. Romans 7 was a description of his life as a Pharisee. He could see the law was good, but he was a captive to sin. Jesus came and set the captive free.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Our lives should be lived to glorify God. We should be following Christ and living like him. “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God”: To religious people, to sinners, to the church. What is the impact of my life on all three? Be concerned about the impact of your life on people of all religions. There are some who don’t claim God at all. Think about your impact on them. Consider your impact on the church.
Live such a life that all people can see the way to Christ. “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” It’s not about what I want or like or what appeals to me. It’s about living to help people be saved or hinder them. When we live to be a help, we can say: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul is saying that the presence of God was in his life and he was obeying God, and if others would do likewise things would turn out okay. We need the assurance we’re doing what God would have us to do.
The saints in the Bible were just like us. They had fears, pain and trouble, too. They were human, just like we are, but they found something in Jesus and knew they were doing what God wanted them to do. Most people’s understanding of the Bible comes from the life they see you live. Some English teachers have to teach about the Bible so that kids will understand the literature they read. Our lives show others what Jesus is like. Be able to say what Paul said.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-9
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. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 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: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
Disorderly – being busybodies who are trying to get a following. Paul put in long days so that he could support himself. He wasn’t there to get a following. It would have been fine for him to expect to be supported. He was showing them what kind of character they should have as Christians. People are watching your life. We need to realize that when we claim to be a Christian, people have expectations that we should exceed. Paul knew and taught that ministers should be supported, but here, his goal was to teach them about Christian character.
The standard a Christian practices in his life should be a high one. Jesus should be high and lifted up in us. His grace should be present and visible for all to see.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do…” Paul says that our mode of living, thoughts, attitudes, every part of us, should be done to follow Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Be happy. Other people should know you’re happy. Rejoice. The world needs to see happy Christians. Jesus came to bring abundant life. We can enjoy living.
Have some balance in your life. Don’t live under a cloud of anxiety. Give your troubles to God and let him take care of them. Do what you can to make the world a better place, but leave the rest with God. Trust God to work things out and find His peace.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. “ Focus on these things. Think about these things. If a person thinks like you, will they make it to heaven? You influence how people think. Do you think as Christ would think?
Jesus came to be our example first. His disciples lived like him and passed the example on to us. We need to be the example to our generation.
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
“…be thou an example…” Don’t’ let the fact that you’re young be an excuse. No matter your age, be an example of what a Christian is. Consider your vocabulary. Think about how you talk. Be an example in how you talk. Be a model of what love is. Spirit takes in attitudes. Christians should be an example in spirit and in faith. Be an example of holiness. Purity of heart and desire should shine through.
The world is turned off by “say and do not” Christians. Walk with Jesus and do what he would have you to do. Be an example of how people should walk with God to make heaven their home.