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6. The importance of our example
One of the strongest weapons that Christians have to touch lives and to preach to those in our surroundings is our example, conduct and integrity as Christians. Unfortunately, one of the most serious causes of rejection to Christianity is not the gospel of salvation (although for many it is foolishness, 1 Corinthians 1:18) but the bad example that Christians are giving.
As we read in previous topics, a life in communion with Jesus Christ will make us different from others and as a result, we become representatives of Jesus Christ. As such, we must flow in a number of fruits that represent our faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. These fruits will be reflected in our way of being and acting (example).
Preaching by example is a form of evangelization long and short term. In the first instance our example can touch nonbelievers causing us to bring people to God, but can also touch and help the growth of Christians themselves. We are going to analyze these premises;
EXAMPLE FOR NON-BELIEVERS
Why do we say that it is a long-term preaching?
We call it this way because it is a consistent preaching that is done with people who we interact with daily (family, coworkers, etc ....). They are people with whom we have shared the gospel of salvation but for one reason or another they have not wanted to hear or accept it. Many do not accept the gospel becuase of unbelief, hatred for Christians, preconceived prejudices or because they have been hurt by so-called "Christians."
A life of obedience to the Lord will be reflected in our behavior and therefore also in our daily lives, causing an impact on people around us. Our continuity, conduct and example will cause their ideas and prejudices about Christianity to fade. That initial wall of rejection transforms into a deep interest and admiration for the Lord whom we serve and to who be the glory, honor and dominion forever and ever, AMEN!
Our example will be reflected in the continuous interactions with the people around us. Christians who obey the Lord produce admiration and will influence others by their integrity:
• We always talk about God.
• We always know in whom we believe.
• We have peace in trouble.
• We always trust in God.
• We always carry the joy of Jesus Christ.
• We always carry the truth above all.
• We stand firm in the gospel.
• We prefer to be insulted than to deny Jesus Christ.
• Our Biblical morality will always be and will not change by culture and politics.
• We are firm and do not change our way of thinking according to fashion and culture ...
• Etc. ...
By our conduct:
• We practice forgiveness (for our offenses and those who trespass against us).
• We do not criticize our colleagues, family, bosses etc ....
• We do not gossip.
• We do not steal.
• We never lie.
• We do not deceive the authorities (tax, traffic et ..)
• We help the needy.
• We lift up the afflicted.
• We always have words of love.
• We show the wisdom of God.
• We are faithful in everything.
• We are kind
• We do not become angry if we are done wrong.
• We are not vindictive.
• Etc. ...
By our testimony:
• We have a good testimony of being loyal
• We always say the truth
• We are people who others can trust
• We do not want to see the evil in others.
• Etc. ....
As previously stated this is a long-term way of preaching, it may cause an effect sooner or later, it may be years or months. We first carry the message of salvation and then our good example will bear witness of Jesus Christ. Now the planting is done, our duty as Christians is finished and whether they are converted or not, believe us or criticize us, they cannot never say that no true Christian exsists. Not only will it give us strength, He is our strength (2 Timothy 2:1)
Why do we say that it is a short-term preaching?
This form of preaching happens with people who we come into contact with sporadically or occasionally. We call this short term because our example strikes in a relatively short or immediate situation. The way we act/respond to an offense and the way we apologize for our mistakes etc ... can astound non-believers to the point that they may ask: why we reacted well when no one does?. That is when the explanation comes in and we must sow the word of God! (if we could not do so before).
The effect of our bad example to nonbelievers
In the same way that our good example, conduct and integrity can bring souls from darkness to light, a bad example may have the opposite effect. Paul spoke clearly about this, and refered to these people as moral and religious. We say we are Christians, we know the word of God and that we represent the kingdom of God. Instead we do not do the will of God and we are a bad example for nonbelievers:
For“THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.
EXAMPLE FOR BELIEVERS
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
Our example among Christians is very important. In the same way that it can influence non-believers, our example can also affect Christians. Our desire to please God will be reflected in our example and it will affect the brothers of the congregation and other Christians that we find sporadically in our lifetime.
As servants of God have we to present ourselves as examples and not wait for others to do so:
in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with [a]purity in doctrine, dignified,
It would be unrealistic if we said that in the church there were no problems between brothers. This problem is not in the will of God but that unfortunately happens in our churches. A good example given at church is to decrease the “fraternal” criticisms and problems in the church. There is no age for us to be an example; we can be both young and elderly:
1 timothy 4:12
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example [a]of those who believe.
Our example does not guarantee in any way that everyone will be converted, but what it does do is show people that we have a powerful God who changes lives and that Christianity is true. Our example shows that there are people true to their beliefs, there are people who never fail, and people who do not change with the current trends, etc...
All the people we meet change throughout their lives (morality, schools of thought, etc..) but their attention will draw to the fact that during the years we are always the same. The truth of God is always first, our hope and trust is always in God and we constantly bear the happiness of God.
It may seem difficult to lead an exemplary life as Christians, but we should ask the Lord to change our old way of life and help us to be examples. We should give up our impulses and submit to God. The Holy Spirit enables us to do so.
1 Peter 2:21
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
It is true that our example is one of the strongest weapons of evangelization, but be careful not to forget the most important way; the mandate that Jesus gave us to go and preach the gospel and the good news of salvation all over the world. (Mark 16:15-16).
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