Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Other People, Elevate or Example?

The Beatitude Character Traits: Blessed are the poor in spirit... who morn... the meek... who hunger & thirst for righteousness... the merciful... the pure of heart... the peacemakers... the persecuted for the sake of righteousness. (From Matthew 5:3-10)

The Situation:
In a group Bible Study, I wanted to talk tangibly of Jesus' beatitudes.  As the class defined & discussed each character trait I asked the class to answer two questions.
  1. What person from the Bible exemplifies the specific beatitude?
  2. What person from your life today exemplifies the specific beatitude? 
The goal was to give our studiers a Bible reference and a living reference to look at to model their lives after as they try to live the Beatitudes out personally.

The Problem: 
A person came later to me with the following request. "Studying the beatitudes is fine, but stick to Bible examples.  We don't need to elevate people."

My Response:
I asked several questions and commended the piety of the person's desire to keep Christ elevated above people. Yet, I disagree.  I believe we are to find examples all around us of those we can model our lives after as they model after Christ.  My belief is that commending others for the glory they bring Christ, enumerating their faith in Christ, and modeling after them as they model after Christ is not only good, but something we are commanded to do.  I'll list scripture below for you to decide.

The Dialogue: 
The person backtracked to, "We need to only do it in private then, not in public."  I offered, "Bible class is private.  It is church family gathering together in a small groups to talk, discuss, and learn about the truth, how to live it, and how to teach it.  Paul also did it publicly as he as the whole Corinthian church to follow him as he followed Christ."  Then I asked, "What numbers do we have to have for it to be considered private to you?"  Their response was, "Just not in Bible class."

The Close:
We closed not seeing eye to eye.  I thanked the person for their time, concern, and suggestions.  I also requested any scripture I may have violated in class by asking for examples around us of these character traits, while admitting that I would consider the issue of elevating vs exampling modern names today.  Hopefully our dialogue continues.

Some Scripture concerning following other people who follow Jesus: 

1 Corinthians 11:1 – From Paul to the Corinthian Church
  • ·         Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. – NIV
  • ·         Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. – ESV
  • ·         Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. - KJV

1 Corinthians 4:15-16  – From Paul to the Corinthian Church
  • ·         Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.  Therefore I urge you to imitate me. - NIV
  • ·         For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  I urge you, then, be imitators of me. - ESV
  • ·        For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. - KJV

Philippians 3:17  – From Paul to the Corinthian Church
  • ·         Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. – NIV
  • ·         Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. – ESV
  • ·         Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. - KJV

Hebrews 13:7  – From Anonymous to the Jewish Believers
  • ·         Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. – NIV
  • ·         Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. – ESV
  • ·         Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. - KJV

Finally, is mentioning those who model well the truth of Christ an example or an elevation?  You decide.