December 18, 2017

Christlikeness – The Top Ten Traits According to the New Testament (2)

John Mincy

Part One ♦ This is Part Two

We are looking at the top ten character traits of Christ mentioned in the New Testament. So far we have covered numbers ten through six (wisdom, evangelistic, confrontive, others conscious, and Word conscious).

Continuing our countdown, number five, He was God centered.

He lived to please the Father and always did what He did before the Father. “But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. … Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (Jn 4:32, 34). “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Jn 5:30). “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (Jn 8:29). This should be our mode of operation as well. “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (2 Cor 5:9). “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thess 4:1). “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim 2:4). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6). A parallel idea is that of being filled with the Spirit. God consciousness and dependence were part of His very fabric and should be of ours.

Number four, Jesus was prayerful. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matt 14:23). “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mk 1:35). “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Lk 22:32). If Jesus was a man of prayer, we certainly should be. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Lk 18:1). “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:18). “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6). If you don’t have a specific way to start off your day, perhaps you might try meditating on the Lord’s Prayer when you first awake.

Numbers three, two, and one are very close in the number of times they appear in the life of the Lord Jesus, but, according to my count, number three is love. No one is as loving as Jesus Christ. From a human standpoint love is the free decision of my will to obey God’s command to give and do all that I can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to build up others in their relationship to Christ, to the point of sacrificing myself, not expecting anything in return. No one has demonstrated this like Jesus.As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (Jn 15:9).Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:35).For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died” (2 Cor 5:14). Love is the I.D. badge of the Christian. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph 5:2). From Jesus’ standpoint love describes His sacrifice for us in order for us to reach His highest good for us. From our stand point love describes our denying self to promote His highest good.

Number two is holy or righteous. I have combined these two traits, holiness dealing more with the inner man, and righteousness, usually associated with what we show outwardly as we live according to God’s standard of righteousness. Our salvation depends on the fact that Jesus was absolutely holy and sinless. The very heart of justification is that we are declared righteous before the Father in the righteousness of Christ. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).

“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb 1:9). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb 7:25-26).

Although we know that we can never be absolutely holy until we see the Lord, a holy life should be our goal every day. “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Rom 6:19). “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1). “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Pet 1:15). Christ’s holiness shows us what to do; His love shows us how to do it.

Finally, according to my calculations, the number one character trait of Christ in the New Testament is graciousness. As John writes, He is full of grace. Grace is a word that sums up all that God the Father has provided for us in Christ. All “graces” or gifts come through Him. God loves to give and He always gives through Christ. Receiving the grace of God is not complicated; the means are the Word and prayer. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor 8:9). “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor 13:14). The NT ends with the grace of Christ: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev 22:21). As Christians we look to His Word and prayer to receive grace and to act as channels of His grace to others. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph 4:29). “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col 4:6). “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet 4:10).

In conclusion I will just mention numbers eleven through fifteen: willing to suffer, compassionate, servant-minded, lowly/humble, and faithful. The character traits of Christ need to be identified, identified in order for us to be able to pattern our lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit, after His life. Paul challenges us to do just that, “Be ye followers (imitators) of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Again, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18).

John Mincy was a church planter in Singapore and California and is now pastor emeritus of Heritage Baptist Church in Antioch, California.

Observation for preachers: it might be a good idea to do a thorough topical message on each of these.

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