A Life Worth Imitating | 1 Corinthians 4:14-17
Good morning, Chapel Hill. I wanted to introduce you to someone if you haven’t met her already. This is Kennedy Quinn Tesdahl. And today happens to be her two-month birthday!… Kennedy made me a father just two months ago and I gotta say, I’m a pretty proud dad… Now, as much as I would love to hold her for my entire message, I’m going to pass her off to her mom in the pews, where I’m sure she’s going to listen very intently to every word of my sermon.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Gunnar Tesdahl and I am the pastor of worship arts here. And I am honored to be in the pulpit today for my first Father’s Day. A little-known fact, Father’s Day as a holiday in the US originated in my hometown, in Spokane. So, in more ways then one, I’ll say that preaching on my first Father’s Day is definitely blessing! But it’s also a little daunting… Because much of what I’m going share this morning, as a result of my limited fatherly experience, is purely aspirational. And believe it or not, as I’ve been studying for this message, I’ve already found several ways that I need to improve… and I’m just getting started! But, regardless of your parenting experience or mine, I believe that God has something for every one of us to hear from his Word this morning.
The title of our message today is “A Life Worth Imitating.” We find ourselves in 1st Corinthians chapter 4, if you’d like to turn there in your Bibles. There are also pew Bibles in front of you, if you’d like to pick one up.
Now, while you’re turning there, I want us to consider a question. And this is the question that will help us get to the heart of what our passage is going to teach us this morning. That question is this: am I living a life worth imitating? Is my life one that I would want others to copy? Is it a life I would want others to emulate? And I want all of us to consider this, regardless of if we are dads or not. Why? Because, in one way or another, as we learned last Sunday from Pastor Ellis, we are all called to influence the next generation for Christ. We are all called to live a life worth imitating.
And so, as we take an honest look at our lives: is our pattern, our example, our way of life worth imitating?
Today, we’re going to learn from the apostle Paul about what a life worth imitating looks like. So, let’s read what he wrote by inspiration of the Spirit to the Corinthian church, beginning chapter 4, verse 14:
“14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 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. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.” This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
In this short passage, we get an insight into Paul as spiritual father to these Corinthian Christians. And in this, we learn how we can follow in his footsteps.
Here’s the main idea of our message this morning: The best gift a father can give to his child is a life worth imitating. We get this from verse 16, which is the crux of our passage, when Paul says, “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”
In this passage, we find three qualities of a life worth imitating—the ideal life of a spiritual father. And they are these: he loves his children, he is present to his children, and he disciples his children. We’ll take these one at a time…
Point 1: He loves his children
First, he loves his children. Love is the measure of a life worth living. And a father demonstrates, in word and deed, a life of love.
Dads, that is our special call: in the words of Fred Rogers, to “love our children into being.” Paul exhibits what it looks like to love his spiritual children into being. We read in verse 14: “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.” Now, we know that Paul had some harsh words to say to these Corinthian Christians. And let me tell ya, they deserved them all! But even though he had some tough things to say, they weren’t tough for the sake of being tough—they weren’t out of anger. It was tough love. It was love that disciplines—that wants what’s best for his kids.
We know that Paul lived out his fatherly love in two important ways: He showed his love and he spoke his love. It was love in both word and deed.
For the entire transcript, please visit https://www.chapelhillpc.org/listen.