A. Introduction: Tonight, we begin a new series on becoming like Jesus in character. This is an important
series because developing Christ-like character (or Christ-likeness) is our number one responsibility as
Christians. It is the most important thing we do once we commit our lives to Jesus.
1. Character refers to a person’s distinctive moral and ethical values. Morals and ethics have to do with
the rightness and wrongness of actions and conduct—right actions, attitudes, and standards of conduct,
a. Many sincere Christians don’t realize that the standard for Christian character (morals and ethics,
actions and attitudes) is Jesus Christ Himself. We are supposed to be like Him in our character,
which we then express through Christ-like conduct.
b. I John 2:6—Whoever says he abides in Him ought—as a personal debt—to walk and conduct
himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself (Amp); Those who claim to
belong to him must live just as Jesus did (NIrV).
2. If this seems surprising to you, remember the big picture—why we exist, why God created us, and what
He is working toward in this world. God wants a family with whom He can interact and through whom
He can express Himself. And Jesus is the standard—or the pattern—for God’s family.
a. Eph 1:4-5—Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be
holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own
family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure (NLT).
b. Rom 8:29—For God, in his foreknowledge, chose them (those who are called according to his plan)
to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers (J. B.
Phillips). For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his son, so that
his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters (NLT).
1. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Greek wording that is translated
“bear the family likeness of” means to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
2. To be conformed to means to be similar to a pattern. Image means likeness or resemblance.
Jesus is the pattern or standard to which sons and daughters of God are to conform. We are to
be like Him (resemble Him) in character and in holy, righteous living.
3. Tonight’s lesson is an introduction to developing Christ-like character. In this lesson I’m going to make
some points that we will develop more fully as we work through this series. Let’s get started.
B. We first must be clear as to why Jesus came into this world and died as a sacrifice for sin. He died to open
the way for us to be restored to what God always intended—holy, righteous sons and daughters of God.
1. Jesus didn’t die to keep us out of Hell or to get us into Heaven—although both are definite benefits of
what He provided through the Cross. Jesus died to restore us to what God wants us to be—sons and
daughters who are fully glorifying to Him in every part of our being.
a. Gen 1:26—God made humankind in His image and likeness. The original language (Hebrew) has
the idea that we were created as imagers. The Hebrew word that is translated “in” is used like we
use it in this example: If I say that I work “in” sales, I mean that I work “as” a salesperson.
b. Created in His image means created as His image. We were created to image God, to show Him
(His glory) to the world around us. We are His representatives on earth.
c. When Jesus was here, He stated that we are supposed to be like (and express) our heavenly Father to
the world around us.
1. You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48, NLT). You must be
compassionate as your Father is compassionate (Luke 6:36, NLT).
2. Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has
forgiven you (Eph 4:32, NLT). Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are

his children (Eph 5:1, NLT).
2. We’ll discuss what it means to be perfect even as our Father in upcoming lessons, but first, let’s review
some facts about Jesus. Jesus is God become fully man without ceasing to be fully God—one Person,
two natures, human and divine. John 1:1; John 1:14
a. Because God cannot die for the sin of the world, Jesus (who was and is God) took on a human nature
in the womb of the Virgin Mary so that He could die as a sacrifice for our sin, in order to deliver us
from its penalty and power. Heb 2:14-15
b. While on earth Jesus lived as a man, in dependence on God as His father. As a man, Jesus (was)
“made like His brethren in every respect” (Heb 2:17, Amp). Because He was a genuine man, Jesus
could be hungry, tired, and tempted to sin (Mark 4:38; Mark 11:12; Heb 4:15; etc.)
1. Jesus in His humanity shows us what sons of God are like—their character, their actions, and
their relationship with the Father. Remember, Jesus is the pattern for God’s family.
2. Jesus showed the Father to the world around Him—just as we are supposed to do. Jesus said:
If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. I do what I see Him do and I speak His words by
His power in me. And I always do what pleases the Father. John 14:9-10; John 8:28-29
3. It’s quite common to hear sincere Christians say that now that we’re saved, we must go to work for God.
That’s why we’re here—to tell people about Jesus and get them saved.
a. But Jesus didn’t die to obtain workers for the Lord. Jesus died to obtain sons and daughters who
are like Him: God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could
adopt us as his very own children (Gal 4:4, NLT).
1. Salvation is the complete deliverance of human nature from sin and all its effects, by the power
of God through the Cross of Christ, so that we can be restored to what God intends us to be—
sons and daughters who are fully glorifying to their Father.
2. We don’t become Jesus. We become like Him. We retain our individuality and uniqueness,
and are restored to what we were supposed to be before sin damaged the family. Rom 5:17-19
b. When we believe on Jesus as Savior and Lord, on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, God justifies us and
declares us righteous, or in right standing with Himself. Righteousness is imputed to us, or written
down to our account. Rom 5:1
1. But God desires more than an imputed righteousness. He desires people who are righteous and
holy in their character, which is then reflected or expressed in their choices and actions.
2. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, a process of transformation begins that will fully
restore us to our created purpose as sons and daughters who are fully glorifying to our Father.
A. But we must cooperate in this process and put forth effort to develop Christ-like character.
We must desire to be like Jesus and strive toward that end (future lessons).
B. I John 2:6—We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living
in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived (Jerusalem); Those who say they live in
God should live their lives as Christ did (NLT).
C. All throughout His ministry, Jesus called people to follow Him. Matt 9:9: 16:24; etc. The Greek word
translated follow is used seventy-seven times in the gospels of following Jesus.
1. This word is made up of two words (together, way) and means to be in the same way with, to accompany,
to go with, to follow. It was used to mean to be or become a disciple (learner or pupil) of someone.
a. In Matt 11:28-30 Jesus called people: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and
you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (KJV).
1. This is another way of saying follow Me. Come is a different Greek word, but it’s translated
follow in Matt 4:19 where Jesus called Peter and Andrew (two of His original apostles) to

follow him and in Luke 18:22 when He called a rich young man come follow Him.
2. Jesus said that you’ll find rest. The Greek word means to repose or refresh. The implication
is recreation—rest, quiet from occupation, oppression, or torment (lessons for another day).
b. Jesus said that those who follow Him must take His yoke upon them. A yoke is a bar or frame of
wood that joins two animals at the neck or head to work together to pull a load or a plow.
1. Remember, Jesus was talking to 1st century Jews. To them, the phrase “the yoke” was used for
submitting to something: the Yoke of the Law, the Yoke of the kingdom, the Yoke of God.
2. The Greek word translated easy means useful, good, gentle, easy to use or bear with. It has the
idea of well fitted. Ox yokes were tailor made for the animal. Oxen were brought to a
craftsman who took measurements. He roughed out the yoke and the ox was brought back for
a fitting. The yoke was carefully adjusted so that it would not hurt the ox.
c. When Jesus said: Take my yoke on yourself, He meant submit to me and then learn from me. The
first thing Jesus said about Himself in this context is: I am meek and lowly of heart. Meek means
gentle, humble. Lowly in heart means of humble condition. Both expressions of character,
1. Matt 11:28-30—Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because, because I am humble
and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly and the burden I
give you is light (NLT).
2. When Jesus, in an expression of humility, washed His apostles’ feet He told them: I have
given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you (John 13:15, NLT).
3. Note that Jesus desires that His followers learn to be like Him in character—not learn how to
prophesy or how to rule, reign, and conquer, or how to prosper and be blessed.
2. Matt 28:19-20—When Jesus sent His apostles out to preach after His resurrection He told them to teach
all nations. The Greek literally says to make disciples (learners, pupils) and teach (instruct) them.
a. We find out what the apostles taught the first Christians from epistles or letters that they wrote to
instruct this first generation of Christians (followers and disciples of Jesus).
b. Note what Peter and John (two of the original twelve eyewitnesses of Jesus) said in epistles (letters)
they wrote to instruct Christians (disciples and followers of Christ).
1. In the context of suffering unjust treatment, Peter wrote: Christ, who suffered for you, is your
example. Follow in His steps (I Pet 2:21, NLT).
2. John is the one who wrote: Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did
(I John 2:6, NLT).
3. In the context of how to be humble and treat other people, Paul the apostle (another eyewitness)
wrote: Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had (Phil 2:5, NLT).
c. Note what Paul the apostle (also an eyewitness of Jesus) wrote about his reason for and purpose in
proclaiming the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ—to help them grow in Christ-likeness,
1. Col 1:28—So naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach
everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that we may bring every man up to his full
maturity in Christ (J. B. Phillips).
2. In Eph 4:11-13 Paul stated why God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers
(people gifted by God) to build up the church, the body of Christ. He states the goal of their
efforts is: That we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature
of Christ (v13, NLT).
3. Paul wrote fourteen of the twenty-one epistles in the New Testament. One of the themes we see in his
writings is: Follow me as I follow Christ. The Greek word that Paul used for follow is mimetes.
a. We get our English word mimic from this Greek word. To mimic means to follow as a pattern,
model, or example (Webster’s Dictionary).
b. The word mimetes means an imitator. In other words, Paul taught Christians to imitate Christ—to

be like, act like Jesus—just as he himself endeavored to do.
1. I Cor 4:16-17—I implore you to follow the footsteps of your father (in the faith—me). I have
sent Timothy to you to help you in this…he will remind you of those ways of living in Christ
which I teach in every church to which I go (J. B. Phillips).
2. I Cor 11:1—Copy me, my brothers, as I copy Christ himself (J.B. Phillips); You should follow
my example just as I follow Christ’s (NLT); You must follow my example, just as I am
following Christ (Williams).
3. Phil 3:17—My brothers I should like you all to imitate me and observe those whose lives are
based on the pattern that we give you (J. B. Phillips); Dear friends, pattern you lives after mine,
and learn from those who follow our example (NLT).
4. Phil 4:9—Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me
doing, and the God of peace will be with you (NLT).
5. I Thess 1:5-6—You know what sort of men we were when we lived among you. You set
yourselves to copy us, and indeed, the Lord himself (J. B. Phillips).
c. In his letters (epistles) to Christians, which reveal what he taught to the people that came to faith in
Christ through his ministry, Paul wrote much about putting off the old man and putting on the new
man (upcoming lessons). Consider one example.
1. Rom 13:13-14—Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in
sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (ESV).
A. The phrase “put on” means to clothe. But it was used by Greek writers to mean to imitate
the example of someone, copy his spirit, to become like him: put on or clothe yourself
with Socrates or Plato (well known Greek philosophers). Imitate their example and
morals—take their instruction and follow them as disciples.
B. To the original hearers and readers of this passage, put on Christ meant to take Him as a
pattern and guide, imitate His example, obey His precepts, and become like Him.
2. Note Paul’s contrast in Rom 13:13-14: Jesus is not like anything specified in the previous
verse so don’t you act like that. Instead, imitate Him. Copy His example.
D. We have a lot to talk about in this series, but consider one more thought as we close. Developing Christ-like
character (walking as Jesus walked) is not automatic. We have to put forth effort (upcoming lessons).
1. Note what Peter the apostle wrote: I Pet 1:14-15—As obedient children stop molding your character by
the evil desires you used to cherish when you did not know any better, but in accordance with the Holy
Being who has called you, you must prove to be holy too, for the Scripture says: You ought to be holy,
Because I am holy (Williams).
2. Jesus compared His relationship to us with a Vine to a branch: I am the vine itself, you are the branches.
It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For apart from me you can
do nothing at all (John 15:5, J. B. Phillips).
a. When we submit to Jesus and take His yoke upon us, He indwells us by His Spirit. We receive His
life, His power, His ability. Jesus gives us His life, His Spirit, so that we can walk as He walked.
b. However, to walk as Jesus walked, there must be willing cooperation on our part. We make the
choice to be kind, to be humble, to live righteously, to refuse evil desires, then He, by His Spirit in
me helps us, empowers us, to carry it out (more in upcoming lessons).
3. As we begin this series I encourage you to develop a desire to live and walk as Jesus walked—not in just
in power and authority—but in character which is expressed in holy, righteous living.