Be Imitators of Me

Last weekend I read an interesting article about how Christians are being persecuted for their faith around the world. Christians throughout the Middle East and Africa are being beaten, tortured, raped, shot, kidnapped, beheaded, imprisoned, and/or chased from their homeland because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Here in America, with our religious freedom, it is hard to fathom this type of persecution. Like it or not, in real life around the world, Christians are being abused because of their faith. Some are given a choice to deny their faith and live or to be killed for it. Many bravely refuse to deny their faith and in return they are tortured and/or killed.

I have to say, the article seemed to point the finger at the American church for not stepping up and helping their brothers and sisters in Christ. In the author’s defense, I think she wants the American church to at least be aware of these things. As we become aware, we are at least now more able to pray for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted around the world.

If you have not noticed, I have been choosing one chapter a week from the book of First Corinthians. Here in chapter four, Paul is showing the Corinthians how an apostle is a servant of Christ, he is a steward of the mysteries of God, and that as this steward he is required to be trustworthy.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says  “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”

One should observe an apostle as he is a servant of Christ; he is a trusted minister of the gospel that accomplishes God’s purposes through basic service. He is a steward of the mysteries of God. A steward is one who is in charge of running a household. The word emphasizes that the one is entrusted with great responsibility and accountability.[1] The mystery of God is content that was not known before but now has been revealed to individuals.

Paul, as an apostle, was a trusted servant for Christ, he even self-titled himself as a bondservant, or slave, of Christ (Rom 1:1; Tit 1:1). He had a great responsibility to reveal the mystery of the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. As a steward, he was found to be trustworthy.  He was dependable, reliable, and constant.

1 Corinthians 4:16 saysTherefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.”

I hate to say it, but I am sure the day is coming when Christians in America might start to see the persecution like other countries has experienced recently. Hopefully, through good times and bad, we will be able to be imitators of the Apostles and saints that have gone before us and be found as a trusted servant and steward who is found to be trustworthy with the Gospel of Christ.

[1] Rogers, Cleon L. Jr., and Cleon L. Rogers III. The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament.  Grand Rapids : Zondervan , 1998.

By Brian Hill                                   Downpour Fellowship               







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