By Michael Gilbert
August 6, 2006
The standard of authority for Christians is always the inspired, unchangeable Word of Almighty God. This being true, if a person obeys that word, then one who does not know Christ ought to be able to look at the life of a Christian and learn the truth of the Gospel. The Christian simply reflects the teachings of the Word of God, therefore, their life could serve as a standard by which others could live, except for the times when the Christian commits sin in God’s sight. Paul wrote, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1). Paul was confident that he was doing the will of the Savior, therefore, he encouraged others to follow him. He also encouraged young Timothy and King Agrippa to become a Christian just like him and to continue in the things that he was teaching (II Tim. 2:2; Acts 26:29).
One example that Paul set before others was his desire to be with the saints. It appears from the text of Acts 20:6-7 that Paul even waited seven days to assemble with the saints in Troas, thereby showing his desire to be with the saints at every opportunity. But assembling with the saints was only one part of his Christian life.
Paul went about doing many things in his Christian life such as: praying continually (I Cor. 1:4), preaching publicly (Acts 20:20), teaching in many houses (Acts 20:20), helping the poor (Gal. 2:10), training gospel preachers (II Tim. 2:2), and many other things. Assembling with the saints upon the first day of the week was vitally important, yet it was not and is not the only prerequisite to faithfulness. To be faithful to God, the Christian must be involved in faithfully assembling with the saints as well as a whole host of other good and honorable things. God taught through Paul, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). Dear Christian friends, assembling with the saints can hardly be classified as “always abounding in the work of the Lord” can it? God forbid the thought. Therefore, when Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ, we are not to consider that as a simple encouragement to be with the saints when they assemble. Rather, it involved assembling faithfully as well as the daily work which is involved in laboring for our Savior.
Friend, could you preach Christianity based upon your life? If the only thing you ever do as a Christian is assemble with the saints, then your Christian life is sorely lacking, and a sinner could not learn the Gospel of Christ by watching you. The Christian must always do what he can for Christ. God does not expect you to “build a house” when all you can do is “sweep the floor”, yet he does expect you to “sweep the floor” faithfully!! Christian, if you are not even assembling with the saints faithfully, then how can Jesus expect you to attend to other duties in the Kingdom? I urge you to live your life as a busy servant in the Kingdom so unbelievers can learn the Gospel and be saved by imitating you. (Matt. 5:16)