by Wayne Blank
"ye were ensamples to all that believe" (KJV)
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition"
God's people live according to God's Way, as summed up by The Ten Commandments (see The Decalogue). In this example, the apostle Paul emphasizes an aspect of The Fourth Commandment that is sometimes overlooked; while "thou shalt not do any work" on the Sabbath, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work."
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 KJV)
What were the flood in the time of Noah and the incineration of Sodom both an example of? The coming lake of fire that will consume the unrepentant (see Planet On Fire!).
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly" (2 Peter 2:5-6 KJV)
That principle of Christ having been sacrificed for repentant sinners (unrepentant sinners are headed for the lake of fire) was illustrated at the time from the first Passover when "that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" - "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
The repentant people of God are themselves examples to the world that God's Way is the right way.
"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God [see Christian Living].
The Church of God is led by righteous example.
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:2-4 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) How do we know that we know God and His Son? (b) What is someone who claims to know God and yet keeps not His Commandments? (c) Are Christians to look to Christ as an example, to "walk as He walked"?