In your desire to conduct your life as God would have you live, you follow not only the teachings of Jesus, but also the examples he left you. Jesus left you examples of standing for the truth of God, of righteous living, of love, of service to others us, and of many other things. In addition, you should follow the examples of the apostles and early disciples as recorded in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul encourages you to do just that. 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
The New Testament contains instruction on how to conduct yourself as a member of the church of God. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” But sometimes, there are not specific instructions. For instance, we are instructed to assemble together in Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” But there is no specific instruction on when we are to assemble. What examples did the early disciples leave us? Initially, the disciples met together every day. Acts 2:46 “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” We could certainly meet every day, if we chose to do so; we might be greatly encouraged by each other if we met daily. But later it appears that they met less frequently. We do know that they met together on the first day of the week (Sunday) to break bread – that is, to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Acts 20:7a “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread ….” From this example, we also meet on the first day of every week to participate in the Lord’s Supper. History bears out that such was the practice of the early church.
In addition to using examples for matters concerning the church, you also have examples on how the early disciples lived their lives. One example is addressed in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.” In writing this, the Apostle Paul describes how he and his fellow workers were examples to the Thessalonians. They did not act disorderly but labored and toiled night and day to show that by working hard they could supply their own needs. We understand that Paul was a tent maker (Acts 18:3). The example of the Apostle Paul was not limited to working hard to supply his needs. He also lived a pure and righteous life. The Apostle Paul also wrote in Philippians 3:17 “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
You should also be careful in the example you give to others. The Apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Be an example in word: stand for the truth of the Bible; have it on your lips, and teach it to others. Be an example in conduct: every area of your life should reflect that you are a true follower of Jesus Christ. Be an example in love: just as God is love (1 John 4:8,16), you also should be characterized by love in your relationships with fellow Christians, family, friends and enemies. Be an example in spirit: the spirit that you demonstrate should be pure and genuine as a Christian. Be an example in faith: your life should prove that you are a person who can be trusted and you also show that you walk by faith in God. Be an example in purity: live a life of chastity of body and mind; be free from any form of sexual immorality.
Godly examples should be important to you as a Christian. Seek to follow the examples of Jesus, of righteous people in the Bible, and godly people you have known in your life. In turn, live your life so that you are an example to others in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity.