1 Corinthians 4:16
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
Paul made a bold statement that would bring criticism from the Pharisees of our day when he told them to be ye followers of me. The Pharisees of our day falsely proclaim, “I only follow Christ.” They say this as they fashion themselves like the world and parrot the same lines that lazy and worldly believers say from their pulpits or digital media. These Pharisees are so filled with hypocrisy as they copy the colored lights and praise and worship teams of evangelicals and are so filled with hatred of past preachers because they copy those influencing voices that want nothing to do with past preachers. If these people who criticize those of us who say it is not wrong to copy great men of God want to be just, then they need to criticize Paul who said to be followers of me.
Why would Paul tell this church to be followers of me? He told them this because he was their example of what God’s Word commands. God gives us human examples to copy and follow so we know how to properly apply the truths of God’s Word to our lives. The only way I know to build a church is to copy those preachers from the past who God blessed. Am I wrong in following them? No, I am simply following the principle that Paul established with this church to be a follower of God’s men. Paul explained this statement later by saying to follow him even as he was of Christ. Let me share what it means to be a follower of the great men of God.
First, it means to be an admirer. There is nothing sinful about admiring how God uses a man of God. It is not “man worship” to admire God’s power on a man of God’s life. Many admire the world and business leaders, but they criticize admiring men of God. If it is wrong to admire a man of God for God using him, then it is wrong to admire ANYONE, including your own parents. The fact that being a follower means to be an admirer does not mean that we are worshipping them; it simply means we admire them.
Second, being a follower means to be one’s servant. God cannot use you if you are not willing to be a servant of those who lead you. Before God ever used anyone greatly, they were servants to their own leader first. You cannot lead others if you are not willing to be a servant to the one who leads you.
Third, being a follower means being a pupil of your leader. There is nothing wrong with studying a man of God to learn what makes them who they are. I would rather study a man of God to find out what he does for God to bless him than to study worldly influencers and learn their bad habits. You cannot know what to do one day when you are leading if you are not a pupil of the one who is leading you in the present.
Fourth, being a follower means being an imitator of your leader. There is nothing wrong with imitating what your leader does. In fact, if you follow them, it would be hard not to be their imitator because they are influencing you. You are an imitator of someone, and imitating your pastor is certainly much better than imitating worldly influencers. Just because you are like them does not make you a bad person.
Fifth, being a follower means being a defender of your leader. Don't let the jealousy and worldliness of worldly influencers shame you into silence when your leader is being attacked. I would much rather defend great preachers from the past that God used greatly than to defend "spiritual" influencers whose lives are filled with worldliness.