"Brethren, join in following my example..."
Text: Philippians 3:17
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
The apostle Paul was outstanding in the way he led the churches he founded. One of the most significant ways he led was by his personal example.
1. Jesus led by example (John 13:15).
2. Paul was conscious that he should lead by example too (Philippians 3:17).
3. Timothy was urged to be an example of the flocks he shepherded (1 Timothy 4:12).
A CHALLENGE TO EMULATE GOOD EXAMPLES
Paul wrote to the Philippians candidly to follow his example.
“Brethren, join in following my example,
And note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
a) Paul showed much affection for the “brethren”.
b) In this spirit of brotherhood Paul offered himself as an example.
i) There is no undue pride in this text.
ii) Paul was not saying that he was “perfect” in any way.
iii) He already sent out a disclaimer to this effect earlier (Philippians 3:13).
2. “Join in following my example”
a) The word “example” in the Greek text is not a noun.
b) Paul was encouraging the brethren “to imitate” (Greek “summimetai” From this word we have the English word “mimic”. Paul urged the brethren to mimic him.)
3. “And note those who so walk”
a) There were others who sought to make disciples out of the Philippians.
b) Some of these were false teachers.
c) They too speak of “walking” with God.
4. “As you have us for a pattern”
a) The word “pattern” (Greek “tupos”) may be translated “type”.
b) Paul used the simple pronoun “us” to emphasise that he was not the only example.
c) Paul and all who had matured in their faith in Christ were good examples (“types”) to emulate.
d) The Christian faith must ultimately be expressed in one’s “Walk”.