Paul said, “Brethren, join in following my example and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Philippians 3:17). We wish to notice four points from this passage.
The apostles serve as a pattern to us. Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Common sense tells us that we are not to follow the sinful actions of the apostles (cp. Galatians 2:11-14). However, as they conformed themselves to the image of Christ, we can use them as an example.
Those who follow the righteous example of the apostles are to be noted by us. We should look at their godly lives and seek to imitate them as well. We understand that Christ is our ultimate pattern (1 Peter 2:21). Still, when fellow Christians abide in Him, we can use them as an example after which to pattern our lives.
This verse underscores the importance of the local congregation. We can all read about the apostles and benefit from their lives. At times we come into contact with brethren from different areas and are edified. However, contact with members of the local church is more frequent. We ought to be noting those among us who live righteously and strive to follow their example. Note the elders and their wives (Hebrews 13:7; cp. 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Look at the deacons and their wives (cf. 1 Timothy 3:8-13). Observe the “Tabithas” and “Marys” (Acts 9:36; Luke 10:39-42).
Further, we need to ask ourselves — are we worthy of note? Are we setting an example for others to follow? If we are not setting the right example, then we are setting the wrong example. Let us examine ourselves (cp. 2 Corinthians 13:5).
Steven F. Deaton