EXEMPLIFICATION

“Let everyone of mature faith see eye to eye with me on these matters, but if any disagree on some points of doctrine, God will clarify things for you. However, we must continue to persevere and hold the spiritual ground we have already gained and order our lives by that. Copy me and unite by following my example, keeping your eyes only on those who practice what they teach.”   (paraphrased)

v. 15
Paul is an optimist, not an egotist. He addresses those whose goal is spiritual maturity and assumes all members of the church at Philippi have the same objective. He states nothing should be done through strife or egotism, knowing a positive viewpoint will help prevent disharmony (2:3). He calls on those who are more spiritually developed to unify others as they persevere and progress.

The word “perfect” is teleios and refers a person consecrated to God. Each individual should set goals for personal growth. No one attains perfect spiritual maturity, for all Believers are in various stages of development. Many Christians may look spiritually mature, but the proof is in the life they lead. For example, an apple may reach its full size in July but not reach its full stage of maturation until August. It must remain in contact with its source until it fully ripens at the end of the season. Each of us must remain attached to our Source in order to fully mature. Paul knows the Lord will show the Philippians their true spiritual condition and give them opportunities for growth. He trusts the Spirit of God will reveal inconsistencies in their lives.

v. 16
The analogy of “walking together” is a common one in Pauline literature. Here it means “to walk in line with.” We must line up with Christ’s teachings and make measurable progress as we walk with Him. Paul indicates we must not be lured off the path by self-aggrandizement or personal ambition. We are not to be like the Laodiceans who presumptuously boast they “have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). The walk Paul refers to does not consist of rigid regulations, but we must all obey the same guidelines. He tells the Ephesians they must build up one another until they all are unified in the faith as one mature, full-grown entity (4:11-13). Having come so far in their walk together, he urges them to continue to march together, unashamedly united in the cause of Christ. 

v. 17
Paul tells the Corinthians his life in Christ Jesus agrees with what he teaches in every church (I Cor. 4:17). All mature Christians should be able to set themselves up as examples, allowing others to closely scrutinize their lives. The word “Christian” literally means “imitators of Christ.” Paul encourages the Corinthians to copy his lifestyle (I Cor. 4:16) and asks the Philippians to exemplify those who are spiritually mature. Knowing they will eventually come under the influence of someone, Paul urges them to imitate him. By addressing them as his brothers in Christ, he acknowledges his spiritual equality. Paul becomes increasingly aware of his deficiencies and never suggests he has attained spiritual perfection. He is extremely conscious he must live out in daily life everything he teaches others (I Cor. 9:27).

EXEMPLIFICATION - STUDY QUESTIONS

MULTIPLE CHOICE

1. In this passage, Paul calls upon the Philippians to agree with him concerning:
A. finances
B. consistency in one’s spiritual walk
C. pride
D. exemplifying Christian maturity
E. both B and D

2. In I Corinthians 13:11, Paul urges the church to:
A. be mature
B. help Timothy as he travels to Ephesus
C. take up an offering for the Jerusalem church
D. be of one mind
E. both A and D

3. A motto that could be derived from I Corinthians 1:27 is:
A. A penny saved is a penny earned
B. Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today
C. Practice what you preach
D. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
E. None of the above

EXEMPLIFICATION - REFLECTION

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR COUPLES

1. Although no one on earth is completely spiritually mature, name a few fellow believers you feel exemplify great Christian integrity. 

 

2. List the specific attributes of these people that you admire the most.

 


3. As a couple, what steps can you take to incorporate these characteristics into your lives?

 

4. Between the two of you, who is the more spiritually mature? Do you throw this in the other’s face or try to assist them in their spiritual walk?  List some specific ways in which you can help your spouse as you grow together in the Lord.

 

ESSAY QUESTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS

1. Although no one on earth is completely spiritually mature, name a few fellow believers you feel exemplify great Christian integrity. 


2. List the specific attributes of these people that you most admire.

 


3. What steps can you take to incorporate these characteristics into your life?


4. Write a paragraph giving an example of how you could help another Christian to grow stronger in God.

 


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