As Bruce was growing up, his father would point out good men for him to watch. He particularly remembers that each Sunday when the ushers would walk up the aisles for the offering, his father would nudge him and silently point to one of the men as someone to pay attention to. That man was Frank Loesch, a Chicago businessman. He didn’t look imposing, but he had stood up to Al Capone, the notorious gangster, and won. Loesch had organized the Chicago Crime Commission out of a group of citizens determined to step in where law enforcement and even the FBI were afraid to tread. The main aim of this group was to sue Capone so that he would stop terrorizing the city. During the months that the Commission was preparing for this mission, Loesch’s life was in danger constantly. Not only was he under threats, but his family and friends were threatened. Despite all of this, he never wavered. With firm resolve he carried on to protect hundreds and stand for justice. In the end, the Commission won the case against Capone and freed Chicago of his terror and tyranny. All of this was because of Loesch’s active Christian faith, which he believed should be part of every day of his life. In Philippians 3:17-19 we see that we should find good examples like Loesch to watch and follow. Study the passage to learn more about these good examples and about the bad examples to avoid.
Ask the Lord to show you how today's passage should impact how you think and live.
Read Focus Verses
Read Philippians 3:17-19 noticing how each verse relates to the others.
Today's passage breaks into two parts. How would you title each?
Keyword - Example
The word example at the end of verse 17 is a keyword that ties these five verses together.
Mark the word example in Philippians 3:17.
What is the first type of example in verse 17?
What should a Christian's response be to the people described in verse 17?
What kind of example is described in verses 18-19?
How should a Christian respond to this kind of example?
Pick Someone Like Him
Who is the example of the type of example Christians should pick in verse 17?
Reading the context of today's verses will help you understand Paul's example. Read Philippians 3:7-16.
How did Paul write about the enemies of Christ according to verse 18?
What four things are we told in verse 19 about these enemies of Christ?
Brothers and Sisters
In today's passage, Paul addresses the believers in Philippi as brothers and sisters. Read Galatians 3:26 to be reminded why.
What Manner of Love!
1 John 3:1-3 reminds us what an amazing thing this is, and how every mention of this incredible relationship with God and other Christians should motivate God's children to avoid sin.
How are Christians related? Why is that important?
Learning by Watching
In Philippians 4:9 Paul explains some of the ways we should follow his example.
How to Follow
How are we to learn to follow the good examples in our lives according to Philippians 4:9?
As I Follow Christ
Notice what Paul says about following him in 1 Corinthians 11:1
In what ways are we to follow these examples like Paul?
How to Know
How can you know what Christ is like so that you know if someone is following Christ in order to be able to follow them?
Considering their End
Read Hebrews 13:7-8 and consider what it says about picking people to follow.
What are we to consider about someone as we evaluate whether they are a godly example for us to follow?
Which example never changes according to Hebrews 13:8?
Today's passage speaks of finding good examples like Paul. Hebrews 6:12 gives us some more things to look for as we pick good examples.
Psalm 37:37 tells us the reward of the upright and why we should watch them and follow their example.
Why should we pay attention to the upright and mature?
In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Paul speaks more of his example.
Why does God hold up Paul as an example to follow and against which to compare other potential examples?
In 1 Corinthians 10:6-11 we find out where to find examples of things we ought to and not to do.
What is our primary source for examples?
Encouraging Us On
Hebrews 11 gives us so many good examples to follow. Read what Hebrews 12:1 says about how those examples encourage us.
What is the benefit of having good examples to follow?
Notice what 1 Timothy 4:12 says about example.
Who is called to be an example?
What kind of example is every believer called to be?
Titus 2:7-8 reinforces this.
In what ways are Christians specifically to be good examples?
Take and Make
This poem by an unknown author challenges us to consider whose example we are following and what kind of example we are because of it. Whose Place Will You Take? When the mechanic, physician, and teacher have passed; When the lips of the statesman are silent at last; When the drunkard has reeled from the bar to the grave, And we miss from their seats both the scoundrel and knave – Tell, me then, as the ranks of life widen and break, Whose place will you take, lad? Whose place will you take? Here’s the famer’s boot soiled by the acres he tilled; Here’s a glove that the hand of the gambler once filled; Here’s the miller’s grain-cap, the chief justice’s gown, And the coat of a citizen loved by the town; Here’s the lazy man’s chair and the loafer’s old shoes; They have left them for you, lad; pray, which do you choose? Up the mountain of life are new steps to explore; On the streets of life many an unopened door; There’s a song of life yet with new notes to be sung; There’s a future that waits for the hearts of the young; Then what are you fitting for? Who’s place to take? And what place will you make, lad? What place will you make?
Who to Mark
Sadly the good examples are not the only ones we're called to take special note of. Consider what Romans 16:17-18 says and how similar its description of these bad examples is to the description of them in today's passage.
Doesn't Heed God's Word
2 Thessalonians 3:14 gives us another way to recognize these bad examples we should not follow.
Using the description in those passages and today's how can you recognize people who are bad examples so that you don't follow them?
Rivers of Waters
Notice how similar Psalm 119:136 is to verse 18 of today's passage.
Lest They Should Suffer
In Galatians 6:12 we learn how these evil influences despise the cross of Christ - by trying to add good works of ours and religious rituals to Christ's perfect sacrifice and righteousness - and why they do it.
What is one of the reasons these people are enemies of the cross (atoning death) of Christ?
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 speaks further of the destruction that will come upon these people.
Matthew 25:41-43 tells us whose destruction these people who go their own way and serve themselves instead of Christ's interests will share.
Way That Seems Right
Proverbs 16:25 warns us that this path leading to destruction can seem so reasonable, so right to us.
If it Seems Right
If our own way seems right to us, what has God given us to show us where it is wrong and what is truly the right way as He defines it?
What are some of the many ways in which you could recognize whether a person's god is their belly, that they worship their appetites?
Glory in Their Shame
In 2 Peter 2:18-19 we see more about the way these people boast of their supposed liberty which is actually their shame of bondage to sin and guilt.
Boast of this
Jeremiah 9:24 tells us what we ought to glory in instead.
Glory in the Lord
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 adds to this.
Boasting of the Lord
What does a Christian boast of?
All Seek Their Own
In Philippians 2:21 we see that seeking the things of earth is very common.
Loving the World
1 John 2:15-17 clarifies that you can't seek the things of earth and of heaven at the same time.
But Romans 8:5-8 tells us the consequences of this way of thinking.
Seeking Things of Earth
What is the result of seeking things of earth?
Sowing and Reaping
Galatians 6:7-9 puts it in slightly different terms.
A New Perspective
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus gives us a different perspective for His people.
Treasure and Heart
Go up just a few verses and read Matthew 6:19-21 to understand why the Lord Jesus says this.
Seek the Things Above
Colossians 3:1-4 talks about how a Christian's love and position in Christ explain why they should seek the things above.
Seeking Things Above
What is the result of seeking things above?
Seeking things above and not things of the earth doesn't mean we don't go about our business and work for money. Notice how Paul sharply rebukes those who think that in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13.
Worse Than an Unbeliever
And in 1 Timothy 5:8 we see that God doesn't think very highly of those who won't provide for their own families.
Life and Purpose
If minding heavenly things instead of earthly things doesn't mean that you shouldn't work and feed your family, what does it mean according to the Bible?
Minding Earthly Things
What are recognizable signs that someone isn't just working to worship God and provide for their needs and their family, but are seeking the things of earth?
What are things you can look for as you seek good examples to follow as they follow Christ?
What are things you can look for as you seek to recognize and avoid bad examples?
What are some areas of your life in which you want to seek things above and live like Christ? Who can you think of that lines up with the definition of a good example from today's study - whether they are in the Bible, from history, and/or living today - and can help you understand how to be like Christ in those things?
Who are some people that are intriguing or fun or in some other way attractive to you but line up with the characteristics of bad examples? How are you going to stop following them so that you can follow what is good?
What Example Are You?
You've seen that you are an example, and that you're called to be a godly one. In what specific areas of your life do you see that you line up more with the bad example list than the good one? How are you going to change to align more with the godly example of verse 17 in each of those ways?
We hope this study has helped you understand what kind of examples you should follow and how to be a good example.
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