Summary: There are two reasons we need to live by the right pattern: the first is negative; the second is positive.


Philippians 3:17-4:1


A. How Christine lays out a pattern to sew by:

1. She spreads it out on the table, and I will come home to find the dining room table taken over by her material as she cuts out a pattern.

2. The items she is cutting out do not look like what she is going to sew, but when she follows the pattern, it will look like it is supposed to. You have to use the right pattern to make it right.

3. She has found that the pattern has to be right for the person the clothing is being made for. She went to a sewing workshop and had a pattern specially made for her.

B. In Philippians Paul discusses how we are to live together in Christ, and here we come to see that if we are to do so we must live by the right pattern – vs. 17.

1. Guarding our faith, living up to what we have attained comes when we live by the right pattern.

2. This was true in the early years of the church, because believers needed practical guides for how to live. That is what Paul gives them here.

3. It is still true today.

4. Specifically we are to imitate Paul’s conduct.

a. He uses a word that means to mimic together, kind of like playing follow the leader.

b. At first glance, the pattern Paul is giving us is egotistical, but we need to put it in the context of how Paul perceived his conduct: 1 Corinthians 11:1 – "Imitate me as I imitate Christ."

c. We saw the example of Paul in vss. 7-14.

d. We are to gain our pattern from others who model Christ in their lives. We are to live like those who are trying to be like Jesus.

• Timothy set this kind of example – 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

• The Thessalonians had become a model – 1 Thessalonians 1:7 – “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”

• Young men and elders are to be models – Titus 2:7 – “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.” 1 Peter 5:3 – “…not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

• Now we are to be models with them as we live by the right pattern.


There are two reasons we need to live by the right pattern: the first is negative; the second is positive.



• At first glance this seems like a repeat of Paul’s discussion earlier in the chapter about denying the flesh and putting no confidence in it.

• There is a similarity in the thought here, but Paul is now carrying his argument on further to where we are to stay away from even the influence of those who live controlled by earthly things.

A. Those controlled by earthly things are enemies of the cross of Christ.

1. This matter of how we are to look at earthly things is an important matter.

a. Paul had often discussed it with the Philippians before, as have some of us. We saw this in 3:1-16.

b. It was an emotional issue for Paul: He had told them with tears, the tears of genuine caring for them – and especially for those who would listen.

(1) Christine cries easily; she cried once at a Hallmark card commercial on TV.

(2) Dr. Wayne Shaw cries when he preaches; he really cares about his message and the people he is preaching to.

(3) There was a day in which people made impassioned pleas for Christians to give up earthly things, but we have become a church of materialism.

2. What is an enemy of the cross? They are people who focus on material things.

a. This is urgent because a person cannot be saved unless they come to the cross for salvation.

b. We were all enemies of the cross once – Romans 5:10 – “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Colossians 1:21 – “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior…”

c. We have a picture of an enemy of the cross in Acts 13 with the case of Elymas.

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