Following Examples


Philippians 3:17 “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Following examples is how we learn what to do what is right. When you go through school, the teacher will give you examples of math problems to teach you how to do that type of math. Now, it would be foolish to say that I’m simply going to look at the answer to figure out how to work out that equation because the examples of how someone got to the answer teach me how to work those types of equations all the time.

This is what Paul was teaching in the verse above. He told these believers to follow him, but to “mark them” who do not walk the same way he does because they had Paul and the apostles as examples. In other words, Paul was telling these believers to look at those who have accomplished what they are supposed to be and follow those human examples. I know this flies in the face of those who say they will only follow Christ, but the Scriptures make it clear that God has given us human examples to follow so that we can live according to how Christ wants us to live.

Not long ago, someone asked me about some of the ways that I ran my ministry. I told them that I simply looked at how men like Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Jack Hyles, and Dr. J. Frank Norris ran their ministries, and I determined that I would not try and recreate a wheel but that I would just copy what they did in their ministries. This is one of the greatest reasons God has grown Maranatha Baptist Church because I have followed those who successfully built an independent Baptist church without compromise.

God has given us human examples to follow, and it is foolish to ignore their examples when we are commanded to follow them. The fact that these examples have been where you have not been is why you should follow them. When I preach to teenagers, I often tell them that I know how to live for God at each teenage year because I was once a teenager who lived for God. To tell them to listen to me as I give them my life examples is not pulling them away from Christ, but it is pushing them towards Christ. The examples of successful pastors and believers from the past were given to us as examples to follow. To follow their examples does not mean that I am not following Christ, but it means I am smart enough to know that their example of ministry and living will make me more like how Christ wants me to live.

Moreover, the direction of those you follow is crucial because the direction dictates your future position. Paul was very clear to mark how their examples walked because he knew if someone walked contrary to their examples and they were followed, they would eventually lead these believers to a different position. The direction of examples is critical. You must be careful not to follow someone whose direction is different from those past examples who are now in Heaven. The best reason to follow the examples of those who are already in Heaven is because we see the end of their lives, and we know the end of the direction of the life they lived.

My friend, following examples from the past simply shows your wisdom and obedience to God’s Word to follow the human examples whose direction pointed towards Christ. Let me encourage you to stop trying to make a new way to run a ministry or live a life, and simply follow the examples. If you follow the examples you have been given, you will end serving God like the examples you copied.

Dr. Allen Domelle

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