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Be a Role Model

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

September 17, 2023— Paul and Timothy wrote a letter to the church in Philippi. This was a city in the outer reaches of Macedonia (modern-day Philippi, Greece). The letter was necessary to encourage and guide the Philippian church.


At the beginning of Philippians, Paul talks about his time in prison in Rome. At this point in his ministry, he is tired of the persecutions and trials he has endured. Despite the exhaustion, Paul is still hopeful to see the Philippians again. Yet he poses a question: why do the exhaustion and persecutions matter? The only thing that matters is that the gospel gets preached, and his time in prison turns out to be for the furtherance of the gospel. In addition, the brethren in the prison with him were boldened to speak of the gospel given Paul’s example. Paul was also grateful for the Philippians' fellowship in the gospel, for they were hospitable to him during his inflictions, and the people were standing in one accord.


Yet, Paul also warns them because some Christians preach the gospel out of sincerity, and others out of envy. Paul warns of the latter, telling them to press on to the end goal, the crown of life. This is because Paul knows that there is a greater treasure in heaven that Earth cannot offer—everlasting life. Paul picks himself up again, strengthens himself, and sends this letter to the church in Philippi. Paul was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Beloved, I am one of those touched by his unbroken spirit. And the gospel came here for the boldness of proclaiming Jesus Christ no matter how much it would cost him.



Therefore, from this letter, I am sharing two messages with you today:

  1. Be of One Mind and One Accord

  2. Be the Example


One Mind, One Accord

In the first century, eleven apostles of Jesus Christ were gathered in the upper room. The apostles consisted of Peter, James, John and Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, Simon, and Judas (the son of James). At this time, Judas Iscariot had already betrayed Jesus Christ and had committed suicide. The Holy Bible says that while in the upper room following the ascension, the apostles “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Acts 1:14). Now came a time to replace Judas Iscariot with another and a man named Matthias is chosen through prayer.


Acts 2 says that they were with one accord in one place when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, filling the house that they were in. Then it happened: the Day of Pentecost. They began speaking in other tongues from many different lands. From the account in Acts 2:9-11, people of different regions were among the apostles and heard them speaking not in Aramaic as Jesus and the twelve spoke, but in their language. Here are the people and the regions that the crowd was from:

  • Parthians

  • Medes

  • Elamites

  • Mesopotamia

  • Judea

  • Cappadocia

  • Pontus

  • Asia (modern-day western Turkey)

  • Phrygia

  • Pamphylia

  • Egypt

  • The parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene

  • Rome, both Jews and proselytes

  • Cretans

  • Arabs


Many years later, Timothy and Paul write to the Philippians, instructing them to be of one mind and accord. Philippians 2: 1-2 says:


Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

We see amazing things happen when the church is of one mind and accord, like the Day of Pentecost. Righteous pastors and churches deliver and heal people by the Holy Spirit. Miracles are performed by the Holy Spirit and witnessed by people. The hosts of heaven sing praises to the Father. But for these things to happen, churches must be of one mind and accord. Therefore, I tell you, be reconciled with God and know the Word of God. Strengthen your relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Preach the truth and rebuke evil. Engage in civil discourse among the brethren. I also tell you to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of Jesus because you represent Him here on this earth.



Be the Example

As Christians, we must follow Jesus and be the example for believers and nonbelievers. For we are the ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul and Timothy tell the Philippians to “join in following my example, and note that those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” (Philippians 3:17). Paul is telling the church in Phillipi that just as you have us as an example, pay attention to those who claim to be in the walk. Paul continues to say that some are enemies of Jesus Christ, even if they claim to be Christian. So, how can you tell? Watch them and pay attention to their actions. Character reveals the heart of a person through physical actions. Do they care about others and the church? Are they chasing earthly things, or are they seeking Jesus? What is their daily diction?


Timothy

Let us take Timothy as an example. The people within the regions of Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. He was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him, but because of the Jews in the area, Paul circumcised Timothy. After his circumcision, they went through the cities talking about the gospel and which decrees to keep. The decrees had come from the elders in Jerusalem. The Book of Acts records these decrees:


Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Acts 15:24-29


Cross
Photo by Sangia on Unsplash

Last Time in Philippi

In the book of Acts, we discover that a vision appeared from the Holy Spirit to Paul when he was in Troas (ancient-day Greek region, but modern-day Turkey). In the vision, a man from Macedonia told him to come to Macedonia and help them (Acts 16:9). From Troas, Paul, Timothy, and Silas depart and eventually come to Philippi. There, they spoke to a group of women, and one named Lydia heard them. It was then that Lydia and her household were saved. Lydia invites and persuades them to stay with her.


However, an enslaved girl possessed with a divination spirit followed them, crying after them, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17). The girl continued this for many days until Paul got annoyed and cast out the spirit. This girl got her masters profit through fortune-telling. When the spirit was cast out, the masters saw an end to their profit. Therefore, the masters cease Paul and Silas and bring them to the magistrate, where they are beaten and sentenced to prison. The guard puts Paul and Silas’s feet in shackles.


At midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns—an earthquake strikes, shaking the foundations and loosening the prisoners' chains. Assuming the prisoners escaped, the guard would commit suicide, but Paul prevented this by saying in a loud voice not to harm himself, for all the prisoners were present. Asking what he needs to do to be saved, Paul tells the guard, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31).


That day, the magistrates sent officers to free Paul and Silas. Paul does something here and throws the weight of their citizenship, calling themselves “uncondemned Romans.” Being greatly afraid, the magistrates led them out and asked them to leave Philippi.


Paul and Silas returned to Lydia’s home. They encouraged the brethren and departed from the city. They continued to preach the gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ during their missionary trip. Paul would go on his last missionary trip, where he was locked up in Rome. Yet, this doesn’t stop him from furthering the gospel, as he writes to the churches while in prison. Some of those letters make up the New Testament that we read today.



Jesus in the Text

Between the books of Philippians and Acts, we see a few messages repeated in both books. The Day of Pentecost occurred when the twelve apostles and the women were of one accord. The Holy Bible records this event as:


When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to believers in John 14:26. When you set the example by obeying God and showing the world your light as a Christian, the Holy Spirit will work within you to improve your character. Amazing things happen, like the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit and you are synched. The Holy Bible says we can access spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 12:1-11.


The book of Philippians reiterates the importance of being on one mind and accord. The Holy Spirit fills the room when the church is one mind and one accord. People are healed or delivered. Others speak or interpret tongues. Others perform miracles. These actions are possible and achieved through the Holy Spirit.


Shaking The Faith

In the previous section, you read that an earthquake occurred to loosen the shackles of the prisoners in Philippi. This caused the guard to believe in Jesus Christ, asking Paul what he must do to be saved. Before the book of Acts, we read about an earthquake in another spot in the New Testament—when the angels rolled the boulder from Jesus’s tomb, an earthquake occurred:


And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

Matthew 28:2


At the time of Jesus’s Resurrection, the earthquake and a few other events caused the centurion to be afraid and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Mark 27:54).


Keeping Jesus’s Commandments

In Acts and Philippians, Timothy is known for his excellent character. He sets the example for the believers and attends a portion of Paul’s second missionary trip. For anyone who keeps the commandments of Jesus’s teaching, God and Jesus are there through the presence of the Holy Spirit. John 14:23 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ “



Accepting Jesus

Therefore, I must ask you today: are you ready to be an example by accepting Jesus Christ as your savior? It only takes a few minutes of your time. Say this prayer aloud:


God, I confess that Jesus came in flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your Ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord and welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name, I pray, amen!



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