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

“Brethren, be followers together of me,”
Literally:  “Be fellow-imitators of me, brothers.”  In the things of Christ let me be your line, and my writings preaching, and conduct, your rule. That is, live as I do.  A minister of the gospel, a parent, or a Christian of any age or condition, ought so to live that he can refer to his own example, and exhort others to imitate the course of life which he had led. Paul could do this without ostentation or impropriety. They knew that he lived so as to be a proper example for others; and he knew that they would feel that his life had been such that there would be no impropriety in his referring to it in this manner. But, alas! how few are there who can safely imitate Paul in this!

        BE:  (Grk.–ginesthe)–The verb, “be” which is in the sense of “becoming,” is in the present tense, which speaks of continued action. 

       FOLLOWERS:   (Grk.–summimetai)– Literally:  “fellow imitators.”  Be followers (imitators) of me–as I am an imitator of Christ (I Cor.11:1).  Imitate me no farther than as I imitate Christ. This word is used only here in the N.T.

         Unfortunately, far too many preachers begin with the serious handicap that they must say not, “Do as I do,” but “Do as I say do.”  Paul could say not only, “Listen to my words,” but also, “Follow my example.”  Paul wanted these believers to make it a practice to follow him and to mark them which walk so as you have us for an example.
         It is from this Greek word
(minnētēs), that our English word “mimic” is derived.  There is a good sense in which younger believers are to mimic older believers because the older believers should be mimicking Jesus Christ.  Peter said, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” (I Pet. 2:21).  When we who know Christ as Savior follow His steps, then it is safe to encourage others to mimic us.  And if we are not following Christ, then we need to deal with the sin in our lives that has taken our eyes off Him.  Imitators together: They are to unite, one and all, in imitating him. In I Cor. 11:1 he gives the ground of this advice, “As I also am of Christ.”

         MARK:  (Grk.–skopeo)—Literally: “look out for; notice; keep one’s eyes on.” Paul wanted the believers to take special note of those who were walking according to the example he had established  Still alluding to the line in the stadium, keep your eye steadily fixed on those who walk, (live, as you have us), myself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus, for an exsample. 

In Rom. 16:17 Paul uses this same word but in a different way–“Now I beseech you, brethren mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have leaned, and avoid them.”  In this cause Paul is using the word as a warning, in the sense of “watch out for,” or “keep an eye on,” and point them out.

         “them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. “
Literally:  “Those walking  this way, even as you have us {for} a pattern.”  There were those in the church who endeavored to live as he had done, renouncing all confidence in the flesh, and aiming to win the prize. There were others, it would seem, who were actuated by different views (see v. 18).

There are usually two kinds of professing Christians in every local church:
1.      Those who imitate the Savior, and,

2.      Those who are worldly and vain.

The exhortation here is, to “mark,” that is, to observe with a view to imitate those who lived as the apostles did. We should set before our minds the best examples, and endeavor to imitate the most holy men. A worldly and fashionable professor of Christianity is a very bad example to follow; and, especially, young Christians should set before their minds for imitation, and associate with, the purest and most spiritual members of the church. Our faith takes its form and complexion from those with whom we associate; and he will usually be the most holy man who associates with the most holy companions.

        ENSAMPLE or EXAMPLE: (Grk.–typon)This word originally referred to a mark left by a blow but later came to have the meaning of “pattern” or “example.” In Bible use it means, “an image,” such as the image stamped on a coin.  It is from this word that we got our “typewriter,” because the writing was made by stamping an inked ribbon.

Paul’s life had served as an outline of the way a Christian life ought to be lived, and many in Philippi were following his example. Paul encouraged the believers to take note of them.

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, {that they are} the enemies of the cross of Christ.”

Paul now begins to give the negative aspect of his teaching to these Philippians; that is, observing those who do not walk in a way that honors the Lord.

“For many walk,”– Many live, the Christian life being often in the Scriptures compared with a journey.  In order to induce these Philippians to imitate those who were the most holy, Paul says that there were many, even in the church, whom it would not be safe for them to imitate.

        MANY:  (Grk.–polloi)—Who these people he was referring to Paul does not here tell us, but it is brought out by “enemies of the cross of Christ,” and the details that he gives in v. 19.  We have still to notice that the persons here depicted are not the same as those who were described in v. 2 (contrary to the usual view); for those were teachers, while these polloi are Christians generally.

         Paul evidently here refers mainly to the church at Philippi, though it may be that he meant to make it a general declaration,, and to say that the same thing existed in other churches. There has not probably been any time yet in the Christian church when the same thing might not be said.

There were in the church at Philippi people whose conduct was an open scandal and who, by their lives, showed themselves to be enemies of the cross of Christ.  Who they were is not told to us; but it is quite certain that they lived gluttonous and immoral lives and used their so-called Christianity to justify themselves. The Judaizing teachers, who wish to incorporate circumcision and other ordinances of the law, continue to preach, with the Gospel.

“of whom I have told you often,”
Literally:  “Of whom often I told you.”  This must have been when he preached in Philippi. Paul was not afraid to speak of church-members when they did wrong, and to warn others not to imitate their example.

         Paul did not attempt to cover up or excuse guilt because it was in the church, or to apologize for the defects and errors of those who professed to be Christians. The true way is, to admit that there are those in the church who do not honor their religion, and to warn others against following their example. But this fact does not make religion any the less true or valuable, any more than the fact that there is counterfeit money makes all money bad, or makes genuine coin of no value.
         This is the negative aspect:  observing those who do not walk in a way that honors the Lord.  How interesting it is that Paul had told the Philippian believers about such people “often.”  Apparently when disciplining these young believers, he thought it was important to frequently warn them that there are those who do not live in a way that honors the Lord and are even enemies of the message.  He evidently saw this instruction as being necessary to keep the Philippian believers on target so they would not become discouraged when they met such people.

Just who these people were that Paul was denouncing is difficult to tell.
1.      Some have taken it as another reference to the Judaizers: those who were attempting to live under the Jewish Law and who opposed Paul’s freedom in grace.
2.      Others believe the reference is to the antinomians:  severe reactionists against the Law of Moses who resented any moral restraints. 
        In speaking of these antinomians, Lightfoot says: 

“Antinomian errorists who taught much the same doctrines as became prominent later among the Gnostics, as that matter is evil, and that therefore the body can never be holy.  Of such, the Apostle writes in Rom. 16:18.  Such introduced and defended immoral teachings in Corinth.  They would form a separate sect at Philippi from the Judaizers, though both would find common ground in opposing the gospel.”

 “and now tell you even weeping,”
Literally:  “and now even weeping I say it.”–This is the true spirit with which to speak of the errors and faults of Christians.

We are not to go and “broadcast” their inconsistencies abroad; i.e., don’t go “hanging out your dirty linen.”  It is not to find pleasure in the fact that they are inconsistent. Don’t bring reproach upon the Christian faith on such account, and give those of the world a reason to say that all religion is false and hollow, and that all professors of such are hypocrites. We should rather speak of the fact with tears; for, if there is anything that should make us weep, it is, that there are those in the church who are hypocrites, or who dishonor their profession. We should weep,
1.      Because they are in danger of destroying their own souls;
2.      Because they are destined to certain disappointment when they come to appear before God;   
3.      Because they injure the cause of religion, and give occasion to the "enemies of the Lord to  speak reproachfully.
         a.      He who loves his faith and His Lord will weep over the inconsistencies of its friends.
         b.      He who does not will exult and triumph.

What an insight into the heart of Paul!  He could not write about people being the enemies of the cross of Christ without being broken up emotionally as to what they were doing to themselves and to Jesus Christ.  What they were doing to themselves is evident from the next verse.

{that they are} the enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Literally:  {As} the {ones} hostile to the cross of Christ.”–The phrase here means, that they were the enemies of His religion, or were strangers to the gospel.

         These were not really open and avowed enemies of the cross or that they did not deny that the Lord Jesus died on the cross to make an atonement. The characteristic of those persons is  that they were living in a manner which showed that they were strangers to his pure gospel. An immoral life is enmity to the cross of Christ; for He died to make us holy.  A life where there is no evidence that the heart is renewed is enmity to the cross; for Christ died that we might be renewed. There are such enemies of the cross in every local church, They please the world, and are in no danger of reproach. 

They are the enemies of the cross, in the church,
1.      Who have never been born again;

2.      Who are living in the indulgence of known sin;
3.      Who manifest none of the peculiarities of those who truly love Him;
4.      Who have a deeper interest in worldly affairs than they have in the cause of the Redeemer;
5.      Whom nothing can induce to give up their worldly concerns when God demands it;
6.      Who are opposed to all the peculiar doctrines of Christianity; and
7.      Who are opposed to all the peculiar duties of religion, or who live in the habitual neglect of them.

It is from this cause that so much injury is done to the true religion in the world. Even just one such secret enemy in a camp may do more harm than fifty men who are open foes; and a single unholy or inconstant member in a church may do much more injury than many men who are avowedly opposed to Christianity. It is not by infidels, and scoffers, and blasphemers, so much, that injury is done to the cause of the gospel.  It is by the unholy lives of its professing (and not possessing) friends:  the worldliness, inconsistency, and want of the proper spirit of Christianity among those who are in the church. Nearly all the objections that are made in a local church are from such as these, and if this objection, were taken away, the gospel of Christ would soon spread its triumphs around the globe.

           CROSS:  ( Grk.- stauros)–In his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (page 256), W.E. Vine states that the Greek word “stauros” means simply an “upright stake,” and, “is to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a beamed cross…which had its origin in ancient Chaldea (Babylon), and was used as the symbol of the god TAMMUZ, being in the shape of the MYSTIC TAU, (the initial of his name) in that country and adjacent lands. 
          “In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted to retain their pagan signs and symbol.s  Hence, the TAU, or “T” in its most frequent forms, with the cross piece lowered, as adopted to sand for the Cross of Christ.”–W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (page 256),

          I do appreciate the fact that Dr. David Stern, in his translation of the Jewish New Testament, always translates stauros as the “execution stake.”  This is the correct translation of this Greek word.  In fact, this is the only translation of the N.T.  I have found in which the meaning of this word is actually correctly translated.  Thank you, Dr. Stern
          The use of the Latin Cross, (the one with the cross-beam) did not come into use in the church until the Fourth Century, (over three hundred years after Jesus had been crucified on the execution stake,)when Rome, under the emperor Constantine, usurped control over the church and made it the state religion of Rome and he (Emperor Constantine) made himself head of the Church, instead of Christ.

          Again let me emphasize that the cross used to crucify the Lord Jesus was simply an  upright pole.  THERE WAS NO CROSS-PIECE, and the proper rendering of this Greek word stauros is to call it an “execution stake.”  Consider this:  Jesus was really stretched out on such an execution stake, with His hands pulled above His head and the nail driven through both hands.  This would have fulfilled the type of a lamb being sacrificed, for the Jewish priests would have stretched out the lamb to examine it before it was sacrificed.  Therefore, we can see that Jesus was literally, “stretched out” for the world to see and sacrificed as our Sacrificial Lamb. 

           “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world’”
           “Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples:

           “And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’”–(John 1:29; 35-36).

As to the actual shape of the cross upon which Jesus hung, we need not be too concerned, for it is not the shape of the cross, or even the cross itself that is important.  It is the ONE Who hung there, and WHAT HE ACCOMPLISHED THERE, that is all important.


          People ask, “Since Jesus died on a cross, doesn’t that make it a Christian symbol?  The answer to this foolish question is a resounding NO!  The fact that Jesus died on a cross just shows that it was an already established form of execution among the pagans.  It was NOT a Christian symbol before Jesus hung on it, and nothing has ever changed to make it a Christian symbol now!
         Here is something to consider: What if Jesus had died by being hanged by rope around His neck, which was a common form of execution of that day? Would the fact that Jesus had died by hanging by the neck make a NOOSE holy? Would we then go around wearing a NOOSE around our necks and be calling that a Christian symbol?  Or, would we be hanging nooses from our church steeples?

          What if Jesus had been beheaded?  Would we then go around wearing a little gold axe or hatchet and be calling that a holy symbol?  Would we be putting axes on the top of our churches instead of crosses Come on, Christians!  GET REAL!  Start using your head for something besides a button to keep your backbones from coming unraveled!  And stop just going along with the rest of the pagan heathen godless world!  Keep this most important fact in mind:  There is no such thing as a holy relic; or a holy  thing.  Holiness is wrapped up in a PERSON:  CHRIST!


The “cross” was the instrument of death on which the Redeemer died to make atonement for sin. As the atonement made by Christ for sin is that which peculiarly distinguishes His religion from all others. no evidence that the heart is renewed is enmity to the cross; for He died that we might be renewed.

Whose end is destruction, whose God is (their} belly and {whose} glory is in their shame who mind earthly things.”

“Whose end is destruction,”
Literally:  “Of whom the end {is} destruction.” That is, as they have no true religion, they must perish in the same manner as all sinners. A mere profession will not save them. Unless they are converted, and become the true friends of the cross, they cannot enter heaven.

Even though these enemies of the cross seem to move about unrestricted at the time Paul wrote, he emphasized their end:  destruction.  Believers often wonder why these enemies of Christ seem to prosper, but we must not forget that their ultimate end is their destruction.  However, keep in mind this does  not mean annihilation:   they do not cease to exist.  Every individual will be somewhere throughout eternity:  either in heaven or in hell.  Where each person will be depends upon his personal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.  These of whom Paul was writing are here described by three characters:

CHARACTER #1:  Their god is their belly.

“whose God is [their] belly”
Literally:  “Whose god is the belly.”  They live not in any reference to eternity; their religion is for time; they make a gain of godliness; and live only to eat, drink, and be merry.  They seem to follow more the Epicurian philosophy than they do the Christian/Biblical faith. 

         This may be taken to mean that they lived only to gratify their various appetites.  Paul said that in the last days people would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”  (II Tim. 3:4).  This may be what he was referring to here in v. 19:  those who live for the pleasures of the moment without any regard for the future.

        BELLY:  (Grk.–kolia)–There seems to be two main schools of thought regarding this:

1.      Paul may have been referring to those trusting in natural birth to give them a proper relationship with God.
This was characteristic of the Jews:  they thought because of their physical lineage that they had no further need in order to be in a personal relationship with God.  We have those today here in America who have such thoughts:  those who believe that being born into and brought up in a Christian home makes them a Christian.  But Got does not have any grand-children.  He only has born-again children.
2.      Paul was emphasizing his concern of those who follow rigid rules and regulations about what they eat.  Elsewhere he had says: 

       “Let no man therefore judge in meat, or in drink, or in respect of any holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
       “Which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body as of Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17).

Either of these explanations would fit the context here because these who were all enemies of the  cross were trusting in themselves and what they could do rather than trusting in the Christ of the cross and what He had already done for them.

CHARACTER #2:   Their glory is in their shame.

and {whose} glory is in their shame”
Literally:  “And who glory in their shame.” That is, they glory in things of which they ought to be ashamed. They indulge in modes of living which ought to cover them with confusion. They lay it down as a proof of their address, that they can fare sumptuously every day, in consequence of preaching a doctrine which flatters the passions of their hearers. 

As Christians would observe the lives of these individuals, they would see things that were horribly shameful, yet those who were enemies of the cross of Christ were actually glorying in those things.  This shows how degenerate these enemies of the cross had become.  How tragic it is to see Christians who are given over to the passing things of this world, who “mind earthly things.”  Thy live for self and self only, and they actually glory in this.  They are proud of what they should really be ashamed.

                 GLORY:  (Grk.–doxa)–Or at least what they esteem as their glory.

CHARACTER #3:   They mind earthly things.

“who mind earthly things.”
Literally:  “Those thinking earthly things.” That is, whose hearts are set on earthly things, or who live to obtain them. Their attention is directed to honor, gain, or pleasure, and their chief anxiety is that they may secure these objects. This is mentioned as one of the characteristics of enmity to the cross of Christ; and if this be so, how many are there in the church now who are the real enemies of the cross!

         How many professing Christians are there who regard little else than worldly things! How many who live only to acquire wealth, to gain honor, or to enjoy the pleasures of the world! How many are there who have no interest in a prayer-meeting, in a Sunday-School, in religious conversation, and in the advancement of true religion on the earth! These are the real enemies of the cross. It is not so much those who deny the doctrines of the cross, as it is those who oppose its influence on their hearts; not so much those who live to scoff and deride religion, as it is those who “mind earthly things,” that injure this holy cause in the world.
         Their whole study and attention are taken up with earthly matters; they are given to the flesh and its lusts; they have no spirituality, nor do they believe that there is or can be any intercourse between God and the souls of men. But their lasciviousness and uncleanness seem to be principally intended.
         They were not concerned about heavenly things, even though they might occasionally “talk-the-talk (but do not walk-the-walk). The basis of their thinking was that which is earthly rather than that which is heavenly.  We see this today in the secular humanism of our age.  Those who are committed to being able to explain everything apart from a miracle-working God are really enemies of the cross of Christ.