Scripture: Philippians 1:27-30
I. You live worthy of the Gospel by fighting together for the Gospel.
A. Paul begins verse 27 with the word only. He is saying, “I want you to focus on this one thing and one thing only.” Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. He is not saying that you can somehow become worthy of the Gospel. You can’t. Salvation is a free gift. So, how do I live a life worthy of the gospel then? I change. I live up to the good news that I have received as a gift from God. I live like a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
B. One way that you live a life worthy of the Gospel is that you fight together for the Gospel. Christians are fighters. In verse 27 Paul tells the Philippians to stand firm in one spirit. This standing firm is a military word that pictures a soldier in an army holding his position. Also, striving together (vs. 27) means competing with maximum effort in a sport. And Christians are engaged in a conflict (vs. 30) – a word which literally means agony. Amid their godless culture, the Philippians were in a fight together for the Gospel. And so are we.
II. You live worthy of the Gospel by living fearlessly.
A. Paul is commanding the church in Philippi not to be afraid of the fight. He says in vs. 28, “and not frightened in anything by your opponents.” In using this double negative Paul is emphasizing how we should be totally fearless in spite of how powerful our opponents might be. Paul says, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. Stay at your post. Be a rock. Be immovable in your united faith.”
B. What would be the result if the church fearlessly stuck together in their faith in the Gospel? We see two results at the end of vs. 28. The church’s conflict with opponents of the Gospel is just a small part in the greater conflict between God and Satan. The church will win. Their opponents will lose. In the words of Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Don’t be afraid then. God is for you.
III. You live worthy of the Gospel by suffering with Jesus.
A. Paul writes a very strange sentence in verse 29. Suffering in your life has been granted to you by God. Suffering is a gift from God. It is just as much a gift as the gift of faith in Jesus that God gave you. Suffering and salvation are a package deal. We see what Paul did for all the churches in Acts 14:22: “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” It is tribulations and suffering that are a necessary part of entering God’s kingdom.
You have joy in the darkness by living a life worthy of the Gospel.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by J.A. Motyer, Moises Silva, D.A. Carson and Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) Why does being a Christian require fighting for your faith? What kind of opponents do you have today as a follower of Jesus?
2) What will help you become more fearless as a Christian? Are you in strong relationships with other Christians? How does your fearlessness let unbelievers know that they are headed toward God’s judgment?
3) What reasons do you have for joy in suffering for Jesus and the Gospel? How can you better remember when you suffer that suffering is a gift from God?