Philippians 1:27-28; Brief thoughts

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 

The life of a true believer is manifest in holiness and knowledge of Christ. If you are a believer, you will live like one. Paul’s call for Christians to live a life worthy of the gospel is not unusual or radical, it is normative and expected. What should shock our modern sensibilities is that this exhortation seems difficult. The call to live a life worthy of the gospel is both obviously simplistic and impossible.

How can someone be worthy Jesus Christ, the perfect spotless God-man, surrendering His perfect righteousness on behalf of a world that will not accept Him? It is impossible to earn His favor or work to be worthy of His mercy. Yet, this is the particular goal Paul urges us to pursue. That we would live a life that is worthy of the gospel we have received. Clearly an impossible task, and a completely logical one. If you have been given the life-transforming gift of grace that is the gospel, then you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish its purposes. So, the impossible becomes ordinary. Not just possible, but ordinary and expected. Your life should reflect the grace of God that has been giving to you.

Paul gives us three evidences of a worthy life. First, they are united in resolve. Believers share a common mission and are resolved to “stand firm” together. Second they are in agreement in the mission of God. They work alongside one another for the sake of the message that Jesus has come to rescue. Finally, they are not afraid of the opponents that surround them. There is no fear in the proper perspective of Christian dependence on the Lord.

This particular unity among believers even in boldness and bravery in the face of opponents is utilized for the evangelism of the lost. The unity shared among believers is so peculiar and unique that it is evidence of God’s wrath on other people and coming salvation for God’s people. This is the power of true gospel community. When your community is founded on and secured in the gospel, then it baffles the minds of people who do not know the gospel. There is no affinity, age group, or personality type that cannot be bridged by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth of the gospel extends beyond the norms of society. Further, the collection of saints that are united in mission and gospel proclamation is a powerful tool, calling people to repent and trust in the Lord.

Oh, Christian! What a world of change we would see if we pursued this kind of fellowship. When you seek out a church, do you look for temporal/ material reasons to join? Or do you seek a church that you can unite with based on the truths that we proclaim together? Too many of us seek to unite with a fellowship over the activities that fellowship provides or the programs we can participate in. We seek communities that match our current state of life or age bracket. Yet, when we seek community based on these things, we deny the life changing effect of the gospel. When you seek out a place to worship, look for the gospel message being lived out in changed lives. Test the community by examining whether or not the gospel has extended across cultural and material divisions. Seek out a community that is founded on the gospel in the lives of the saints. Then you will have some semblance of what it is like to be in a community like that of Philippi. Then you will glorify the Lord in a way the world will be baffled by. Then you might call everyone around you to believe, simply by living.

 

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