Philippians 1:27 27 “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel;”
Politeuomai( conduct ) is the main verb in verses 27-30, which in the Greek is a single sentence.
It comes from the root word polis (city, ‘metro polis ’), which in earlier times usually referred to the city -states to which inhabitants gave their primary allegiance.
It means being a good citizen , one whose conduct brings honor to the political body to whom one belongs.
If the citizens of Philippi were so devoted to the honor of their human kingdom, how much more should believers be devoted to the kingdom of Christ ?
Therefore, Paul charged them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, to live as faithful citizens of heaven (3:20).
20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” Philippians 3:20
The point here is that those who belong to Christ through saving faith in His Gospel should demonstrate that power by their changed lives (2 Cor 5:17).
Philippians 1:27 “ in one spirit, with one mind” (1:27 c)
Along with standing firm in the faith, there also must be unity within the church, a mutual sharing of convictions and responsibilities in one spirit, with one mind .
Psuche (mind) is most often translated " soul ." Here Paul is speaking of personal attitudes and perspectives.
One spirit , with one mind refers to the experience of unity , harmony , and interdependence . From its inception the church was of one spirit , with one mind .
Within a few days after Pentecost, all those who had believed were together and had all things in common ;
and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. (Acts 2:44-46;4:32)
Paul later admonishes them: "If there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
make my joy complete by being of the same mind , maintaining the same love , united in spirit , intent on one purpose " (2:1-2).
Still later, he urges "Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord" (4:2).
Unity in His church was one of Jesus' great passions. At the Last Supper He told His disciples,
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you , that you also love one another.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
A short while later, in His High Priestly Prayer, He prayed that all who would believe in Him "may all be one ; even as
You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me .
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one " (John 17:21-22).
The functioning unity of the church was one of Paul's great passions.
Romans 12:4-5 NIV 4 “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others .”
Paul implored the factious church at Corinth: "I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all
agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor 1:10).
Church strife does not always involve such flagrant sins as adultery, stealing, lying, or defamation. It is often generated by such "lesser" sins as holding grudges over minor issues , unjust
criticism, bitterness, dissatisfaction, and distrust . Sometimes disharmony arises that cannot even be clearly identified or attributed to any incident or issue.
The enemy of the church succeeds when God's people turn their "freedom into an opportunity for the flesh," forgetting to "through love serve one another,"
and instead begin to " bite and devour one another," sometimes to the point even of being "consumed by one another" (Gal 5:13,15).
The only solution is to "walk by the Spirit, and thereby not carry out the desire of the flesh" (Gal 5:16).
It requires taking special effort to " be kind to one another , tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Eph 4:32).
Paul continually had to deal with divisions in the church between Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, and men and women.
In response to those issues, he declared that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave
nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus " (Gal 3:28).
"The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Cor 6:17; 2 Cor 12:18), and therefore should be of one spirit and mind with everyone else who belongs to Him.
Paul gives the key to true unity in the church when he writes, "Be of the same mind , maintaining the same love , united in spirit , intent on one purpose .
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more
important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil 2:2-4).
Philippians 1:27d-28 “ striving together for the faith of the Gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.”
Another characteristic of worthy conduct involves believers striving together .
Sunathleo ( striving together ) is a compound Greek word, composed of the preposition sun (with) and the noun athleo, which means to compete in a contest,
especially in a sport such as wrestling. It is the term from which the English word athlete is derived.
Paul is emphasizing the attitude not of taking advantage of another for one's own benefit, but rather of sacrificing one's own welfare to promote the welfare of others . Take one for the team !
The idea of contending against is implied, but only in the sense that the church must also be striving together against sin and the common enemy, Satan and his demon hosts.
More than one athletic team with many outstanding players has failed to win a championship because most of those players concentrated on their own success rather than the team's.
A less talented team can often win against one that is more talented because the weaker team works efficiently together to achieve a common objective.
A player with outstanding talent may be temporarily sidelined or even put off the team, because, impressive as his individual efforts might be, he does his team more harm than good .
Striving together in the church means playing as a team to advance the truth of God.
Genuine unity of any sort must have a purpose . Trying to achieve unity for unity's sake is an exercise in futility, because it must have the motivation and focus of a common cause and objective.
The church's only true unity is grounded in the faith of the Gospel, which refers to the Christian faith.
In other places, Paul calls it "the Gospel of Christ" (Gal 1:7) and "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God," with which he and Timothy, as well as all other believers
have been entrusted. Jude refers to it as "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).
Striving together not only advances the faith of the Gospel but also halts the advance of whatever opposes it. The church has always faced a hostile world.
Some hostility is obvious and direct, such as that from atheists, humanistic philosophers, and other religions.
Much of the hostility, however, is indirect and subtle, which often is more dangerous. False teaching has found its way into churches that were once Biblical and evangelical.
Proponents of false gospels, "distort . . . the Scriptures, to their own destruction" ( 2 Peter 3:16 ), as well as to the destruction of those they deceive.
At no time in the history of the church has there been greater need for discernment than in our own day.
The church desperately needs to heed the Lord's warning, " Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”.
" Sheep's clothing " is any ungodly idea, principle, or practice that is couched in Christian terminology. Such demon doctrines, apart from thorough examination, seem to be Biblical.
Like Timothy, believers must constantly and carefully "guard what has been entrusted to them, avoiding worldly
and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called 'knowledge'.
The positive goal of striving together is proclaiming the faith of the Gospel. At Pentecost, Peter declared, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins ; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
Tragically, evangelism today seeks to remove the offense of preaching on sin , repentance, holiness and humility, in an effort to make the message more acceptable to fallen, depraved human nature.
A growing number of churches intentionally play down the Biblical elements of salvation and the demands of true discipleship.
In so doing, the true Gospel is trivialized or reduced to an impotent level, and packaged in those reductionist counterfeits are various forms of amusement and entertainment.
In the attempt to make the Gospel appealing and acceptable, many churches minister in ways that effectively vitiate (spoil or destroy) the very Word of God they proclaim.
It is encouraging that Biblically grounded, carefully reasoned, and theologically sound expository preaching is making a comeback.
But most evangelical worship services, Sunday school classes, youth meetings, and other activities are designed primarily to emotionally gratify those who attend.
God-focused, reverent, and thoughtful worship, coupled with serious instruction, exhortation, and correction from the Word, is rare.
Philippians 1:28 28 “in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too , from God.”
Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents.” Alarmed is from pturœ, a verb used only here in the New Testament.
It did not necessarily mean abject fright, as the King James Version's rendering "terrified" would suggest. But it does refer to serious, fearful concern.
It was used of a startled horse who bolted, often because of something perfectly harmless, and threw his rider.
Christians in Paul's day, including those in Philippi, often had good human reason to be terrified of possible beatings, imprisonment, and even execution by opponents of the Gospel.
Others faced somewhat less serious opponents: family members, friends, and neighbors who ridiculed and disowned them.
But however serious their conflict might be, they were not to be alarmed , because the very fact that they were being attacked because of the Gospel was proof that their opponents were headed for destruction.
But it was also a sign of believers' eternal salvation. Both signs are from God, the first to mark out His enemies , the second to mark out His children .