If the citizens of Philippi were so devoted to the honor of their human kingdom, howmuch more should believers be devoted to the kingdom of Christ?Therefore, Paul charged them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of theGospel of Christ, to live as faithful citizens of heaven (3:20).Philippians 3:2020 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, theLord Jesus Christ;”The point here is that those who belong to Christ through saving faith in His Gospelshould demonstrate that power by their changed lives (2 Cor 5:17).4 questions from Colossians 1:10 - Are you:*walking in a manner worthy of the Lord?*pleasing Him in all respects?*bearing fruit in every good work?And are you:*increasing in the knowledge of God? Colossians 1:102 Peter 1:33“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through ourknowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”Philippians 1:27“I will hear of you that you are standing firm” (1:27 b)Standing firm translates the single Greek verb steko, which refers to steadfastlyholding ones ground regardless of danger or opposition. RHSThe word was used of a soldier who defended his position at all costs, even to thepoint of sacrificing his life.Figuratively, it refers to holding fast to a belief, conviction, or principle withoutcompromise, regardless of personal cost.It is to stand firm:For + Against - God Satan Truth Lies Righteousness Sin
In Ephesians Paul twice uses a related verb in calling on believers to "put on the fullarmor of God to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" and to "be able to resistin the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Eph 6:11,13).Only the armor of God can enable believers to stand firm, because we “do notstruggle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, againstthe world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in theheavenly places" (Eph 6:12).Paul was not afraid of ridicule, hardship, suffering, or death. His convictions were firmand unwavering, so that he did not compromise divine truth.He did not “fear the sneer of the peer.”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, amutual sharing of convictions and responsibilities in one spirit, with one mind.Psuche (mind) is most often translated "soul." Here Paul is speaking of personalattitudes and perspectives.One spirit, with one mind refers to the experience of unity, harmony, andinterdependence. 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 andhad all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions andwere sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing withone mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were takingtheir 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 isany fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy completeby being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on onepurpose" (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 Hisdisciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as Ihave loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you areMy 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 inHim "may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also maybe in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You havegiven Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one" (John17:21-22).The functioning unity of the church was one of Pauls great passions.Romans 12:4-5 NIV4“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do notall have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and eachmember 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 andthat there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the samemind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor 1:10).Church strife does not always involve such flagrant sins as adultery, stealing, lying, ordefamation. It is often generated by such "lesser" sins as holding grudges over minorissues, unjust criticism, bitterness, dissatisfaction, and distrust. Sometimes disharmonyarises that cannot even be clearly identified or attributed to any incident or issue.The enemy of the church succeeds when Gods people turn their "freedom into anopportunity for the flesh," forgetting to "through love serve one another," and insteadbegin 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 theflesh" (Gal 5:16).It requires taking special effort to "be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgivingeach 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 inChrist "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there isneither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). "The one whojoins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Cor 6:17; 2 Cor 12:18), and thereforeshould 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 fromselfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as moreimportant than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, butalso 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, fromGod.”Another characteristic of worthy conduct involves believers striving together.Sunathleo (striving together) is a compound Greek word, composed of thepreposition 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 wordathlete is derived.Paul is emphasizing the attitude not of taking advantage of another for ones ownbenefit, but rather of sacrificing ones 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 mustalso be striving together against sin and the common enemy, Satan and his demonhosts.More than one athletic team with many outstanding players has failed to win achampionship because most of those players concentrated on their own successrather than the teams.A less talented team can often win against one that is more talented because theweaker team works efficiently together to achieve a common objective.A player with outstanding talent may be temporarily sidelined or even put off theteam, because, impressive as his individual efforts might be, he does his team moreharm than good.Striving together in the church means playing as a team to advance the truth ofGod.Genuine unity of any sort must have a purpose. Trying to achieve unity for unitys sakeis an exercise in futility, because it must have the motivation and focus of a commoncause and objective. The churchs only true unity is grounded in the faith of theGospel, which refers to the Christian faith.In other places, Paul calls it "the Gospel of Christ" (Gal 1:7) and "the glorious Gospel ofthe blessed God," with which he and Timothy, as well as all other believers have beenentrusted. Jude refers to it as "the faith which was once for all handed down to thesaints" (Jude 3).
Striving together not only advances the faith of the Gospel but also halts theadvance of whatever opposes it. The church has always faced a hostile world.Some hostility is obvious and direct, such as that from atheists, humanisticphilosophers, 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 andevangelical.Proponents of false gospels, "distort . . . the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2Peter 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 discernmentthan in our own day.The church desperately needs to heed the Lords warning, "Beware of the falseprophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”."Sheeps clothing" is any ungodly idea, principle, or practice that is couched inChristian terminology. Such demon doctrines, apart from thorough examination,seem to be Biblical.Like Timothy, believers must constantly and carefully "guard what has been entrustedto them, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what isfalsely 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 ofJesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the HolySpirit" (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 moreacceptable to fallen, depraved human nature.A growing number of churches intentionally play down the Biblical elements ofsalvation and the demands of true discipleship. In so doing, the true Gospel istrivialized or reduced to an impotent level, and packaged in those reductionistcounterfeits are various forms of amusement and entertainment.In the attempt to make the Gospel appealing and acceptable, many churchesminister in ways that effectively vitiate (spoil or destroy) the very Word of God theyproclaim.
It is encouraging that Biblically grounded, carefully reasoned, and theologicallysound expository preaching is making a comeback. But most evangelical worshipservices, Sunday school classes, youth meetings, and other activities are designedprimarily 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 1:2828 “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 youropponents.” Alarmed is from pturœ, a verb used only here in the New Testament.It did not necessarily mean abject fright, as the King James Versions rendering"terrified" would suggest. But it does refer to serious, fearful concern. It was used of astartled horse who bolted, often because of something perfectly harmless, and threwhis rider.Christians in Pauls day, including those in Philippi, often had good human reason tobe terrified of possible beatings, imprisonment, and even execution by opponents ofthe Gospel. Others faced somewhat less serious opponents: family members, friends,and neighbors who ridiculed and disowned them. But however serious their conflictmight be, they were not to be alarmed, because the very fact that they were beingattacked because of the Gospel was proof that their opponents were headed fordestruction. But it was also a sign of believers eternal salvation. Both signs are fromGod, the first to mark out His enemies, the second to mark out His children.