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The Faith of the Gospel Philippians 1d

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Philippians 1:27-30

Stephen Caswell © 2000

Life in Two Worlds

"A Christian lives in two worlds at one and the same time--the world of the flesh and the world of the spirit. It is possible to do both. There are certain dangerous gases, which from their weight fall to the lower part of the place where they are, making it destructive for a dog to enter, but safe for a man who holds his head erect. A Christian, as living in the world of flesh, is constantly passing through these. Let him keep his head erect in the spiritual world, and he is safe. He does this so long as the Son of God is the fountain where he draws his inspiration, his motives, encouragement, and strength."  -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon


As we have looked at the first chapter of Philippians there has been one central theme. Christians have joy in life when Jesus has first place. For Paul Jesus Christ was his life. He proclaimed this message tirelessly. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Firstly he interceded for the Philippians fellowship in the Gospel. He thanked God for them and prayed for them continually. Secondly he informed them about the furtherance of the Gospel. He wanted them to know how God had used His circumstances to advance the Gospel into new territory. Today we will see how Paul instructed  them concerning the faith of the Gospel. He commanded them how to live for Jesus Christ. Believers need to conduct themselves as:

I.  Heaven's Citizens

II. Heaven's Soldiers 

I.  Heaven's Citizens - Conduct

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

Firstly Paul commands believers to conduct themselves worthy of the Gospel. The word conduct politeuomai is related to our word politics. It means to behave or conduct yourself like a citizen. This would have caught the Philippians attention right away. Philippi was a Roman colony and its citizens were actually Roman citizens. In this verse Paul commands believers to conduct themselves as citizens of heaven. Paul speaks about this again in chapter 3 contrasting the citizens of heaven from the citizens of earth. Philippians 3:18-21


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: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. How should heavens citizens conduct themselves? In both chapter 1 and chapter 3 Paul emphasizes holiness.

a. Consistent Purity


Indifference Is Impossible

It appears that Themistocles, when a boy, was full of spirit and fire, quick of apprehension, naturally inclined to bold attempts, and likely to make a great statesman. His hours of leisure and vacation he spent not--like other boys--in idleness and play, but he was always inventing and composing declamations, the subjects of which were either impeachments or defenses of some of his schoolmates, so that his teacher would often say, "Boy, you will be nothing common or indifferent. You will either be a blessing or a curse to the community."

So remember, you who profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus, that to you indifference is impossible! You must bless the church and the world by your holiness, or you will curse them both by your hypocrisy and inconsistency. In the visible church it is most true that "no man liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself." -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon,


Believers are to conduct themselves in a worthy manner. The word worthy means equal value to, after a godly sort, suitably. Since we are to be worthy of the Gospel, the emphasis is on purity and holiness. The Gospel is God's good news of how sinners can become saints through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. The Gospel calls men to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The word repent means to turn from sin to God. It commands us to live holy lives for Him. Holiness, however is not gained by withdrawing from the world. To fulfill Christ's command to make disciples of the nations requires us to live amongst them. Christ said blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God and Ephesians 4:1 tells us to walk worthy of our calling. Be ye holy for I am holy says the Lord. When people know that you are a Christian, they are watching you every day. They are watching to see if you have a consistent witness, a life marked by purity. 2 Corinthians 3:2 brings this out. You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; This poem summarizes it well.

You are writing a Gospel, A chapter every day,

By the deeds that you do, and the words that you say.

Men read what you write, Whether faithful or true:

Just what is the Gospel, According to you? 


Are you living worthy of the Gospel of Christ? Are you conducting yourself like a citizen of heaven or a citizen of earth? What is your heart set on, things above where the Savior is or the lusts of this world? A good way to evaluate that question is to ask what do I spend my time on?  Do I pursue things of an earthly nature or things of an eternal nature? How do I spend my money? All on myself or for the kingdom of God? How do I use my possessions? Do I open my home to others and share what God has given to me, or do I keep it to myself? Are you using your gifts and abilities for the Lord or yourself? Is your life marked by purity or do you look like the pagan world around you? Christians are wrong if they think that they can separate the Gospel from their conduct. The two must agree. Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth. God calls us to conduct ourselves as heavenly citizens. Are You? Does your life hinder what you say?

II. Heaven's Soldiers - Conflict


a. Cooperation And Unity.

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

Unity through Prayer

Two neighbors, a cooper and a farmer, were spending the evening together. Both were professors of religion, but of different denominations. Their conversation was first on topics relating to practical religion, but after a time it diverged to the points of difference between the two denominations to which they belonged. It first became a discussion, and then a dispute. The cooper was the first to perceive its unprofitable and injurious tendency, and remarked, "We are springing apart from each other. Let us pray." They kneeled down and prayed together, after which they spent the remainder of the evening lovingly together, conversing on the things of the kingdom in which they both felt an equal interest. The suggestion of the cooper was an excellent one, and it were well if it were acted on more frequently by those who, like him, are members of the household of Christ. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

Paul commanded them to stand fast together as good soldiers of the Gospel. Paul wanted the Philippians to work together regardless of whether he was present or absent. He emphasized this by saying it in three different ways, stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the Gospel. As we read through the book of Philippians we find unity mentioned several times. Why did Paul command this? Why did he make a big issue of this? Because there was division in their fellowship. Philippians 4:2 gives more details. I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. These two women were striving against each other instead of together for the Gospel. Unity is God's intention for the body of Christ. There is only one body even though there are many members. But how can we work together with people who see things differently to us? By drawing on the unity that God gives us through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel brings us all into one family under one Father.

Ephesians 4:4-6 speaks about this: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Paul encouraged the Philippians to stand fast in the battle. The word stand sthkw means to stand firm, be constant, to persevere. Paul commanded the Ephesians to stand in the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. If the Lord's army is to be victorious it must fight the enemy together. They must have a united front. The old saying divide and conquer is true of the Christian Church too. United we stand, divided we fall. Paul encouraged them to stand firm against the adversaries of the cross. Their opponents would fail if the Philippian believers stood together, with one mind and in one spirit. They were to strive together in the Lord's army. The words strive together sunaqlew means to wrestle in company with, to jointly seek, to labor with. The emphasis being on cooperation. Are you working together with your brethren in the Lord's battle? Or are you causing strife and division?

b. Confidence in Adversity


Adversity, Revealing the Hidden

When the green leaves decorate the trees and the season is fair, one cannot readily find the birds' nests, but when the winter strips the trees, anyone with half an eye may see them. In the same way the Christian may scarcely be discerned amid the press of business and prosperity; his hidden life is concealed amid the thick and throng of the things of earth. But let affliction come, a general sickness, or severe losses in the family, and you shall see the Christian man plainly enough in the gracious patience by which he rises superior to trial. The sick bed reveals the man; the burning house, the sinking ship, the panic on the exchange -- all these make manifest the hidden ones. In many a true believer, true piety is like a drum which nobody hears of unless it be beaten.  -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon


If the Philippians heeded Paul's command to stand together in the Lord's army they would have confidence against the adversary. Paul gives three reasons why believers should not be frightened or terrified by their adversaries.


1. Adversity Is A Proof Of Salvation

Philippians 1:28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

Paul encouraged them by sharing that the opposition they were encountering was proof that they were on the right track. The Philippians may have thought that God was punishing them through their adversity. So Paul set the record straight. Christ suffered adversity when He was on earth; Shouldn't his followers also suffer adversity? Paul said this to Timothy. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. These adversaries were motivated by the devil. Satan doesn't oppose people unless they are serving the Lord. He is happy for men and women to go merrily on their way to hell. He won't bother Christians who don't bother him. 

But when people follow the Lord he gets after them immediately. He opposes Christians in order to discourage them and keep them from being fruitful. Satan stirs up men and women to oppose God's servants. However, God uses these conflicts to strengthen us and extend His kingdom. Paul calls this the fellowship of His sufferings in Philippians 3:10. Paul experienced sweet fellowship with the Lord during such times of affliction. The Lord does not leave us alone in adversity. He draws near to comfort and strengthen us. Are you afraid of adversity? Don't be! Rather be confident and stand with your brethren in the Lord's strength. It also proves that the wicked are under God's judgment. Since they are opposing the Gospel of salvation which alone can save them, they are condemning themselves to hell.


2. Adversity Is A Privilege From Christ

Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Suffering, Proclaiming Christ in Bolshevik Russia

In the 1920s, on the heels of the Bolshevik Revolution when Joseph Stalin was extending his chokehold over all of what became the Soviet Union, he sent political speakers out to Russian towns and villages to brainwash the people about Marxism and the Russian form of Communism. Peasants were forced to hear the harangues telling them what they must believe. It was made clear that the teaching of Christian faith was to come to an immediate end. The church was no longer to be active. What none of them realized was that hundreds of years of Russian Orthodox teaching about the resurrection couldn't be rubbed out of people's souls just like that. One large crowd of people sitting in a public auditorium listened for three hours to the speech of a Russian commissar as he tried to convert them to Marxism and the glories of the Communist party. When he finished, he was exhausted, but he had taken his best shot.

He was sure he had convinced the crowd, so he invited questions. Here and there people rose to ask questions, but he was satisfied he had done his best. Just as things were about to end, and he was to sign his success seal over what he had done, a Russian Orthodox priest stood up at the back of the hall: "I just have one thing to say to you. Christ is risen!" Instantly the entire crowd responded, "Christ is risen, indeed!" At the end of the worship hour, a couple came up and introduced themselves. The women said to me in a heavy accent, "I am from Russia. Thank you for telling your story; it moved me greatly. But I must tell you one more thing about that story, which you did not tell. You need to tell people that when the crowd said 'Christ is risen indeed!' they knew for certain they would all go to jail."  -- Gordon MacDonald,

Paul's second reason for believers to be confident in adversity is that it is a wonderful privilege. He says it has been granted to us as a gift. The word granted carizomai means to give freely or graciously as a favor of God. What does he mean by that? Paul is saying that we can represent our Lord and Savior by suffering in His name. He suffered and died for us. We were given the privilege of salvation in His name. Now we have the privilege of suffering for His name. The Sovereign Lord graciously allows us to represent Him in a sinful world. 

Men and women give their lives for their country during wartime. They fight for king and country. They count it a privilege to die for their king. How much greater privilege are we given to suffer for our King who suffered and died for us. The Apostles had this attitude when they were afflicted by the Sanhedren. Acts 5:40-41 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Suffering for Christ is a privilege that God has given us. In Australia we don't suffer like our brothers do in other countries. But the fact remains if we faithfully testify for the Lord, Satan will bring adversity upon us. It may be through ridicule or unfair treatment from our bosses. It may mean we are unfairly dismissed or passed over for promotion. But God calls us to suffer for Christ's sake. Do you share your faith with others at work, school or in the neighborhood? Do you suffer ridicule for your faith? Don't be alarmed if you do. It  proves your salvation. It also reveals God's condemnation on them. Will you be courageous for Him?

3. Adversity Is Paul's Experience


Philippians 1:30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Paul's third reason was a simple one. In case they doubted God's love for them in allowing them to suffer he gave his own example. He reminded them of the conflict they saw him endure in Philippi. He reminded them of the conflict that they heard he was currently passing through. Paul told them that the adversity they were experiencing was normal for the Christian life. In fact Christians everywhere suffer for their faith. 1 Peter 4:12-13 speaks of this: Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 


I.  Heaven's Citizens

a. Consistency And Purity - We are commanded to conduct ourselves worthy of the Gospel. Are you living a pure life before the world? Have you set your heart on earthly things or heavenly things? Is your life distinctive for the world? Can people see the Lord's joy and holiness in You? 

II. Heaven's Soldiers

a. Cooperation And Unity.

Paul exhorted believers to stand together against the adversaries of Christ. Are you striving together for the faith of the Gospel? Or are you striving against your brethren instead? God calls us to unity in the fight of faith. The Lord wants us to be of one mind striving together in one spirit for the Gospel. He doesn't want division, but unity. United we stand and divided we fall. Will you work together for the cause of Christ? Will you cooperate with your brethren?

b. Confidence in Adversity

Are you confident in adversity? Or do you doubt God's love in allowing trials to come? Yet Paul gives three good reasons why God allows us to go through adversity.

1. Adversity Is A Proof Of Salvation - It shows that we are on God's side. Jesus Christ suffered, shouldn't His followers also suffer? Satan opposed Jesus Christ and he opposes Christians too.

2. Adversity Is A Privilege From Christ -  Jesus Suffered and died for us. God has given us the privilege of suffering for Him. Should we not accept His gracious gift?

3. Adversity Is Paul's Experience - We are not the only ones suffering. People have suffered and died for Christ all down the ages. Presently millions suffer for their faith. Why shouldn't we? I Trust that each of us will conduct ourselves as heaven's citizens and soldiers. I pray that we will display purity and strive for unity as we share the Gospel.

Benediction  1 Peter 5:10-11

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