Weds 18th October Philippians 1:27-30
Meditation on Philippians 1:27-30
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
J B Phillips translates this opening sentence as:
‘But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the Gospel of Christ.’
The Living Bible translates it as:
‘But whatever happens to me, remember always to live as Christians should’
Remember that Paul is in prison but he longs to see the Christians in Philippi. He doesn’t know whether that is going to happen, so he leaves it open by challenging them - and us - to think about how we live as Christians.
What does it mean to ‘live as Christians should’?
We will come, next time, to Paul’s great statement in chapter 2 as to what the gospel is as we think about the example of Jesus.
Let’s cast our minds back to the life of Jesus and think about the example He has set us.
- Humility – ‘He humbled Himself…’
- Commitment – to God and to others
- Obedience – “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.”
- Compassion – He never turned anyone away. ‘When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed those who were ill.’ Matthew 14:14. ‘Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’ Matthew 15:32
- Serving others – In the upper room, He washed His disciples’ feet, saying, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15
- Selflessness – ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’ Philippians 2:3-4
- Love – see what people said at the graveside of Lazarus. ‘Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him.”
- Listener – He listened to God and He listened to the people He was with.
- Sacrifice – He went to the cross, bearing your sins and mine so that He could bring us to God His Father.
- Forgiveness – Hear Him pray while on the cross: “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
You may be able to add to all that but that’s a good starter!
As Peter reminds us in his first letter: ‘For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.’ 1 Peter 2:21
But living the Christian life is not to be in isolation from other believers.
Paul longs for the Philippian Christians…
- to stand firm
- to be united
- to work together
How? By allowing the Spirit of God to bind us together as one people. Paul recognises that this is a challenge.
He uses two phrases to point that out.
- ‘striving together…’
- ‘without being frightened…’
He recognises that there will be those who oppose us in our Christian lives.
Sometimes, we may oppose ourselves because we are not ‘living as Christians should.’
Paul makes it clear that those people who oppose the good news of the gospel will face the judgment of God. He uses very strong language in verse 28 – ‘this is a sign to them that they will be destroyed…’
A footnote in my Bible comments on this…’Persistent opposition to the church and the gospel is a sure sign of eventual destruction, since it involves rejection of the only way of salvation.’
For us as Christians, the judgment against us for our sins has been taken by the Lord Jesus when, in His death on the cross, He cried “It is finished”.
We will have to give account for how we have lived as followers of Jesus but our sins have been dealt with – they are gone for ever. Praise the Lord.
This compels us to share the good news of Jesus with others.
Paul makes it clear that ‘living as Christians should’ may involve suffering for the sake of the gospel. This was Paul’s experience as he is in prison for his faith.
We may not face prison for our faith but thousands of our brothers and sisters are – let’s pray with them and for them.
We are living in an increasingly secular country and there are many challenges ahead of us.
God help us to stand firm on His truth and to work together for the sake of the gospel.