Philippians: Real Joy in Real Life
Part Three – Philippians 1:27-30
Live in a manner worthy of the gospel!
- We have a very great and incredible calling!
Key Verse: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27a
Yes, live in a way. . .
– that is constant with the values and teachings of the New Testament
– that would promote and make the gospel look attractive (Titus 2:1-10)
– that would honor Jesus
“Live out your citizenship – the heavenly one of course – in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Gordon Fee
- “Whatever happens”
“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.”
– By “whatever” Paul is saying that regardless if the persecution ceases, continues or intensifies, they were to live by the values of their heavenly citizenship (27)
– They were also to understand that being persecuted was a sign that they would be saved by God (28)
– Furthermore they were to understand suffering as a “privilege” (29) knowing that God can use it for good (see 1:12, 24, etc.)
III. “Gospel” (good news)
– The gospel is all about Jesus
– The gospel is the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus.
– The gospel is the good news that through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to God and enter into a life changing, and everlasting relationship with Him.
– The Gospel is of ultimate importance! (It must be passed on)
- In more specific terms what would it mean for us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.
- loving people in practical ways (1:9)
- serving the interests of others (2:3-4)
- avoiding grumbling and complaining (2:14-15)
- rejoicing in the Lord (4:4)
- learning to be a contented person (4:12-13)
The New Testament is filled with many other specific ways we can conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel including embracing the very things God has uniquely planned in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10)
In the passage before us (1:27-30) living a life worthy of the gospel includes being united in our efforts to spread the gospel
– Let everything we do become a “mission trip” (Matthew 28:18-20)
– We need to pray for opportunities to tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:18-20)
– We need to live in a way that would honor Jesus (Philippians 1:27-30)
CHRIST BEING OUR HELPER WE CAN!
Life Group Study Questions:
Discuss this question: Why do people tend to get very passionate (i.e. excited, mad, offended) when they discuss politics?
Politics often touch people’s emotions for at least two significant areas of our lives (of course there are many other reasons too). These include: 1) our core values and our vision of what we believe to be right and wrong with the world; and 2) what we believe needs to change in our world, and how that should come about.
Paul’s ultimate – the thing that makes life worth living, that he loves wholeheartedly – is not his own comfort (prison wasn’t comfortable) or freedom (“umm…jail…hello”) or even his own happiness (these ‘happenings’ were not exactly ‘happy’). Paul’s ultimate his is his relationship with Jesus, which flows outward and influences every other part of his life. And because of this, he has this joy of growing deeper in his relationships with other believers, of seeing people come to trust Jesus more and loose their fear of speaking about Jesus, and of seeing this good news of Jesus spreading (see 1:12-26). Now, Paul turns to the Philippians and begins to discuss their situation. And it gets…political.
The believers in Philippi are not just to live as good citizens of their city. That’s a given. As followers of Jesus, they are now called to a new standard for their living. Biblical scholar Gordon Fee rightly translates what Paul is saying in v.27 in this way: “Live out your citizenship – the heavenly one of course – in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
“If the word does have political connotations, then Paul is telling the Philippians to govern their lives according to the gospel rather than according to society’s requirements for being a good citizen of Philippi.” – Frank Thielman.
- In vv. 27-28, what does Paul hope to see is the case for the Christian community in Philippi when he comes, or to hear as a report about them? Consider how the church is to function ‘internally’ (i.e. how believers are functioning in relation to each other), and how they are to response to pressure ‘externally’ (how they are functioning in relation to their ‘opponents’- likely those who are saying that this new faith in Jesus is out of sync with their commitment to the Roman Empire).
- What sorts of behaviors threaten to weaken the internal unity and harmony between Christian people within the church today? How do Paul’s instructions in 2:1-4 help to addresses these?
- What kinds of issues or pressures do Christians that you know face while trying to live our society? What word of encouragement do we hear for us in this text?
- Read Phil 1:29 again. Paul makes a claim in this section of the letter that is likely very challenging. Christians are “granted” not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for him. How does that sit with you? Why do you think you feel the way you do about what Paul is saying here – that Christians are “granted” to suffer for Christ?
- In Acts 5, we read of how the apostles faced persecution. Read the conclusion of their trial before the Sanhedrin in 5:40-42. Why do the apostles rejoice here? Do most Christian you know think that ‘suffering’ for Christ is something to consider with joy? Why or why not?
- Context is always ‘key’ for interpreting difficult verses like 1:29. In the previous section of the letter, Paul speaks of his time in chains that results from seeking to advance the gospel (“I am in chains for Christ.” Phil 1:12-13). So now, just as Paul learned to “read” his difficult situation as participation in Christ’s mission (cf. Phil 1:12-16), so too the Philippians are to join in Paul’s “struggle” to make the good news of Jesus known in their city – as they seek to live out the ways of Jesus (1:27-30).
How might living according to the good news of Jesus, or seeking to make him known, be challenging in our world today? Think about what that means here in Canada and in other places in the world too.
- How do you think this verse might continue to be an encouragement to Christians who are facing severe persecution in other countries as they live for the gospel?
How can it encourage you to participate in Christ’s mission here in Kamloops?
Take some time to pray as a group that you each will be bold in sharing your faith, and be able to make unity between believers a priority, and not be fearful of any opposition.