Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ - Phil 1:27
There's a lot in this passage. Paul talks about suffering for Jesus, which is something he knew quite well. He writes the letter of Philippians while he is in prison, but he actually believes this is a good thing (1:12)! He goes as far as to say that Christians ought to rejoice in suffering (1:18). However, Paul is contemplating his death and believes there is a real possibility that his imprisonment will not end well. This is why he says, for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (1:21). The passage shows Paul's serious meditations on life versus death.
Paul also encourages the Philippian people who may be intimidated by religious opponents (vv. 27-28). These opponents are Jewish leaders who want converted Christians to continue to follow all of the Jewish Law such as fasting, festivals, circumcision, etc. Paul believes these leaders undermine the gospel of grace and force the church into unnecessary conflict. But Paul believes they will ultimately succeed and not be enticed by the false teaching of Jewish leaders.
Paul knows the church can and will succeed in any conflict that threatens the gospel of grace because ultimately Jesus is the one carrying on his message. We do not need to fear false teaching or be intimidated by opponents because Christians have a good and caring God behind them. Furthermore, even in suffering for one’s faith one can rejoice and be happy because of the treasure of Jesus. The message of salvation is powerful enough to carry us through harsh life circumstances, as it did Paul.
When we come across teachings against the gospel (which can be almost every day!), don’t freak out or be afraid. Rest secure in the message of Christ instead of getting angry, impatient, or combative. Also, believe in the success of the local church instead of fearing it’s going to collapse. If the church is rooted in the gospel and committed to God it will be successful no matter what.
Pray we as the church stay true to the gospel and God. Also pray that even in hard life circumstances we can find joy in following God.
More in Michael's Blog
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November 1, 2017Philippians 1:18-30