Becoming the Gospel

I. The church at Philippi has been a companion of Paul’s ministry in the Gospel.

A. Paul uses a number of terms to describe this “fellowship” in ministry.

1. The “fellowship” in the gospel (Philippians 1:5)

2. The “defense and confirmation” of the gospel (Philippians 1:7)

3. The “furtherance” (advancement) of the gospel (Philippians 1:12)

4. The “defense” of the gospel (Philippians 1:17)

5. The “faith” of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27)

6. The “service” in the gospel (Philippians 2:22)

7. The “labour” in the gospel (Philippians 4:3)

B. Paul tells the church of their security and growth in God’s Kingdom.

1. There is promise of Christ’s eternal “keeping” and “performing” the work that God started in us (Philippians 1:6)

2. There is the promise of growing and abounding in knowledge and righteousness (Philippians 1:9-11)

3. There is “expectation” of and “hope” in the eternal promises of the Creator that brings not “shame” but “boldness” (Philippians 1:20)

4. The life of the twice born is uniquely connected to the death of Christ, and will because our life is empowered by Christ’s life, will produce “fruit” (Philippians 1:22)

5. The “rejoicing” becomes “more abundant” as long as fellowship in the ministry continues (Philippians 1:25-26)

II. The “citizenship” of the church at Philippi has certain responsibilities (Philippians 1:27-30).

A. This passage is a command to the church upon which the remainder of the book builds.

1. There are several important terms in the initial command (1:27)

a. “Only” is an adverb not an adjective or interjection. It modifies (limits) the “conversation.”
b. “Conversation” (KJV) is the Greek politeuomai, and its various forms always mean “conduct as a citizen.”
1) But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people. (Acts 21:39)
2) And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. (Acts 23:1)
c. “Becometh” (KJV) is the Greek axios and always has the idea of “worthiness.”
1) Ephesians 4:1 -- I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called
2) Colossians 1:10 -- That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God
3) 1 Thessalonians 2:12 -- That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory

4. A good translation of this opening command might be:

a. “You must conduct yourself only as a citizen worthy of the Gospel of Christ”

B. There then follows several characteristics of a “worthy citizen.”

1. We must “stand fast in one spirit.”

2. We must have “one mind”

3. We must” strive together for the faith of the gospel.”

4. We must not be terrified by our “adversaries”

5. We must appreciate the “favour” of “suffering on behalf of Christ”

III. The series of “citizenship” responsibilities are significantly important.

A. We are to “stand fast in one spirit” (Philippians 1:27)

1. “Stand fast” is a colloquial term generally equivalent to our “hang in there” or “dig in your heels” or “hang on.”

a. 1 Corinthians 16:13 -- Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
b. 1 Thessalonians 3:8 -- For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
c. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 -- Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

2. “One spirit” is more probably “one attitude” rather than the Spirit of God.

a. There is no definite article “the” preceding “spirit.”
b. The translators chose not to capitalize “spirit.”
c. There is no qualifying adjective (“Holy”) preceding the noun.
d. 2 Corinthians 12:18 -- I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
e. Colossians 4:13 -- We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak

B. We are to have “one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

1. The Greek word is psuche = “soul” – often translated “life” or “heart.”

a. John 15:13 -- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
b. Acts 4:32 -- And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
c. Ephesians 6:5-7 -- Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;  With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

2. The “striving together” merely means “working together”

a. Having a common labour – a common goal
b. Philippians 4:3 -- And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

C. “The faith of the gospel” is a more definitive phrase.

1. Although “faith” (Greek, pistis) is used repeatedly in the Scriptures to equate with “belief” or “trust” – whenever it is proceeded by the definite article, “the” (as in “the faith”) – it almost always means “the body of doctrine, the teachings of Scripture” by which the Truth of God is conveyed.

2. Acts 14:22 -- Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

3. Acts 16:5 -- And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

4. 2 Timothy 3:8 -- Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

5. 2 Timothy 4:7 -- I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

6. 1 Peter 5:9 -- Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

7. Jude 1:3 -- Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

IV. We should not be “terrified” but “favoured” by the opportunities to witness.

A. The “adversaries” are merely giving “evidence” of their damnation.

1. 1 Corinthians 16:9 -- For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

2. 1 Timothy 1:10 -- For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine

3. Philippians 3:18 -- (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: ()

B. These “adversaries” should not cause us “terror.”

1. The Greek word is (pturo) and is only used this once.

a. The Greek word is derived from (ptuo), and is translated “spit.”
b. The possible imagery would imply a sudden “explosion” of fear.

2. There are similar passages that used different terms.

a. Acts 9:6 -- And he [Ananias] trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
b. 2 Peter 2:10 -- But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

C. The “favour” (is given – charis) is to “suffer” for Christ sake.

1. 1 Peter 2:21 -- For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps

2. 1 Peter 4:1-2 -- Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

3. 1 Peter 4:12-19 -- Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13  But rejoice….on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified….if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf….Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

4. 1 Peter 4:10-11 -- But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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