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 one spirit, contending as one man 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 on 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.
We can have courage in the face of opposition when we all live a life worthy of the gospel because unity drives away fear.
A. Live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Jesus.
· In other words, live a life that doesn’t bring shame to the gospel. Live a life that doesn’t discredit the gospel.
· What kind of a life discredits the gospel? A life that is self-centered and arrogant, pretending to care about others but only being concerned for self.
· What kind of life is worthy of the gospel? A life that worships God, serves others, is righteous, peaceful, loving, hopeful, full of faith. It is a life that gives itself up to God and to others.
· When people live a life that is serves other people and is peaceful and loving and worships God, then those people who live that way will live together in harmony.
B. Be united to one another working for the faith of the gospel.
· Unity results when people strive to live a life that is worthy of the gospel.
· Unity raises flags in the enemy camp and tells them that you are fearless.
· Unity drives the devil crazy because he know that it is harder to defeat people who are unified. (one girl / all girls analogy).
C. Don’t be afraid of people who oppose you.
· When Christians are joined together in unity, the devil will try whatever he can to drive people apart: racism, sexism, class warfare, jocks vs. nerds, cool kids vs. dorks, greenbrier vs. lakeside, etc. He wants to have people see each other as “different.”
· Paul doesn’t say “if you face opposition.” He simply states that opposition will occur because suffering goes hand in hand with having faith and living it out.
· When people are united together in the gospel, they can have courage to face opposition. It is much easier to face opposition with others rather than alone.
1. Live your life the way the gospel shows you how to live. Be a selfless worshipper of God.
2. Support fellow Christians who are also trying to live out the gospel.
3. When trouble comes, have courage and stand up with your fellow Christians.
1. Read verse 27 again. The phrase “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” means to live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. What does a life that is “worthy of the gospel” look like? How does a person act so that their life is worthy of the gospel?
2. What happens when a group of people live their lives like you describe in question 1? (hint: read the last part of vs. 27 again)
3. How does the devil feel when a person lives their life as you described in question 1? How does he feel when a large group of people live their lives this way? Why do you think he feels this way?
4. What are some ways that the devil tries to divide people, especially in middle school and high school?
5. What is something that Paul says Christians will face if they have faith in Jesus? (hint: see the end of verse 29)
6. What can help you tremendously when you are suffering for being a Christian?
7. What practical things can we do to be united with other Christians?