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Philippians 1 Verses 27 to 30 Standing Firm and The Marks of a Great Christian Church

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The Christian life is not a playground but a battleground with the Church's greatest testimony being integrity

Philippians 1 Verses 27 to 30 Standing Firm and The Marks of a Great Christian Church January 24, 2021 Class Presentation Notes A
Main Idea: The Christian Life is not a playground but a battleground
Study Aim: To understand that the church’s greatest testimony is spiritual integrity.
Focus Thought: The most important weapon against the attacks of Satan is the consistent life of believers.
Create Interest:
· Paul was in prison facing punishment for a capital crime with a strong chance he might be executed. Today’s verses are thoughts in that letter.
· What would you say if you were writing to a group of God's people for possibly the last time?
o The Philippian church was a great church being challenged by outsiders and folks within the church with impure motives. Paul wanted it to remain strong. Therefore, he reviewed with them the marks of a “great” Christian church.
· The story is told of a man who had several sons who were always squabbling. Their disunity was hurting the family business on which they all depended for their livelihood. The father called his sons together and handed a thin bamboo cane to the strongest of them. "Snap that cane," the old man said. Thinking his father had taken leave of his senses, the young man complied. The old man tied two thin bamboo canes together. "Snap these," he said. Again, the young man had no difficulty. The father kept adding more and more canes to the bundle. Soon the son was sweating and straining to snap them and before long he found the task completely beyond his strength. Singly or in small bundles the canes could be snapped easily, but united the canes had more strength than the young man had. The object lesson needed no comment. Does this apply to our lesson…let’s find out
Historical Context:
· Philippi was a proud Roman colony. In fact, it was famous as a miniature Rome. A city became a Roman colony by one of two ways. At first Rome founded colonies throughout the outer reaches of the Empire to keep the peace and to guard against invasions from barbaric hordes. Veteran soldiers, ready for retirement, were usually granted citizenship if they would go out and settle these colonies. Later, however, a city was granted the distinctive title or a Roman Colony for loyalty and service to the Empire. The distinctive thing about these colonies was their fanatic loyalty to Rome. The citizens kept all their Roman ties: The Roman language, titles, customs, affairs, and dress. They refused to allow any infiltration of local influence whatsoever. They totally rejected the influence of the world around them. They were Roman colonists within an alien environment.
· The Philippian Christians were citizens of two worlds. They were citizens of the Roman world and they were citizens of the world that ruled Paul's desires. The two worlds were at war. The Christians' heavenly citizenship had to take priority over their human citizenship, as the powers that be soon came to understand. The Caesars could not tolerate this priority even though the Christians' heavenly citizenship made them better human citizens, better neighbors, better workers, better soldiers, better teachers, better parents, better children. At the height of the Neronic and other persecutions, the line between the two worlds was so clearly drawn that Christians refused to offer even a merely symbolic pinch of salt on a pagan altar
· In a Roman colony like Philippi, the issues would be clear even before formal persecution broke out. The church at Philippi had been born amid harassment. There Paul had been beaten and imprisoned and there too he had been forced to make one of his rare appeals to his own Roman citizenship. His heavenly citizenship did not annul his human citizenship. Although he was not of the world, he was yet in the world.
· Like the Roman citizens, the church members were heavenly citizens in an alien environment….Paul now writes into that world and ours today to give direction.
Bible Study:
Philippians 1:27 (NASB) M 27 Only conductyourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
· Up to this point, the book of Philippians has been mostly autobiographical. At verse 27, Paul shifts direction to an application of spiritual truths for his readers. He shifts the focus from our privileges, such as choosing joy regardless of our circumstances, to our obligations as the Church, the active body of Christ’s people on Earth directed by the Holy Spirit as we allow.
· In the verses we will study today, Paul alludes to the marks of great church.
· The first mark of a great church is found in verse 27in the word “conduct” translating the Greek word, “politeuesthe”. Paul uses the word because it more accurately it means the conduct and behavior of citizenship; the manner of a person’s life, of a person who is the citizen of a great nation.
· A person's manner of living was to be a credit to the Gospel of Jesus. It was to bring honor to Jesus Christ. We are to live consistent as citizens of Heaven.
o Philippians 3:20 (NIV2011) 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
· The Philippian church knew exactly what Paul was saying: they were citizens of heaven. Therefore, they must...
o keep their close ties with heaven.
o speak the clean and pure language of heaven.
o bear the title of heaven, Christian, and do so proudly.
o bear witness to the customs of heaven.
o carry on the affairs of heaven.
o dress as a citizen of heaven.
o allow no infiltration of worldly influence whatsoever.
o live and conduct themselves as a heavenly colony within a polluted and dying environment.
· Let’s look at verses that support this position………………
o Philippians 1:9-10 (NASB) 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
o 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV2011) 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
o James 3:13 (NASB) 13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
o 2 Peter 3:10-15 (NASB) 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
· “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” .
· The second mark of a great church is honoring the gospel. The word "worthy" is translated from (axiōs ) means to fit, correspond, be suitable, be worthy of.
· Paul said we are to “walk worthy” of the God who calls us (1 Thessalonians 2:12; see Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10).
· Axiōs denotes the proper way of receiving and sending (showing hospitality to) itinerant ministers of the gospel. Paul requested the Roman Church to receive Phoebe in the Lord “in a way worthy” (NIV) of the saints (16:2). John instructed Gaius to send them on their way “in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 6, NIV).
· Our lives should reflect Jesus Christ.
· The believer's behavior is to...
o fit the gospel he professes.
o correspond to the gospel he professes.
o be suitable to the gospel he professes.
o be worthy of the gospel he professes.
· No church and no believer within the church is to bring dishonor to the gospel. If a person professes the gospel, he is to live worthy of the gospel.
· His conduct and behavior is to fit and correspond to the gospel he professes
o Lehman Strauss points out that this is the picture of clothing which is so often stressed by Scripture (Devotional Studies in Philippians, p.94). We often say that some piece of clothing is becoming to a person. What we mean is that the clothing matches and enhances the person's looks and personality. The same with the gospel of Christ. If we put on the gospel, we are to visibly wear the gospel. Scripture declares:
o Titus 2:9-10 (NASB) 9 Urge bond-slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
o Colossians 3:7-10 (NASB) 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
§ Anger—This word comes from the Greek word thumoswhich means a blaze of sudden anger or the loss of temper.
§ Wrath—Wrath comes from orge which is a slow burning, long lasting anger that is nursed. This would be similar to bitterness.
§ Malice—Malice is the root of all pervading evil. It is viscousness of mind.
§ Blasphemy—This involves slander of people or gossip.
§ Filthy Conversation—This is foul talk or obscene language.
§ Lying is lying. A good rule of thumb about our speech should be to gauge our speech by three questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it necessary? 3) Is it kind?
· Paul instructs us to put off some things (the negative in Col. 3: 8 above) and to put on some things (the positive in Col. 3:12-14 following).
o Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV2011) 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Thoughts to Soak On:
· Do your spiritual garments "become or are worthy of" your Christian walk and talk in life?
· Are you concerned about adorning the Gospel of Christ by your manner of life as you are your body by the “clothing” you wear?
· Our manner of life either helps or hinders the Gospel. It either recommends the truth to others or else makes the truth repulsive.
· Paul is pleading for Gospel-worthy Christians who will carry on for Jesus Christ without the prop of the apostle's presence. Paul is saying, "Live for Christ whether I am with you or absent from you."
· The desire in the heart of every true Church is to feed those in the body so they can stand alone with God upon His Word.
o It is a grief to any Pastor to have his people take the attitude that they just cannot get along without him. The truth is you cannot get along without Christ!
§ John 15:5 (NIV2011) 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
📷 The church at Philippi felt it owed its existence to Paul. They were in danger of leaning upon him rather than upon Christ.
📷 If they depended upon Paul or any man, their experience was borrowed, and they were parasites.
📷 If they were truly the Lord's, they would look to Him for needed strength and wisdom.
§ Paul hopes to hear a good report of their affairs.
Philippians 1:27 (NASB) 27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
· The third mark of a great church is standing fast (firm/persevere).
· Paul says, "that you stand firm in one spirit." The words "stand firm"are from the Greek word steko which means "to hold your ground regardless of danger." It was used of a soldier defending his position at all costs.
· The basis for this whole plea is the fact that there is a spiritual war taking place. We are to strive as one man for the faith. Christians are engaged in a great conflict as Paul points out in verses 28 and 30. The Gospel does have enemies.
Thoughts to Soak On:
· The church must stand fast in unity: "in one spirit, with one mind."
o One spirit means that all the members of a church must be born again by the Spirit of Christ.
§ All members must have a renewed spirit from the same source, from the same Person. They must all be committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. They must all have a heart given to Him.
o One mind means that all members must be set upon the same purpose; they must all be focused upon the purpose of Jesus Christ.
· The point is this: the worldits people, families, and nations—may be split and divided, arguing and differing, fussing and feuding, fighting and divorcing, warring and killing, seeking and grasping; However,
o The church is not to live that way.
o The church is to be unified; it is to be one in spirit and one in mind; one in heart and one in purpose.
§ 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV2011) 10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
§ 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV2011) 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
§ Ephesians 4:3 (NIV2011) 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
§ Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV2011) 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
§ 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV2011) 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
· The church must stand fast in striving together for the faith of the gospel. The words "striving together" translated from the Greek word (sunathlountes) It appears only twice in the New Testament, both times in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In 1:27 Paul exhorted the Philippians to “strive together,” that is, “stand and contend in unity,” especially whenever the gospel is under attack. Paul also used their “contending together” for the gospel as a basis for encouraging reconciliation between Euodias and Syntyche (4:3).
· The church—every member of it—is to strive for the faith of the gospel: strive, work, struggle, push, exert all the energy possible; everyone cooperating as a unified body. The opposition is difficult; therefore, the faith of the gospel needs every member working and struggling together.
o 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV2011) 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
o Titus 1:13 (NIV2011) 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith
o 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV2011) 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
o 2 Peter 3:17 (NIV2011) 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
o Jude 1:3 (NIV2011) 3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
Philippians 1:28-30 (NASB) 28 in no way alarmedby your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
· Vs. 28: The fourth mark of a great church is courage and fearlessness. Being a Christian believer in a corrupt world is hard. People oppose our stand for Christ and righteousness. It may be next door, in the office, at school or a hundred other places—the Christian believer is sometimes...
• avoided
• ridiculed
• mocked
• isolated
• cursed
• questioned
• abused
• mistreated
• ignored
• neglected
• overlooked
• by-passed
• slandered
• persecuted
• imprisoned
• martyred
· Note the exhortation: we are not to be “alarmed by your opponents”.
· Pturō is not found in the Septuagint and occurs only once in the New Testament, here also in the passive pturomai. In Philippians 1:28 Paul urged the church not to be “frightened” or “alarmed” by unbelieving opponents.
· Whether Paul was thinking of the common use of pturomai for startled horses and using the term metaphorically is uncertain. Even if he was not, his exhortation, which begins in 1:27, suggests a picture:
o Do not let opposition startle you and frighten you away from your posts but stand firm in unity of spirit and purpose to strive for a life worthy of the gospel of Christ.
o "Don't be alarmed/scaredout of your determination to live out your heavenly citizenship by anything your enemies might try to do to you,".
§ Paul was saying. "Their opposition to you is their own condemnation. Your calm collective courage in the face of danger and persecution is a sure token to your enemies of the perdition that awaits them."
· To the enemies of the gospel, the bravery of believers was a witness to the coming perdition of the persecutors.
o To the faithful, the bravery of believers was a witness to the genuine and victorious salvation of the persecuted.
· The bravery of the victims and their spirit of love and forgiveness turned the blood of the martyrs into the seed of the church.
o Nonbelievers had been known to die bravely, hurling defiance and vindictiveness into the faces of their executioners.
o The bravery of the Christians was different.
§ They died with hymns on their lips, forgiveness in their hearts, and the light of Heaven on their faces. As he wrote, Paul could still remember how the face of Stephen had haunted him until he too made peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thoughts to Soak On:
· Persecution is a sign that the persecutors are doomed. And note: it is a sign to them.
o The Spirit of God is able to take their persecution of us and convict their hearts of the evil they are doing.
o Their persecution of a fellow human being strikes the fact of doom and judgment to their hearts: it convicts them, and by that conviction they stand a better chance of being saved.
· Persecution is a sign of salvation for us. Of course, it is not the only sign, but it is one sign. If a believer stands fast in persecution, it is a clear sign that he is being strengthened by the Spirit of God and is a true believer.
· Persecution is a privilege, not a terror. When we are persecuted, we are suffering for Christ, the Sovereign Majesty of the universe.
o Christ is the Son of God, the Lord of lords, the God of the universe, the Sovereign Majesty of all.
o It is a privilege to be numbered among His followers and to represent Him. If we happen to be cornered by some who oppose and rebel against Him, we are not to deny Him, nor be ashamed to own His name. We are not to be terrified by persecution.
o It is the highest honor imaginable to represent and serve the Lord God of all. He is coming soon to subject all opponents and enemies and to rule and reign over all forever. We could have no greater privilege than preparing the way for Him—even if some do oppose us.
· Paul (and others) had left the church a dynamic example to follow in bearing persecution.
o Paul had been arrested, beaten, and jailed when he was in Philippi; and the church had witnessed the whole scene.
§ He bore it all for Christ.
o Therefore, we are to follow in his steps and bear whatever persecution is launched against us—all for Christ.
o The great Christian soldier can bear it—through the presence and power of Christ—bear it as a great Christian soldier for Christ.
§ 1 John 4:4 (NIV2011) 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
· Philippians 1:29-30 (NASB) 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
· When we truly identify with Christ, we will suffer for the Lord.
· Suffering is a price one pays when they sincerely and uncompromisingly identify with Jesus Christ. There are benefits in suffering.
o Suffering shifts our eyes off of earthly comforts.
o It sifts out superficial, fake believers.
o It strengthens the faith of those who endure.
o It serves as an example to those who follow us.
§ Matthew 10:16-20 (NASB) 16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 "But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
§ Matthew 24:9 (NASB) 9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
§ John 15:19-20 (NASB) 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
§ Philippians 1:29 (NASB) 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
§ 2 Timothy 3:12 (NASB) 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
§ 1 Peter 4:12-14 (NASB) 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
§ 1 Peter 4:16 (NASB) 16 but if anyone suffersas a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
§ Psalm 119:86 (NASB) 86 All Your commandments are faithful; They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
Soak on the Following Questions:
· Why does God allow persecution to arise?
· Why is God silent while His people are being tormented?
· Why do the righteous suffer?
· Why do the wicked triumph?
o Paul's answer to all these questions is Christ.
God was silent while Christ shed tears in Gethsemane and while He endured torment on the cross. Out of the darkness came Emmanuel's orphan cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"(Matthew 27:46) Yet out of Christ's agony came a salvation that was to be offered to all mankind.
· Paul looked at suffering for the cause of Christ as a boon.
o The apostle discounted privation, pain, and prisons;
o he discounted persecution in the arena, on the cross, by the sword, and at the stake.
o He was saying to the Philippian disciples that some favored members of the body of Christ were being offered a privilege: they could "suffer for his sake." They could win a martyr's crown.
o To Paul that possibility was not a prospect to be avoided at all costs; it was a privilege to be embraced.
o Suffering for Christ's sake was a gift of God, a gift not given to everyone. "Unto you it is given," said Paul, as though some great advantage were being sovereignly bestowed by God.
· Perhaps Paul had in mind the last beatitudes from the sermon on the mount:
o "Blessed [happy] are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
o Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
o Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
· Christians should feel honored when they are chosen to suffer with Christ, for their reward in Heaven will be commensurate with their sacrifice.
o If believers share in Christ's cross, they will share in His crown.
Philippians 1:30 (NASB) 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
· Paul had every right to be heard on the question of persecution, as he reminded them. Many of them knew how he and Silas had suffered scourging and harsh imprisonment there in Philippi.
· We can imagine that as Paul's words were read, the jailer jumped to his feet and said, "I'll testify to that. I'm here, saved and in the fellowship, and my wife and children too, because of the way those dear men triumphed in prison and over pain!"
· Paul was still suffering persecution as he wrote his letter. If for the moment the prospect of martyrdom had faded, it remained a likelihood later, for Paul was a man who stirred up not only friendship but also hostility everywhere he went.
Thoughts to Soak on:
· You will enjoy a special intimacy with Jesus as you identify with Him through courageous Christian witness.
· Suffering for the sake of the mission does not mean He is abandoning you; rather, suffering is a sign that He is with you
· Jesus calls us all to obey Him, and that will lead to varying degrees of conflict.
· You may face a mild form of opposition, like being mocked, insulted, or ignored. You may face severe opposition, like being tied up by Islamic extremists.
o In every situation, see your suffering as a privilege. We get to suffer for His name.
· In verse 30 Paul tells the church that they were following his own way of life. They knew of his sufferings in Philippi and now in Rome, and he calls on them to share in these sufferings for the sake of the King.
o Paul and the church both received this gift of suffering.
· Full citizenship involves the grace of believing and the grace of suffering, together in the cause of Christ.
o Now let us live in a manner worthy of the gospel together, as we stand against external conflict.
God does not witness to the world by taking His people out of suffering, but rather by demonstrating His grace though them in the midst of pain.
Samuel Storms
God help us to be faithful to Christ, no matter what circumstances we face in our lives. May we stand for Christ, strive together, and be willing to suffer for Him if need be.
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