Reading through Philippians chapter one, you will notice a clear theme develop which centres around ‘the Faith of the Gospel’ (1:28).
Over the last 3 weeks we have broken it down into 3 sections, noticeably:
V1-11 The Fellowship of the Gospel
Paul began this letter by saying that the believers in Philippi were all part of the fellowship of the gospel (v5), as they had contributed aid and physical support to him. This is an encouragement that whatever role you have within the body of Christ, you are ultimately helping making Him known.
V12-26 The Furtherance of the Gospel
Paul then focused on how the gospel was proceeding forth even in difficult circumstances. The prison guards were being witnessed to, Caesar household was being affected and noticeably other believers were emboldened as they saw Pauls example. Pauls attitude for victory was “To live is Christ”.
V27-30 Living Worthy of the Gospel
He then focuses on how we represent the gospel in our lives. This is a personal challenge on how we reflect and defend the faith of the Gospel (v28).
Paul saw this as our primary purpose as believers here and now. This idea builds up to Philippians 2:15 were he says:
‘that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world’
We need to realise that as believers, we are on display to the world. How we reflect the gospel is important. Is our ‘conduct’… ‘worthy of the gospel of Christ’? (1:27). I like this poem:
You are writing a Gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do
And the words that you say.
Men read what you write,
Whether faithful or true:
Just what is the Gospel
According to you?
The best Christian witnessing material, whether tracts or YouTube links are no substitute for your own witness by the way you live your life.
In a number of places Paul reminded the church:
‘walk worthy of the Lord’ (Col 1:10)
‘walk worthy of your calling’ (Eph 4:1)
This representation can also be carried into Christian unity. Paul says that we need to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, (1:27)
Our unity (one spirit, one mind) should be wrapped up in our purpose (The faith of the gospel).
Jesus final prayer for the church before His betrayal solidifies this lesson.
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)
Is that what we are ‘striving together’ towards?
Those words in English miss the imagery of the one Greek word ‘Sunathleo’. The meaning: ‘To wrestle in company with’.
So don’t miss what Paul is saying, we are co-athletes focusing on a common goal with a similar adversary. I likened this to a rugby team, with different roles, but a common purpose. Unity and progress comes when everyone works together in their God given positions. All parts are vital.
So let’s pray for this unity as a church and consider what our part on the team is.