We are continuing our study of the Book of Philippians to learn more about Paul’s single-minded faith and joy in the face of all circumstances – even battle! In this short section of Philippians, Paul, once again, reminds the church of Philippi how important maintaining and sharing their faith is especially when they are opposed.
The bold-faced subtitle that typically appears before today’s passage of scripture reads A Life Worthy of the Gospel. The subtitle alone lets us know Paul has something important to share with the church of Philippi, but this isn’t a message just for the church of the past. The message is just as important today.
Paul encourages fellow believers to stand firm - especially as the enemy tries to rob them of faith. Our spiritual enemy wants nothing more than to pull us away from intimacy with Jesus. In this short section of Philippians, the most effective way to win every spiritual battle is by living a life worthy of the gospel.
For this joy-filled series, we are following along with Warren W. Wiersbe’s outstanding commentary of Philippians, Be Joyful: Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy. We encourage you to pick up your own copy to study this book with us. This week we are focusing on Philippians 1:27-30.
Soldiers Defending the Gospel
Wiersbe writes, “The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground.” We tend to forget how following Jesus does not make our lives on Earth easier; it often does just the opposite. In this brief passage, Paul reminds us that we will be opposed, struggle, and suffer for Christ.
However, we are not alone in this battle. Everyone who believes the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is called a brother and sister in Christ. They are also fellow soldiers defending the faith. All who believe are given the same weapons to defend their faith: The Word of God, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit. We are an army and must fight together defending our faith against our common enemy.
“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 the one Spirit.”
– Philippians 1:27a
How differently would you act if you made your decisions based on whether your actions were worthy of the gospel of Christ? As Wiersbe explains, “We Christians are the citizens of heaven, and while we are on earth, we ought to behave like heaven’s citizens.” Not only should we behave this way simply because of our heavenly citizenship, but we should also behave in this manner to show the world we are different.
Our behavior reflects what we believe. Therefore, when it comes to fighting the enemy, our godly life becomes our greatest weapon. Wiersbe writes, “The most important weapon against the enemy is not a stirring sermon or powerful book; it is the consistent life of believers.”
Bottom Line: Stand firm in your faith; be consistent in what you believe and how you behave.
“Striving together as one for the faith of the gospel”
– Philippians 1:27b
Next, Paul explains how believers fight together. Paul preached being single-minded regarding faith. By focusing entirely on Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection, you can find joy no matter the circumstances. Likewise, when we come together with a single-minded faith, we can win victories.
We go further, faster, together!
As believers (churches) strive together in faith, we encourage one another when times are difficult. We squash any attempts of the enemy to stir discord. While we play different roles according to the unique gifts God gave us, we still play on the same team with the same rule book.
As Wiersbe says, “The important word is together: standing firmly together in one spirit, striving together against the enemy, and doing it with one mind and heart.” When we choose to cooperate rather than oppose one another, we are sending a winning message to the world.
Bottom Line: Cooperate with one another.
“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. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
– Philippians 1:28-30
Paul tells you to be confident when you are facing the enemy of your soul. As Wiersbe explains, “the presence of conflict is a privilege; we suffer ‘for his sake’ […] because we are suffering for and with Christ, it is a high and holy honor.” Our confidence comes from the fact that we’re saved for eternity. Any suffering is only temporary. By remaining confident, we are showing the world and our enemies who will be victorious – Christ!
Finally, Paul tells us of his struggles. When we go through battles, it is easy to think we are alone in our suffering. But, Paul reminds us that everyone suffers because of our faith. The next time you struggle, remember you are not alone, and pray for your fellow soldiers in battle.
Bottom Line: You’re not alone!
We experience the joy of “spiritual teamwork” as we strive together for the faith of the gospel. – Warren W. Wiersbe