"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel (1:27-30) INTRODUCTION 1. Up to this point in his epistle, Paul has been informing the church at Philippi concerning his situation 2. We have seen that his attitude was one of joy and confidence 3. With verse 27, Paul begins a series of practical exhortations concerning the Christian life 4. The first exhortation is found in verses 27-30, and it pertains to "Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel" (please read) [As we examine these verses, let's first notice some...] I. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING OUR "CONDUCT" A. LOOKING AT THE WORD "CONDUCT" ITSELF... 1. The KJV translates this word as "conversation" 2. In the Greek, it literally means "behave as citizens" 3. To those at Philippi, this word would likely have special meaning... a. For the city at Philippi was a Roman colony b. Most of its citizens were actually transplanted citizens of Rome, retired soldiers who had been encouraged to settle there c. So though they were living in Philippi, they were expected to "behave as citizens" of Rome 4. Paul applies this term to the life of a Christian... a. Whose "citizenship" is actually in heaven - cf. Php 3:20 b. So though we may live on earth, we are to "behave as citizens" of heaven! 5. This leads us to our next observation... B. OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CITIZENS" IS TO BE "WORTHY" OF THE GOSPEL... 1. This implies that there is behavior that is NOT worthy of the gospel! 2. And to act unworthy of the gospel would bring shame upon the gospel! a. Just as an American citizen who misbehaves in a foreign country sheds a bad reflection on his home country b. The apostle Peter would have us remember the importance of proper conduct as we "sojourn" here in a country not our own - 1Pe 2:11-12 3. If we are NOT "behaving as citizens" in a manner "worthy" of the gospel, then the only alternative is behaving in an "UNworthy" manner! C. OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CITIZENS" IS TO BE WORTHY "WITH OR WITHOUT" THE PRESENCE OF OTHER CHRISTIANS... 1. Note that Paul said "whether I come and see you or am absent" 2. Paul evidently did not want their faith to be simply an "environmental faith" 3. What is an "environmental faith?" a. A faith totally dependent upon the environment 1) E.g., remaining faithful while under the positive influences of one's home, church, or "Christian" college 2) But take that person out of such an environment, and his or her faith is lost! b. Some signs of an "environmental" faith 1) Praying in public, but not in private 2) Studying the Bible when at church, but not in private 3) A lack of personal closeness and dependence upon God and Jesus Christ 4. Paul's hope was that the Philippians' "behavior as citizens" was not dependent upon his presence 5. Likewise, our behavior should not be dependent upon the presence of other Christians, but upon the presence of Christ alone! [Having considered these "general" observations about "Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel", let's now look at...] II. SPECIFIC OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING OUR "CONDUCT" A. IT INVOLVES "STANDING FAST IN ONE SPIRIT" (27) 1. "Behaving as citizens" involves "standing fast" against those things which would beset us: a. The lure of the world in which we live, with its immorality and materialism b. The sin of unbelief, which can strike at even the most mature Christians, during crises of doubt c. The deceitfulness of false doctrines, showing great promise but leading us away from Christ -- All such things we must "stand fast" against! 2. Note also that we must stand fast "in one spirit" a. We are not to stand strong by ourselves, in isolation from one another, but in UNITY! b. Unworthy conduct usually begins when we neglect the blessings of fellowship and togetherness c. The importance of UNITY in our conduct will be developed further in this epistle B. IT INVOLVES "WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL" (27) 1. "Behaving as citizens" includes: a. Aggressively promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ ("striving") b. Doing this in unity with other Christians ("together with one mind") 2. Our conduct is unbecoming the gospel if we are: a. NOT striving for the faith of the gospel b. NOT doing it in unity with other brethren 3. Do we not see here the need for "identifying with a congregation" and closely working together with them? 4. Are those who drift around from church to church, never "placing membership", truly behaving in a conduct worthy of the gospel? C. IT INVOLVES "NOT IN ANY WAY TERRIFIED BY YOUR ADVERSARIES" (28-30) 1. Christians walking in a manner worthy of the gospel will not be troubled by those who may ridicule or even persecute them! a. For even though the world may consider such "fearlessness" as evidence that we are crazy... b. Such courage is actually evidence of our salvation!
- cf. Mt 5:10-12 2. There may come times when we who have been "granted to believe in Jesus" are also "privileged to suffer for His sake" a. Such was the case with Paul, and evidently the Philippians as well b. Should it ever be our "lot" to suffer for Christ, remember that it will be a "privilege" c. Therefore our attitude should be like that of the apostles in Ac 5:41-42 CONCLUSION 1. So here are some of the things involved as "behaving as citizens" of the kingdom of heaven, and having a "conduct worthy of the gospel of Christ": a. Standing fast in one spirit b. With one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel c. Not in any way terrified by our adversaries -- And this being the case, no matter what the "environment" (moral climate) might be! 2. This is certainly not all that is involved, for in chapter two we will learn more of what is expected of Christians 3. But in view of these things... a. Is our conduct worthy of the gospel of Christ? b. Are we behaving as citizens of heaven while sojourning on this earth? If not...could it be that we have forgotten the privileges we enjoy by "believing in Jesus" and even "suffering for Jesus"?