OceanSide church of Christ
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THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
Guise (Phil. 1:27-30)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Paul shifts gears in this section of his letter.
1. He has been speaking to the Philippians about his present condition. He has reassured them that all is well.
a. The gospel is going forth.
b. He believes that he is going to be released from prison.
2. Paul now turns his attention to the Philippians. In fact, he gives his first command to them in the verses that we are about to study.
B. We have entitled this section, “Guise.”
1. Often when we hear the word “guise,” we think of that which is false.
2. The word, however, can simply mean “manner of life.”
3. Paul begins with these words: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…
4. When we think of our responsibilities as Christians, they can be grouped into three categories.
a. Those dealing with the eternal.
b. Those dealing with the internal.
c. Those dealing with the external.
d. Paul is going to look at two of these areas in these four verses.
C. As we examine this section of the letter, we need to put ourselves in the Philippian congregation. Paul wants us to examine these things as if he were speaking directly to us.
D. Outline of the section:
i. Amenable to the Gospel (Phil. 1:27a)
ii. Attested by Unity (Phil 1:27b)
iii. Audacious before Enemies (Phil. 1:28a)
iv. Affronted by Adversaries (Phil. 1:28b)
v. Advantaged to Suffer (Phil. 1:29)
vi. Associated with Paul’s Example (Phil. 1:30)
I. AMENABLE TO THE GOSPEL (Phil. 1:27a).
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…
a. Strong (3440): merely :- alone, but, only
b. Thayer: only, alone, but
c. This word may originate from a word meaning “sole” or “single.”
2. “…the apostle is focusing upon the singular idea of the Philippians conduct-ting themselves in a way that reflects the good news of Jesus Christ” (Stewart, 210).
3. TEV: “Now, the important thing…”
4. In the first part of the chapter Paul focused on the preaching of the gospel. Now he centers upon living the gospel.
B. Let your conversation
a. Strong (4176): to behave as a citizen
b. Thayer: to behave as a citizen, to avail one’s self of or recognize the laws, to conduct one’s self as pledge to some law of life
2. Thinking of themselves as citizens would be a value highly prized by the citizens of Philippi.
a. They understood what it meant to live as citizens of Rome.
b. Aristotle said that the city-state is “the most supreme of all [fellowships]…”
3. NOTE: In the Apocrypha, this word is applied to the Jews who lived in accordance with the Law, being faithful to God’s covenant.
4. This is a heavenly citizenship (Phil. 3:20), but it is to be lived out on earth.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Lesson: The Christian has dual-citizenship: his country and his Christianity. We must always give priority to our citizenship in heaven.
C. Be as it becometh
a. Strong (516): appropriately :- as becometh, after a godly sort, worthily
b. Thayer: suitably, worthily, in a worthy manner
c. This word is used 5 other times in the New Testament. Most of the time it is translated as “worthy manner” (Rom. 16:2; Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; I Thess. 2:12; III John 6).
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
a. Being a Christian is a privilege which brings with it responsibility.
b. Paul believed that Christians had the ability to live in a worthy manner before God.
c. “To live as a heavenly citizen in ‘a manner worthy’ of the good news of Jesus Christ is to appropriately respond to His message through a life of gratitude, conviction, obedience, and service” (Stewart, 214).
d. “A worthy life is not a perfect of sinless life, but rather a life with godly direction, purpose, and aim” (Phil. 3:12-16; I John 1:5-2:2; Titus 2:11-12). (Stewart, 213).
D. The gospel of Christ
1. The gospel is our standard for living. It behooves us to study it, learn it, and practice it in our daily lives. If we do not, we cannot live worthily.
2. “What are some of the things we should know about the Christian’s manner of life? The book of First Peter addresses the subject with clarity and force…Peter used a little word ‘as’ to picture the manner of life of the Christian” (East Wood church of Christ, Vol. 63, No. 15, April 14, 2013, “The Christian’s Manner of Life,” Bobby O’Dell).
1) As obedient children (I Pet. 1:14)
2) As newborn babes (I Pet. 2:2)
3) As sojourners and pilgrims (I Pet. 2:11)
4) As brethren (I Pet. 3:8)
5) As good stewards of the grace of God (I Pet. 4:10)
6) As those willing to suffer for Christ (I Pet. 4:16)
3. NOTE: It is interesting that the theme of Philippians is rejoicing. Here, Paul ties that theme with the obligation of living as it becomes the gospel. Part of our ability to rejoice involves obedience.
II. ATTESTED BY UNITY (Phil. 1:27b)
…that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.
A. If the Philippians lived in harmony with the gospel, Paul was certain that he would either see or hear about the results.
B. The worthy life will be attested to by their unity.
1. If Paul came to them, he would see it.
2. If Paul were absent, he would hear about it (See III John 4).
3. LESSON: Our obedience and ultimate unity should not be predicated upon the presence of a particular individual. It is a “desire” that all should have because he/she is citizen of a heavenly country.
C. There unity would be displayed in two ways.
1. Stand fast in one spirit
a. Stand fast
1) Strong (4739): to be stationary, that is, to persevere
2) Thayer: to stand firm, to persevere, to persist, to keep one’s standing
b. This could be a military term.
1) Paul used the word to encourage Christians in steadfast perseverance (I Cor. 16:13; Gal. 5:1; I Thess. 3:8; II Thess. 2:15).
2) They were faithful soldiers who would not abandon their posts.
c. Their unity is seen in their being steadfast “in one spirit.”
a) Strong (4151): mental disposition
b) Thayer: the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one.
2) Attitude is just as important as the doctrine that one holds. Let a bad attitude affect just one member of the church and many can feel it. It also has a tendency to alienate brethren.
2. With one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
1) Strong (5590): soul
2) Thayer: the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul)
3) “The translation of psuche as ‘mind’ captures the unity of thinking and purpose that Paul is advocating” (Stewart, 216).
b. Striving together
a) Strong (4866): to wrestle in company with, that is, (figuratively) to seek jointly
b) Thayer: to strive at the same time with one another
2) Two word pictures capture the meaning of the word
a) A phalanx, a formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and spears
b) The Greek word is one from which we get our terms athlete and athletics. Thus, the word emphasizes training, teamwork, and strenuous effort.
c. For the faith of the gospel
1) For the faith which is based upon the gospel or for the faith which is the gospel
2) The objective body of truth
3) Paul says that there is “one faith” (Eph. 4:5).
4) The Philippians were to use a united front in spreading, defending, and living the Christian life. NOTE: There is not one standard for you and another for me. There is not one standard for the leadership and another for the members.
III. AUDACIOUS BEFORE ENEMIES (Phil. 1:28a)
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries…
a. Strong (3367): not even one thing
b. Thayer: no body, no one, nothing
a. Strong (4426): to frighten
b. Thayer: to frighten, affright
c. Robertson: The metaphor is that of a timid or scared horse
a. Strong (480): to lie opposite, that is be adverse, repugnant to
b. Thayer: to set over against, opposite to, to oppose, to be adverse to, with stand
B. Why is it that we are terrified of our enemies?
1. They often appear to be stronger than we are.
2. They challenge us at a foundational level, threatening our core beliefs.
3. They are usually very bold and outspoken.
4. They can often inflict some type of pain in our lives.
a. If the Philippians were not members of one of the trade guilds, they might not find work in Philippi.
b. If they did not worship Caesar as god, they could be turned in as traitors.
C. Paul wants them to be terrified “in nothing.” This is a lofty challenge.
1. It will warrant great faith.
2. It will involve people of knowledge that results in conviction.
3. It will require effectual fervent prayer.
4. It will call for individuals to see beyond this world into the world to come.
5. Acts 20:22-24
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
IV. AFFRONTED BY ADVERSARIES (Phil 1:28b)
…which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
A. When the Christians were not terrified by their adversaries, they often had to suffer affliction from the hands of their enemies.
1. Peter and John continued to preach the gospel in the temple after being commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus. Because of their courage, they were beaten (Acts 5:40).
2. In Lystra, Paul could not be intimidated by the Jews and was stoned and cast out of the city, supposing he was dead (Acts 14:19).
B. These afflictions were an “evident token of perdition” to the adversaries.
1. Evident token
1) Strong (1732): indication :- proof
2) Thayer: demonstration, sign, proof, evidence
1) Strong (684): ruin or loss
2) Thayer: perishing, ruin, destruction
2. Two views:
a. The enemies saw the afflictions of the Christians as a sign of their destruction.
1) Here is where the affront would come by the enemies.
2) Laughter, scoffing, and the constant tempting from the enemies to give up the faith because it was not beneficial, but only brought ruin to the child of God.
b. The afflictions placed upon the Christians by their adversaries were a sign of the perdition to come upon the adversaries as the opponents of God’s people.
C. The Christians saw their persecution in a different light. To them it was proof of their ultimate salvation that they would receive from God.
1) Strong (4991) rescue or safety
2) Thayer: deliverance, preservation, safety…future salvation, the sum of all the benefits and blessings the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.
b. Their salvation came from God. He was the originator and executor of the wonderful plan that redeemed man from sin and evil.
c. It is this view of suffering that enabled the saints to endure their afflictions. Instead of terror filling their hearts, their hearts swelled with joy knowing that salvation awaited them in the hereafter.
V. ADVANTAGED TO SUFFER (Phil. 1:29)
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.
A. For unto you it is given
1. The Greek word from which we get the words “is given” is from a root meaning grace.
a. Strong (5483): to grant as a favor, gratuitously, in kindness
b. Thayer: to do something pleasant or agreeable to one, to do a favor to, to give graciously, give freely bestow
3. “The combination not only…but also indicates that the Philippians would readily identify faith, the first term on the list, as a gift from God. Paul emphasizes that suffering, the second item, is just as much a gift from Him” (Stewart, 222).
B. In the behalf of Christ
1. Because of Him and for Him…for His sake
2. This phrase is used several times in several different ways.
a. …for righteousness’ sake (Matt. 5:10)
b. …for my name’s sake (Matt. 10:22)
c. …for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Matt. 19:12)
d. …for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6:22)
e. …for the kingdom of God’s sake (Luke 18:29)
f. …for hope’s sake (Acts 26:7)
g. …for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake (Rom. 15:30)
h. …for this body’s sake (Col. 1:24)
3. We suffer
a. For His honor and glory
b. Because He is higher and holier
c. Because He is deserving
d. Because it makes us like Him
e. Because of what is to come
C. Paul notes two gifts that Christians have “in behalf of Christ.”
a. Personal faith is not given in a direct way by God to the believer.
b. The believer does not receive the actual faith that Jesus possessed while He lived on the earth.
c. God has given man the capacity to have faith, the object of faith, and the means of possessing faith, the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
d. Christians rejoice in this gift from God. We are glad that God has provided the means for us to have faith because we can be saved from our sins.
a. To suffer is also a gift from God. It is a “grace” not a disgrace.
1) I Peter 4:16
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
2) The example of the apostles (Acts 5:40-41; See also Phil. 3:10)
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
b. Suffering will come in many forms.
a) Strong (3958): to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful)
b) Thayer: to be affected, to have a sensible experience…in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight
2) Criticism, slander, lies, evil speaking, ridicule
3) Rejection, alienation, being forsaken, betrayal
4) Removal of personal property, loss of job, destitution
5) Persecution, abuse, beating, physical harm
6) Imprisonment, exile
c. Suffering is the logical end of a follower of Christ living in a hostile environment: darkness, sensual, carnal, sinful, evil, violent, and self-serving.
d. NOTE: God does not take pleasure in our suffering. “Instead, He takes pleasure in the enduring commitment of His children who serve Him re-gardless of the consequences” (Stewart, 222).
VI. ASSOCIATED WITH PAUL’S EXAMPLE (Phil. 1:30)
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
A. The Philippians had the same conflict Paul had.
1. Perhaps the conflict was with the Roman authorities.
a. The Greek word is “agone.” It is the word from which we get “agony.”
1) Strong (73): a place of assembly (as if led), that is, (by implication) a contest
2) Thayer: any struggle or contest, a battle
c. This term is a military term. Portefaix writes: “This theme, as used by Paul, not only caught the interest of his audience but it emphasized and illustrated the necessity of unity within the church. The metaphor of war gave those addressed the idea of combatants fighting shoulder to shoulder in massed formation where solidarity is essential for victory” (as quoted by Stewart, 224).
B. Their present battles associated them with Paul’s example both past and present.
1. Which ye saw in me. When Paul entered into the city of Philippi the first time, he suffered persecution (Acts 16:19-40; I Thess. 2:2). Many of the Philippians had witnessed his persecution.
2. Now they heard of Paul afflictions which he was presently undergoing in Rome.