Monday, October 18, 2021

In One Spirit, Side By Side

 Monday, October 18, 2021 Some material taken from Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 2

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,  and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. Philippians 1:27-28

In One Spirit, Side By Side

Last week we talked a lot about what it means to live lives worthy of the Gospel in our own lives. But what does that look like for a community of believers as one? Paul continues with his letter to the church in Philippi with some good advice on how a body of believers can grow and move forward, advancing the Gospel of Christ. 

One thing that Pastor Sam told us yesterday is that Paul thought of his trials and imprisonment as that which furthered the Gospel. This is a prime example of what living worthy of the gospel is. How many of us think that way? When something happens, or when we are in the middle of a trial, do we think of how what we are going through will advance the Gospel of christ? If we are honest, we have a real hard time thinking about much else besides what we are going through. Often we see that in hindsight, not in the thick of it. We usually look back after we have been through it and see where God worked things for His glory, but in the middle we are blinded by the smoke of the fire around us. But we can use what happens in our lives to help others see the goodness of God. If God gives you a painful testimony, you have been given a powerful tool to help others see God. 

Paul was encouraging the church at Philippi to live worthy, even though he was not able to see them in person. He was coaching them on how a church could live worthy together. No matter what happened, they could bond together and advance the Gospel together. Together they could do what alone they might not be able to accomplish. 

Standing firm in one spirit... Paul used “stand firm”, a military term that speaks of the determination of a soldier who stands his ground, to remind the Philippians that the persecution they were experiencing was really a spiritual war.  So often we feel the physical manifestations of the spiritual war that is going on all around us. We forget who our real enemy is. Paul wanted them to remember to stand together, courageously against the hostility they were facing because Jesus had already won the battle. 

Striving Side by Side… Striving side by side together, for a common purpose and a common goal - to advance the Gospel. Anyone who has experienced the love of the fellowship of a body of believers knows the power of commununity. Christians, working together for the advancement of the Kingdom, are extra fortified. Pastor Sam compared them to a football team defensive line. We bond together, arm in arm, side by side. And if one is having a little trouble standing and moving forward one day, then the ones on either side loop their arms together and help them along. Without the side by side part, this won’t work for the church. We are one body and it is so important that we work together for His glory. 

For the faith of the gospel … The gospel is everything. Our purpose here on this earth is to spread His Word - the Gospel. It is worth everything we ever have to go through to do the most important thing. Ministry can cause burnout - even for lay ministers (which is everyone!). It is important to stay focused on what the goal is and why we are doing what we do. It is frustrating at times, people might be rude sometimes, and it will often feel like nothing we are doing is making a difference, but it is, and it is worth it. 

And not frightened in anything by your opponentsThis is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.  We should all live with great courage, rather than in fear. The "opponents" Paul is talking about are likely the false teachers and antagonists that were persecuting them. They opposed Christianity—and Christians—in Philippi.  Living with courage - without fear - is a testimony of our confidence in God and the truth of the Gospel. This courage is noticed by the world around us and often reminds unbelievers of the uncertainty of their own eternity. As always, our lives are a walking testimony for Him. 

Lets all lock arms and move out - spreading the Gospel as Jesus commanded us to do. Standing firm against the oppostition, and striving side by side, without fear as we testify for Him.



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