Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:26-30 encourages worthy discipleship, calls for unity, courage against the culture, and warns about the cost of discipleship.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls Christ-followers to be worthy of the Gospel

V.27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…

We sometimes act like we’re doing Jesus a favor by following him. But Paul suggests the opposite. Jesus did us the favor. And our lives should demonstrate appreciation.

The Greek word for worthy is axiōs, which means appropriately and after a godly sort.

In other words, does your Christian walk reflect a Godly lifestyle that is appropriate for a Christ-follower? Is your Christian conduct worthy of the sacrifice Jesus made for you?

REFLECT AND RECORD

What does it mean to live a Godly lifestyle? How should that lifestyle present itself at home, work, church and in social settings? How would you rate your walk as worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for unity among Christ-followers

V. 27 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.

Let’s break it down.

Standing firm…

The winds of social change are blowing. But God’s word remains the same. And Paul urges us to stand firm with unwavering moral convictions. While our culture flees from them at increasing speed. We’re pulled to go with the flow. Join the crowd. Because we want to belong. However, standing firm will leave you behind a morally moving culture. And you will have to decide. Go or stay?

One spirit…

Spirit is the Greek word pneúma that means wind, breath, life, and Spirit. It refers specifically to the third person of the Trinity–the Holy Spirit–who indwells every Christ-follower. He guides, encourages, convicts of sin, illuminates scripture and creates a spiritual community among Christ-followers described by the Greek word, Koinonia. The spiritual bond that unifies the church.

One mind…

The Greek word for mind is psychḗ, which means life and soul. The being part of human being. In Philippians Chapter 2, Paul uses a different Greek word for mind that we’ll look at next week. For now, let’s not over think his meaning here. Maybe he’s simply calling for oneness as living souls.

Striving side by side…

The Greek word synathléō promotes the idea of striving, suffering, and working together.

In other words, Christ-followers are individually disciples and corporately the body of Christ. It’s a relationship compared to marriage. And sticks together in good and bad times.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for courage against the culture

V. 28 not frightened in anything by your opponents.

As Paul said in V. 20, he didn’t want to be ashamed, but full of courage. And now he encourages the Philippians not to fear their opponents either.

Easier said than done, right?

Especially in a morally intimidating culture. One that threatens cancellation to gain support for morals that oppose Biblical teaching. So how should we respond? Compromise on convictions? Hold fast, but remain quiet?

Presently, Godliness and Biblical truth are increasingly labeled intolerant. The moral divide between Christianity and culture grows wider. And simultaneously, puts the two on a head-on collision course.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Share a memory on how you navigated social pressure growing up? How does rejection come into play? What is your greatest concern as a Christ-follower in an anti-Christian culture?

V. 28 This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation

When you live a Godly life, it exposes the ungodliness around you. Because you’re a living testimony that glorifies God. And a witness that influences others by your positive example.

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47)

However, others may resist and mock your faith. Exclude you from social circles. And try to take you down. Because righteous living illuminates sin. This where God is your refuge.

You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man. (Psalm 12:7-8)

Philippians 1:26-30 warns Christ-followers about persecution

V. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake

Jesus Christ ultimately suffered for our sake. And Paul says those who follow him may suffer too. Jesus said the same thing.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Christ-followers in other countries already suffer persecution. Although it’s still a religious freedom in America, Christianity has certainly lost favor in the mainstream culture. And is under increasing attack. How should we respond?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Can you remember a time someone mocked you for your Christian faith? How did you respond? How should we relate to others as sinners saved by grace, but disciples of Christ who strive to live righteously?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 2:1-4. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:19-25 expresses Paul’s sense of celebration, identifies his source of strength, and his reason for confidence.

Philippians 1:19-25 surpasses a positive attitude to one of celebration

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. (ESV, Psalm 5:11)

Throughout the Bible, Christ-followers are encouraged to rejoice and express joy. Why? Because a relationship with Jesus Christ releases you from the bondage of sin and grants you eternal life with him. And that should cause an ongoing celebration.

V. 19 I will rejoice…

So Paul ends v.18 and begins v.19 by repeating the same word…rejoice. Just in case you missed it the first time. Rejoice is the Greek word chairo and the Greek word chara is translated joy.

James, the half brother of Jesus, goes more extreme with the idea. He instructs Christ-followers to express joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV, James 1:2)

REFLECT AND RECORD

Consider a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. How would you rate your level of joy as you navigated it? What factors contributed to how it went? What might you have done differently?

Philippians 1:19-25 identifies Paul’s source of strength

V. 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance

Christianity doesn’t pretend you can summon a power from within. Instead, it recognizes that we are weak. Vulnerable. And gain our strength and support from a community of believers and the power of God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul readily and unashamedly identifies his source of strength: the prayers of the Philippian church and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We don’t understand how prayer works. But know that it does. And Paul regularly asked for prayer support in his ministry. Jesus too, regularly prayed and encouraged the same from his followers. And he told several parables about the impact prayer has in the life of believers.

Furthermore, Christ-followers lean on the Holy Spirit for help. In fact the Holy Spirit is often identified by the Greek word paráklētos, which means advocate and helper.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Take a moment to reflect on and describe times when you sensed the prayer of others. What about when you felt weak and the power of the Holy Spirit sustained you. What did you learn about Christian community and the power of God from those times?

Philippians 1:19-25 explains the reason for Paul’s confidence

V. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul is unsure of his future. The Greek word for deliverance in V.19 is soteria, which means salvation. Does Paul mean salvation from prison and physical freedom or spiritual salvation if he’s martyred?

It’s not clear. But he’s good either way.

V. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me

If he lives, Paul will faithfully serve God. He doesn’t plan to retire, kick back, and enjoy the good life. That comes in heaven.

V. 25 I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Rather, Paul feels responsible as a spiritual mentor to the Philippian church. He wants to support and encourage them on a path of discipleship that is characterized by joy. And demonstrate a Christian life that serves as an example. One still worth following today.

In what ways do you encourage others in the Christian faith? Would you describe your witness as someone who cowers or stands courageously for Christ? How well do you exemplify what discipleship looks like?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:26-30. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18 conveys Paul’s passion in sharing the gospel. And how the message is delivered despite his imprisonment and the rivalry of other preachers.

In Philippians 1:12-18 Paul presents a positive attitude despite his circumstances

Difficult circumstances challenge your attitude. And this impacts how well you navigate those circumstances. Because they cause self-pity. Which makes your attitude worse. And piles on more self-pity that spirals down the drain of depression.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Think about a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. What impact did your attitude have on how well you navigated it? How did it resolve? What part did your Christian faith play in getting you through it?

V. 12 What has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel

The Greek word for advance is prokopēn and means advancement in spite of barriers that hinder progress.

What barriers and hinderance does Paul mean? Well, he’s in prison. And sitting in a jail cell instead of out preaching is a hindrance and barrier to evangelistic progress. As well as an attitude killer that could easily plunge him into a downward spiral. But he refused to take that path and instead, made the most of his circumstances.

The Praetorium refers to the residence of the Roman governor and the Praetorian guard was a branch within the Roman military assigned to the security of the imperial family. Paul is under their supervision while he waits for his trial.

So he shares the gospel with the soldiers guarding him. And the captivity you’d expect to halt spreading the gospel becomes the expression that carries it forward.

Chains for Christ…

Furthermore, it grows clear his only offense is a passion for sharing the gospel message. You can almost imagine the soldiers exchanging prisoner updates during their shift change. “Good luck with the crazy preacher and his Jesus resurrection story.”

Do you see the irony? The amazing paradox of God’s truth? That a prisoner shares with his captors how to experience true freedom?

Philippians 1:12-18 demonstrates how Paul’s attitude positively influenced others

Hang around someone down in the dumps and they can drag you down too. But those with a positive outlook will lift you up. Provide encouragement in your difficulties. And that’s the approach Paul took.

V. 14 Are more bold to speak the word without fear

Paul’s determination to share the gospel and his enlistment of the Praetorium guard to serve in his salvation army was inspiring. It influenced other Christ-followers to share their faith as well.

And you have a sphere of influence too. Your family…friends…co-workers. Are all watching you. Taking some of your cues. Following your behaviors. Receiving your messages. What kind are you sending?

Of course, Paul’s boldness for Jesus Christ landed him in prison. Although we don’t face those dire consequences, our culture is growing increasingly hostile to Christ-followers. To God’s truth. And pushing us to make a public choice.

Will I stand up for Christ or bow before the culture?

Philippians 1:12-18 tells us about rivals with selfish motives.

V. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheía which means self-seeking. It tells us not everyone sharing their faith did so with the same motives as Paul. It was true then and now.

Selfishness and rivalry are everywhere. Even In ministry. Between churches. Among church people.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some selfish ambitions you see within the church. How are rivalries played out? Describe your thoughts on what motivates them.

But aren’t we all on the same team? Yes. But we’re all still sinners. With different views on scripture, sense of God’s calling, and motives. Which aren’t always pure. Because–come on, be honest–we all struggle with selfish ambition.

And it taints our motives. Even in how and why we serve.

Is there motive you have that is not so pure right now? If so, confess it to God and seek his forgiveness.

Philippians 1:12-18 provides the antidote to self-seeking ministry and rivalry.

V. 18 whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Paul affirmed the believers who shared their faith with pure motives and called out those with impure motives. But he didn’t judge, which gives us an example to follow. Instead, we should examine our own motives, ask God to purify our hearts, and commit ourselves to His service.

Keep in mind this wasn’t the first time people used religion for self-gain. Jesus’ response to temple money changers demonstrates God’s view towards religious opportunists.

And even though Paul recognizes the religious opportunists were personally attacking him, he didn’t let it drag him down into a ministry rivalry. But flipped it into something positive. How?

By keeping his eyes on the mission and glorifying God for the results rather than who gets the credit.

This should represent our primary ministry goal although it will present a major, ministry challenge. And yet, offer us the greatest reward and sense of satisfaction in the Kingdom of God.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:19-25. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:6-11

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the good work God started among church members, encourages them to continue in the faith, and offers practical advice.

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the idea of God’s work and presence in Christ-followers

V. 6 He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

What good work is Paul talking about?

My Background on the book of Philippians blog article introduces three people: Lydia an entrepreneur, a fortune teller slave girl, and a Roman jailor.

What do they have in common?

They all decided to follow Jesus when Paul shared the gospel with them. That’s the good work Paul talks about. Have you made that decision? When you do a spiritual transformation takes place in your life.

And your journey begins as a saint, which is described in Philippians 1:1-5. It’s an ongoing process of transforming into the image of Jesus. Paul is confident because the work of the Spirit is active and ongoing in the life of devoted Christ-followers who are molded into the image of Christ.

Read Galatians 5:22-23 to see what this transformation looks like.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Which of the fruits listed appear in your life? Which ones are lacking?

Paul is confident God will continue working in the life of the Philippian church. But reminds them it is an ongoing process in this life and only completed in the next.

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the expression of God’s love in the life of Christ-followers

V. 9 I pray that your love may abound…

The Greek word for love in is agape and describes God’s unconditional love. It is the love God has for mankind. The love that motivated Him to offer His son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sin. And the love He expects Christ-followers to express towards others in an abundant, overflowing supply.

Agape love is better described by your actions–how you treat others–than your feelings for them. But your feelings–or affections–are for Jesus Christ. So you treat others with respect and in a loving manner to demonstrate your love for Christ.

Is there someone in your life God is nudging you to express agape love towards? Take a moment to pray for that person and ask God to reveal what agape love might look like in that relationship.

Philippians 1:6-11 advises the Philippian church how to live as disciples of Jesus

V.9 …more in knowledge and all discernment

The Greek word for knowledge is ginosko, which means to know and understand. And the Greek word for discernment is aisthanomai, which means to perceive and understand. But aisthanomai also includes the idea of judgment in decision-making. In other words, first you must know the difference between right and wrong and then exercise good judgement in applying it to life circumstances.

Take a moment to reflect on the two words. How have you demonstrated them in your own life?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe occasions when the two words synced together and when they did not.

V. 10 …approve the things that are excellent;

The Greek word for approve is dokimazo, which means to put to the test. It’s often used in relation to testing coins–determining what is genuine. And the Greek word for excellent is diaphoroteros, which means great, honorable, and what matters.

In other words, Paul encourages the saints to know God’s word, understand its meaning, and discern how to apply to the important matters in life.

V. 11 …being filled with the fruits of righteousness…

The Greek word for righteousness is dikaiosune and in this context implies your character and actions. Doing what’s right and pleasing in the eyes of God.

God’s Spirit transforms your character. One that strives to please God by knowing and properly applying His word. Which in turn, further transforms your character. It is never a straight, smooth line upward, but a jagged one of ups and downs. But through God’s power and by His grace, keeps ascending until you finally meet Jesus face to face.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:12-18. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Finding Grace: A Christian Detective Novel

Finding Grace: A Christian Detective Novel

Finding Grace is a Christian detective novel. And this is the first chapter. Finding Grace is the second novel in a series that began with Soul Pursuit. Finding Grace and Soul Pursuit are both available on Amazon.

~ONE~

I sat in an upright positioned, recliner chair across from Charles and Deborah Miller who rigidly shared the couch. We were in a well-appointed living room in their Washington Township home, which was tastefully decorated in the latest fashions and highest standards of home design. 

There was a lever on the right side of the chair for reclining in different layout positions, a semi-layout for comfortable reading, and a complete layout for napping. And in between positions, if you weren’t fully committed to either and wanted to nap with an open book in your lap.   

I resisted the urge to pull the lever.

Relaxing before an uptight couple wasn’t a good idea. Not sure if they were uptight because of their situation or just in general.  

Maybe both.

They looked composed at the moment. Charles looked trendy in his business casual slacks and Polo shirt, while Deborah, tastefully put together wearing a dress and makeup, would fit right in at a Junior League luncheon. But I sensed they were tightly wound, like two coiled springs about to release. Might be good to avoid that.

Deborah’s hands were folded in her lap, but in a constant, wringing motion. Charles sporadically tapped his right foot on the carpet. Fast tapping for a minute and then slower, more purposeful the next. Fluctuating emotions in syncopated rhythm. His foot was the drum major. Keeping time to whatever tune was playing in his head.

They had invited me in, politely introduced themselves and asked me to sit. I was unsure who was supposed to start the conversation. I decided to let them, which led to an awkward silence. But now I felt obligated to it.

They called this meeting, and I was an audience of one. So, I wore my professional mask, inoffensive, non-committal, and politically neutral.  

Charles finally spoke.

“Our daughter is a freshman at the University of Dayton,” he said, “and we’ve lost contact with her. Haven’t heard from her in weeks.”

“Did she stop calling suddenly or gradually over time?” I asked.

“Gradually,” Charles answered.

“She’s a commuter,” said Deborah, “and at the beginning of the semester, she was home every night and most weekends. But as she made friends, she began staying with them on campus.”

“For campus social life,” I said.

“We expected her to engage socially,” said Charles. “That’s a part of college. At first, she called us regularly. But as the semester went on, it became less frequent. Until nothing.”

“Were you concerned when the calls became less frequent?”

“Not at first,” said Deborah. “Grace told us she was studying more on campus and joining campus activities. We thought it good she was becoming her own person.”

“When did you suspect things weren’t right?”

“We began to notice a difference in her when she came home,” said Charles.

“And one time when I called her at school, she was…out of it,” said Deborah.

“Like drunk or high?”

Deborah swallowed and looked at the floor. It was hard for her to admit. But she forced it out in a voice just slightly above a whisper.

“Yes.”

“How long since nothing?” I asked.

“Six weeks,” said Charles.

“Was she dating anyone? Any reason to believe someone would hurt her?”

“No to both,” said Charles. “She’s a good kid. But she’s never had this much freedom over her schedule before.”

“And maybe it’s gotten a little out of control?”

“Yes.”

“Did you file a missing person’s police report?”

“Of course,” said Charles.

He was getting defensive. Did he think I was questioning his commitment to being father of the year? I nodded in affirmation and widened the smile. A little less benign. A bit more sincere with a touch of empathy.

Of course, you’re father of the year. Husband too. Best boss ever. All-around good guy. And by the way, I accept check, cash, credit card and App payments.

“Routine investigation didn’t reveal anything,” he said. “At least nothing that indicated foul play. The detective told us college kids go through all kinds of adjustments. Especially freshmen. Said if we wanted something more thorough, we should consider a private detective.”

Charles tapped his foot faster and Deborah’s hand wringing turned white knuckled. More tightening. If they sprung now, they’d shoot through the ceiling.

Behind them on the couch, a large picture window presented a breezy Autumn day in Dayton, Ohio. The neighbor across the street was blowing leaves from his front yard to the curb, where a city truck would vacuum them up and haul them away for recycling. There was a sparse covering of leaves on the yard. The two large trees in the front yard were still over half-full. I congratulated myself for thinking half-full rather than half-empty. He could have waited longer to let more leaves fall before raking or blowing. But every homeowner was different. This one was probably a neat-freak extraordinary. Behind him, the yard was spotless. And he was halfway to the street with a neat line but was suddenly encountering two problems.

First, the leaves were slightly wet making them heavier and harder to blow. Second, he was blowing into a head wind. So, as the leaves launched into the air, they curled in the wind and floated back towards him, landing at his feet and even behind him. There was a rake leaning against one of the trees. An obvious solution. But he wasn’t having it. He had paid for this state-of-the-art technology and by golly, he was determined to use it.

Man and technology against nature. Old man and the sea. Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

 Maintaining the neat line was growing difficult and it clearly agitated him as he sped back and forth, trying to keep it together and move forwards towards the curb. I could see a lot of agitation on both sides of the street.  

Dude, It’s okay. Use the rake. It’s not a sign of weakness.

But no. He was all in with the leaf blower. Except nature was blowing back and winning.

I refocused on Charles and Deborah.

“Assuming no foul play, any thoughts on what’s going on with Grace that might contribute to a disappearance?”

“She was struggling emotionally,” said Deborah.

Deborah’s hands reflected the intensity of her emotions. The higher the emotion, the greater the hand wringing. Was it her fault? Charles’s fault? Their fault?

“I…uh, our marriage has been struggling too,” said Charles.

“More like unraveling,” said Deborah.

“It’s taken an emotional toll on Grace,” Charles said. 

“What did you expect? Learning that all those nights you said you were working late…you weren’t working.”

His face clouded.

“So, you start an affair as revenge and that’s supposed to help?”

They separated a little further on the couch and turned slightly to face one another. I was neither a marriage counselor nor a referee but wished I had a whistle to call a time out. Another awkward silence. Except this one bristled and I braced for ugly.

The neighbor across the street was making progress. He was down to two especially stubborn leaves. Big, wet, broad leaves that clung stubbornly to the grass, and when he did get a pocket of air underneath, curled up into the wind and blew right back to him.

Only two leaves, Dude. Pick them up and walk them down to the curb.

But there was a principle here. A contest. He had established rules that must be followed. An unbreakable code. And apparently, picking up the leaves and carrying them to the street was a violation. He must win the battle with technology.

But his blower lacked the air power to overcome the wind. Rather than admit defeat, he grew angry and more determined. He started punching the blower at the leaves like that extra umph would make the difference. And somehow, it worked. Or maybe the wind just died down. But regardless, the two leaves scooted steadily towards the street, and I silently cheered for him.

C’mon, Dude. You can do it. Keep delivering those air punches. They’re working.

Finally, the remaining two leaves were on the pile. The man turned to survey the yard. Victory at last. While the couple I faced looked more defeated.

“Does Grace have friends on campus I can talk to?”

“Susan and Julie were girls she knew. Fellow Centerville High School graduates a couple of years ahead of her. She stayed with them several times.”

Charles handed me a piece of paper with the names of the two girls and their cell phone numbers. The air was thick with tension. And I said the only thing I could think of to ease it.

“I’ll find her for you.”

Click here to purchase a copy of Finding Grace on Amazon.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.