“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.” Philippians 1:27 ESV
Webster’s defines unity as “a condition of harmony.” In Philippians 1:27, Paul urges the church at Philippi to stand firm, “in one spirit, with one mind.” He wants this church to be unified and for there to be harmony, peace and togetherness. However, why? What is the purpose of this unity? Is it simply to maintain a pleasant atmosphere in the church, where everyone walks around smiling all the time and saying that, “Life is great!" but in reality, your life is a mess and you are just covering up the hurt? No, there is a bigger purpose for unity, the gospel of Jesus Christ! Twice in this verse, Paul mentions the gospel.
First He says, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul is encouraging the believers at Philippi to look to the example of Jesus as their model for behavior. Just a few verses later in Chapter Two, Paul lays out how Jesus came to serve, give and put the needs of others above His own. That even though Jesus was and is God, He willingly put aside His glory for a short time, came to this earth, and was the ultimate example of a servant. Among the many acts of being a servant, Jesus demonstrated the greatest example of serving. He willingly sacrificed His life for us, even though we did not deserve this great act of love or service in any way.
Also, at the end of chapter one, verse twenty-seven, the Philippians are encouraged to be of “one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” This is so key because in my mind it paints a picture of a team moving together towards a goal, trying to accomplish a specific task or purpose. I have three sons and one daughter. My oldest is a boy. He is twelve, almost thirteen, and I have twin boys that just turned eleven; so for many years now, I have had the privilege of helping coach their flag football teams. Their teams have ranged from being the worst team in their division to winning a championship. Nevertheless, through it all, they have been able to learn a great life lesson. That in order for their team to succeed, they need to strive together and work as a team, not as a collection of individuals just doing their own thing.
My encouragement to you is to ask yourself, am I a part of the team here at Sunrise Church? Am I doing my part, to the best of my God given abilities and talents, to further the gospel of Jesus Christ? Or am I a spectator, watching others strive together to reach people for Christ as I sit comfortably, cheering, maybe even booing, and not really in the game? If you are out in the crowd, being entertained, and not really a part of the team, then I encourage you to seek out how you can help strive together with the rest of us to reach the people of our community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Posted on Fri, October 5, 2012
by Kevin Ibanez