Philippians 1:27, “27 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,”
As we continue today, our study of Philippians, we come to a passage that gives the first indication there may be disunity that Paul is addressing. Our passage today Phillippians 1:27 provides the first indication of such disunity and Paul’s response to it. Moving on into the body of his epistle, the Apostle Paul encourages the church at Philippi to be of “one mind” and “one spirit” because he had received news of some disagreement in the Philippian church.
To be clear here, we do not know what the problems were at this church but Philippians 1:27 does demonstrate the gospel of the Lord Jesus has an ethical content. The Lord saves his people from disobedience to obedience which means there is a “manner of life” that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). As one commentator rightly said, the gospel is the “organizing norm” of the Christian church and we falsely profess the name of Jesus if we do not live out the implications of the gospel message.
There is only one gospel of God (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:6-9), which is to say there is only one body of saving truth that is the foundation of our lives and the basis for the Christian’s heavenly citizenship. The gospel the truth from the Lord Jesus is our only hope in life and death which calls us to strive valiantly for its defense and proclamation (Philippians 1:27). Christians in first-century Philippi needed to be reminded of this because of the pride they had in their status as a Roman colony. The great Caesar Augustus established Philippi as a colony and its citizens were tempted to put there hope in Roman citizenship even when Caesar’s demands conflicted with the gospel. The Philippian Christians need to be reminded of the importance of submitting to Christ as their ultimate Lord and Savior not the emperor whom the Roman senate bestowed the same titles. The Philippian Christians needed to strive for the gospel when Rome demanded the Philippians’ ultimate allegiance.
The Philippian Christians could not effectively contend for the gospel as lone rangers but needed to do life with one another. They needed to work together, being of one mind and purpose, refusing to grieve the one Spirit who knits us together in love, unity, and truth (Phil. 1:27). Today we must likewise work hand in hand to defend the truth, striving for unity in love and truth by the Spirit if we are to make a case for the gospel.
We can by no means overestimate our need of the Christian community for our own faithfulness to our Savior in this world. All of the greatest leaders in church history had the support of fellow believers, and they were thereby enabled to stand firm for the gospel in one spirit and mind. We are setting ourselves up for disaster if we believe that we can be lone ranger Christians, so let us work hard for our unity with other believers in the gospel in our local churches