Philippians 1:27
Nevertheless, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Sermons
Thoughts Suggested by His CaptivityR. Finlayson Philippians 1:12-30
Practical Counsel for Holy and Consistent LivingT. Croskery Philippians 1:27, 28
A Call to a Four-Fold Manifestation of Spiritual LifeJ. Parker, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
A Life of Consistency, Unity, and CourageD. Thomas Philippians 1:27-30
A Minister's Desire on Behalf of His PeopleT. Woodroffe.Philippians 1:27-30
Christian CitizenshipJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 1:27-30
Christian Conduct is Made Up of Little ThingsPhilippians 1:27-30
Christian ConsistencyG. J. Procter.Philippians 1:27-30
Christian ConsistencyI. Spencer, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
Christian ConsistencyJ. Lyth, D. D., R. Treffry.Philippians 1:27-30
Citizens of HeavenA. Maclaren, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
CitizenshipJ. B. Norton.Philippians 1:27-30
Concord in the ChurchJ. Daille.Philippians 1:27-30
Conversation Becoming the GospelW. Cadman, M. A.Philippians 1:27-30
Conversation Becoming the GospelPhilippians 1:27-30
Conversation Becoming the GospelW. Jay.Philippians 1:27-30
Exhortation to UnityV. Hutton Philippians 1:27-30
Means in Aid of the Propagation of the GospelJ. Thomson, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
Ministerial SolicitudeT. Mortimer, M. A.Philippians 1:27-30
Stand FastJ. Daille.Philippians 1:27-30
Striving TogetherG. J. Procter.Philippians 1:27-30
Striving Together for the Faith of the GospelW. A. Snively, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
The Gifts of Faith and of SufferingR.M. Edgar Philippians 1:27-30
The GospelC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:27-30
Unity and ActionW. Leask, D. D.Philippians 1:27-30
Only let your manner of life be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.

I. THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS THE TRUE STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN PIETY AS WELL AS "THE POWER OF GOD TO SALVATION." It is so:

1. By virtue of the doctrines it reveals for our comfort.

2. By virtue of the precepts it inculcates for our guidance; for it embodies in itself that which is at once "the law of Christ," "the law of love," "the law of liberty."

3. By virtue of the privileges it confers to secure holy living.

4. By virtue of the prospects it holds out as "a recompense of reward.

II. CHRISTIAN LIFE MUST BE ORDERED ACCORDING TO THIS STANDARD, The original term suggests membership in a society, according to the idea of privilege which makes believers fellow-citizens of the saints." Our practice must accord with our profession. Like the gospel of Christ, we must be true and faithful, peaceful and loving, gracious and humble. Our walk must be consistently the same, whether our religious guides are present or absent.

III. THE CHRISTIAN WALK IS TO MANIFEST ITSELF IN A FIRM AND SOLID UNITY. "That ye stand fast in one spirit." There were divergences of action, if not of thought, manifest among the pious Philippians, which made it necessary to counsel them to a steadfast unity of position and effort. We cannot grow in grace unless we live in peace, and we cannot hold our ground against the rushing tides of worldliness and sin which threaten to overwhelm us unless we are strongly rooted in Christ and his gracious gospel. This stability of position will have a twofold effect.

1. It will enable us to fight in concert for the faith of the gospel. "With one soul striving in concert with the faith of the gospel." If there was to be striving at all, it must not be in a way of contention, but of united endeavor to promote and defend the cause of Christ. Unity immensely enhances the power of the truth. This language implies

(1) that there is "one faith;"

(2) that it is worth striving for, as it contains the message of mercy to man;

(3) that it is injurious to piety to undervalue truth;

(4) that the stability of Churches as well as individuals depends much upon unity of faith;

(5) that there may be a oneness of heart under intellectual differences.

2. It will make you superior to the fears of adversaries. "And in nothing terrified by your adversaries." There will be no wavering on your part, through the assaults of unbelieving Jews or Gentiles. There is a double argument or encouragement here presented: "seeing it [your fearlessness] is to them an evident token of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that of God."

(1) Their fearless maintenance of the truth, implying as it did the power of the gospel in their hearts, would be a proof to the adversaries that they merit destruction by rejecting it and by continuing steadfast in their wickedness. The sentiment is parallel with that in the Thessalonian Epistle, in which the suffering endured through the envy of the Jews was "a token or proof that God will inflict heavy punishment on the adversaries of the Christian faith' (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

(2) It was also a proof that the God who now sustained them would finally reward them. This implies

(a) that suffering Christians will certainly be saved,

(b) and that their salvation will be great as well as certain. - T.C.







Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ
I. TO HOLINESS (ver. 27). As if he had said, I have one dominating wish in reference to you.

1. It is well to know what God's princes wish for us. The noblest desire one man can cherish for another is that he may be like Jesus.

2. There is but one ideal life in the Church. But here is a difficulty: how can the lowest copy the highest? Would it not have been wiser to have set forth a man who excelled in one moral feature, and to have said, "Transcribe that," and so on until all the graces had been gradually acquired? Is not the setting forth of absolute perfection exorbitant and demanding too much from the helpless sinner? Let us see. What does moral perfection begin in? It begins in the disposition, the will, the heart. If you are urged to escape from polar winter to tropical summer, it is not meant that the journey is to be accomplished at a stride, but step by step. When a child is required to be perfect as a musician it is not intended that in one day his uncrafty fingers should liberate the angel strains. So with the growth of the acorn into the oak. And so when our Saviour tells us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect He means that we are to grow in grace. In all our growing and striving Christ Himself is with us, and His grace is all-sufficient.

II. TO UNANIMITY (ver. 27). This is not monotony. The root of true unity is oneness in the love and service of Christ. Christendom is in reality one, though apparently many. The coat is of many colours, the heart is one. This is particularly seen in the time of threatened danger. The armies of defence have never come from any particular section of the Church. How illogical the decision to have nothing to do with religion because the Church is divided. There are so many styles of building, and so many modifications of those styles, some Doric, others classic — are people so perplexed with these varieties as to renounce architecture altogether and resolved to reside in the open air? Try the same with clothing, patriotism, business. Do men give up commerce because some tradesmen are insolvent? Do you give up housekeeping because some chimneys smoke?

III. TO COURAGE (ver. 28). Timidity is a symptom of moral feebleness, an impediment in the path of moral progress. Timidity on the part of one may dishearten the courage of a multitude. It arises from distrust in God. How many a man of noble powers and enlarged culture, for want of strength in a crisis, the courage to utter the decisive word, fails and trembles, and becomes the prey of the mean.

IV. FEARLESSNESS IN THE STRIFE IS TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH MAGNANIMITY IN ENDURANCE (vers. 29-30). The strong in heart are called to suffer. Suffering is an education, a means of grace. Think of the hidden and silent heroism that is going on day by day. How many a man otherwise mighty fails in suffering!

(J. Parker, D. D.)

There was one drawback to the apostle's delight in thinking of the Philippians. It was not doctrinal unsoundness, or denial of his authority, but the spirit of social rivalry and partizanship. This he hints at by the recurrence of the word "all" in the former part of this chapter, and he now deals with it in a most delicate but effective way. He shows, in a manner which they as Roman citizens were quick to understand, the leading duties of gospel citizenship and their enforcing motives.

I. THE DUTIES OF THIS CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP.

1. Stand firmly by the charter of your citizenship — the gospel — all of you, all together. Be a compact body. The apostle puts stress upon the Christian spirit as the outcome of the Christian faith, and does not dream, like some recent men, that the one can exist apart from the other.

2. Be unitedly zealous for the common faith. Zeal for the truth is not only to impel them to stand by the truth, but to make it known. There is a zeal which begins and ends with self, or which will show itself in its own way only, and a zeal which spends itself not so much against the common foe as against those of their own party who differ in minor things. What the apostle commends is a right kind of zeal rightly directed.

3. Be bold in facing your foe. The opposition was formidable — Jews and Gentiles singly and combined; the attack was likely to be sudden.

II. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH THEY ARE ENFORCED.

1. An attention to these duties attests their true apprehension and enjoyment of Christianity itself (Philippians 2:1).

2. The power of Divine love.

3. Obedience to those duties will bear witness to the reality of their communion with God.

4. It is also thus a true testimony to the compassion and tenderness which Christ alone puts into men's hearts.

5. Doing thus you will make my cup of gladness run over.

(J. J. Goadby.)

The meaning is, Play the citizen in a manner worthy of the gospel. Paul does not mean, of course, Discharge your civic duties as Christian men, though some Christian Englishmen need that reminder; but their city was the heavenly Jerusalem.

I. KEEP FRESH THE SENSE OF BELONGING TO THE MOTHER CITY. Paul was writing from Rome, where he might see how the consciousness of being a Roman gave dignity to a man. He would kindle a similar feeling in Christians.

1. We belong to another polity than that with which we are connected by the bonds of sense.

2. Therefore it is a great part of Christian discipline to keep a vivid consciousness that there is an unseen order of things. The future life is present to an innumerable company.

3. There is a present connection between all Christians and the heavenly city. The life of Christian men on earth and in heaven is fundamentally the same; in principle, motive, taste, aim, etc. As Philippi was to Rome, so is earth to heaven, a colony on the outskirts of the empire, ringed round by barbarians, and separated by seas, but keeping open its communications, and one in citizenship.

4. Our true habitat is elsewhere; so let us set our affections on things above. The descendants of the original settlers in our colonies talk still of coming to England as going "home," though they were born in Australia and have lived there all their lives.

5. How need that feeling of detachment from the present sadden our spirits or weaken our interest in things around us? To recognize our separation from the order of things in which we "move" because we "have our being" in that majestic unseen order makes life great, not small.

II. LIVE BY THE LAWS OF THE CITY.

1. The Philippian colonists were governed by the code of Rome. They owed no obedience to the law of the province of Macedonia. So Christian men are not to be governed by maxims and rules of conduct which prevail in the province, but from the capital.

2. The gospel is not merely to be believed, but to be obeyed. Like some of the ancient municipal charters, the grant of privileges and proclamation of freedom is also the sovereign code which imposes duties and shapes life. A gospel of laziness and mere exemption from hell is not Paul's gospel.

3. That law is all-sufficient. In Christ we have the realized ideal, the flawless example, and instead of a thousand precepts, all duty is resolved into one — be like Christ.

4. Live worthy of the gospel, then. How grand the unity and simplicity thus breathed into our duties.

5. Such an all-comprehensive precept is not a mere toothless generality. Let a man try honestly to shape his life by it, and he will find soon enough how close it grips him. The tiny round of the dewdrop is shaped by the same laws which mould the giant planet.

6. It is an exclusive commandment, shutting out obedience to other codes, however common or fashionable. We are governed from home, and give no submission to provincial authorities. Never mind what people say about you, or what may be their maxims or ways. The censures or praises of men need not move us. We report to headquarters, and subordinate estimates need be nothing to us. We appeal unto Caesar.

III. FIGHT FOR THE ADVANCE OF THE DOMINIONS OF THE CITY.

1. Like the armed colonies which Rome had on her frontier, who received their bits of land on condition of holding the border against the enemy, and pushing it forward a league or two, so Christian soldiers are set down to be "wardens of the marches," and to(1) stand fast — maintaining our ground and repelling all assaults.(2) This successful resistance is to be in one spirit, inasmuch as all resistance depends on our spirits being rooted in God's Spirit, in vital union with whom we may be knit together in a unity which shall oppose a granite breakwater to the inrushing tide of opposition.(3) We are to carry the war onwards, striving together for the faith of the gospel.(4) There is to be discipline and compact organization like that of the Praetorian guards.(5) The cause for which we are to fight is the faith of the gospel — either its sum and substance or the subjective act of trust in it — to unitedly contend for its growing power in our own heart and the hearts of others.

2. Such work is ever needed, and never more than now, when a wave of unbelief seems passing over us, and when material comfort is so attractive. Close your ranks for the fight.

IV. BE SURE OF VICTORY.

1. "Terrified" refers to a horse shying or plunging at some object. It is generally things half-seen, and mistaken for something dreadful, that makes horses shy; it is usually a half-look at adversaries and a mistaken estimate of their strength that makes Christians afraid. Go up to your fears and speak to them, and, as ghosts are said to do, they will generally fade away.

2. Such courage is based on a sure hope. "Our citizenship is in heaven." The outlying colony knows that the Emperor is marching to its relief.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE APPROPRIATE METAPHOR. The Church is a city, set on a hill. The Divine mind has expended infinite treasures on it. It is a masterpiece of perfection. Its foundation is Christ.

1. We expect to see order in a city: so there must be laws and government in the Church.

2. There is to be beauty in a city: so all excellence should be in the Church.

3. In a city we expect commerce; so the Church is to send her merchandise to all parts.

4. In an imperial city we look for the residence of the sovereign, and this is the comfort of the Church — "The Lord of hosts is with us."

5. As it is a city, it is a place of chartered privileges — the free gifts of the reigning monarch.

II. THE GENERAL DIRECTION. What does this venerable citizen say to his fellow citizens? It is not the profession of citizenship that will avail.

1. With regard to your principles: God gave His Son to die for you rebels; therefore you owe your lives to Him.

2. Let your conversation be as becometh the privileges of the gospel — how varied and rich they are.

3. Let it be as becometh the holy practice required by the gospel. "Let your light so shine," etc.

III. THE PARTICULAR ENUMERATION.

1. Steadfastness. I never knew a man who was always changing whose piety was deep and sincere. Be steadfast in your attachment to

(1)your own Church;

(2)its doctrines;

(3)its discipline.

2. Unity

(1)of judgment;

(2)of affection.

3. Energy and activity.

(T. Mortimer, M. A.)

I. WE HAVE A DUTY. We are citizens of no mean city (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 12:23). What an unspeakable privilege; our duty is to act up to it (Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).(1) Let it be seen in your life that you are men of other principles than those of the world.(2) By acting on other principles than those of ambition, ease, selfishness.(3) By being men of other habits (Philippians 3:18-19) — unworldly, spiritual: in the home, in business, etc.

2. Remember that the glory of the gospel is connected with the conversation of its professors. A treasure is entrusted to you; do not tarnish it, lose it, barter it.

II. SOME PARTICULARS OF OUR DUTY SPECIFIED. "That ye stand fast." It is easy for a man to be obstinate and head strong in maintaining his own opinions; but the difficulty is for a man to stand fast in the gospel, viz. —

1. In one spirit — a steady union of affection (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:46), without jarring or discord.

2. In one spirit for the common faith. When a man's opinion about the things of the world is attacked, how ready he is to defend it, but what a cold indifference there is about Christian principles.

III. THE DESIRE EXPRESSED FOR THIS GOSPEL CONVERSATION. "Only." Paul seems to have lost sight of other themes — only let me see this, and I shall be happy. This was comprehensive of everything else.

(T. Woodroffe.)

(Text in conjunction with Philippians 3:20.) Paul was a Roman citizen. By virtue of this, be possessed rights, privileges, and immunities denied to strangers. He now turns it to spiritual account.

I. TRUE BELIEVERS ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. Here they are strangers and pilgrims. Their thoughts and affections point to the heavenly Jerusalem. But they cannot say with Paul, "I was free born." Like the captain, "With a great sum they obtained this freedom" (1 Peter 1:18-19). It is the believer's interest in Christ, the purchaser of his freedom, which constitutes him a citizen of heaven.

II. CITIZENS OF HEAVEN SHOULD REFLECT IN THEIR LIVES THE DIGNITY AND HOLINESS OF THEIR CITY. As royal children they must behave royally. We do not expect princely bearing in the pauper, and we look only for earthly mindedness in the citizens of earth. When Alexander was asked to run in the Olympic games, he replied, "I will if kings are to be my antagonists."

III. HEAVEN'S LAWS FOR THE LIFE OF ITS CITIZENS UPON EARTH ARE CONTAINED IN THE GOSPEL OF THEIR KING. The one great law of which all the rest are only particular applications is "Christ our life." "He left us an example."

IV. LIVES WHICH HARMONIZE AND ILLUSTRATE THESE LAWS ARE WORTHY OF THE HEAVEN TO WHICH THEY BELONG. Lessons:

1. Prize the privilege.

2. Study the laws.

3. Live the life.

(J. B. Norton.)

Consider —

I. THE GOSPEL in —

1. The dignity which it confers.

(1)What we are by nature — children of wrath, aliens, slaves of sin.

(2)What we are by grace — children of God, citizens of heaven, kings and priests unto God.

2. The knowledge it communicates.

(1)The mystery of godliness — God manifest in the flesh.

(2)The "mystery of the gospel" — the union between Christ and His people.

(3)The mystery connected with the resurrection.

(4)The "mystery of iniquity."

(5)The mystery of providence — "All things work together for good," etc.

(6)The "mysteries of the kingdom."

3. The spirit it enjoins. Peace with God, joy, God's love, the manifestation of the mercy we enjoy, walking in love, blamelessly.

II. THE ATTENDANT ADVANTAGES.

1. Stedfastness. Changing circumstances, heresies, worldliness, try this stability.

2. Unity.(1) Every individual soldier must remember that he belongs to the army.(2) In order to this unity there must be personal consistency and individual value of the truth. "One mind," viz., that which was in Christ Jesus.(3) Mutual effort.

3. Zeal for the success of the truth.

(1)Defending its purity.

(2)Extending its blessings.

(W. Cadman, M. A.)

I. WHAT IN THE GOSPEL MUST OUR CONVERSATION BECOME?

1. The doctrine of the gospel. Living as those who believe —

(1)That Christ is the Son of God and man (John 1:14).

(2)That He died for sin, even for ours; that He rose again, ascended, and will come again to judge the world.

2. The discipline of the gospel. That all things be done —

(1)Decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).

(2)In faith (Romans 14:23).

(3)In love (Ephesians 5:2).

(4)In humility (Philippians 4:1-2; Luke 17:10).

(5)To the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 5:16).

3. Our expectations from the gospel. Live as those who expect (1 John 3:4) —

(1)Pardon (Ephesians 1:7).

(2)Acceptance (Galatians 2:16).

(3)Peace with God (Romans 5:1).

(4)Joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:16-17; 1 Peter 1:8).

(5)All the graces of the Spirit (1 Peter 2:9).

(6)A joyful resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

(7)Eternal happiness.

4. Our profession of the gospel, for which we have these rules.

(1)In departing from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19).

(2)In being new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).

(3)In loving Christ above all things (Luke 14:26).

(4)In denying our selves, taking up our cross and following Christ (Matthew 14:24).

(5)In bearing much fruit (John 15:8).

(6)In being holy in all manner of conversation (1 Peter 1:15); in thought (Proverbs 12:5; Philippians 4:8); in affections (Colossians 3:2); in words (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:29); in actions (Titus 2:11-12).

(7)In loving one another (John 42:35).

(8)In continuing to the end (John 8:31).

II. WHY WALK AS BECOMETH THE GOSPEL?

1. Otherwise we are a shame to the gospel (Hebrews 6:6).

2. Enemies to Christ (Philippians 3:18-19).

3. You will receive no benefit from the gospel (Hebrews 4:1-2).

4. The gospel will rise in judgment against you (John 3:19).

5. But if you walk as becometh the gospel, all its promises shall be made good unto you (John 1:29; John 14:2; Matthew 25:34).

III. WHAT CONVERSATION IS THAT WHICH BECOMETH THE GOSPEL?

1. Towards God.

(1)A humble conversation (Ephesians 4:1-2; Matthew 11:29).

(2)Trustful.

(3)Cheerful (Philippians 4:4).

(4)Obedient.

(5)Heavenly (Philippians 3:20).

2. Towards man.

(1)Meek and lowly (Matthew 11:29).

(2)Loving (John 13:34-35).

(3)Just (Matthew 7:12).

(4)Charitable (1 Timothy 6:17-18).

IV. USE. Walk thus according to the gospel.

1. Motives.

(1)This is most safe (Proverbs 10:9).

(2)Most profitable (1 Timothy 6:18; James 2:5).

(3)Most honourable (1 Samuel 2:30).

(4)Most pleasant (Proverbs 3:17).

(5)Most necessary (Luke 10:42) to happiness (Hebrews 12:14).

2. Means.

(1)Search the Scriptures.

(2)Frequent ordinances (Romans 10:17).

(3)Be much in prayer (James 1:5).

(4)Meditate often (chap. Philippians 4:8).

(5)Live above your bodies (1 Corinthians 9:27).

(Bishop Beveridge.)

I. A CONVERSATION BECOMING THE GOSPEL MUST BE WISE, FOR THE GOSPEL IS A SYSTEM OF KNOWLEDGE. Hence it is called light. There are three states with regard to gospel knowledge.

1. The heathen are children of night.

2. The Jews had some light.

3. Christians are children of the light and of the day. Christians ought to excel in this light.

II. A CONVERSATION BECOMING THE GOSPEL SHOULD BE CHEERFUL, FOR THE GOSPEL IS A SYSTEM OF JOY.

1. As such it was predicted.

2. Joyful results universally followed its establishment.

3. It has lost none of its power to bless.

(1)In duty.

(2)In trials.

(3)Death.

III. A CONVERSATION BECOMING THE GOSPEL MUST BE HOLY, FOR THE GOSPEL IS A SYSTEM OF SANCTITY.

1. There is no holiness in theory or practice outside. But —

2. The gospel

(1)teaches it;

(2)requires it;

(3)produces it.

IV. A CONVERSATION WORTHY THE GOSPEL SHOULD BE CHARITABLE, FOR THE GOSPEL IS A SYSTEM OF BENEVOLENCE. Nothing is more unbecoming to it than a selfish, grasping temper.

(W. Jay.)

I. PAUL "PLEADED FOR A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH. The Christian's life is to harmonize with his creed. His life must be characterized by —

1. Truthfulness. God is the author of truth; the Holy Spirit the spirit of truth; the gospel the word of truth; and the Christian must be a man of truth.

2. Love. This is the first and great commandment in the evidence of discipleship, the inspiration of duty, and is due to foes as well as friends.

3. Holiness in thought, desire, and action.

II. FOR A UNITED CHURCH. The early Christians were frequently exhorted to be one in faith, feeling, spirit, and action; the bond was to be love, and the end the establishment of the gospel. This union was necessary —

1. To resist their common adversaries, who were and are combined, persistent, powerful.

2. To develop their Christian graces. Our minds and hearts are enlarged by the intercourse of good men. The bold encourage the timid, the wise instruct the ignorant, the strong shelter the weak. The manifold diversities of our nature and condition constitute the perfection of the Church, as the members of the body.

3. To establish the true faith. The success of the whole depends on the agreement of the parts.

III. FOR A ZEALOUS CHURCH. Christians are to stand by, struggle for, suffer, and even die with one another.

1. This zeal is demanded for a noble object.(1) We are to strive, not for place, power, or popularity, but —(2) For the faith: to maintain its purity in our own hearts, and to diffuse its gracious influence through the world.(3) The tradesman is zealous in business, the statesman in politics, the Christian for the faith.(4) This was never needed more than now.

2. The object inspires the zeal. It calls into exercise our highest faculties; it informs the judgment, subdues the will, sanctifies the affections, and ennobles the soul. It has done more for the race than all the moralists or philanthropists who have ever lived.

3. This zeal is to be exercised in a commendable spirit, "together." Christians are not to strive against one another. The earnest Christian has no time for useless debate. Cultivate the spirit of brotherly sympathy.

(G. J. Procter.)

I. WHAT IS THAT DEPORTMENT WHICH BECOMETH A PROFESSOR OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST?

1. With respect to the world.(1) He must not worship its god — mammon (Matthew 6:24; 1 John 2:15; 1 Timothy 6:9-11).(2) He must shun its company (Psalm 1:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).(3) He must avoid its pleasures and fashions (Romans 12:2). True, Christ attended the wedding at Cana, etc., but good people were there, and it was to manifest His glory; but whoever heard of God's glory being promoted at card parties, etc.

2. With respect to his prevailing sentiments.

(1)Peace.

(2)Faith.

(3)Joyful hope.

(4)Patience and cheerful acquiescence.

(5)Courage.

3. With respect to sin.

(1)He must not commit it.

(2)He must hate it.

(3)He must struggle against it in every form and everywhere.

4. With respect to the aim and business of his life. To promote the glory of God (Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Corinthians 10:31-32).

II. WHY SUCH A DEPORTMENT SHOULD BE MAINTAINED.

1. Because it would bring joy to those who watch for your souls (Philippians 2:1; Philippians 4:1).

2. Because of the advantage — "the witness in yourself" of your conversion.

3. Because it prepares the mind for the season of affliction and the solemnities of death.

4. Because it is the will and commandment of Christ.Conclusion:

1. The world vigilantly watches and judges the character and conduct of professors. The want of consistency in Christians has done more harm to Christianity than all the ravings of infidels.

2. God's eye is constantly upon us.

3. The plea of not being a professor will be no plea in the hour of death for a sinful life.

(I. Spencer, D. D.)

I.The GENERAL CHARACTER of Christian consistency.

II.Its SPECIAL requirements.

III.PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE.

IV.GRATIFYING RESULTS.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. WHAT THE CONDUCT IS WHICH BECOMES THE GOSPEL.

1. It must be the genuine result of gospel dispositions. Conduct is the birth of principle; what is seen in the life is the development of what exists in the heart. The tree must be good before the fruit can be good. But we must not judge altogether by outward appearance. All is not gold that glitters. A fair show in the flesh is naught unless the heart be right with God. The gospel makes the heart right.

2. Must be maintained under the influence of gospel principles and in the use of gospel ordinances. Everything is liable to deterioration; institutions, buildings, metals of the finest polish, Christians of the most exalted piety. We must live by faith, by the love of God in the keeping of His commandments, by an attention to the means of grace.

3. Must resemble gospel patterns. The gospel is not a collection of maxims and doctrines so much as an exhibition of examples. "Follow me as I follow Christ."

4. Must be conformable to gospel precepts. The gospel is not merely an offer of mercy and a promise of blessing. The law is not made void through faith. Where much is given, much is required. The epitome of these precepts is "live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world."

II. WHAT OBLIGATIONS ARE WE UNDER TO MAINTAIN THIS CONDUCT?

1. God requires it. For this end He has given His revelation. "Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord," etc. The will of God is righteous, and no creature can resist it with impunity.

2. Consistency requires it. Profession without practice is hypocrisy. Actions speak louder than words. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

3. Our personal comfort requires it. "Our rejoicing is the testimony of our conscience." Without this peace is a delusion.

4. Our connection with society requires it. We owe to society what we cannot adequately repay but by the blessings of the life of the gospel.

5. Our final salvation requires it. We shall be judged according to our works.Conclusion:

1. How excellent is the Christian religion.

2. How illiberal and unreasonable to censure it on account of its inconsistent professors.

(R. Treffry.)

I. WHAT THE GOSPEL IS.

1. It is the gospel of Christ because —

(1)He is the author of it.

(2)The pith and marrow of it.

(3)The finisher of it. It is His property, it glorifies His person, it is sweet with the savour of His name.

2. It is the gospel of Christ. Good news.

(1)It removes the worst ills — sin, death, hell.

(2)It brings the best blessings — reconciliation with God, goodwill on earth, eternal happiness in heaven.

II. OUR CONVERSATION MUST BE SUCH AS BECOMETH THE GOSPEL. The gospel is —

1. Simple. So should we be in our dress, our speech, our behaviour. Wherever you find the Christian you ought not to want a key to him. He should be a transparent man like Nathaniel and "as little children."

2. True. Gold without dross. So should the Christian be in his talk. There should be no scandal, oath taking, equivocation, still less lying.

3. Fearless. It calls things by their right names, and is the very reverse of what is now called charity. Be honest and brave in your profession and action,

4. Gentle. Bad temper is quite contrary to the gospel. Have a lion's heart, but a lady's hand.

5. Loving. Without love the Christian is as sounding brass.

6. Merciful. Harsh or miserly people do not become the gospel.

7. Holy. The Christian must be holy as Christ is holy.

III. THE STERN NECESSITY OF A CONVERSATION THAT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL.

1. If you do not live like this you will make your innocent fellow members suffer. You tempt others, and bring discredit on the whole Church.

2. You make your Lord suffer. The world lays your sin at the door of your religion.

3. You will pull down all the witness you have ever borne for Christ. How can your children, neighbours, etc., believe you if you act inconsistently.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

See to it that each hour's feelings, and thoughts, and actions are pure and true; then will your life be such. The mightiest maze of magnificent harmonies that ever a Beethoven gave to the world, is but single notes, and all its complicated and interlacing strains are resolvable into individualities. The wide pasture is but separate spears of grass; the sheeted bloom of the prairies but isolated flowers.

1. The phrase, "faith of the gospel," has a distinct significance in the New Testament. It refers to the Divine revelation of mercy and love in the Son of God, and its acceptance by earnest and penitent trust. It is connected with long lives of antecedent prophecy, symbolical services, the constant yearning of the world for a Redeemer, and the Messianic hope of the Jews.

2. This message of redemption meets with endless forms of acceptance and rejection.(1) At first its promulgation came in contact with heathenism as a religion, and naturally accused the opposition of the proud systems of error.(2) Next it came in contact with Heathenism as a philosophy, and the proud reason of the classic world sought to analyze its mysteries.(3) To every form of religious thought and every phase of intellectual life it has come for eighteen centuries to be rejected by the proud, but to be accepted by the meek.

3. It is one of the vital questions of the day how to meet and overcome this opposition.

I. THE PULPIT is naturally called into requisition.

1. But is it to be the teacher of philosophy? Then its function is to wrestle with the doubts, to antagonize the unbelief of the day. But this attitude is only a negative one, and to take up in detail the varied assaults would only be to advertize and disseminate them.

2. The real business of the pulpit, as de fined by Scripture, is to preach Christ and Him crucified, and by the proclamation of positive truth there the unbelief of the day will best be met.

II. THE PRESS competes with the pulpit in the education of the multitude. Here unbelief finds full and systematized expression, but so may and so does Christianity. The bane and the antidote exist side by side, and sceptical assaults along the whole line of the faith have been repelled in current literature. Here scientific objections can be and are met by scientific men.

III. But the INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN LIFE is the best defender of the faith. The union of Christians in the conversation which becometh the gospel will render the faith invincible.

(W. A. Snively, D. D.)

I. THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL. "The faith which was once delivered to the saints," "the truth as it is in Jesus": viz. —

1. The truth about God. His unity and three-fold Personality.

2. About man — his fall and ruin.

3. About redemption — the Incarnation and Atonement of Christ; the acceptance of salvation by faith; regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost.

4. About immortality.

II. THE IMPORT OF THE APOSTLE'S LANGUAGE CONCERNING IT. The Philippians are to strive together for it. The gospel was a precious deposit; they were to hold it fast in opposition to all who would rob them of it; they were to preserve it in its original purity, in opposition to those who sought to adulterate it. But it was not to be a concealed treasure, or appropriated exclusively by themselves, but was to be communicated to their fellow men.

1. All Christians may and must aid in disseminating the faith of the gospel. Some think this the business of ministers. Paul told the "saints" as well as the bishops and deacons to do it. Christians may do this.(1) By cultivating purity of heart and life and maintaining an exemplary deportment. This method is sanctioned by Christ Himself — "Let your light so shine." Its efficacy may be illustrated by numerous facts. This was the main method of gospel propagation in Apostolic and early Christian times. Gibbon puts the virtues of Christians among his "secondary causes." So today. The greatest enemies of the Cross are inconsistent Christians.(2) By pecuniary contributions. Many overvalue money; some undervalue it: the truth is, it is a talent to be employed for God. God has given you the power and opportunity to get it. Consecrate it therefore to Him. The proportion must be left to conscience. The poorest should not be discouraged, for God values the widow's mite, when the offering of a willing mind. Let modern Churches take example by the Church at Philippi.(3) By union and cooperation. The advantages of this are obvious. We see this in business and politics, and in philanthropic and religious societies. Why then should minor differences separate Christians? Divisions are a source of weakness; union is strength.(4) By humble, importunate, and believing prayer. Old Testament and New alike enjoin this as a means of advancing the faith. Let this be remembered in public, private, and family prayer. It is a means which God delights to honour.

2. In this good work Christians should be zealous. "Striving" as the competitors in the games. Nothing is more offensive to Christ than lukewarmness.(1) The work needs the most strenuous effort. It has to struggle with the most inveterate and formidable opposition, from the evil heart and from evil systems.(2) It is worthy of them. It brings glory to God, the highest good to man, and honour to the Redeemer.

(J. Thomson, D. D.)

I. THE OBJECT FOR WHOSE PERPETUITY YOU ARE TO COOPERATE. The whole gospel, not its promises, or precepts, or doctrines alone, still less any particular views relating to them, such as Calvinism or Arminianism. We have to contend for the faith, not a fragment of it. Why are Christians to strive together for this?

1. Because they alone understand and prize it. By the grace of the Spirit they see its value. To them Christ is all. His gospel is the book of their hearts. They cannot but love what is precious. To others it may be dull.

2. Because to them its honourable privileges are granted. Their religious privileges become duties in consequence of their obligations to Him who had saved them. Their duties become privileges in consequence of their low: to Him who first loved them.

3. Because the enemies of the Master are watchful and active.

II. THE POSITION YOU ARE TO MAINTAIN. It was net required of them to assume the position of an united phalanx. God had assigned that as He has to us. We are simply to "stand fast in one spirit" in it. You have the gospel verities — unitedly maintain them. Divide and conquer is the policy of the adversary; close your ranks and win is ours. "Every kingdom divided against itself shall not stand."

III. THE UNITY OF PURPOSE YOU ARE TO CHERISH.

1. Be of one mind on the subject of unity itself.

2. On the subject of social prayer: "If two of you shall agree, etc."

3. With respect to the mutual ministry: Support your pastors and love them.

4. In doing good to all men.

(W. Leask, D. D.)

The word στήκετε in the original signifies to hold on, and to remain firm at one's post, and is derived from the combats, in which each endeavour to keep his place, and to maintain himself in his seat, without going back, or being shaken by all the attacks of the enemy. The apostle, employing this image to represent to us the life of the faithful, means, that in this spiritual warfare we should never allow ourselves to be drawn from that position in which God has placed us, and that all together, like his faithful and valiant soldiers, courageously repulsing the enemy, we should always stand firm, without quitting either the faith or the profession which by His grace we have made.

(J. Daille.)

As a wrestler grapples his antagonist, and strains himself for the mastery, so the Christian must struggle against every enemy of the truth.

(G. J. Procter.)

As there is no body or society more noble than the Church, so there is none in which union and concord are more necessary. You are begotten of the same seed, i.e., of the gospel, brought up in the same family, nourished with the same food, animated by the same spirit, destined to the same inheritance. If so many close ties cannot unite you, at any rate let this common warfare in which you are engaged, this common danger that you run, and these common enemies with whom you contend, extinguish your differences, and make you rally together for your common preservation and defence. Often among the kingdoms of the earth, the fear of an enemy without stays the misunderstandings and quarrels within. Let us imitate in this respect the prudence of the children of this world. Whatever you may have of wisdom or courage, turn it against the enemy. May he alone feel the vigour of your arm, and the point of your weapons. It is not against your brother that they should be employed. They are made, and they have been given you, to defend, and not to wound him; to preserve, and not to shed his blood. I say it with regret, it is nothing but our division, my brethren, which has prevented the defeat of the enemy, and the triumph of the Church. If we had all fought together, we should long ago have been conquerors.

(J. Daille.)

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