Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
Continuing our Philippians series, today we discussed unity in the church.
Paul begins Philippians 1:27 with, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” This statement is loaded with implications for us today (some of which I covered in a post last November), starting with the first two words. “Whatever happens” is a huge variable. It is the daily, monthly, or yearly changes that are completely beyond our control. They are just happenings! Sometimes these happenings will be good. Sometimes they’ll be bad. The idea is, no matter what happens, we are in control of our behavior, and Paul encourages us to “conduct [ourselves] in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.”
This statement is much deeper than it looks – Paul’s phrase is akin to saying, “live as an honorable citizen…” but instead of ending the statement with “Rome” like the nationalistic Phillipians would expect, Paul takes a left turn and ends with “the Gospel of Christ.” Paul actively places our citizenship in heaven above any loyalty or allegiance any Christian has on earth, a principle that all of us need to live by as well – no matter how hard it gets – “Whatever happens…”
And this is crucial, because our unity must be built on Christ first. In order to stand firm and strive together, our common ground cannot be taste in music, economic status, political party, or anything apart from the person of Jesus. When we gather as the church, we become much more than any allegiance this world can offer because we are the body of Christ, and that has to be our first priority. This is critical, not only for the growth of the Kingdom, but also so we can oppose Satan, who loves nothing more than a divided church.
The church that pulls together will not be torn apart. Will you strive together with the body?
Verses and quotes from the sermon:
Philippians 1:27-2:2; Philippians 3:20a; Acts 23:1; Ephesians 4:1; John 15:20; Acts 5:41; Colossians 3:12-14
“To many Christians, Christ is little more than an idea, or at best an ideal–He is not a fact. Millions of professed believers talk as if He were real and act as if He were not. Our actual position is always to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.” A.W. Tozer
Glory – Phil Wickham
Eyes on Heaven – Central Music
Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) – Hillsong Music
In Control – Hillsong Music