Bible Topics
in the Christian Library

Philippians 1:27-30

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. In our present text Paul deals with a lesson we all need to consider -- the way one lives gives a commentary on his faith in God, and determines how much joy he will experience!

II. The need for all to live godly is readily acknowledged, yet seldom applied to daily life. Consider two illustrations.


I'd rather SEE a sermon than hear one any day,

I'd rather one would WALK with me than merely tell the way.

The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel in the confusing, but example's always clear.

The best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it, if YOU'LL let me see it done.

I can watch YOUR hands in action, but tongue too fast may run.

The lectures you deliver may be wise and true, 

But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what YOU do.

I may not understand the high advice you give,

But there's no misunderstanding how YOU act and how YOU live.


You are writing a Gospel,

A chapter each day, 

By the deeds that you do

And the words that you say.

Men read what you write,

Whether faithful or true:

Just what is the Gospel

According to YOU?

--Author Unknown

III. As Paul discusses joy in this grand epistle he now turns to a most practical aspect -- joy is found only by those who will live according to God's revealed Word!

1. Far too many fail to have joy because they are either ignorant, stubborn, or caught up in sin.

2. Those wonderful soldiers of the cross who can discipline their lives according to the will of God are the only ones who will ever know true joy!

IV. Consider the following points which Paul brings to our attention in this section.


I. The command is given -- "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel" (v. 27a)

A. Consideration of this verse.

1. "Conversation" -- literally "citizenship," and refers to cities and city life.

2. The emphasis is upon one conducting himself in a proper way because of the pride he has in his citizenship.

3. Thus the Philippians must conduct themselves in a manner which becomes citizens of God's Kingdom (3:20). 

4. This stresses a life-style in harmony with God's Will. We must live consistent lives because our names are written in Heaven!

B. Note that which regulates the citizen's life -- as becomes "the gospel." Note the implications of this. We are to live as becomes . . .

1. The gospel of love (I Peter 1:22).

2. The gospel of peace (Hb. 12:14).

3. The gospel of power (Rom. 6:12; v. 22 better)

4. The gospel of heaven (I Jn. 2:15).

5. The gospel of God (Eph. 5:1).

6. "Strange dress, do you think, for the military scene; yet this is the uniform in which Christ's soldiers fight best, and which the foe fears most" (King).

C. This command is repeated throughout the New Testament (Ep 4:1; Col 1:10; 2 Co 3:2; 1 Ths 2:12).

1. Are you living as a citizen of Heaven?

2. Are you walking as becomes the gospel of Christ?

3. Understand that true joy will forever elude those who refuse to follow this simple command!

II. The command is explained (v. 27b-28a). In a series of short phrases Paul tells his readers what all is required if they are to obey the command.

A. It involves a good reputation (v. 27b).

1. Had the brethren not followed God's required life-style, Paul would have heard about their conduct.

2. Cf. 1 Ths 1:8

3. One who is a child of God, a citizen of God's Kingdom, has to be concerned about his/her reputation (Pr 22:1).

4. Be assured that others will hear of our conduct, and woe upon those who fail to live life seriously.

B. It includes a steadfastness to God (v. 27b).

1. "Stand fast" -- We must remain firm and fixed. We are not to be easily changed, or moved. We are not to be fickle (Ep 3:14-17).

2. This is a defensive position -- We are "not going back, not yielding to the pressures of circumstances, not cowering before the foe, but quietly, resolutely, and determinedly holding our ground" (Meyer).

3. Joy is possible only for those who are determined to fight with all their strength.

4. Notice how Scripture illustrates the need: 2 Ki 22:2; Jos 24:15; Philip 4:1; Da 1:21 -- We are told that Daniel "continued." This is perhaps the greatest compliment to his faith, through the years he did not sway from loyalty or devotion to God!

5. We need to stand-fast in all areas of life:

a. In our home and family.

b. In the tender and precious years of youth.

c. In association with friends.

6. A BRAVE SOLDIER A fine lad entered the army. On the first night in the barracks when he went to bed, he faced a real test. At home, he had the habit of reading the Bible and kneeling down to pray before going to bed. In the barracks he was entirely surrounded by rough men. Many of them were cursing and joking loudly. The lad thought it might be wise to go to bed and read his Bible where nobody would notice him.

Then he thought and boldly decided: "I'm a Christian! I ought to be an example for Jesus before the fellows. I won't pull down my colors. I will do here like I always did at home." So he took out his Bible and read it. Then he knelt to pray. The barracks became as quiet as a church building. After a while, the talk began again, but it was more subdued. No one said anything about the young soldier's unusual behavior. But the next night when he opened his Bible, eight other soldiers got out their Bibles. Within a month every soldier in the barracks would have fought for the lad. They came to him with their questions and troubles. He influenced more men in the barracks for good than a dozen ministers could have done under the same circumstances!

C. It includes unity among believers (v. 27b).

1. "One spirit, one mind" -- Satan's greatest tool of destruction is division. He is always happy to see divisions and all too often gets his way.

2. The church at Philippi suffered disunity (4:2) -- The only way to overcome the wicked one is by complete cooperation.

3. How can one who is a true child of God behave in a way that discord, bitterness, and hatred result? Only if their life is lived unworthy of the gospel!

4. "Resentments, whims, whisperers, grudges, alienations are all out of place in a company of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ" (Lipscomb).

5. So important is this concept of unity that Paul mentions it again in this short book (2:1-4; 4:1-4).

6. May we jealously guard our oneness with each other in Christ's church (Jn 17:21).

D. It involves active service (v. 27b).

1. "Striving together" -- The Greek words used here refer to athletic games where teams worked together to secure victory.

2. The key word is "together."

a. It further emphasizes the last point.

b. No ONE can stand alone, we need other members. Together we will move toward victory!

c. Often there are those who are not content to work with others -- it is this attitude which welcomes defeat (3 Jn 9; Mt 20:20-28).

3. Joy awaits those who will work together, in one spirit, striving together against the enemy and working with one mind and one heart.

4. Are you active in supporting this "togetherness" in our congregation?

E. It involves complete confidence in God (v. 28a).

1. Once again we notice Paul's explicit trust in God to make certain all things work for His purpose.

2. "Affrightened"--Suggests the actions of a startled and scared horse. It dashes off wildly. It is an expression of panic and dismay.

3. Those living by the gospel's directions will demonstrate undaunted courage. They will not become disheartened in the face of opposition.

4. 1 Jn 4:4 -- In the face of Satan's attacks we must not panic!

5. Knowing that God is in control we face trials with quietness, confidence, and peace. In nothing will we be terrified (cf. Ac 5:40-42).

6. This attitude is essential to possessing joy!

III. The results which follow from obeying this command.

A. Following this command results in salvation (v. 28b). Strong faithfulness will show that we are the true victors!

B. Following this command will result in suffering (v. 29-30).

1. Cf. Philip 3:10

2. It is unlikely that many today will be called to physically suffer. More probable are the minor problems of ridicule, embarrassment, etc., that cause many today to shirk back.

3. The following facts about suffering are revealed in the Scriptures:

a. It is inevitable (Jn 15:20; 2 Ti 3:12).

b. It is insignificant (Ro 8:18).

c. It is the cause for rejoicing (Mt 5:12; Ac 5:41).

d. It proves that we are God's children (2 Ti 3:12).

e. It is something in which others share (v. 30). Satan wants us to think that we suffer alone in the conflict but such is not the truth!


I. I wonder if all assembled truly understand the truths of our lesson text.

1. Joy is possible ONLY for those who will live according to the gospel.

2. ALL aspects of the gospel's directions must be followed, not just a few!

II. Consider your life in regard to the command in verse 27. As we explained it, ask yourself if you have fully followed each point or have you failed in some point?

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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