June 16 – Philippians 1:27-30
We’re in the middle of our ten-week series in Philippians called Obey Love. Simultaneously we’re holding the Gospel-Centered Life class, which many of our groups will be attending in lieu of their regular weekly meetings. Over summer as we work to resource groups both at GCL and in their regular weekly meetings, you’ll see less information and resources than normal here. That being said, if you ever have any questions or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to email – firstname.lastname@example.org
In the passage just before this (1:12-26) Paul speculates as to whether or not he’ll make it out of prison alive, and he’s way more cheerful about that than we probably would be. He tells the Philippians it’s a win-win for him; if he keeps living then he gets to keep serving them in a Christlike manner, but if he dies, he gets to be with Christ. In light of that he writes this little side note, saying that whether he gets to come see them or if he never sees them again, he wants them to live lives worthy of the gospel, lives he would be proud of. He says just as much in Phil. 2:16, telling them to “[hold] fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Paul wants the Philippians to live a thoroughly gospel-centered life so that in eternity they’ll be able to all look back and say they didn’t live their lives in vain.
Reading v. 27 should really make you stop and ask: do I live in a manner worthy of the gospel? That maybe sends you into some theological spirals. Having been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) we know we can’t possible live a life that earns God’s favor. That’s the actual good news of the gospel, that Jesus earned God’s favor for us. How can Paul tells us to be worthy of something we know we can never be worthy of. However, note that Paul isn’t saying anything about earning the gospel here, or that the gospel truth for you is contingent upon your behavior. The gospel is true regardless of your behavior. Paul is just telling us to behave like the gospel is true. The implication is that the gospel expects a certain lifestyle from us, a life defined by Jesus.
Interestingly, Paul focuses a lot on unity and bearing well through suffering in this passage. He goes so far as to say that standing firm in one spirit is a clear sign of salvation (1:27-28) and that God had granted to the Philippians to suffer for Jesus’ sake (1:29). Paul also warns them about being frightened (v.28) and not suffering well to help maintain this unity. We’ll discuss those things that could undermine our unity this week, and how unity in the body can help us live lives worthy of the gospel.
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read Philippians 1:27-30 for us?
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• What do you think it means to live a life worthy of the gospel?
• Why do you think Paul is concerned with the Philippians standing firm together?
• What do you think standing firm together has to do with living a life worthy of the gospel (v.27)?
• Looking at the passage, what could get in the way or undermine standing firm together?
• What do you find convicting here?
• How could standing firm together in this group help you specifically live a life worthy of the gospel?