I am joyfully preaching through the book of Philippians. There are a number of different themes in this amazing epistle such as joy in Christ, suffering, humility, unity, etc.
I must confess I was surprised when I really looked into Philippians 1:27, “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 your are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”
No doubt what Paul is saying is that the gospel needs to be at the very center of our lives. Everything we do needs to reflect the beauty, grace and power of the gospel. What was surprising to me was when I began looking into the Greek word “life” in this verse.
Here is what Christ Centered Exposition Commentary wrote about this word:
The phrase “your life” doesn’t capture the idea of citizenship imbedded in the verb politeuesthai (the verb is built on the noun polis-city). He essentially says, “Live as citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” The same idea is conveyed later in Philippians 3:20, where Paul reminds the church that they’re citizens of heaven. Paul uses this political word only here in Philippians. He probably uses it because of the Philippians’ pride over their Roman citizenship.”
Philippi was a Roman colony and the temptation would have been great to live more like a Roman citizen then a follower of Jesus Christ. As I prepared my sermon for this past Sunday I was asking God how I could apply to this truth to our everyday life. What came to mind is the recent controversy regarding the American flag and the NFL players. Many people were very upset over the fact that players were kneeling during the National Anthem. I get it. I am a patriot at heart and love my country. But it got me thinking. Maybe this “flag controversy” reveals something about our heart. Perhaps it reveals something about where our true allegiances lie. Here is the question I asked on Sunday. What has brought you greater emotional distress over the past few months, the way that the American flag has been treated or the fact that we have so many people in the city of Watertown that do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ?
I believe the way in which we honestly answer this question will begin to reveal to us if we are living more as American citizens or as citizens in the kingdom of God. To live a life worthy of the gospel means that in all that we do that Jesus Christ is always seen to be our greatest and most precious treasure. Is this true in my life? In yours?