Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
I listened to a very interesting interview recently. The person being interviewed was a well read, well studied man. He admitted to being an atheist at age 18 and at the age of 20 he was dissatisfied with atheism. He talked of being humbled and seeing that there was more to life than we can rationalize and see in the material world. He even quoted a scientist who wrote that he came to believe in a personal God. I do not know if that scientist came to believe in THE true God. This person that was being interviewed was not willing to acknowledge God for himself, but he believed there was something outside of the material realm.
For me it was very interesting to listen to this man speak with such conviction and yet not willing to truly humble himself to accept the Biblical fact of A True God. This is the place where most of humanity is at and in fact all of humanity has been at for some time in our lives. We all begin as lost sinners. We observe others. We all learn different things. We all process things in different ways. A few people submit to the true God and accept His Word as truth. The majority of people never come to that place. Jesus warned of this:
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
It is the foolish person who assumes that the majority of people are going in the right direction. It is the foolish person who assumes that if they follow the general path of the majority, it will all be ok. It is the foolish person who assumes that the majority cannot be wrong.
The apostle Paul was once on the side of the majority. He was a well taught Pharisee. He was a smart man, intellectually. He was a foolish man, spiritually. By the grace of God, he came to the place where he turned completely. He did what the Bible calls “repentance”. He turned to God and in so doing, he left his past behind. Not only did he repent, but he put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for his salvation and for his future. He turned from blind and empty faith, to a living and fulfilling faith. That is evident from the writings of the book of Acts and the Epistles that God directed him to write.
As we see in verse 25 Paul now had a genuine confidence. He was very confident as a Pharisee. He came to see that confidence was built upon a lie. He turned to God and thus could build His life upon facts. Thus he could speak and write with confidence.
In the context, Paul was confident that he would be set free from the prison in Rome. That did in fact happen. He spent two years in prison and then was released. It was not God’s time for him to go home. God had more work for Paul to do on this earth. Paul was a man of true faith and he understood that God had a work for him to complete. In II Timothy 4 Paul could write that he had finished his course. He could not write that in our text, because his time was not up.
Paul was trusting in God to be able to help the Philippian saints to grow in their joy of faith. There is a great joy in walking by faith in the true God. It is not a fictitious faith. There are many people who live in a fictitious faith. The Charismatic world lives in a fictitious faith. They talk of speaking in tongues and of miracles and of riches, etc. A few of the leaders of that movement live in luxury because they have convinced enough gullible people to give of their hard earned cash to make them rich. They are very good at selling their “product”. It has no substance, but people are deluded into thinking it does have substance. These false teachers have no shame and they have seared their conscience to the place where they will continue to come up with scheme after scheme to draw more money out of the gullible and into their pockets. Then they parade some of their riches around and get the gullible to salivate at the possibility that if they would just have a little more faith, they could have the same thing.
People are amazing creatures. Very few are genuine critical thinkers. We need to know the Lord in order to be able to see things as they truly are. Paul was saved and he could see things as they truly were. He wanted the saints in Philippi to grow in their joy. As they would walk faithfully with the Lord that joy would increase.
In verse 26 Paul spoke of the source of this rejoicing. It would be more abundant in Jesus Christ. As their faith would grow in Jesus Christ, they would also be rejoicing with great anticipation for Paul’s coming to them again. True saints acknowledge the blessing of those God sends their way to bless them. Not all are called to be pastors and teachers. Godly pastors and teachers are needed and they are a blessing to those who humbly trust in the Lord.
In verse 27 Paul needed to caution the saints to keep their conversation such as is fitting for the Gospel of Christ. The word translated as “conversation” here is only found twice in the New Testament. It is found in Acts 23:1 and in our text. In Acts 23:1 it is translated as “have lived”. It means “manner of life, or behaviour”.
Christians learn a manner of life after salvation that is unique to saints. There is a holiness and a righteousness among God’s people that is only possible in Christ. New Evangelicalism has mocked this and has lied to its followers. It teaches that true Christians can and will often be just as crippled by sinful habits as they were before they were “saved”. Many people never truly are saved because they want to keep their sinful habits.
Paul was directed to remind the saints that they needed to continue to live and grow in that which God had begun in their lives. We need to remember the words of Paul in verse 6. He was confident that God would continue the good work that He had begun in them at salvation. That work is not done as saints sit passively by and wait for the proverbial apple to drop on their head. It is done as the true saint walks by faith and actively adopts God’s way of life into his or her new life.
Paul wanted the saints to understand that regardless of whether he was present with them or not, they needed to stand fast in one spirit. Spiritual unity is very important. It is very necessary. True unity comes when God’s people are of one mind. That one mind is the mind of Christ as we see further on in this epistle. True spiritual unity is not built on compromise, but rather on the submission to the truth.
Those who are saved want to see others saved. They work to that end. That is again why the local church is so important. It is through the local church that we grow in the Lord. It is through the local church that we reach out into the world with the Gospel of Christ. It is that Gospel that saves and sets the captive free. True Christians do not need false science and false therapists to help them along. They get their minds and hearts straightened out as they are faithfully taught God’s Word. He is all wise and He knows how to guide His children. His children need to learn the importance of walking by faith in Him. As the true child of God walks by faith, the false ideas of the past fall away and are replaced by the truth.