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.
Christian unity is very important. It is important to note that Paul’s initial audience for this letter was to the church at Philippi. Unity should be first of all in the local church. The pastor is responsible for the people that God sends his way. The pastor needs to teach the whole counsel of God. Traditions cannot supersede the Word of God.
In the past there has been the opportunity to reach beyond the local church through radio ministry. We used to have a radio broadcast. We covered quite a large area with that broadcast. I often reminded the listeners that our radio program was not a substitute for attending a true local church. We were happy to be able to reach into the homes and the businesses of that area with the Gospel.
Now we have the internet which allows a pastor to reach far beyond his local church. Over the past couple of years this has been very helpful. The evil plans of the world leaders have made it more difficult to travel to various places, but so far they have not restricted the use of the internet. Our country is working to try to control what gets put on the Web but so far people can still tune in and hear the truth. Our website and our devotionals are designed to preach the truth. There are many people who will go to the internet and read or listen to the Word of God, but they will not go to a good local church. By God’s grace some of those people will get saved and will then find a true local church where they can attend.
The enemy of the soul is always busy seeking to keep the truth away from people. God knows this better than we do. His desire is for people to be saved. In our text, the apostle Paul was directed by God to encourage the saints to be unified in the truth. The devil tries his best to corrupt the Gospel of Christ and to corrupt the doctrines of God’s Word. It is important to submit to God’s Word and to allow God to correct our thinking. It is very important to submit to His authority.
Unity among God’s people must always be focused on God and His Word. In the local church, there should not be a tug of war. Those who are saved should understand that they are first of all under the Lord Jesus Christ as their head. The local pastor should be very clear in his teaching, that he is not the final authority and that his teaching is under the authority of the written Word of God.
In verse 28 Paul did not want the saints in Philippi to be intimidated by the enemies of the cross. Those who oppose the truth demonstrate the fact that they are lost. That is what Paul is saying here. Godly people do not oppose God. A carnal Christian might argue with God over some doctrine. If the person is truly saved, they will come to see they are going the wrong way and they will repent and confess their sin and get right with God. Those who fight against the truth do so because they do not have the Spirit of God in them. The Holy Spirit does not fight against God the Father. The devil fights against God.
Paul stated that when people fight against the truth, it is also evidence of the salvation of the saved person. The false teachers were quite opposed to the truth in Paul’s day. He had been a Pharisee. He had been wasting his time and energy chasing after God-fearing people. He was confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is rather obvious that Saul’s attacks were not pleasing to God. He was an instrument of the devil that needed to be saved. He did get saved and now he was facing the vicious attacks that he once inflicted on other true saints.
Paul was speaking under the inspiration of God. He was not making things up. He was not an extremist. He was speaking the truth. Those who oppose God’s truth demonstrate that they are on the side of the devil.
Notice further in verse 28 that those who are saved have received a gift from God. Salvation is from God. There is no other source of salvation. It cannot be bought. It cannot be earned. It is owned by God and He gives salvation to all those who turn to Him in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
We are reminded in verse 29 that salvation puts the true saint on the devil’s “hit list”. The devil does not want people saved. He also does not want saved people to be going out and telling others the truth. We hear much in the news about mis-information and dis-information. Those who use these terms are trying to silence those who do not agree with them. The Prime Minister of New Zealand recently spoke to the U.N. about what she called mis-information. She has been trying to keep the truth away from the people of her country for several years. That is also the goal of our leaders. They are spreading propaganda and they want all people to believe their lies.
The devil wants all people to believe his lies regarding God. He wants people to believe that there is no God but if he cannot convince them of that, then he wants them to think evil things about God. Since he cannot directly attack God, he expresses his hatred toward those who are saved. Jesus warned of the hatred that the world would express toward His followers:
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Jesus went into greater detail on this subject in that passage. You can look that up and read it for yourself. Jesus did not teach about this hatred to scare people away. He wanted saved people to understand that being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is not a popular thing. It is the right place to be, but the world will not appreciate those who are truly saved.
I had a brief conversation just recently with a person who hates the truth. He made that very clear in our brief talk. He was not interested in listening to the truth. He was only interested in attacking the truth. He stated that he just wanted people who would agree with him. He has been able to gather a number of people like that around him already. He was trying to enlist me in that group as well.
I understand that walking in obedience to God’s Word is not popular. I would rather identify with the Lord Jesus Christ than the devil.
In verse 30 Paul reminded the saints that they were not any different than he was. They would suffer the same attacks he was facing. They might not end up in prison, but the opposition to the truth would be just as real for them. Paul, as an obedient servant of the Lord, showed others how to deal with opposition and hatred. Those who are saved do not get bitter. They do not go on a war path. They pray for the lost. They warn about the lost. They keep serving God faithfully and rejoice with those who get saved. True Christians do not need to get together for a pity party. They pray for one another and encourage one another through fellowship in the Word of God and in a true local church. That is God’s design. Paul demonstrated that God’s way always works for His glory. He also showed that it is possible to have a good attitude about life when we serve the Lord faithfully.