Thursday, September 21, 2017

Philippians 1:21-30 Christ-centred Life is Gospel-centred

KEY TEXT: Philippians 1:27-30 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 you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. 

KEY THOT: In this first chapter of Philippians, Paul uses the word "Christ" at least 16 times and the "gospel" 6 times. And he links Christ and the gospel in verse 27 when he calls the Philippian believers to live a life "worthy of the gospel of Christ". For Paul, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (v.21). What does it mean to live is Christ? He elaborates it in verse 22, "If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me." The "fruitful labor" he refers to is the proclamation of the gospel of which the Philippians were his partners: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership (Gk: koinoniain the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:3-5). Only when Christians are joined together to proclaim the gospel that they experience genuine koinonia (fellowship) in Christ.

Paul says in verse 21, "for to me, to live is Christ". We can also read it as, "for to me, to live is the Gospel of Christ". To live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ is the same as to live a life worthy of Christ. We cannot separate the gospel from Christ. If we claim we are living for Christ, then we must also be committed to become partners with those who are proclaiming Christ. If we are not, we are out of fellowship with other believers.

May we be united under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing else. Only the Gospel of Christ can unite churches in true fellowship.

Abba-Father, open our hearts to obey Your Great Commission so we may be Christ-centred community because we are Gospel-centred in our ministry to those who are unbelievers. Amen.

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