Are you worthy?
Karsten posed the question of how we approach buying a car: is it worth the price & will it be dependable? What about people, how do we know if we’re worthy? As we look at Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he poses a question in this passage: Are we living a life worthy of the Gospel?
In 1:27, Paul says that our lives should be lived out in way that is “worthy of the Gospel.”
Q: What does Paul mean by “the gospel”? How would you explain the gospel in just a few statements? (see Jn 3:16-17 & 1 Cor 15:1-6)
The crux of the Gospel is that it is something God has done for us, not something we can do for ourselves. All of us either reject or accept this for ourselves. Yet, Paul calls us to live in a way that embodies our response of gratitude & obedience to the Gospel.
Q: What does ‘living a life worthy of this’ look like? How does this look in your day to day life?
In the rest of vs 27, Paul emphasizes the importance of living in unity, working side by side with other believers. United by the Spirit and/or united in a common spirit of service. Having one mind, being unified in their purpose and practice. They are to ‘take their orders’ from Jesus, as a battalion of soldiers would be united under their commander. One of the ways this is lived out by us today is through our LifeGroups.
Q: How does this look in your LifeGroup? In what areas do you see unity and in what ways are you still working on being unified?
In vs 28, Paul tells the Philippians that we’re to do this without fear, though we recognize the opposition that exists. Paul knew what it was like to be opposed. We can also see opposition to the Gospel in our own priorities, like how we use our money and how we spend our time. In many ways, our world system is in opposition to the Gospel.
Q: how do you see that type of opposition in your experience? How do you tend to respond to it?
The great reminder is that no opposition can take our salvation away, cannot take away the power of the gospel.
Finally, in vs 29-30, Paul reminds the believers in Philippi (and us) that we show our lives as worthy of the gospel by suffering for Christ. This can manifest in many ways, some more outward and some ways that are about inner suffering. Either way, we need to keep in mind that suffering comes out of God’s sovereignty, as part of His plan for us:
For our good -we’re refined and made more & more into Christ’s likeness
For the good of others -we’re used to affect others for the Gospel
Suffering is always for a purpose. It’s not for nothing. We can trust God with our suffering because that’s what Jesus did when He faced the cross. We don’t always see the reason for our suffering, but we can trust that the power of the Gospel will be shown through it, as in Paul’s life.
Q: how do you tend to respond to suffering? If you’re able to be vulnerable, share an example of a time of suffering you’ve experienced and how the Gospel may have been ‘proclaimed’ through it.
It takes tremendous faith, that can only come from God, to be grateful in a time of suffering. Perhaps you can close in prayers of gratitude to the Lord for His Gospel that both saves us and empowers us to live ‘in a worthy manner’.