Standing Firm, with One Mind

Philippians 1:27-30 ESV

“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.”

Worthy of the Gospel

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to live lives which are worthy of our Lord and which are worthy of (fitting, appropriate, suitable to) the gospel of Christ. So, this means that we should be those who are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, in character, and who are following our Lord in obedience to his commands, and who are not walking in sin, but who are dying daily to sin and who are walking in holiness and righteousness.

And Jesus Christ should be number one in our lives. Nothing and no one else should ever be in first place in our lives other than him/God. We are to put no other gods before him, and we are not to put our family members before him, either, to where we would choose to please them and we would choose to disobey our Lord in order to please them. For our family members may disapprove of our walks of faith in Jesus, but Jesus must remain first.

And we are to die daily to sin and deny self and follow Jesus in obedience, or we are not worthy of him. And if we make a commitment to follow Jesus with our lives, but then we turn back to our old lives of living in sin, we are not worthy of him. And if we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but then we assume that all sins are forgiven and heaven is our eternal destiny, regardless of how we live, then we are not worthy of the gospel.

[Matt 10:37-38; Lu 9:62; Eph 4:1; Php 1:27; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12]

Standing Firm

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be those who are steadfast in faith, who are not wavering between opinions, but who are following our Lord and his gospel, in truth. We are to be those of strong convictions who are standing firm on the truth of the gospel even in the face of much opposition, and even in the face of much rejection and persecution. We should be of one mind, which is the mind of Christ, and we should not let the opinions of other humans dissuade us from the truth that we have been taught by Christ in his word via the Holy Spirit.

And in today’s world, this takes a lot of faith to stand strong on the truth in the face of enormous opposition, for much of this opposition, at least here in America, will come to us, not so much from the world, but from the church and from pastors, elders, and deacons and other people within the church and/or within its gatherings. For you may be yelled at and cussed out and falsely accused and called names and be treated as though you are the enemy by others who call themselves your brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even be encouraged strongly and invited out or pushed out of church gatherings (or institutional market-driven “churches,” i.e. businesses) because you stand on the truth and on righteousness and because you follow the teachings of the Scriptures. And so you speak the truth in love to the body of Christ for their encouragement, which includes exhorting one another so that none of us is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. For so many are following the world and not the truth of the gospel these days.

Not Frightened

But we are not to be afraid of opposition. I used to be. For I was severely abused by my father when I was young and living at home with my parents, and so I ended up fearing people in positions of authority over me, and so rather than stand up to them, my tendency was to run away from them, but not just from them, but to run away from what the Lord called me to do, that I knew was his calling on my life from early on in my life, but more of a general calling then, and not exactly the specific calling I have today.

So, the Lord took me through many of these circumstances before I learned that I must stand strong and not run away, and that I must not fear opposition and people attacking me or calling me names or rejecting me, etc. He brought me to the place, in fact, where at one time I felt that everyone had turned against me and that all opposed me, and it was then that I had to make the decision to stand with God, and to stand alone, or to not stand with God, and so I chose God.

And it is my hope and prayer that you will learn that now, and that the Lord won’t have to take you through the kinds of things I went through for you to learn what I eventually learned, which is to not fear opposition, but to stand on the truth of the gospel, even if it appears that all have turned against you and that you are standing alone without any human support. For it may come to that, when we face severe persecution in America and we are scattered and we don’t have each other for support.

And so we need to remember that our salvation isn’t all about Jesus just forgiving our sins so that we can go to heaven one day. It, too, is about us dying with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and it is about walking in obedience to his commands. And when we do that, we are going to suffer for the sake of righteousness. And our Lord will put us to the test, too, and he will try us through persecutions and other sufferings to make us strong in our faith and so we learn perseverance and reliance on him alone.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

I Pray for Them

An Original Work / June 4, 2013
Based off John 17

“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”

“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”

“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”

“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”

“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”

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