Philippians 1:27-30

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

We have already seen -

I. PAUL'S OPENING GREETING - 1:1-2

We have also seen -

II. PAUL'S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER - 1:3-11

In addition, we have seen -

III. PAUL'S CIRCUMSTANCES AND DESIRES - 1:12-26

We move on from Paul's circumstances and desires to -

IV. PAUL'S EXHORTATION TO UNITY - 1:27 - 2:18

There is -

1. Paul's exhortation to unity in view of difficulties from unbelievers - 1:27-30

2. Paul's exhortation to unity in view of difficulties from believers - 2:1-4

3. Paul's exhortation to unity in view of Christ's example - 2:5-11

4. Paul's Exhortation to unity in view of his own example - 2:12-18

A. Paul's Exhortation to Unity in View of Difficulties from Unbelievers - 1:27-30

Philippians 1:27 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.

Only let your conversation be is understood in the sense of be (i.e. continue or keep on) living as citizens or conducting your lives as citizens. Its noun form is used in Philippians 3:20 , where conversation means citizenship.

Philippians 3:20-21 - (20) For our conversation (i.e. our citizenship) is in heaven; from whence (i.e. from where) also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (comment added).

The Philippian believers would have been very familiar with the term citizenship.

As it becometh means in a manner worthy of.

The gospel of Christ is that for which believers are to live their lives in a worthy manner. It is the good news about Christ: that He died on the cross in payment for . . . sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day from the dead. As a Roman colony, many of the residents of Philippi were citizens of Rome. Similarly, although believers may be citizens of various countries in the world, their real citizenship is in heaven. Their heavenly citizenship calls for a higher standard than their citizenship in their respective countries on earth.

That is understood as in order that or for the purpose that.

Whether . . . or else is literally if . . . or if. Both uses of this word introduce simple conditions which, for sake of discussion, are assumed to be true; but only one of them will actually turn out to be true because they are contradictory.

Whether I come and see you or else be absent is if I come and see you or if I am absent. It may turn out that the Apostle Paul is not able to be present with the believers at Philippi.

I may hear of your affairs is I may hear the things concerning you or I may hear your matters. The word affairs has a bad connotation in modern English.

The content of the things concerning you or of your affairs is that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries.

That ye stand fast is literally that you stand; and when used figuratively as in this verse, it means that you stand firm or that you are steadfast.

In one spirit likely means in one attitude of mind or with one attitude of mind, but it may instead refer to the Holy Spirit and mean by (or by means) of one (Holy) Spirit.

With one mind is by or by means of one mind, and this one mind is described as striving together for the faith of the gospel.

That ye stand fast in one spirit, and with one mind is the first hint in this epistle that there is a lack of unity among the believers in Philippi.

Striving together for is while contending for.

The faith of the gospel is the faith produced by the gospel. They are to be contending for the faith produced in others by the gospel message.

Philippians 1:28 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.

Verse 28 continues the thought begun in verse 27 as indicated by and. In nothing excludes everything.

Terrified is frightened, scared, or intimidated.

By your adversaries is by your opponents or by your enemies.

Which is which to be sure.

Is indicates that this is always the case.

To them refers to your adversaries and implies as far as your adversaries are concerned.

An evident token is a sign or an omen.

Of perdition indicates what their adversaries could expect to experience in the future. The fact that they are your adversaries or your enemies signals the fact that they are lost spiritually and are heading toward perdition, i.e. toward destruction or (eternal) ruin in the lake of fire.

The same word translated perdition is translated destruction in Philippians 3:19 .

Philippians 3:18-19 - (18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: (19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things) (emphasis added).

The word translated perdition in Philippians 1:28 is used four times in II Peter 2:1-3 where it is translated damnable, destruction, pernicious, and damnation.

II Peter 2:1-3 - 1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily [i.e. secretly] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom [i.e. because of whom] the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

But introduces a mild contrast. Although the fact that they are your adversaries reveals their lost condition, it also reveals that the Philippian believers are genuinely saved.

To you is for you or for your benefit.

Of salvation is of deliverance or of preservation and refers to the Philippian believers' state of being. Whereas their adversaries are lost, the Philippian believers are saved. The fact that the believers' have adversaries evidences that the Philippian believers have been genuinely saved.

And that of God is and this from God.

That is neuter and does not refer individually to the words translated evident token, perdition, or salvation, all of which are feminine. Instead, it refers to the whole matter of having adversaries who would seek to intimidate them. This would be an indication of two things: 1) that their adversaries are unsaved and on their way to hell and 2) that they themselves are saved and on their way to heaven. A verb such as is or comes must be supplied between this and of God so that it is understood in the sense of and this (is) from God or and this (comes) from God.

Of God indicates the direction of the evident token of salvation. It suggests that the persecution from the adversaries is actually allowed by God and is, therefore, a sign from God that these Philippian believers are genuinely saved.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

Verse 29 shows why verse 28 is true, especially why the last part of verse 28 is true.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here.

Unto you refers to the Philippian believers.

It is given is simply is given freely or is given graciously as a favor.

In the behalf of Christ is on behalf of Christ.

Not only, followed by but also, indicates that two things are actually given to believers on behalf of Christ.

The first thing is to believe on him. The fact that it is graciously given to believers to believe on Christ indicates that people cannot delay their salvation and place their trust in Christ whenever they wish. God is involved in the process and gives this opportunity to be saved by believing in Christ in spite of the fact that no one deserves it. However, this opportunity, if rejected, may gradually decrease or diminish until it is no longer available; so, people had better take advantage of the opportunity to believe when God gives it because it may be the last opportunity God gives them, not that those who completely and finally reject God's offer of salvation will care.

But also introduces a second thing that is given to believers in the behalf of Christ: to suffer for his sake, which is literally to suffer on behalf of Him, i.e. to suffer on behalf of Christ.

(It is given), i.e. it is given freely or it is given graciously as a favor must be supplied from the first part of this verse.

But introduces a statement that is in strong contrast to to believe on him.

To suffer implies to be suffering. Suffering on behalf of Christ is normal for believers.

Philippians 1:30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Having is understood as because you have.

The same conflict is the same struggle or the same fight and refers to the difficulties that have come upon the Philippian believers as a result of their having become Christians, something which all believers face.

Along this line Paul wrote,

II Timothy 3:12 - Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (emphasis added).

Peter also wrote,

I Peter 4:12-19 - (12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (14) If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (15) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. (16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (17) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (18) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (19) Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (emphasis added).

Furthermore, Jesus said,

Matthew 5:10-12 - (10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (emphasis added).

Back to Philippians 1:30

Which ye saw in me refers to this conflict, struggle, or fight.

Which is which to be sure.

Ye saw in me refers to the time when the Philippian believers observed Paul being persecuted because of his faith.

And introduces the Philippian believers' awareness of the persecution presently being endured by the Apostle Paul.

Now is at this time or at the present time, i.e. at the time Paul is writing this epistle.

Hear to be in me indicates continuing action and is understood in the sense of you are hearing (to be) in me.

In me refers to Paul who, while writing this epistle, was in prison where he was suffering as a Christian because of his testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Philippian believers were aware of what was happening to him in this entire experience which began when Paul was arrested in Jerusalem some five or six years earlier and continued to the time of the writing of this epistle. Paul spent two years in prison in Caesarea; and now as he writes this letter to the saints in Philippi, he has been in prison in Rome for at least two and possibly as many as four years.