Bible Philippians

How to Live as Citizens of Heaven: Suffer Together (Phil 1:27-30)

Continuing my series going through the book of Philippians, let’s look at Philippians 1:27-30 today.

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.” (Phil1:27–30, NLT)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are from the New Living Translation[/ref]

Paul was a mentor to the Philippian believers and he hoped that they would not disappoint him. Phil 1:27 sets the stage for several other things Paul wanted the Philippians to do. However, Phil 1:27 is the most basic and comprehensive of all the things he was going to tell the Philippians to do:

  • suffer together (Phil 1:28-30);
  • focus on others (Phil 2:1-4);
  • have the same attitude as Christ (Phil 2:5-11);
  • shine brightly for Christ (Phil 2:12-18).

In these four verses (Phil 1:27-30) Paul is talking about suffering for Christ, and the way that you endure that suffering is by sticking together. The outcome of that sticking to together is that the good news is spread. Therefore, the one thing Paul hoped that they would do (whether he ever got to see them again) was to conduct their manner worthy of Christ

How to Live as Citizens of Heaven - Suffer Together (Phil 1:27-30)

Photo Credit: Live Without Rules

I. TOGETHER UNITED (Phil 1:27-28)

A. Together United as Christians (v. 27)

“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, in order that whether I come and see you or hear about you, stand firm in one spirit, one soul, fighting for the faith in the Gospel” (Phil 1:27)

1. Only, at all costs

Bible Philippians

The Life for Christ (Phil 1:19-26)

In the first century there was a baby born in the region of Cilicia (which was within the Roman Empire). As the young boy of a prominent and wealthy Jewish family he was taken to the city of Jerusalem where he was carefully trained in the Jewish laws and customs from his earliest childhood by a guyed named Gamaliel. This young man was a strong student and surpassed many of his fellow students in knowledge of Judaism.

In addition to being a true Hebrew—a Jew—from the tribe of Benjamin he was also a Roman citizen which gave him a level of prestige and freedom and other people likely did not experience. He eventually became a member of the Pharisees, which was described as the strictest sect of the Jewish religion. After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of a guy named Jesus Christ, there was a group of people that called themselves followers of “The Way.” These were people that we call now “Christians” and this young man—a Pharisee—from Cilicia and educated in Jerusalem as a Pharisee did everything that he could to oppose Christians. He uttered threats with every breath and went everywhere to destroy the church. This man was so passionate to persecute Christians that regularly arrested them, threw them in prison, killed them, and persecuted them in every and any way that he could. At one time he went to the high priest in Jerusalem and asked for a letter giving him permission to go north east to the province of Syria. While traveling north east with his letter giving him permission to persecute the Christians a light from heaven shone down around him.

This young passionate Pharisee fell to the ground and heard a loud voice saying to him, “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4, NLT). This young man responded, “’Who are you, lord?’ . . . And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:5-6).  This young man went into the city and a little time later the Lord spoke to a man named Ananias saying, “He is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.’” (Acts 9:15–16, NLT).

That story I have just shared with  you is the first half of the life of Paul, the man who wrote this letter to the Philippians and who wrote a total of thirteen letters that are included in our Bible, which is almost half of the books of the New Testament. On that road his life was drastically changed. Everything he had done and everything he stood for was changed. And, from then on he truly lived the Life for Christ.

The Life for Christ (Phil 1:19-26)

“The Apostle Paul” by Rembrandt (1606-1669)

I. NEVER ASHAMED (Phil 1:19-21)

A. Prayers for Paul (v. 19)

“For, I know that this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and assistance of Jesus Christ’s Spirit.” (Phil 1:19)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.[/ref]

1. Assistance & Support

This “assistance” spoken of here is what Paul had and will reference about how the Philippians had supported him (4:10, 15-16, 18). Paul told the Corinthians that their prayers also helped him (1 Cor 1:11).  “This word was originally used to describe the supply a choir manager would provide to all the members of a Greek choir (who performed in the Greek plays). In short, he took care of all their living expenses. The word then came to mean a full supply of any kind” (Comfort, Philippians, 160).

Bible Philippians

God’s Agenda: Kingdom Advancement (Phil 1:12-18)

In the 1950’s a young African American pastor began organizing peaceful protests in an effort to gain equal rights among blacks and whites. Shortly after his first several successful protests he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Alliance (SCLC) to fight segregation and achieve civil rights. He organized peaceful protest after peaceful protest throughout the southern United States. In April of 1963 he was organizing protests in Birmingham, Alabama which he called “the most segregated city in the nation” (Bruns, Martin Luther King, Jr: A Biography, 73).

God's Agenda: Kingdom Advancement (Phil 1:12-18)

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As the protests carried on over time in Birmingham, one peaceful protest occurred on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. Fifty volunteers left the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to peacefully protest segregation and seek civil rights. This peaceful protest led to the arrest of this leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Alliance as he was peacefully on his knees in prayer. After a couple of days in solitary confinement in jail, eight prominent white clergyman from Birmingham took out a full-page ad in the newspaper in which they wrote a letter criticizing the protests and stating that this young leader was causing unnecessary trouble making. While in jail this young leader was given a copy of that letter and in the margins of the newspaper he began to craft a careful and meticulate response to their allegations. This man I have been describing to you—which you might have already guessed—is Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ph.D. and the letter I described to you is his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” I want to start the message today with this story because like Rev. Martin Luther King, the apostle Paul also was in prison at the time that he wrote this letter to the believers in Philippi. Both men were imprisoned for a Godly cause that they each believed in and each one eventually met an earthly death because of their cause for Christ. (For a careful description of the events that led to Dr. King’s arrest see Bruns, Martin Luther King, Jr: A Biography, 73-83).


A. Through Paul’s Circumstances the Gospel Advanced (v. 12) 

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that rather throughout my circumstances the Gospel has advanced.” (Phil 1:12)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.[/ref]                

Paul was in prison because he shared the Gospel (Acts 28:16, 30-31; Phil 1:7, 13-14, 29-30), yet the Gospel had continued to spread. He does not want people to feel sorry for him and to shrink in their faith because of his circumstance.

1. Brothers or Brothers and Sisters

Bible Philippians

A Thankful Assurance (Phil 1:1-11)

I started playing golf at the age of eleven by hitting golf balls on our 82 acre land in Valley Springs. We had a large open field where I would hit the golf balls out into the field and my grandpa who was a retired army war veteran would ride our four-wheeler out there and pick up the golf balls. Both of us had too much free time and this gave us each something to do. I started to really enjoy the game of golf and started playing every day. Several years went by and when I entered High School I was eager and excited to play on the golf team for Calaveras High School.

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A. Grace and Peace from Paul and Timothy (vv. 1-2)

1. Paul and Timothy to the Saints at Philippi (v. 1)

“From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi with the supervisors and assistants.” (Phil 1:1)

Take notice of the use of “supervisors” and “assistants.” These are common ways to address all the believers while looking at a few with special responsibilities and authority.

Bible Philippians

An Introduction to the Book of Philippians

Today’s post is the beginning of blog posts I will be sharing looking at leadership lessons in the book of Philippians. The material below serves as a basic introduction to the book. Below I have included material on who wrote the book, when it was written, who it was written to, as well as what some of the messages and themes of the book are. 

An Introduction to the Book of PhilippiansPhoto Credit: Wikipedia Commons