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April 24, 2016

Text:  “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 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.” Philippians  1:27-28

“Man up” is a phrase often used today. It’s meaning is that a male should “stand up and be a man”. It may also be taken as “to own up to”; “to assume manly status or duties”; and perhaps “take one’s place in the world”. The use of this phrase supposes that there are qualities that must be obtained and maintained  in order to meet the essentials of some condition. In our text  above Saint Paul states his subject as: “your manner of life”. The Christian life demands solidarity, loyalty, and unified effort  – elements that give life meaning! Christians must be persons of character, righteousness, and solidarity in serving God together. In other words, they must “man up” to their profession of Christ.

The gospel gives life worth and purpose to  those who accept and live by its teachings. Every life needs purpose. And to go with that purpose each life needs worth and duty.  Our text calls this type of life the Christian’s manner of life. And that suggests to us that there exist a number of manners of life from which man and woman endowed by God  with free will may choose, operatives and rules by which humans behave and judge right from wrong. However, Paul insists that since these saints had selected to live by the gospel of Christ they have offered their own  solemn declaration of consistent performance of duty so that their lives glorify God. 

In obeying the gospel of Christ our status has been changed from aliens without responsibilities to Jesus and we have been given a footing as citizens obligated to obey his polity. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19  Our duties are obligatory, not selective! With other members of the body of Christ we must declare (as the apostle asserts above) that we will embrace the duty of living lives that honor Jesus. And we must constantly endorse and obey these commands of purity and holiness. We maintain better Christian behavior when we work, worship, and hope together!   “…with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel…” Philippians 1:27d

Each of us must be single minded with his fellow saints in the pursuit of the holiness which is to permeate the lives of Christians. That is, we must have the same mind, objectives, goals of the sanctified life. There must also have mutual understanding of what are acceptable (righteous) and unacceptable (unrighteous) behaviors. These are the things we must embed in our lives. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:16  Thus let us assume our places of righteousness in the  body of Christ.

The saints are encouraged by Paul not to be fearful of any actions or circumstances instigated by opponents of the gospel. There will always be threats and true dangers in the lives of saints. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” II Timothy 3:12  In responding to these threats Christians have feeling all the way from cringing to courageous. It is hard to miss that the New Testament relates persecutions upon  believers. (See the letter to the Hebrews, for instance). Even in our age we can be frightened and intimidated for brethren around the world as well as ourselves. Let it always be remembered: “‘So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”‘ Hebrews 13:6

In endeavoring to live godly lives we are indissolubly bound in our efforts to support our Christian brothers and sisters. The tone of our text seems almost military as we are encouraged to strive “side by side”  in living and laboring in the kingdom of the Lord. In reading the New Testament please notice often how the Biblical writers refer to the body of believers as “one another”.  (e.g. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11  Unity and cooperation are intrinsic in the church. That’s one reason Peter called upon us to be holy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…”I Peter 2:9a The apostle John related a similar thought. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.” III John verse 11

Stand firm in living like Jesus taught.





  1. A very good post brother! I probably ought to read it every morning. I give my sinful self way too much slack.

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