Standing up for the Gospel
“partakers…in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”
Philippians 1:7 (ESVUK)
For Paul, living the gospel was more than an evangelical catchphrase or an abstract theory or a passing phase in his ministry. In his epistle to the Philippians, which is regarded often as the most emotional and personal of his letters, he reveals his passion for the gospel. For Paul, all of life was caught up in and related to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes scholars have doubted the authenticity of some of Paul’s letters, but there is little doubt about his letter to the Philippians. It tells us what Paul is like deep inside. Erasmus, the 15th century Dutch philosopher who began the Christian Humanist movement, said of Paul: “No one can feign a heart like Paul’s.” Paul’s heart was for Jesus and the gospel, and this is very clear when we read Philippians.
Paul’s affection for the Philippians is also evident. His feelings for them are stated unabashedly. He holds them “in his heart” (v.7), his prayers for them bring him joy (v.3), they are partakers with him in God’s grace (v.7 again), and they are co-workers together with him in the gospel. He knows that the Philippian Christians, who had experienced persecution more or less since the church had begun in Philippi, cared deeply for Paul in his imprisonment (Paul wrote to them from his prison in Rome).
Paul goes on to say that they shared in his defense and confirmation of the gospel. What did this mean? It sounds like two sides of the same coin. Like Paul, the Philippians not only stood up for and defended what they believed, but also they confirmed boldly the saving power of the gospel in their words and deeds.
There is a lesson for us today in this. In our politically correct world where we sometimes tiptoe around the expression of our faith, should we, like both Paul and the Philippians, be willing to defend and confirm the gospel of Jesus? The answer is a resounding “yes”!
Let’s join together and decide to be partakers in the “defense and confirmation of the gospel”.
Father, as for us, grant us the words to say and the actions to do that we may proclaim boldly the gospel of Jesus (Ephesians 6:19). In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.