Several years ago, I did a study in the book of Philippians. This book is full of encouragement for believers, during that study, Philippians 1:27a is what stood out to me. Paul gives a bit of a theme for the whole letter when he says “Just one thing, Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” This has become a constant reminder for me because it is like a whole sermon, wrapped up in 15 words.
“Just one thing” - Paul tells the church in Philippi that if they forget everything else in the letter - this is of utmost importance. That tells me, I had better pay attention!
“Live your life in a manner” - Other versions say conduct yourself in a manner. This encompasses every aspect of how I live. The words that I say, the attitudes that I display, the things I post. How I am at work, with my family or in general public. This includes my marriage, the way I parent my children, my friendships, and how I treat those I don’t know. Everything about my life needs to be …
“Worthy of the Gospel” - The word worthy here doesn’t mean that I have to be worthy in order to receive the Good News that Jesus gives us. But once I have received it, then I should respond to the Gospel in a way that is worthy of the news that I am sharing.
And what is the Gospel? In our modern evangelical context the term Gospel is generally used to describe Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, the gift of eternal life and the freedom from sin. And the Gospel certainly is all of those things. But it’s also more!
In first century Roman times the word Gospel as Paul used it had a very specific meaning. It wasn’t just any “Good News” it was specific good news about a new king ruling. Caesar would have had a gospel. As Rome expanded, the Gospel of Ceasar would go ahead of his arrival and proclaim the Good News of the Roman Empire and the Pax Romana that came along with it. Ambassadors would go forth and carry the gospel to these new lands. And the ambassadors were viewed as representatives of the King whose name they carried.
Likewise, when Paul tells the church in Philippi to “live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”, he is compelling the Christians there to live their lives in a way that is a good representation of the King who is ruling, and is coming. We are to live our lives in a way that invites others to join our King.
Paul calls this the Gospel of Peace in Ephesians. But this peace (unlike the peace of Rome) is true peace that comes from restoring everything back to creation. It's the peace that comes from abolishing sin and the strife that that causes on our relationships. It's the peace that comes from overpowering death and sickness and the heartache that brings. It's the peace that comes from crushing the curse over creation.
May I live my life in a manner worthy of the Good News of King Jesus and the true peace that He brings.