Thursday, May 12, 2011



Eric Gersbacher

Php 1:27-30 ESV 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 firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, (28) 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. (29) For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (30) engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Paul has set his hopes upon the Philippians being found in a state where he would have cause for rejoicing. They would do this by conducting themselves worthily, standing together, and suffering together, for the sake of Christ.

There are certain expectations in the Christian life. The how of the manner of life (the word suggests living as a citizen) is to be worthy. A soldier is to serve worthy of his office. A member of a family should live worthy of their name. To live worthy of the Gospel should be a primary aim for the Christian. Just as one’s garment should be worthy of the wedding he is attending, one’s conduct should be worthy of the life he is leading (Mat. 22:13-14).

Paul is expressing to the Philippians essentially that he does not want to be a lord over the Philippians’ behavior, telling them to do this or that. He wants them to become responsible citizens of the Kingdom of God (cf. 3:21). This means that he wants them to be involved in the work of the Christian without him being a taskmaster over them. He wants them to be involved in edification (Phil. 2:1-4); evangelism (2:16) and benevolence (4:14-18).

God has saved the church (v. 28) and has some expectations for them to meet (Phil. 1:28-29). He expects them to believe and suffer because of the work which Christ accomplished for them. Paul, being a ready example of the behavior God expects of the Philippians, has demonstrated some of his own behavior of what God expects (vv. 12-17). He was imprisoned for defending and confirming the Gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:7; 17) and his goal is that the Gospel is proclaimed and God is honored in his body whether he lives or dies (As verses 20-21 show).

As Paul suffered in striving, they are to stand together, “in one spirit and one soul”, striving and suffer in the process. This process will include conflict. Those suffering possess a shared difficulty, causing emotional pain of some sort. The difficulties are seen in the soul’s desire to break free from Satan’s control and also free his control over the souls of others. When we want to do that which is right, another party, who wants to do wrong, may have an issue with that. And there you have it—conflict.

This conflict, this standing and striving, this “spiritual group wrestling match” is to be engaged without fear. We are to expect not every person desires to hear the truth, but still need it (II Cor. 2:14-17). One cross reference (TSK) is pointed out in Isaiah 51:7 says, "Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings”, another in Proverbs 29:27, “An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.”

Bill tells John of a new game he found on his computer. He obtained it through a pirated site which freely distributes copy-right protected software. John is concerned that Bill is stealing and is doing that which is wicked in the eyes of God. Shall John tell Bill or go about his merry way? Already, there is a conflict within John about what to do. Imagine, what will happen when John tells Bill of the wrongness of Bill’s decision? Bill will become angry, call him a prude or goody-two-shoes and probably not associate with him.

Jack hears that Larry and Jill are in an adulterous union—Larry was unscripturally divorced from his first wife without fornication being the cause (Matt. 19:9) and has married Jill. Does Jack let Larry and Jill wander in their spiritual and moral darkness? Does he help them see what God says regarding their issue? Or does he just ignore it and sweep it under the rug? Larry and Jill will likely not associate or even insult Jack for showing them what the Scriptures teach.

Jan is told by Julie how great her denomination is (contra Matt. 16:18). In it they sing and dance and hoot and holler and play all manner of instruments (contra Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). They take communion whenever they like (contra Acts 20:7) and do whatever they want and claim that God has authorized it (Col. 3:17). Shall Jan show Julie what the Bible says or shall she encourage her to do what is right in her own eyes? What does Jan risk when she contends earnestly for the faith?

The wonderful thing about Bill, Jack, and Julie is that they can stand together for what is right (John 17:20-21; 2:46; 4:32), because it is striving for the faith of the Gospel (cf. I Tim. 1:9-11). As we assist the souls of others by showing them their error in order to make their walk with God that much easier, we are striving for the faith of the Gospel. As we support each other in their doing what is right, we are striving together in one spirit and one soul for the faith of the Gospel.

We suffer together when we see the consequences of striving together for the faith of the Gospel—loss of friendship, ridicule, reviling, imprisonment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

HCU Means "Real-World Ministry"

HCU Means "Real-World Ministry"

Written by Heather Murphy

The following post appeared on HCU student Heather Murphy's facebook page unsolicited. She graciously granted permission to re-post here.

I have an assignment in one of my classes where I’m required to take what I learned this semester and turn that material into a quarter-long class for church. Because I teach young children, I was granted permission to incorporate crafts, songs, games, and other age-appropriate media.

This assignment has been so practical and so much fun! What I’ve learned in class has not only benefited my own understanding of Scripture, but I have been able to utilize that knowledge to benefit others.

One great thing about Heritage Christian University is that it truly focuses on REAL-WORLD MINISTRY. We not only participate in a campaign each semester and Christian service each week, but homework assignments focus on ministry. A big thanks to HCU for giving me exactly what you said you would!