Summary: Paul’s call to the church to live, come hell or high water, worthy of the gospel of Christ through working together.
Philippians 1:27-30 – “Cosmic Glue”
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni
October 1st, 2006
27Whatever happens, as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence,
I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together with one accord for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
An atom is a curious thing. A stable atom is almost impossible to split apart. The force that holds the atom together has been nicknamed “cosmic glue”, and cosmic glue is incredibly hard to break. We have to build huge, multi-million dollar machines to split atoms apart.
In contrast to the strength of stable atoms,
we can take small quantities of unstable atoms and use them to cause obscene amounts of damage. Long term exposure to substances composed of unstable atoms causes birth defects, cancer, sterility, etc..
Worse, when we manipulate unstable atoms we can produce horrific results. The heart of a nuclear weapon is a few kilograms of uranium or plutonium, which consists of unstable atoms. One only needs to see the detonation of a nuclear weapon to see what happens when we manipulate unstable atoms.
What does all this have to do with our passage today? Well, I believe that Paul is talking about something in these words that rivals the power of the “cosmic glue” that holds the atom together.
Let’s review just a bit before we look into this…
Paul has finished discussing his own affairs, explaining that no matter what comes, he is ready to serve the Lord. He’s locked up in prison, but he sees the outcome of his trial as being released to rejoin his friends in Philippi.
He now turns his attention to what’s going on within the church in Philippi. In this one brief paragraph he manages to encapsulate the thrust of his entire message to them.
He orders them live in a way which brings glory to God,
to do this by striving to work together,
and he also encourages them to thrive under the opposition they face
from the hostile majority of the people they live with.
READ VERSE 27A - Whatever happens, as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Once in a while, trying to communicate the intention of a biblical writer can become very difficult. Since the original words are not English, they have to be translated.
As anyone fluent in two or more languages can tell you,
sometimes the power or passion of a statement can lose itself in translation, even if word for word the translation is correct.
The words I just read to you are, word for word, correct and reliable.
But they represent so much more than can be seen on a printed page.
Paul wants to tell his readers that come hell or high water,
they had better behave as those who have been saved by the good news, non fiction message of Jesus born, died and resurrected.
He’s the teacher delivering his ultimate challenge,
he’s the parent challenging his child to be the best he can be,
he’s the minister preaching his fundamental truth.
Live worthy of what you believe.
You have become part of something bigger and better than the world has ever seen, heard or believed, now let your lives prove to others the power of the gospel message.
Now, when we hear commands from the Bible we tend to get a little defensive. “I’m doing my best”; “I can’t do it”; “That’s easy for him to say”; etc., etc., etc.
We all have our own set of defence phrases for when we’re told to do something. Mine run along the lines of “I know I should, but…”
We need to do ourselves a favour and take Paul’s words for what they are - a calling. They are not a club to bash people with when they make a mistake, nor are they simply good advice for living.
No, the purpose of these words are to call the Philippians and all others who may read them, to live as if they really believe that Jesus Christ is alive and well and saving souls!
Do you believe in Jesus Christ born of a virgin, dead on the cross and resurrected by God? LIVE IT!