This topic is adapted from the Joseph Solomon YouTube channel.
The Apostle Paul wanted the Christians he knew in Philippi to “walk in a worthy manner” as they lived the Christian life.
Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves 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 as one for the faith of the gospel.
But this is rarely easy.
- Joe asks a great question: can we ever truly live lives worthy of the message of Jesus?
- The Bible is clear over and over that we are all sinners – just read Romans, also written by Paul. Some people obsess over the idea of being sinners, neglecting the truth that Christians are “new creations” in Jesus Christ. If you read the introductions to many of Paul’s letters to different churches, he refers to the Christians their as “saints,” not as “sinners.”
- Because of Jesus, we have a new identity. That means we have a new function, a new set of behaviors. We are righteous because of Jesus, but we must believe it and act like it!
- If we obsess over the idea of being sinners more than of being saved “saints,” then it will naturally cause us to ignore our high calling by Jesus to live as righteous people, rather than to just shrug our shoulders when we live unrighteously as Christians and excuse ourselves because we’re sinners.
- While it’s true that Christians sin and struggle with sin patterns, our identity in Jesus is “saint,” not “sinner.” In God’s eyes we’re not defined by sin, so we need to stop defining ourselves by it! The gospel is that we were not worthy but that Jesus is. He died so that we may be worthy and live worthily.
- Paul told the Christians in Philippi to live as worthy citizens, because they were “citizens” of God’s kingdom, not just of the world (Philippians 3:20).
- People who are part of a culture, city, or identity behave similarly. The same is true for Christians. While we might not all look or talk the same, if we are believers in Jesus Christ, we are all “citizens” of the same city, and like Joe says in the video, that means we all have core set of shared traits as Christians.
- When citizens of one country are in a foreign country together, they stick together. They speak the same language and come from the same culture, so they understand each other better than people from other cultures. The same is true for Christians. We need to stick together and look out for one another as if we were citizens in a foreign land. Spiritually, that is what we are!
Being called to “live worthy” can be pretty scary if you stop to think about it. But we cannot be distracted and discouraged. Jesus has made us totally worthy through his sacrifice on the cross. And now, through his Holy Spirit, he is remaking us more and more to live worthily for him as citizens in a foreign land (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you sometimes beat yourself up over your sins or sin patterns, or maybe just because you’re not as good as you could or should be? Explain.
- Joe said, “When citizens of one country are in a foreign country together, they stick together.” How have you seen this to be true in your own life, either with people visiting your home country or you visiting a foreign country?
- Joe asks, “Can we ever truly live lives worthy of the message of Jesus?” What do you think?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What do you think it means to have a “new identity” and to be a “new creation” in Jesus Christ?
- What are some ways you can stop defining yourself by your sins and failures and start defining yourself by your salvation in Christ?
- Read Philippians 3:20. What does it mean to be a “citizen of heaven?” (Especially since we live in the world!)
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. According to these verses, how is it that we can live holy (“worthy”) lives? How should this affect how we live?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.