Jesus Church
Citizens: A Study on Philippians
June 14, 2020
Main Scripture Reference(s)
Philippians 1:27-30

Citizens: A Study on Philippians

June 14, 2020 / Philippians 1:27-30



Citizens of the Gospel (Part 1)


Phil. 1:1-6

  • Throughout this letter you will here the name “Christ” Jesus used
    • This word would have been read like the word  

Phil. 1:12-14, 27-30

What we know: Philippians is a letter (not sermon/book)
  • Written by Paul to a group in this city probably around 62 AD
    • But Paul was well educated… Trained in
      • 14AD Caesar made a law – Rhetoric was required learning
      • While only 15% of people could read or write… everyone knew Rhetoric
  • And within this art of speaking: there were rules you had to follow
    • Start with … get the audience on your side
    • Then comes … Lay out the subject matter
    • The comes … which was your Thesis
  • Why does that matter… verses 27-30 are the Propositio of the entire letter

Gordon Fee – Top scholar on Philippians in the World

Philippians 1:27-30 the interpretive key to the entire piece of literature. If you can get what Paul says here, you can get the whole letter start to finish.

Paul starts with “Whatever happens” (The MOST IMPORTANT THING)

  • 1st command given: Conduct yourselves in a manner that is worthy
    • Whole thing is 1 word in Greek: Polyuthene (Politics)
      • Literally means
  • Best way to translate verse 27 – Live as citizens of the gospel of the king or “Jesus People”
      • That is the thesis of this whole series
Four pieces of background we need 2 understand


  • 1st century Romans ruled world for England to India… superpower
    • Mantra – Pax Romana (Roman peace)
    • Peace through victory – Edge of the sword

Second: Caesar

  • The Roman Empire ruled by line of Caesars
    • 1st Caesar Julius assassinated – Son on 1 anniversary of father’s death
      • At Olympic games a comet shows up in sky… Becomes proof Julius was divine
      • He is ascending to right hand of Zeus
    • Worked well because if dad is god, you are son of god
      • When Philippians is written: Caesar Nero is on throne
      • His favorite name was “Lord” and “Savior”
      • No other name under heaven by which u can be saved (Caesar)


  • Gospel comes from Gk word – U-en-gilian (Where we get Evangelical)
    • Way before this was a Christian word, it was Roman
    • When new Caesar was in power – Sent out announcement to all cities
      • Preach the U-en-gilian… “Caesar Nero is Lord”


  • Philippi was a Roman Colony
    • Colony citizens were granted the same legal status as Romans
    • And Philippi as a Roman Colony were given privileges
      • Exempt from taxes
      • Protected by Roman law
      • Populated by veterans from Roman wars (given land & wealth)
  • B/C of this citizenship, there was deep loyalty to the emperor
    • He granted “Salvation”
    • So you owe him everything
  • In return ur job was to infiltrate Philippi with Roman culture
    • The function of a colony was to Romanize the world
    • Live as citizens of the gospel of the King – Caesar not Jesus

Phil. 1:27

What does Paul say here: Is pointing straight at Neo

  • Paul is calling Philippians (and us) to an alternative empire
    • Saying that Rome is the PARODY… Kingdom of God is the REALITY
    • Not Pax Romona… but Grace & Peace from The Lord Jesus
  • Paul calling Philippians to alternative Gospel – Important to the entire series
    • Standard Gospel – Jesus died for your sins… died in your place
      • By grace through faith not by works and you will go to heaven
      • This is all true – But there is more to this word
    • Pauls “Gospel”
      • N.T. Wright – “I am perfectly comfortable with what people normally mean when they say ‘the gospel’. I just don’t think it is what Paul means. In other words, I am not denying that the usual meaning are things that people ought to say, to preach about, to believe in. I simply wouldn’t use the word ‘gospel’ to denote those things.“
      • The standard Gospel doesn’t get you thrown in prison
    • B/C If you say “Jesus is Kirios”, “Jesus is Lord and not Caesar”
      • One day every knee shall bow/tongue confess Jesus is Lord…
        • Including Caesar… that is treason
      • What does it look like to stand up against “Caesar is Lord” to us.

    Paul gives a metaphors of Soldiers and Athletes

    Phil 1:27-28

    This verse is packed w/ Greek word pictures from

    • Stand firm… strive together… those who oppose you… victory
      • Point – Living out the Gospel happens in community
        • Here on a Sunday Morning… absolutely
        • But also over coffee with a friend Or lunch Sunday
        • Encouraging message on messenger or text or instagram
        • Of our men’s or women’s groups

    Second Paul uses the picture of

    Phil. 1:29

    • And this language is all from the arena
      • Struggle (agona) – Agony… translated as conflict or contest
    • Point being: Living out the Gospel is hard work
      • Its not easy and isn’t supposed to be… remember (JESUS DIED)
      • This is an actual sacrifice… that we are supposed to give up

    Many say Philippians is about Joy in the midst of suffering…

    • And that is almost right (But as u read… it isn’t generic suffering)
      • Paul isn’t talking about Death… cancer… unemployment
        • Although if that’s where you are, God will speak to u there
        • Phil. 4:1 – Rejoice in the Lord always
    • But the suffering Paul is talking about is for the gospel
      • When u strive together 2 advance kingdom… suffering happens
      • But if it’s for Jesus… joy is found there
    • What does Paul talk about all over Philippians… Joy!!!
      • And Paul is in prison! At one point says “except 4 these chains”

    Where do u find Joy – Easy life or Gospel

    1 – What “Gospel” do you … Caesar or Jesus

    • Gospel of Materialism or Jesus… money… fame… culture… self…
      • Because the world filled with Gospels
      • What Gospel do you believe (Spend ur time on)

    2 – What “Lord” do you … Caesar or Jesus

    • Money or Jesus… power… success… accomplishment…
      • Many of us don’t worship the king or emperor…
      • But we definitely worship ourselves

    Give: Tithes & Offerings


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