"In the defence and confirmation of the gospel..."
Text: Philippians 1:7
THE EARLY YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY
The early years of Christianity were particularly challenging. The Apostle Paul was deeply committed to preaching a gospel that had the following features:-
a) All races were the same in the sight of God.
b) Between the two genders (male and female).
c) Social class differences were downplayed.
2. Salvation by faith alone
a) Faith in the atoning death of Christ alone.
b) Faith in the grace of God.
c) Faith in the Word of salvation preached.
RESISTANCE TO THE GOSPEL
The apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and the early church faced many problems as they preached the gospel. The following text gives us a glimpse of the kind of problems faced.
“Inasmuch as both in my chains and in the
defence and confirmation of the gospel,
you all are partakers with me of grace.”
1. “My chains”
a) Great persecution was unleashed against the church.
b) Some even ended up in jails and in chains (as Paul found himself).
2. “In the defence and confirmation of the gospel”
a) The message of the gospel had to be defended.
i) People who defended the faith were called “apologists”.
ii) The word comes from the Greek “apologia” (literally, this means, “defence”).
b) “Confirmation of the gospel”
i) The gospel message was confirmed in many ways.
ii) It was confirmed through signs and wonders.
iii) It was further confirmed by the testimony of people who suffered for their faith.
3. “Partakers with me of grace”
An essential element of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was “grace”. Paul defended this doctrine of salvation by grace alone. The Philippians came to faith in Christ through the preaching of the gospel by Paul.