Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1966
NUMBER 19, PAGE 11-12a

Paul's Analysis Of Worthiness

Robert C. Welch

A former treatise discussed the general nature of being worthy of the gospel of Christ. By inspiration the apostle Paul made an analysis of what is involved in such worthiness. This does not imply that this is all that is embraced in such worthiness, but that there were specific features which the Philippian Christians needed to hear; and they are no less necessary for us for our worthiness.

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ; that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries; which is for them an evident taken of perdition, but of your salvation, and that of God; because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer in his behalf: having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me." (Phil. 1:27-30.

Stand Fast In One Spirit

Unity is preached and thought of generally as applicable to the principle that there is only one church. That is true ; but this passage and many others describe a relationship which ought to exist among the members of that one body. It is saddening to observe that such unity often does not exist. One feature of behaving worthy of the gospel is "that ye stand fast in one spirit " This indicates that there is to be a unity of purpose among Christians, that they have a mutual regard for one another that draws them together. "In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another." (Rom. 12:10). "Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph.4:3). "Make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others." (Phil.2:2-4).

Pervading the church, as it does the world in general, is a spirit of distrust of one another. Brethren are bickering at one another, seemingly with a desire to injure the reputation and influence of each other. Preachers get themselves into a position of compromise of truth with error on some point. When others attempt to correct and prevent the spread of this variance from truth, these preachers, instead of being gentleman and Christian enough either to correct or to take it in good grace, will become bitter, vindictive and spiteful, trying to injure those who tried to correct and to kill their work and influence. They need to learn what it means to stand fast in one spirit. As they now behave they are unworthy of the gospel.

Many congregations go for years with a divided sentiment, or spirit. Personal differences, grievances, social status, and family difficulties are often involved in such a divided state. Sometimes they are even inherited by a second and third generation of members. The members may be ever so zealous in "church work" yet their efforts are nullified by this lack of standing fast in one spirit. They sometimes wonder why the church does not grow and why people are not converted. They are blind to the fact that they are not behaving worthy of the gospel.

Striving For The Truth

Unity must prevail in striving for the faith as well as in attitude toward one another. We are to do this "with one soul." Brethren can become so engrossed in personal problems, difficulties and personalities that they are unable to concentrate on the battlefront of the real enemy. Furthermore, brethren have pushed, peddled, prodded and continually pressed their views on questions which have long been studied without a decisive conclusion, to the distress of all as to the peace and progress of God's people. Such pressure has caused brethren to alienate themselves one from another over the "marriage question," the "saints only" question, "the eldership" questions, and many other of a similar nature; and all the while over half of the churches of the Lord have been swept away by the social gospel and institutional doctrines. Every question related to the gospel is worthy of study. But surely we ought to recognize the difference between study and division; between pressure and peace; between a hobby and harmony; between church problems and personal ones; between internal affairs of the church and federation of the churches.

We continue to have people who do not know that there is some striving to be done, a fight to be waged, for the faith of the gospel. They think that we ought to agree with everyone, and condone anything, for the sake of unity. They think that unity is the important and only thing, no matter upon what basis or how obtained. This is the failure of all the present ecumenical efforts of the sectarians and of brethren who are enamored of such. They need to learn that with one soul we are to strive for the faith of the gospel.

Distinction must be made between the person and the error he holds or sins he commits. Surely the person and the sin are together, and complete separation or distinction cannot be made. But we are to destroy the sin in order to gain the person. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:12). We are to strive for the faith.


He who is afraid of the adversaries is not worthy of the gospel of Christ. Paul says, "in nothing affrighted." Some are so proud of the unscriptural reputation the church has of being "one of the denominations," that they are afraid to have any public criticism of anything. They are afraid to condemn and expose worldliness and immorality, for fear it will drive some away and kill the interest in the young people. They have forgotten that in order for people really to be converted they must have their interest killed in worldliness, immorality and error.

Preachers are afraid to contend for their convictions because of their jobs. Such a preacher ought to have his job taken from him, He is not worthy of the gospel of Christ, Occasionally one hears of a man proposing to be a preacher of the gospel who says that it is just not his nature to stand and speak out in the face of opposition. That kind of a person has no business proposing to be a preacher of the gospel. If he cannot withstand a man to his face as Paul did, he is not ready to fill the place of preacher, thereby letting his manner of life be worthy of the gospel.

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