A Life Worthy of the Gospel of Christ
Philippians 1: 27-30
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[h] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Paul is focusing on how the Philippians can have joy in every situation and last week we talked about the importance of being connected to the Kingdom of God so that we might find what He is doing and be grateful for His grace and peace in our lives. Well, there is a definite behavioral component to this. Since we are created in the image of God, or as Paul says in Ephesians 2, “We are His workmanship…” That image of God that we are created in is an image of character. God acts in the world in the best possible way and we best demonstrate His kingdom in our lives as we act as His image bearers in our daily lives. This is our spiritual service of worship, it is what it means to walk out the good works that God prepared before in our lives. Every action can gain terrific meaning. Every action in our lives can reflect a connection to the Kingdom of God.
And so Paul tells the people at Philippi to live a life worthy of the gospel. And so Paul tells us all to live a life worthy of the Gospel!
- Worthy of the Gospel? V.27
- What is the gospel meant to do?
What did sin do?
I think this is a really important question. Genesis 3 is certainly a key place to start, but in each story in the Bible there is some sort of conflict. The gospel truth should cause one to act in a manner that responds to God positively in a twisted and corrupt world.
God gave Adam and Eve freedom and a choice. We will always have that freedom. We will always have to choose to follow Jesus Christ.
- The gospel impacts our relationships
Competition described in family
Conflict and competition in siblings
Relationship toward work and frustration.
Relationship toward work and self-definition: The children of Cain are named for their abilities. But our basic purpose and value is established in the image of God in us.
Selfish ambition and the destruction of others. (Lamech)
A downward spiral toward destruction. Some of this is natural and will be a cause and effect. And some of this will be as a result of divine intervention.
The proper relationship with God is the foundation for all other proper behavior! Story of Babel. Replacing God with our combined abilities.
- Finding the correct understanding
Who am I?
I am a husband. I am a father. I am a friend. I am a pastor. I am a friend. I am a neighbor.
Who is God? God is the source of wisdom. God is the source of goodness and love. God is my creator. God is my judge. God is my savior from His own wrath.
What am I meant to be? How is my life practically meant to reflect His image in all of the ways that I am?
How do I make that happen? Connection to God by faith. I must believe that He is there and that He will reward my search for Him and His will in my life. I must believe that the sacrifices I make in my own life will be rewarded with life both now and eternal.
- Stand Firm in Your Faith in the Gospel v.29-30
Opposition and fear create the necessity to stand firm in faith!
- What causes opposition to faith
- Living only by sight removes an invisible God from existence
- People do not experience God in the same way
- God touches people’s lives, if they deny this, insecurity can set in and they may attack.
- Godless standards of behavior are established. Abortion for example. When does life begin?
- What do you fear
Circumstances that bring safety and security into question..
Personal or social rejection? Pride
Physical pain? Comfort
Financial loss? Greed
Pleasure loss? (Gonna miss out on what others get to enjoy)
- Do not be surprised by opposition
Once God’s definitions are rejected, they will be replaced by the wisdom of man.
Here is the trouble with that: Ecclesiastes: 3:
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
And then there is listed many opposite characteristics. And people will not agree on the proper time for each behavior.
Also in Ecclesiastes we have an example of someone who has wandered from God and into the pursuit of life in an earthly only kind of way. Accomplishments, pleasure etc. And there is a complete loss of purpose and meaning. Everything becomes meaningless apart from God’s standards. And so at the end of the book:
Eccl 12: 13
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
At the end of the Book of Job:
2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself, and repent[a] in dust and ashes.”
At the beginning of the Book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 1: 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
III. The Opposition Has a Purpose v.28
- Faithfulness in conflict is a testimony
God works in your testimony. God is at work!
People need a testimony
Sin blinds, but God can help folks to see and if we are demonstrating the truth of the gospel in our lives, then when God works on them, we are living epistles.
II Cor 3: 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
- Your life comes from God (This is the testimony)
If everyone saw this clearly, then everyone would pursue God as their first principle. There would be no disastrous consequences of sexual sin, of drug and alcohol addiction, of greed that destroys self, relationships with others and the environment. (the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil) Paul says in his letter to Timothy: do not seek to be rich!
- Each test of your faith makes it stronger
Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise your faith, the stronger it becomes.
Has God not chosen the poor to be rich in faith? This idea is the same.