What We Learned Together This Sunday September 3, 2023
Today is the third message of this short series in this season for New Life Fellowship. We have seen Being Members of the Body of Christ in First Corinthians 12. We have seen Christian Call of Unity for the Church Body in Ephesians 4. The message today in Philippians chapter one “Only Conduct Yourselves In A Manner Worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” All that the message of the Gospel proclaims and means, calls us to be as His people and His church. The message of the Gospel is salvation, reconciliation, and transformation. The emphasis on sacrificial love and humble service, including repentance and obedience, seeing abundant grace and abounding mercy. There is the perfect righteousness of Christ and the holiness of God. Both forgiveness of all our sins and kindness of God toward sinners. A message of substitutionary death, the Lamb of God who dies for our sins, the Son of God who lived and died for our rescue and salvation, and the Spirit of God regenerates, renews, and restores.
First, Choose To Live Your Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel [1:27a]. Here is both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION. The first word only places importance and significance in this matter for the church. And also consider all of the things which the Apostle Paul had going on in his life [1:12-14, 21-23]. The gospel emphasized here in this verse twice and in this first chapter in the book of Philippians [cf. 1:5, 7, 12, 16]. Here Paul begins “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . .” Different translations: only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ [NASB] . . . only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ [ESV] . . . only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ [NKJV] . . . But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the Gospel of Christ [Phillips]. This first command in this epistle [verses 27-30 one sentence]. The Gospel of Christ meaning Gospel truths, Gospel blessings, and Gospel promises. Believe the truth of the Gospel, and also behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Believe God the Father and Provider! Believe Jesus is Savior and Leader! Believe the Spirit is our Comforter and Teacher! Such a threefold teaching with the will of God, the work of God, and Word of God! Choice made by you because of the change within you by His grace, so that the Gospel is lived in my life as a testimony of the salvation by God. Paul emphasizing living together with a people with responsibilities of belonging there and being here in this body. One commentator wrote, “but the word Paul uses in Philippians speaks of one’s manner of life seen as a duty to a body or group of which one is a member, and to the head of that group to whom he is responsible. It is a more inclusive word.”
“But in the form in which Paul gives the exhortation, the person exhorted is to recognize his position as a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, and while obeying the exhortation as a matter of obligation to God, yet at the same time realize his responsibility to obey it because of the privileged position he occupies, and literally exhort or charge himself to do the same. One could translate therefore: “Only see to it that you recognize your responsibility as a citizen and put yourself to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position.” [Wuest Word Pictures]
And there is this point by Paul in the middle of the verse, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you . . .” What are people hearing about us here at New Life Fellowship? What will they be talking about in regard to us here? We want them to say there they only conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.
Here is the first of two measurements of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Standing In Unity with Others in the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT ACTION for the church body. Paul writes “that you are standing firm in one spirit . . .” The same wording used in chapter four [cf. 4:1]. Standing Firm for the Gospel which means “unyielding in battle” giving imagery of soldiers. Who we stand with and why we stand here. Where I stand my ground including convictions and commitments with military imagery. Stephen Davey states, The verb here for standing firm, is a military metaphor that pictures the Philippian believers serving in the same army, battling the same foe – which in this word picture would represent disunity. He says, stand firm in one spirit. And he knew they knew – and we might not – that the Roman ground troops fought their enemy not as single soldiers, but in densely packed rows, eight soldiers deep. They moved forward in step – they even moved sideways and backward together – by trumpet or voice commands.” Its that season again, and you know what I mean. Its Fall so its football season! Defense and Offense and Special teams for good football. Here is the defense of the Christian unity when we gather with other soldiers with our shields protecting others from the enemies and warfare against us. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other soldiers in discipleship meetings, Bible Studies, and Community Groups bringing our shields with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Sad that sometimes we need shields because of other Christians in the church body turning against their fellow soldiers. In words of criticism and bitterness, or attitudes of self-righteousness and pride, so that the one spirit of not evident and present in the body.
Here is the second measurement of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Striving for Partnership with Others with the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT PARTICIPATION. Paul writes, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.” Striving Together for the Gospel which means “undivided in strategy” giving imagery of athletics. This is a present active participle meaning present participation as our character describing the present activity in our lives. What we are striving for and why we are working together. In this context Paul would expand teaching on the humility as he adds more teaching and the example of Christ as support [cf. Philippians 2:1-5; 3:12-14]. Here is the offense of the Christian unity when we work with other athletes with our efforts and ministries with others for the mission for us as a church body. Serving in unity in ministry together for the faith of the Gospel. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other athletes serving, helping, ministering, working in different ministry plans bringing our efforts with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Here at New Life Fellowship praying for the 27 fellow workers in the AWANA ministry “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”
Here is a summer of this verse by one commentator. “Only (since my only reason for remaining on earth is for your progress in the Christian life), see to it that you recognize your responsibility as citizens (of heaven), and put yourselves to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position, doing this in a manner which is befitting to the gospel of Christ, in order that whether having come and having seen you, or whether being absent I am hearing the things concerning you, namely, that you are standing firm in one spirit, holding your ground, with one soul contending (as a team of athletes would) in perfect co-operation with one another for the faith of the gospel.” [Wuest Translation]
We Choose To Live our Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel with both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION, so that PRESENT ACTION and PRESENT PARTICIPATION be the character of our ministry and the quality of our testimony. First,The power of the Gospel should be demonstrated in our conduct together. Let our church body not merely be what men can do but how God does work through the Gospel! Second, Confess sins in our lives hindering the Gospel ministry and testimony. Communion Sunday the time for us all to take inventory and seek inspection of our lives as Christians. Strengthen our partnership & fellowship we have in the Gospel together. What will people be hearing about New Life Fellowship? How will we be obeying this command and fulfilling these responsibilities as a church body? May we each commit to standing firm for the Gospel and Striving Together for the Gospel. May they say of us in this community . . . “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” [Philippians 1:27].
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.