Joy of Integrity

September 4, 2004 Philippians 1:27-30

I.  Conduct Yourself in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel

-  In 1:27, Paul gives the 1stcommand to this church – v. 27-30 – is one sentence in Greek!

conduct = comes from the root word polis (city) which in earlier times usually referred to the city-states to which the people who lived there gave their primary allegiance

- the verb carries the basic meaning of being a citizeni.e. being a good citizen

>  to conduct oneself according to the laws and customs of a state. It generally means to live or to order one’s life and conduct in accordance with a certain rule or to the political body to which one belongs[1]– our word politics comes from this root word.

- Paul brings this concept up later in Philippians:

  • Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

Point:  The focus shifts from his relationship to the church to his EXPECTATIONS of the church

- that expectation was to live a life ‘worthy of the Gospel’

> in other words, what Jesus did for us when “He became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), is WORTHY of our living right --- i.e. living like Jesus lived

Input: How would you describe the life of Jesus Christ – what words or phrases would you use (or does the bible use) to describe the life of Christ?

[various answers – holy, righteous, compassion, gentleness, sacrificial, glorifying to God (gave the right opinion of the Father, communicated the truth, etc.]

Point:  To live worthy of the Gospel is to live a life conformed to the image of Christ – in the way we THINKS and the CHOICES we make

- Paul say later, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5)

- Let’s take the ‘worthy of the Gospel’ principle and make some Personal Application:

Q: What would ‘conducting yourself worthy of the Gospel’ look like in the following situations?

  • Workplace:
  • demonstrating by your work ethic that work is good – that the Creator designed man to work (before the fall – keep the garden)
  • that God is a God that ‘works’ – He rested from His work on the 7thday
  • we need to balance our work priorities with our family time
  • Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 

  • Handling Temptation:
  • Thinking about the cross and the blood of Christ – saying no to the temptation
  • Choosing to live like Christ and resist the temptation
  • Admitting you sinned, repenting, and asking for forgiveness (1 John 1:5-9 vs. Gen. 3)

Point:  Jesus handled temptation in a way that brought glory to the Father!

  • Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Responding to Trials/Testings:
  • Not quitting
  • Fixing your hope on Christ – not on the circumstances changing
  • Running to the Word of God and looking for answers on how to respond
  • Remaining joyful in spite of the trial
  • 1 Peter 1:6-9 [Turn and READ]

Point:  Jesus modeled ALL of these and more in His response to the crucifixion!

  • Someone sins against you:
  • Don’t get sinfully angry and strike back
  • Be ready to forgive and restore the relationship

* These are things that Jesus did when WE sinned against Him (refer to the cross – He prayed (not granting blanket forgiveness because forgiveness is conditional upon repentance), “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

  • Ephesians 4:31-32 [Turn & READ]
  • Romans 12:17-21 [Turn & READ]

* Major Point:  YOUR LIFE COMMUNICATES A MESSAGE, AND PEOPLE ARE WATCHING, AND SO IS GOD!  –YOU ARE THE ONLY BIBLE SOME PEOPLE WILL EVER READ!

Q: What about your life is keeping your from ‘conducting yourself worthy of the Gospel’?

>  in what ways are you NOT like Jesus and are really working hard at changing as your submit to Him as your Lord and King?

> could apply this to MALE leadership in the home – solving problems, good communication, providing spiritual direction for your family as Jesus did for the church!

> could also apply this to Community Center ministry – showing we care by what we DO!

“The best argument for Christianity is Christians—their joy, their certainty, their completeness.  But when the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians, when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteousness and smug, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.” David Jeremiah, Turning Toward Joy, p. 52, quoting another source

- Paul goes on to explain what that ‘conduct’ ought to look like – he says whether I come and see you or remain absent that I may hear of . . . .

II.  Three Ways to Conduct Your Life Worthy of the Gospel

A.  Standing Firm in one spirit – 1:27

Standing firm = (one Greek verb) to be constant, to persevere; steadfast in the faith and profession of Christ [2]

Standing firm is both positive and negative.  It is to stand for God and against Satan, to stand for truth and against falsehood, to stand for righteousness and against sin.”  - MacArthur, Philippians, p. 87

- He would tell them in 4:1 to ‘stand firm in the Lord’

- I hope you’re thinking: How can I do that?

> answer – for the Philippians and us . . . ‘in one spirit’

- This is not a reference to the Holy Spirit, the context points to the UNITY of the Body of Christ

- Jesus prayed for this in High Priestly prayer in John 17:

  • John 17:21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.”

Point: The power of a unified Body and what can be accomplished – standing firm is possible as we ‘put on the whole armor of God’ (Eph. 6:10-18)

B.  Striving Together in one mind

- the idea of striving together comes from two Greek words where we get our English word athlete and athletics

means to compete in a contest, especially in a sport such as wrestling

- he’s not talking about competing against each other, but he’s emphasizing the attitude of sacrificing one’s own welfare to promote the welfare of another

- John MacArthur is right when he wrote:

“Church strife does not always involve such flagrant sins as adultery, stealing, lying, or defamation.  It is often generated by such ‘lesser’ sins as holding grudges over minor issues, unjust criticism bitterness, dissatisfactions, and distrust.  Sometimes disharmony arises that can’t even be clearly identified or attributed to any individual, incident, or issues. The enemy of the church succeeds when God’s people turn their ‘freedom into an opportunity for the flesh,’ forgetting to ‘through love serve one another,’ and instead begin to ‘bite and devour one another,’ sometimes to the point of being consumed by one another.’ (Gal. 5:13,15.”Philippians, p. 90

Point: Paul’s instructing us to strive together against sin and our common enemy, Satan who Peter says ‘walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’

>  Striving together as a church means playing as a team to advance the cause of Christ – to function like a Body with the same goal in mind: To glorify Christ!

- Even when you face opponents (family, coworkers, even Satan or his demons) – don’t be alarmed (don’t be seriously or fearfully concerned)

Why? – the fact that they would attack you for the sake of the Gospel is EVIDENCE that they are bound for destruction (i.e. eternal damnation and punishment) – God will have the final say!

C.  Suffering for Christ’s sake – v. 29-30

Input: While we know very little of persecution, what are some potential things we can face if we stand for Christ?

[loss of job, harassment, vandalism, church divisions/strife, etc.]

1.  Persecution is the NORM not the EXCEPTION:

  • John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2.  We can face persecution with God’s joy – as Jesus did when He was crucified

  • Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

3.  We can respond properly, as Jesus did, to those who persecute us:

  • Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
  • Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

 



[1]
Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2]Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.