The Gospel Changes Everything

Rob Green January 21, 2018 Philippians 1:27-30
Outline

I. The Gospel is the Unifying Commitment and Motivation for All that We Do (v. 27)

Philippians 1:27 - Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…

A. Only - emphasizing the singular purpose (v. 27a)

B. Worthy - emphasizing the singular manner (v. 27a)

C. Standing firm in one spirit

D. Striving together for the faith of the gospel

Aspect of the gospel

Role of   Christ

Practical implications

Incarnation

Servant

Soul care, community/friendships, spiritual disciplines, radical giving, racial reconciliation

II. The Gospel Confirms that Our Priorities and Motivations are Right

Philippians 1:28 - …in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

A. Opposition reminds us of the destruction to come on those who do not obey the gospel (v. 28a)

B. Opposition reminds us of the security that we have in Christ (v.28b)

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical implications

Atonement

Substitution

Personal evangelism, outreach, church/campus planting

III. The Gospel Puts Suffering in Its Proper Context (v.29-30)

Philippians 1:29-30 - For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

A. The suffering is specifically Christian suffering (v.29)

B. This suffering is shared suffering with fellow believers (v.30)

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical implications

Resurrection

Bringing the Kingdom

Seeking the welfare of the city, training people to work as a gospel centered person, neighborhood involvement

 

How many of you wish at least one person in your life would change at least one thing about their life? If you were being honest … you would admit that you would like to see a lot of people change in a lot of different ways.

  • Parents are immediately thinking about their children. In fact, they are thinking about each child
    • If my son would learn to …. (clean up after himself, put the dishes all the way in the dishwasher … if he could teach my husband that would be even better)
    • If my daughter would learn to …. (value her education, to be in a place where she could earn a living)
  • Children are thinking about their parents.
    • I wish they would get off my back, quit reading my text messages, etc, etc.
  • Teachers’ minds are about ready to explode because they are naming every one of our 25 students and thinking of the 32 ways that each should change.
  • Students are thinking about a teacher that they find particularly frustrating.
  • Spouses are thinking about one another
    • If only my wife would …
    • If only my husband would …
  • Bosses and those under them immediately think of ways that they wish things were different.

Change is a big word in our culture. It is used in every corner of our society about virtually every topic. People call for change …

  • Regarding social attitudes
  • Regarding the conduct of manufacturing facilities to reduce greenhouse gases
  • Regarding students who need to perform better in school
  • Regarding athletics to encourage safety and fair play
  • Regarding coaches, athletes, and front office personnel
  • A child cleans his or her room because his or her parents want it cleaned.
    • But in his or her heart there is no conviction that learning how to lead, to take responsibility, and to accomplish something in life starts with something small like cleaning up after yourself.
      • A saw a clip a while ago about a general in our military speaking to a group of young people who was answering the question … How do you accomplish something great in life? He said, it starts with making your bed. When you learn how to make your bed, you learn how to clean your room. When you learn to clean your room you learn how to do well in school …. In his case to command 100,000 soldiers in the war on terror.
    • But just telling someone that, does not result in a change of conviction.
  • A worker does what his or her boss wants not because they believe it is right, but just so they don’t have to bear the grief of an irritated boss.
  • We might change our eating our exercise habits based on the word of a physician … at least for 2-3 days.
  • A comment from a friend or loved one might encourage short term change about a particular area of life.
  • You can get an electronic copy of the book from Amazon if that serves you better. The principles that we learn in that book come directly from the pages of the Bible.
  • Please look at Phil 1:5, 6, 12, 18, 27, 2:12, 2:21-22, 3:7-8. 3:20, 4:3, 4:15. The gospel is everywhere …
  • That sounds great.
  • Friends, talk about a test. Is there such a singular purpose in your life that you evaluate your circumstances and activities through the value of gospel outreach?
  • Paul has been in prison for several years when he writes this book. Yet, his outlook is driven by his focus on the gospel.
    • It changed the way he saw the walls of his prison
    • It changed the way he look at the soldiers coming to guard him
    • It changed the way he heard stories from the outside
    • It changed everything at the most fundamental level possible.
  • Is what we are doing for the purpose of the gospel and done in a manner worthy of the gospel?
  • But at the same time, if something is worth doing than the question we can ask is whether we are investing the time and energy that it deserves.
  • When we are done with a particular task are we asking the question … “Lord, are you pleased with the time and effort I gave that task?” Are you pleased with the quality of the product?
    • I had to ask that question with respect to this sermon!
  • In a family this looks like mom and dad being on the same page regarding raising their children. The opposite of this is the children using mom against dad and dad against mom.
  • One of the calls will be in the days to come to fulfill the ministry programming in a gospel worthy way together.
  • I think all of us fall into the trap of not accomplishing all that we could.
    • We confuse the need for spiritual rest with the desire for doing nothing.
    • We confuse the need to care for others with the need to veg.
  • In the process we miss the amount of work that it takes to make a difference.
  • The exclusive nature of the gospel along with its effort allows us to look at our lives and ask very evaluative questions.
  • Is each member of the family (if you are single the question involves one person and if you have 8 children you are asking it of all 10) living with this kind of gospel focus where living for Jesus comes out in how we encourage each other in our strengths and help each other in our weaknesses.
    • Is there a concern of each family member for each family member? Or is it more about bickering and fighting?
  • Is family all about the gospel? Doing their part in the gospel outreach of the family.
    • Dad and 3 boys shoveling a neighbor’s driveway.
    • BCTC housing …. Thank you … could use a few more. BCTC serving …
  • He point was to encourage us that our church should be making such a difference in the lives of people around us that they would notice if we were not here anymore.
  • If I stopped going to ABF would anyone notice?
  • If I stopped going to my point man group would the group actually suffer?
  • Is my presence important or am I so disconnected that no one would even know?
  • That is part of how the gospel changes us. We want to learn more about the Scriptures and more importantly about the God of the Bible who created us and sustains us.
  • How you do family is different, how you do community is different, how you care about the spiritual disciplines are different.
  • When you don’t live like the rest there is a certain amount of opposition that comes from being different.
  • Just like Daniel there are a few people who are out to get you.
  • That opposition is a sign that they do not understand the gospel and remain under the wrath of God.
  • When I live with a v. 27 mentality I live different than the people around me, I think different than the people around me, and I am motivated by things that are different.
  • When opposition comes it reminds me of my security and their destruction.
  • Talk about motivation to live in a gospel centered way. It does not get much better than the Lord satisfied the wrath of God so that I could enjoy the peace of God.
  • Just like a parent who walks in their child’s room, sees an open window, and says “its cold out there” is not just making a statement. There is an inherent command to “close your window because I will pay to heat the house but I will not pay to heat the outside.”
  • So is the gospel both a truth to be enjoyed and a command to be obeyed.
  • I could think of opposition through a competitive lens. Great, you want to oppose me … you want a fight … great … I have far more allies than you do. I will squish you like a bug. Besides the wrath of God is still on your head so you might want to watch out.
  • Or the fact that opposition is a sign of destruction could actually stir up compassion and evangelism.
  • It may be that part of our discussion has been confusing or maybe you would say you understand but that you have been part of the opposition.
    • Give the gospel here
    • Talk to us at the visitor tent
  • Friends, one honest question every person in our church has to ask is … when is the last time I shared my faith with the opposition?
  • If the stakes are heaven and hell, then it makes perfect sense that I would be telling others about my faith on a regular basis.
    • If that is not true for you, then I can ask you to please ask the Lord for some opportunities. Ask him for a window to express your faith and call that person to repentance. Then ask the Lord for the courage it takes to use the opportunity that he gave you.
  • Passion play choir … passion play. Wouldn’t it be great if the servant slots were full right away … no bulletin announcements.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if every person in our church viewed it as their personal responsibility to fill one seat at one of the presentations with a person from the community who needs Christ. Maybe you could be praying about that starting now.
  • That is a gospel centered heart.
  • Because the substitutionary death of Jesus must be applied to everyone who lives within reasonable driving distance of our campuses.
  • This same opposition creates compassion for them in our life because we believe that the destruction is none other than hell and we do not want them to go there.
  • So we evangelize and do outreach and pray to the Lord that he would give us chances to share our faith.
  • Sometimes it means that their opposition results in suffering for you and me.
  • The specific kind of suffering he is talking about in this passage is the suffering that results from the opposition to the gospel.
  • While this is certainly different than being executed by ISIS or having our church bombed.
  • The reality is our griefs sometimes push our Christianity into the closet.
  • Elijah thought he was all alone. Elijah has an amazing victory he must run for his life. He thinks that he is the only one left and the Lord reminds, no … actually I have preserved a bunch more.
  • They are in hiding but there are a bunch more … you are not alone.
  • Very few people will max out their potential living in the US without English – especially in the Midwest.
  • What is it like to live as a Hispanic who immigrated from Mexico? What is it like to live as a child who grew up in the States but whose parents came from another country? Wise ministry will involve learning about their experiences.
  • What is it like to live as an African American in Lafayette? How might their family and social culture and their experience shape who they are today? Wise ministry will involve learning that.
  • It changes our behavior
  • It changes our heart attitude
  • It changes the motivation that we have for doing what we do
  • The gospel changes everything

Change is very important and the desire for change is everywhere.

Let’s push this notion of change just a bit farther and ask what level this change takes place. For some the change, if it takes place at all, is merely behavioral.

But let’s be frank… many of these changes do not last.

In their heart of hearts their attitude is still the same but they bite their lip and hold their nose for a period of time when it comes to outward behavior.

What I am asking us to think about this morning is where does change, life change, heart change, come from?

What possibly has the power to change our convictions and help us adopt not only a new behavior, but more importantly a new mindset?

Is there anything that has the power to not only change one thing like that, but to change everything?

With that in mind, I invite you to turn to Philippians 1:27-30. That is on page ____ of the back section of the Bible in the chair in front of you.

Our theme this year is Being Careful How We Build. All of us build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. There is, according to 1 Cor 3, no other foundation that we can build upon.

Our current series is Building on the Foundation of the Gospel. Pastor Viars encouraged us to read Center Church (pic of book on the screen) by Tim Keller. That book is available in our bookstore if you want to purchase a copy today.

Today our focus is How the Gospel Changes Everything. This message will hit the material Keller discusses in chapter 3.

Please follow along as I read. This is the Word of the Lord. [Read Philippians 1:27-30]

Let’s consider three ways how the gospel changes everything.

I.  The gospel is the unifying commitment and motivation for all that we do (v. 27)

Philippians 1:27 – Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel

Many believe that this verse summarizes Philippians better than any other verse in the book.

There is no question that joy is a major theme of the book. Warren Wiersbe named his commentary “Be Joyful.” However, it is possible to say that the attitude of Philippians is joy … after all the word is found many times in each chapter, but that the summary of the book is about gospel participation.

This gospel participation theme explains the first word of v. 27 ….

A.     Only – emphasizing the singular purpose (v. 27a)

Some things are bad, some are okay, some are good, and others are excellent. The Lord reminds us of the exclusive value of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As believers in Christ we should have a clear sense of purpose because there is essentially one thing that I have to really care about … everything related to the gospel. Paul set an example for me to follow.

In vv. 12-15 Paul says that his imprisonment is better than his freedom because a special unit of Roman soldiers heard the gospel and more believers were willing to share their faith.

Not only do we see this singular purpose but our engagement in gospel ministry is also explained by the word …

B.      Worthy – emphasizing the singular manner (v. 27a)

Not only do we see the singular focus but we also see the singular manner.

When we start thinking about worthy we have the ability to think about our willingness to give that activity … which is gospel centered (that is why we are doing the activity to begin with) … the time and attention it deserves.

It is true that sometimes our desire for perfectionism not only gets in the way of accomplishment, but actually begins to stand in opposition to the worthiness of the gospel.

C.      Standing firm in one spirit (v. 27b)

Of course this could refer to the Holy Spirit, but I think the more likely option is that we have stand firm in our human spirit. It has to do with linking arms together in order to accomplish a gospel priority in a worthy manner.

As a church there is something that we are standing firm together … to fund the next community center. When we have the grand opening we can say “thank you Lord for allowing us to participate in this gospel priority.”

The fourth phrase is …

D.     Striving together for the faith of the gospel (v. 27c)

In this case, the focus is on the contending or striving. It refers to the effort that is given in our life toward gospel priorities.

Everything about this verse emphasizes the significance of the gospel impacting EVERYTHING … not just one thing or two things. Not only does the gospel impact our behavior but also our thoughts and motivations as well.

In Keller’s book he highlights three different aspects of the gospel. I realize that some of you have not read chapter 3. But I tried to make his point really simple in a chart. (p. 47 of Center Church)

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Incarnation

Servant

Soul care, community/friendships, spiritual disciplines, radical giving

 

You heard Pastor Viars speak about the fact that we are not going to compromise our care for one another for another building. We do not want the additional campus and service to dilute our care. Otherwise we would be giving up one element of the gospel that changes everything.

This notion of servant / incarnation has many possible practical implications … I want to think about three…..family, church community and spiritual disciplines. I want to encourage you to consider what might need to change and write it down on your notes. There is space there to interact with yourself.

Family --- you know more about what happens in your home than anyone else … One question you have to ask is our home unified in gospel living.

Church community --- could people point to you as a vital part of their circle? ABF, point man, mom 2 mom. We have all heard Pastor Viars say things like if a church stopped holding services would the community be impacted?

We can ask that question in our own church.

The incarnational aspect of the gospel changes how we relate to one another in our family and in our church community.

Spiritual disciplines --- This refers to the issues of Bible reading, prayer, faithfulness to church, faithful giving, etc … A couple weeks ago in our young couples ABF we were in groups discussing our various spiritual goals for the year. Almost every person highlighted their desire to be more faithful to the reading of the Word. That is exactly right because …

If the first way that the gospel changes everything is that the gospel serves as our unifying commitment and motivation for all that we do then the second way the gospel changes everything is …

II. The gospel confirms that our priorities and motivations are right (v. 28)

Philippians 1:28 – In no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

When a person changes loyalties it is possible to wonder if you made the right decision. When a person endures some opposition because of their new loyalties, it is possible to question even more intensely whether they have the right loyalty.

The Word of God anticipated this -- a gospel centered person does not live like the rest of the population.

But this text gives us a new way to understand that opposition that we receive.

A.     Opposition reminds us of the destruction to come on those who do not obey the gospel (v. 28a)

Instead of seeing opposition from the world’s way of thinking and acting as a challenge to our faith, it is actually a sign of destruction.

Those who oppose do not necessarily see that sign … but you do. Because you have the written word of God in your hand you are able to look at the opposition as a fulfillment of what the Bible already told you.

Maybe you have such a high character at work that people want to remove some of your power.

I should mention that sometimes there is opposition in our life for other reasons. Maybe we were disrespectful to another person or maybe we hurt them with our words and our actions. This type of opposition is different.

The opposition in view here is the opposition that comes when you live such a gospel oriented life that people are offended by the gospel.

At the very same time ….

B.      Opposition reminds us of the security that we have in Christ (v. 28b)

One of my favorite things in the personal ministry of the Word (when I get to meet with someone in counseling) is when they look at portion of God’s Word and say something like “I have never seen that before and now I understand.”

Opposition not only proves that those who oppose gospel centered living are still under destruction, but it also reminds us of the security we have in Christ.

Who knew that opposition to the gospel could be so valuable?

Keller brings out the implication of this truth in his second aspect of the gospel. The first one was incarnation and emphasized the servant role that Jesus took in becoming man and a servant at that. The second is atonement. Here we emphasize that Jesus took our place. He died the death we owed. Instead of me paying the wrath of God (v. 28 calls this a sign of destruction) Jesus paid for it instead. Praise the Lord for that.

But that is not just a truth to be enjoyed. It also has an inherent command.

Here it is in our chart from Keller’s book on page 47.

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Atonement

Substitution

Personal evangelism, outreach, church/campus planting

 

With these lenses -- let’s go back to the opposition.

When we conduct ourselves with a gospel outreach then personal evangelism will be part of our heartbeat. Our concern is that the person’s opposition will ultimately land them in hell.

It also relates to serving in outreach.

I hope that part of your heart is that when we begin services at Faith North that this would result in FN, FW, and FE being full on a Sunday.

Friends if the first aspect of the gospel – incarnation – encourages us to look inward (ourselves, our families, and our church community) then the second aspect of the gospel – substitution – encourages us to look outward (to the lost opposing community outside).

Let’s return to Philippians 1 to see how the text concludes.

III. The gospel puts suffering in its proper context (vv. 29-30)

Philippians 1:29-30 – For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Opposition, seen through the lens of gospel worthy living, is a double sign. A sign of destruction for them and salvation for you.

But that does not always mean they repent in sack cloth and ashes. That does not always mean that they thank us for caring about them so much.

Did you notice that little word “granted?” The Lord not only allowed you to come to the place where you believed, but he also allows you to suffer for his sake.

A.     The suffering is specifically Christian suffering (v. 29)

There is more than one kind of suffering in the Bible. Peter tells us not to suffer for doing wrong otherwise you get what you deserve.

In 1:13 Paul reminds us that his imprisonment is connected to his role in gospel living. It is not because he cheated on his taxes, murdered another man, or was convicted of stealing. His offense is that he spoke about Jesus.

Sometimes we suffer from the opposition. The most common forms in our society at this point is family pressure or ridicule, colleagues who think we are simple minded, attempts to block access to certain kinds of community funding, or insults due to our faith.

Here the gospel gives us a new way to see this suffering. We can see it as a gift from the same God who gave us eternal life. Instead of something to run from, it is something that we accept from the hand of the Lord who saved us.

Thankfully, the Lord allows us to experience that suffering with others.

B.      This suffering is shared suffering with fellow believers (v. 30)

This suffering stemming from opposition is something that fellow believers share with one another and with the Lord. Thus, we are never suffering alone.

But suffering does something else … it reminds us of yet another aspect of the gospel. That this is not the end, but make the most of it while you are here.

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Resurrection

Bringing the Kingdom

Seeking the Welfare of the city, training people to work as a gospel centered person, neighborhood involvement

 

When God sent his people into exile he told them you are going to be here for a while. You will eventually leave because this is not your home, but until then seek the good of the city. Influence it positively.

Let’s rejoice with all the work of the CDC. Lori Walters has done a wonderful job.

This year we are going to continue the ESL program started last year. Thank you for doing that.

Some of the activities of the Hub involve homework time in the hopes that greater accountability with their schoolwork will greatly enhance the children’s opportunities for the future.

When the NCC comes live there are going to be greater opportunities for ministries across ethnicities. We have all heard Pastor Viars speak about racial reconciliation. In order to move toward that we need to listen and learn.

Yes, we may experience suffering and that will remind us of our heavenly home. But until we reach that place we find meaningful ways to be a blessing to our city.

Summary

The text says … Only … conduct yourselves …. Worthy … of the gospel. Very few things change us at every level of our being. Most changes are temporary or they only affect one or two areas of life. But being careful how we build reminds us that the gospel changes everything.

Keller’s book helped us think about the richness of the gospel. He described three aspects which help us understand the role of Christ and lead to some very practical implications. The combined chart looks like this …

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Incarnation

Servant

Soul care, community/friendships, spiritual disciplines, radical giving

Atonement

Substitution

Personal evangelism, outreach, church/campus planting

Resurrection

Bringing the Kingdom

Seeking the Welfare of the city, training people to work as a gospel centered person, neighborhood involvement

 

If you let it, this will impact your family, our church family, our outreach to those who oppose us and need Christ, and our commitment to caring about the place we live and all the people who live here.

Rob Green

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Rob Green and his wife, Stephanie, joined the Faith staff in August, 2005.  Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at the Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.