The Gospel Changes Everything

Josh Greiner January 14, 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 to a whole lot more than one thing about one person.

  • Parents are immediately thinking about their children.
    • If my son would learn to ….
    • If my daughter would learn to ….
  • Children are thinking about their parents.
  • Teachers’ minds are about ready to explode because they are naming every one of our children and thinking of the 32 ways that they wish they would 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.
    • But just telling something that it is important to clean their room and make their bed, does not result in a change of conviction.
  • Often 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 or a irritate their boss.
  • Someone who receives a medical diagnosis might change their eating habits or their exercise program,
    • but it is very possible to see those changes that hopefully will go away with time. The medical diagnosis does not always change the way we think about everything.
  • A comment from a friend or loved one may encourage a person to think differently about a matter for a short period of time, but it does not automatically change every corner of our being.
  • 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. No one, when they think about this world believes that we have arrived. Sure we have made advancements in all areas of life, but almost universally, men and women look at the world and see room for change.

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

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

Then, if that did not complicate things enough we can push this discussion even further and ask what produces behavior or even full-blown heart change?

What I am asking us to think about this morning is where does 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, 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.
  • 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.

Today our focus is How the Gospel Changes Everything. If you are following along in the book, we will cover chapter 3.

Please follow along as I read.

[Read Philippians 1:27-30]

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;

  • Do you agree that a team works best when they all have one commitment and motivation for everything they do?
    • Think for a moment about a football team and how this works for them.
    • If the QB has his own goals (he just want to throw for as many yards as he possibly can)
    • And the running back has his own goal (he just wants to run for as many yards as he can)
    • And then the Kicker has his own goal too (he wants to kick as many field goals as he can)
    • Then we are going to have quite the crazy team and the odds are that they are not going to actually win the game.
      • Each player needs to have one goal, one motivation…win the game in the best way possible, and not seek to put himself first, but the team.
      • If the players do what is best for the win, not themselves, that team has a better chance at winning.
    • If everyone is doing their own thing, they are all seeking to go their own way, they have their own commitments, their own unique motivations…then they will probably lose the game.
      • The same is true here, brothers and sisters, with us. We all can have our own motivations and commitments, but what the text here is telling us is that our central, our core, we need to have the Gospel as our unifying motivation and commitment.
      • WE see that played out in our opening verse…

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

  • Like I mentioned in our football analogy above, if there are multiple purposes that take the place of THE main purpose…winning the game…a team is in trouble.
    • Yes there can be some other smaller goals that come under the main goal:
      • I would really like to xyz.
      • Everything must come under the main purpose, the main goal…winning the game.
  • For those in Christ, there is a single purpose for which all our activity should be organized around.
    • While there is going to be a lot that is said in what we are all called to do:
      • We are called to function in a certain way as dads, employees, church members, etc.,
      • The truth is all of those calls, all of those commands in scripture should be taking their place under the one main goal.
      • That main goal is the advancement of the gospel.
  • Now that goal is going to take many forms in our lives and in the various contexts that we all live in, but everything in our lives needs to be changed and organized around and under the advancement of the gospel.

Next the text says that we need to do this in a manner that is…

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

  • If we are all on the same goal and purpose, then we need to conduct ourselves in the same manner.
  • Now that doesn’t mean that we all have to function the same way…God is not saying that we all need to be a bunch of robots, but what Paul is calling us all to is to live lives that are worthy of the calling that you have received.
  • Think for a moment if you are sent by your boss on an important business trip.
    • He is entrusting you with representing the company
    • He is entrusting you with some resources to conduct yourself
    • He is entrusting you with all kinds of things as your conduct business on his behalf.
  • What should be your response to that stewardship?
    • Should you seek to exalt yourself?
    • Should you seek to just have a good time?
    • NO. If you did that, you would not be worthy of the job that your boss had sent you on.
  • The same is true for us.
    • God calls us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel…worthy of what Christ has done for you.
    • Not using your freedom that you have in Christ for you and your pleasure,
    • Rather, to use what has been granted to you for the advancement of the gospel in a way that is pleasing to God.

WE also see in the verse that we are to be…

C.      Standing firm in One Spirit

  • What Paul is calling for here is a spirit of unity. He is saying that you would all be unified here.
  • If you are using the NASB Bible you will notice that the word spirit is with a small “s”
    • However, if you are using a NIV there is a big “S”. And the translators are attempting to que you in to the fact that they believe that this passage is talking about the Holy Spirit here.
    • An interpretive decision has to be made here since it is the same Greek word just like in English—so we have to use context to determine if this is talking about the H.S. or something else.
    • Most translations understand this to not refer to the HS, but to a spirit with a small S.
  • I think that the passage is saying stand in one spirit with a small s, in a unified fashion.
    • Meaning, don’t let divisions break you apart.
    • Stand with “one mind”

Lastly then in this, as we consider how the Gospel is a unifying commitment and motivation for all that we do, we see the call to be

D.     Striving together for the faith of the Gospel

  • There is a lot that we could say about this part of our passage, but let me at least highlight this one aspect…
  • we are called to be doing this Gospel Work together. We are to be laboring alongside one another in the church.
  • There are some, probably even here today, who do not think that they need to be apart of the church.
  • They can do things on their own. They do not need to join the church, they can work out their own personal religion with God.
  • This verse reminds us that we need to be striving together.
  • Back to our football analogy for a moment.
    • If they were all doing their own thing, each had their own goal, we all agree that they could not succeed.
    • How much worse would it be if each team member was not actually on the team but was there independent, on his own.
    • How silly it would be for a QB to play without a team.
    • A punter to play alone
    • How silly it is when we try to do our mission alone.
  • If you have been reading in Keller’s book, he highlights three different aspects of the gospel. We are going to use some of that terminology in today’s message as we seek to lay out some of the practical ways we can apply this passage to our lives.

[Heather, please make one click for everything to appear]

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Incarnation

Servant

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

 

  • 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.
  • This has many possible implications … I want to think about just three…. family, church community and spiritual disciplines.
    • Family --- you know more about what happens in your home than anyone else …
      • Are you involved in serving and taking care of your family?
      • Dads, do you feel the call to ensure that your children are growing in godliness or are you leaving that to the Sunday school teaches?
      • Husbands, are you hearing the call to be the sacrificial leader to shepherd your wife? Or are you leaving her on her own?
      • Moms: are you hearing the call to serve your families well?
        • To be laying down your personal preferences and desires in order to point your husband, your kids, and those around you to Christ?
    • Church community --- could people point to you as a vital part of their circle?
      • Here is something that I want everyone to consider in this room
        • If you stopped coming here, if you stopped coming to your small group study ( assuming you are in one).
          • Would people even notice? Would they even be impacted.
        • Now I am not trying to alienate anyone, I am here to help get everyone here into deeper and more meaningful community.
          • But there are some of you here that are not in community, and if you are in some small group, your time there is not terribly impactful.
        • You can see from our passage, that we are to be in deep community with each other—and if you do not have that, the I would encourage you to make that part of how you are going to change today.
    • Spiritual disciplines –
      • You are not going to be able to be effective in our mission if you are not regularly in God’s word, you are not regularly in prayer.
      • I know that many of you are in the word daily, but some of you are not.
      • There are also some here who would say that God’s word is too confusing for you and that you don’t read the Bible because you don’t understand that.
        • You might have even use a devotional that is written by someone.
      • Can I encourage everyone here to go right to the source of food, not to go to someone else?
      • If you are having a hard time studying and learning your Bible, come talk to one of your service pastors, we would love to help you with that, but don’t be content to live out this year by not having the spiritual disciplines as a center part of your life.

Next we see that…

II. The Gospel Confirm 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.

  • I am sure that you have experienced at some point in your life a level of opposition to what you are doing and you were not sure, because of the opposition, if you were doing the right thing.
    • It is fair to say that I am not, by God’s design, a handy man. I’m learning, I’m trying, but that is not my natural skill set.
    • Recently we had some problems with one of our garage doors. I’ve been trying to fix it on my own by using my own eyes and a little youtube.
      • I was working so hard at one point to fasten this bolt to a particular location, at one point I was putting like my entire body weight onto it. D
      • After a while, and a lot of sweat, I had the bright idea,
        • Maybe I should look at the other door and see how this is done over there.
      • Sure enough I was trying to do this entire thing wrong.
      • The opposition that I was experiencing in how to fix my garage door was proof that what I was doing was wrong.
    • However, that is not true for the opposition that we will experience in this life when we seek to share and live out the Gospel.
      • Paul reminds us that when we experience opposition, that is proof that we are probably on the right path.

More specifically then…

A.     Opposition Reminds Us of the Destruction to Come on Those Who Do Not Obey the Gospel (v. 28a)

  • Now this is not something that we should all be excited about…see those people over there…they are meant for destruction.
  • Paul does not want us to be strutting around like we own the place because they are meant for disruption and we are not.
  • Rather, we are to have a heart for those who are on the path of destruction.
  • But when we experience opposition to living out our primary mission, this is to remind us that there are some who will experience destruction because they are not saved by Christ.

As well as…

B.      Opposition Reminds Us of the Security That We Have in Christ (v.28b)

  • Paul tell us that when we have opposition, that we should see this not as a bad thing from God,
    • Not that he has forgotten us,
    • He has not abandoned us…
    • Rather, this is to be a sign that you are truly one of his children.
  • Rather, we need to see this as proof that we are on the right path and secure in Christ.
    • While we need to be balanced (sometimes opposition does mean that you are going in the wrong direction and that there is a problem)
      • If after careful prayer, and consultation with godly believers it is clear that you are functioning in a way that is pleasing to God.
        • Then the opposition that you experience should encourage you of the safety you have in Christ.

So how does this then all play out in Keller’s book ….

Atonementà Transformation à Outreach

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Atonement

Substitution

Personal evangelism, outreach, church/campus planting

 

Atonementà Transformation à Outreach

  • Personal Evangelism—because of the security and the promise that you have in Christ, you are going to want to share what you have with others.
    • You are going to want them to have the good news that you have
    • You are going to want them to be saved like you are saved
    • You are going to be all about participating in outreach.
    • And when you encounter opposition, when you get rebuffed for sharing about Christ,
      • You are going to be OK with that.
      • When someone looks at you a little crazy when you start talking about why you function the way you do because of the love of Christ,
      • When the treat your poorly…you’ll see that as a confirmation of what you are doing is pleasing to God.
    • Can I ask you how you are doing with this?
      • If we were to examine your life, are there examples of personal evangelism and participating in the outreach ministries that our church has?
      • If not, then can I encourage you to make sure that you are changing in that way? Can you make it your goal to be sharing the good news that you have, regardless of what others may or may not think of you?
  • Keller also mentions Church Planting/Campus Planting.
    • There are some of you here who were a part of the group that came over from Faith East back in 2013.
    • You took a leap of faith, you sacrificed a lot of the ‘comforts’ that Faith East provided to be a part of this plant here.
    • Over the last five years, FCW has grown in practically every metric that we have because of the faithful work, love, care and ministry that so many of you have shown around here.
    • I want to say thank you to those who were a part of this all those many years ago.
      • And thank you to those who have joined us as the journey has continued.
    • Now what I think is exciting is that FCW gets to be a part of the next stage in Church/Campus planting with the Northend
    • I am sure that there are some of you thinking about it because it fits just right in with your comfort zone.
      • However, I bet that there are some of you, when you think about going to the Northend are not quite sure about it.
      • While I am not saying that everyone here needs to go, I would encourage you to be asking and praying if God would be pleased for you to be a part of that church plant.
      • Would God want you to use your gifts and abilities to minister there?
      • If you think that he might, or you are just not sure, let’s have a conversation about that.

Finally, we see that…

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.

  • Suffering is a topic that is discussed all over scripture, but we have to be sure to make sure we know we are talking about here.

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

  • Namely, Paul is talking about for himself the suffering that he is experiencing because he is proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
    • If we turn back in the our passage a little but, we see that Paul is suffering because of the Gospel that he has preached.
      • [read 1:12-14]
    • Paul, while suffering, can see the context of his suffering, he can see how God is using his suffering for the advancement of the gospel.
  • We also see this with Christ in the next Chapter in 2:5-8
    • Read 2:5-8
  • Simply put, the Gospel puts suffering in its proper context when it is for Christ.
    • Paul even talks about it as something that has been granted to us…we have been given the privilege to suffer for the gospel.
  • So, dear brothers and sisters, if you are suffering because of taking a stand for your faith
    • For trying to live out your faith in front of your family, coworkers, and friends,
      • Remember that the Gospel puts that suffering in its context.
  • Namely that suffering reminds you that you are not of this world, but another world.
    • Notice Paul’s eternal focus in 1:21-26
    • Paul is able to put this suffering in its place because he can see past all of this to his eternal home, his eternal reward in Heaven
    • He will continue to labor here for the gospel knowing that it is pleasing to God.

Lastly as we close out our time….

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

 

  • It is important to remember that you are not alone in all of this.
  • There are people all over the world, all over your church, all over this community who are suffering for the sake of the gospel.
  • Granted, that suffering looks different for each and every person, but you are not alone if you are suffering.
  • I would also say this, to those who are not suffering for the cause of Christ
    • If there are no areas in your life where you have person that cause you a little heartburn in your life because of your walk with Christ,
    • I might encourage you to consider if there is something that you need to do different in your life.
      • Do people even know you’re a follower of Christ?
      • Could that be why you are not ‘suffering’?

As Keller in his book relates this last point, he does so by…

Resurrectionà Christ is making all things rightà A call to seek the welfare of the City

 

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

 

Resurrectionà Christ is making all things rightà A call to seek the welfare of the City

So what are the practical implications for us?

  • Seeking the welfare of the city—
    • If you have ever wondered what is one of the main motivations for so much of we do in our community outreach, it is this very point.
    • We want to go to our city and bring the light there.
    • When a group of Christians show up, we want everyone to notice.
    • We want our neighborhoods to improve
      • Families to get better
      • We want crime to go down
      • We want education to improve.
    • We want our community to see, wherever those Christians go, the world becomes a better place.
      • And by God’s grace that is happening in our city.
      • When you consider that our city is investing $1.5 MM in the Northend community center, that says something.
      • That says that our city leaders see that where the body of Christ goes, things get better.
      • They may not always be able to put their fingers on it…but they can see how it improves.
    • If you have wondered, why are we doing all this stuff with
      • community ministries,
      • with the CDC in renovating distressed housing
      • with tutoring kids who need help
      • with sports leagues,
      • with neighborhood clean up
      • with shoveling
    • All of this activity is to seek the welfare of the city so as to show the superiority of Christ.

 

Conclusion:

[chart as one click]

 

Aspect of the gospel

Role of Christ

Practical Implications

Incarnation

Servant

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

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

 

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.

 


Josh Greiner

BA - Political Science, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary
Th.M. - Biblical Counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Ph.D. - Biblical Counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (in progress)

Josh is married to Shana and has three children: Winston, Cecilia, and Lorelai.  Josh oversees the community ministries and centers at Faith Church as well as serves as a service pastor at Faith Church West. He is an ACBC Certified counselor and teaches in Faith’s Biblical Counseling Center. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Faith Community Development Corporation. 

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