“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Phil 1:27
Let me reverse the sentence for a second
1. GOSPEL OF CHRIST – what is the Gospel of Christ?
I think nearly every internal conflict we have stems from an intentional or unintentional misunderstanding of the Gospel of Christ.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? WHAT IS OUR PROBLEM? WHAT IS GOD'S SOLUTION?
1. Humanity was created innocent in nature, yet due to rebellion against our loving God there is a huge separation between us. (Genesis 1:26-31, Is 59:2, Rom 3:23)
2. Sin has devastated all of creation including us as humans, we are broken in our very being (Body, Soul and Spirit) (Romans 8:18 - 25)
We are NOT made consistent with God’s design and desire, we are marred. Every last one of us.
We NEED a saviour.
3. In that brokenness we are 'naturally' rebellious and sinful, wilfully living out of our brokenness. (1 John 1:8-10)
4. God, the creator, the rightful ruler, just judge, loves us anyway even though we are broken by sin and sin wilfully. (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2)
5. Christ and his death and resurrection are the necessary expression of God's love and he has paid the price for our sin. (Hebrews 9, 1 John 2:2)
6. God loves us so much he called us not just 'out of' our sin’ and past but 'into' holiness. (Gal 5:1, John 10:10, Eph 1:4 – 10, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24)
7. The worthy response to Christ's love for us and obedience to the father is our love for him and obedience to him. (Phil 1:27, Eph 4:1, Col 1:9 - 14)
8. We are responsible to speak and live out the truth and mercy of the Gospel. (Eph 5:2, Matt 28:19 – 20)
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor 15:1 - 6
AS CHRISTIANS WE LIVE IN THE CONVERGENCE OF JUSTICE, TRUTH AND MERCY. MERCY MAY DELAY JUSTICE BUT IT IS THE TRUTH THAT SAVES
The Grace of Christ, expressed in the cross expresses the fullness of God’s character.
There is a real weight to his Grace on our lives, an recognition and obligation.
A GRAVITY that calls us, that draws us, that sends us.
- THE GRAVITY OF GRACE reminds us that God loves us more than we can imagine, even though we don't deserve it.
I AM IMMEASUREABLY LOVED
- THE GRAVITY OF GRACE reminds us that although Jesus has finished his work, we are not a finished work.
I AM A WORK IN PROCESS
- THE GRAVITY OF GRACE calls to leave behind the excuses of our flesh and walk in the Spirit.
I AM LED BY THE SPIRIT NOT DETERMINED BY THE FLESH
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Rom 8:13 - 15
To use the Apostle Pauls words from 1 Cor 5:5 we are called to be “who we really are”.
As Christians, authentic-self is not a sexual expression or a creative expression, it is not satisfaction through achievement, it is not being a self-defined individual, it is becoming like Christ.
The only true authentic self is JESUS
LETS STEP BACK THIS SENTENCE…
BECAUSE OF THE GOSPEL I AM CALLED TO
2. ‘CONDUCT MYSELF WORTHY OF...'
It is a self deprecating position to live by the flesh when you are called according to the Spirit.
It is below my identity in Christ to our work the instincts of the flesh when I am called to live according to the leading of the Spirit.
Can I encourage us “ACT YOUR FAITH”
The King of Glory, the Creator, loved us so much he laid aside that glory, walked in our brokenness, perfectly obeyed in everyway, died on our behalf and defeated death itself making a fool of it, displaying and declaring his victory over the great enemy. Let me be both direct and compassionate, pleading with you to be “who you are”
It is below yourself to outwork your flesh because you were “born this way”, as a Child of God, you have been “born again this way, the way of the Spirit”.
LETS STEP THIS BACK AGAIN… WHATEVER HAPPENS BECAUSE OF THE GOSPEL, BECAUSE WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE WORTHY OF IT…
3. WHATEVER HAPPENS…
In all circumstances – no excuses, no copouts, no distractions. In every area of life. Just earlier in
Paul says… “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:20)
The problem is we as Christians often have this back to front. We think… “to Live is gain, and to die is Christ”
We think, during this life, I will gain, I must gain, I will get and must get.
Money, Spouse, Prestige, Honour, Security
Yet to have Christ is a much more dynamic journey, sure it includes the miraculous life birthed within us but it also includes joining with him in his suffering, it includes a new family, but it also often includes the loss of family, it includes gifts of the Spirit with enable us for the purpose yet means we step aside from that which the world values. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST… in all it’s challenges and controversies, all it’s suffering and victory. AND TO DIE IS GAIN…
My satisfaction must never be found in this world but in Christ.
God has so much for us in this world, so many opportunities to continue giving our selves over as he gave himself for us.
Thus let us fix our eyes not on what is before me but the one who came before me.
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Phil 1:27 – 30
We don’t take our marching orders from the world, we don’t submit to the broken instincts of our flesh or cower in the face of intimidation from the world when it demands we conform.
RATHER Can I speak as the Apostle Paul spoke to the Philippians…
“WHATEVER HAPPENS, CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST” Phil 1:27