Friday, September 21, 2012

Devoted to What?

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27

You were re-created for Godly conduct.  Paul, writing from a Roman prison, was concerned that the lifestyle of the Philippians would honor the Gospel and in turn honor Jesus. His recipients understood all too well the First Century context that drove Paul’s command.

Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:12) which carried a coveted and distinguished privilege granting the Philippians distinct rights enjoyed by citizens of Rome itself.  Colonies like Philippi modeled their colony after Rome.  They would give unquestioned and unqualified allegiance to Rome and to its emperor. They would dress Roman, name their kids after great Roman historical figures and even learn and speak Latin, the official language of Rome. All of these endeavors, and more, made up the culture of Roman conduct.

Paul, knowing the sense of dedication Philippians had to Rome, says in a sense, (and please read this s-l-o-w-l-y) if the citizens of Philippi can display such an extreme devotion to an earthly empire like Rome, how much more should followers of Jesus be devoted to the Kingdom of God?

Bottom line: conducting yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ means tenaciously living a life consistent with God’s word.  Your greatest testimony and apologetic to the world is living a life of spiritual integrity and supernatural character.  If people look into your life, and they don’t see joy, humility, holiness, purity, and other aspects of supernatural character, what reasons are there for them to believe your message that the Gospel changes lives?

In the remainder of the passage, Paul gives four characteristics of a life lived worthy of the Gospel. Can I encourage you to hold these up as a mirror to your conduct? Gospel-worthy living entails:
  1. Standing Firm in Christ  (1:27b)   I will know that you stand firm
  2. Supernatural Unity  (1:27c)   in one spirit,
  3. Ruthless Obedience   (1:27d-28)  contending as one man for the faith of the gospel…
  4. Suffering for Christ  (1:29-30)  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.
May you and I conduct ourselves in a heavenly manner this week. This Sunday we officially kick off our Fall jumping back into Luke.  Read up in Luke 9:51-62.  Please come with your Blessed Test cards filled out.  I look forward to gathering with you on Sunday.

I love being your pastor!