Summary: In order for us to live lives worthy of the gospel, we must remember our identity.
A. One day a famous preacher visited a Nursing home where some patients with Alzheimer’s lived.
1. He went around and greeted the people who were very glad to see him.
2. He walked up to one lady and asked, “Do you know who I am?”
3. She said, “No, but if you go to the Front Desk, they can tell you.”
B. It is not just people with Alzheimer’s or dementia who forget who they are, sometimes we as Christians forget who we are as God’s Children.
1. How many times did your mom or dad tell you to: “Act your age?” Probably many times.
2. But they likely also said to you: “Act your identity!”
3. They probably didn’t say it that concisely or exactly, but likely said it this way:
a. “When you are out with your friends, act in a way that will make us proud.”
b. Or “Don’t behave in a way that will bring shame on the family.”
c. Or “Remember, you are an ‘Owens,’ don’t tarnish the family name.”
C. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, that is the primary point he made at the end of the first chapter.
1. Paul challenged them with these words: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (vs. 27)
2. Basically, Paul was saying: “Act your identity!”
a. Conduct yourself in a way that is consistent with who you are and what you are about.
b. But it is impossible for us to conduct ourselves in such a way if we don’t remember who we are.
D. Let’s notice three key words in that verse that create this clear and powerful command.
1. The first key word is “only,” which unfortunately doesn’t even appear in the NIV text.
a. The Greek text begins with the word “monos,” which means “only.”
b. It could be translated, “just one thing,” like Curly in the movie City Slickers holding up his index finger and saying the meaning of life is “just one thing.”
c. By using that word, Paul was saying this is one thing I want you to focus on.
2. The second key word is “worthy,” which literally means to even the beam.”
a. It refers to balancing the scales so that both sides are even.
b. To live “worthy” of the gospel means to live so that your life gives proper weight to all the God has done for you in Christ.
3. The third key word is “conduct.”
a. Paul used a very interesting word here for “conduct” or “live.”
b. The word Paul normally used for this kind of point is one that means to “walk about” – like in Ephesians 4:1 where Paul wrote: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling.”
c. But rather than use that word here, Paul used one that literally means “to be a citizen” or “to perform your duties as citizens.”
d. To paraphrase an old question: “If you were arrested for being a citizen of heaven, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
e. Christians should be living in such a way that there is no doubt they are citizens of heaven.
4. With those key words in mind, let’s compare several translations of Phil. 1:27.
a. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (NIV)
b. Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. (ESV)
c. Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (HCSB)
d. Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. (NLT)
E. So, Paul’s plea to the Philippians and to us is: Remember who you are, remember where your citizenship really is, and conduct yourself in a manner worthy of your true identity.
1. And why is it important that we take this command so seriously?
2. Because unbelievers draw conclusions about Jesus by the way we live.
3. If salvation doesn’t really make a difference in the way a follower of Jesus lives, then why take Jesus seriously? Right?
4. This was important for Christians in the 1st Century, and it continues to be important for Christians in the 21st Century as our surrounding culture becomes increasingly hostile to biblical truth.
F. In the verses that follow verse 27, Paul described some of the elements of worthy conduct that will help Christians have a greater impact on the watching world around us.
First of all, worthy conduct includes…
I. Being Constant
A. Paul wrote: Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. (Phil. 1:27b)