Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re encouraged to stand strong together in adversity.
Illus. Jordan has been enjoying soccer for the past 1 ½ years with other 8-9 year olds.
•It’s been an interesting and often enjoyable experience to watch them learn the game.
•One thing I enjoy is seeing how the kids react to the ball, especially the goalies.
•When a line drive comes, instead of lunging for the ball, they often cower and hide.
•Sort of like dodge ball when you’re the last person standing.
Illus. Mighty Ducks movie. Kids playing ice hockey.
The goalie was afraid of the puck until they tied him to the goal with his padding.
•After they started shooting at him, he realized it didn’t hurt!
What do we do when life comes hurtling at us?
•Our natural tendency when dealing with pain is to run away or get rid of it ASAP.
•Our instincts tell us to avoid pain at all costs.
Paul gives us another approach. Turn to Phil. 1:27-30. Review content in suffering.
Today, we’re going to discover how to not run away, but rather how to stand up to suffering and use it for God’s glory.
The crux of this message rests in v. 27. The rest of the passage simply builds on this.
27WHATEVER HAPPENS, (whether I’m released or die, whether I see you here, there, or in the air) CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
The idea here of “conduct yourselves” is to live as an honest and upright citizen.
•“Perform your duties as a citizen.”
Phil. 3:20 BUT OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN…
Illus. As citizens of the US, we have certain duties and obligations.
•We’re obligated to obey the laws, pay taxes, support our country.
As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we have a much higher obligation.
•We’re obligated to obey God’s laws, to support/defend God’s Kingdom.
Col. 1:10-12 AND WE PRAY THIS IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF THE LORD AND MAY PLEASE HIM IN EVERY WAY: BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK, GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, 11BEING STRENGTHENED WITH ALL POWER ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS MIGHT SO THAT YOU MAY HAVE GREAT ENDURANCE AND PATIENCE, AND JOYFULLY 12GIVING THANKS TO THE FATHER, WHO HAS QUALIFIED YOU TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE SAINTS IN THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT.
Paul says, CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
•Live like the citizens that you are.
What are some ways we should conduct ourselves?
In the verses that follow, Paul zeroes in on conduct in the midst of suffering.
After all, this has been an underlying theme throughout this first chapter of Phil.
Paul’s point in today’s passage is this: conduct yourselves worthily in your suffering.
In other words, Stand Strong Together. I’m giving you the Bottom Line at the top.
Paul goes on to explain how and why we need to conduct ourselves properly.
I. HOW CAN WE DO THAT?
How can we behave properly when we’re struggling and suffering?
Think of it as an athletic game (soccer, football, baseball).
•Most games involve an offense and a defense.
The offense is trying to score and the defense is trying to prevent them from scoring.
The first way we can stand strong together in our faith is to think defense.
A. Stand together in one spirit.
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,
The defense’s job is to stand together and not let the offense advance.
•In order to stand their ground, they each need to work together as a unit.
It’s the same way in the church. We need to stand firm together, esp. in our suffering.
Again and again in God’s Word, we’re exhorted to be united, in one spirit.
1 Cor. 1:10 I APPEAL TO YOU, BROTHERS, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL OF YOU AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER SO THAT THERE MAY BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU AND THAT YOU MAY BE PERFECTLY UNITED IN MIND AND THOUGHT.
Eph. 4:3-6 MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH THE BOND OF PEACE. 4THERE IS ONE BODY AND ONE SPIRIT—JUST AS YOU WERE CALLED TO ONE HOPE WHEN YOU WERE CALLED—5ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM; 6ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS OVER ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN ALL.
Jn. 17:20-23 “…I PRAY ALSO FOR THOSE WHO WILL BELIEVE IN ME THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE, 21THAT ALL OF THEM MAY BE ONE, FATHER, JUST AS YOU ARE IN ME AND I AM IN YOU… 23MAY THEY BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETE UNITY TO LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME AND HAVE LOVED THEM EVEN AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME.
What are some ways we can demonstrate unity?