Summary: Speaks of the importance of memorizing Scripture and applying it to your everyday life.
Better Than a Bracelet
Introduction: Scripture memorization is a powerful tool in our daily walk with our Lord. The reason it is such a compelling tool is because you can recall a passage that God has placed on your heart at a moment’s notice and use that passage to combat Satan’s attacks.
One such verse for me is Philippians 1:27a – Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. I discovered that verse a couple of weeks ago in my personal bible study time, committed it to memory and I have used it everyday since.
The whole book of Philippians revolves around this passage. Dan Wust referred to this passage last week when he shared with us about the work he has been called to lead. I then began to wonder which is worse – a guest speaker failing to show up or a guest speaker using the Scripture text you planned to preach the next week? Anyway, I decided to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ and not make a big deal out of the whole thing.
This passage (as well as any other Scripture passage), when committed to memory, will stop you dead in your tracks. Back a couple of years ago, the WWJD bracelet was the big thing. They were a great idea. Their job was to remind the wearer to ask oneself, “What Would Jesus Do?” But like most good ideas, it became over-commercialized and the bracelets sort of lost their effectiveness. But this passage, “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” – when committed to memory, is much more powerful than an embroidered piece of cloth wrapped around one’s wrist.
But what does this passage mean? Well, it obviously has something to do with one’s behavior – we are to conduct ourselves in a certain way – in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. But what exactly does that mean - manner worthy of the gospel of Christ? What does the gospel expect? Does it expect perfection? Oh, lands no. Let’s go to the other extreme. Does the gospel expect us to live however we want? Absolutely not. So we have deduced that to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ means that we find a happy medium somewhere between Jesus Himself and Bill Clinton.
Let’s break this verse down today from back to front and see what it means for us to live the way God wants us to live. First of all…
I. A Manner Worthy of the Gospel
If one is going to find out how to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ then one would be best off answering this question: What is the gospel of Christ? The gospel of Christ is the word of God – the Bible. The gospel is the truth, the gospel is all the things we see in the Bible. Not necessarily a list of do’s and don’ts, but an instruction manual designed to help us get the most out of life. So to live a life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is to discover what the Bible says and then do it.
James 1:22 tells us, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself. Do what it says. We can all sit here today and hear the gospel (I will personally see to that); but it is pointless if you fail to apply it to your life and begin to make some changes (That part is up to you).
When I first graduated from college I got a job working at the Goody’s Department Store in Bedford while I waited to be called to my first ministry. I can remember whenever the district supervisor was coming to town, the store manager would be a mess because she only cared what the store looked like when her boss showed up. We would spend three days getting that store in tip-top shape so that everything was just right when the district supervisor took her five-minute pass through the store.
I have heard of dignitaries visiting cities. Where the dignitary would pass they would paint the front of the buildings in the poor broken down areas leaving the backside broken down. They painted just the front so the dignitaries would see fresh paint as they passed by. It was a façade. Paul says in the latter part of Philippians 1:27, whether I come or do not come you are to be living a life worthy of the gospel. To live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is an ongoing lifestyle. Not just when you are in the presence of other Christians and putting up some kind of front. Living worthy of the gospel means walking with God day in and day out.