Summary: Community in the Struggle for the Gospel - Philippians chapter 1 verse 27 to chapter 2 verse 11 - sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com
• You are not alone (1:27)
• You are on the winning side (1:28)
• You are honoured to suffer for Christ (1:29-30)
• You need the mind of Christ (2:1-11)
• Last week it was reported that;
• Chinese authorities have demolished a well-known Christian megachurch,
• Armed Police used dynamite and excavators;
• To destroy the Golden Lampstand Church,
• Which has a congregation of more than 50,000,
• In the city of Linfen in Shanxi province.
• They planted explosives in an underground worship hall,
• To demolish the building.
• The building was newly constructed with nearly $2.6m (£1.9m);
• In contributions from local worshippers in one of China's poorest regions.
The church had faced "repeated persecution" by the Chinese government, said ChinaAid:
• Hundreds of police and hired thugs smashed the building and seized Bibles;
• In an earlier crackdown in 2009 that ended with the arrest of church leaders.
• Those church leaders were given prison sentences of up to seven years.
• There are an estimated 60 million Christians in China,
• Many of whom worship in independent congregations like the Golden Lampstand.
• TRANSITION: We are an independent congregation,
• And if we lived in China, we too might be facing restrictions and persecution.
• For many Christians in the world,
• Opposition and persecution are the norm,
• About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world.
• In our country we see it as the exception when we are mistreated,
• But for many of our brothers and sisters it is often the norm.
• It is good to remind ourselves that;
• The Christian life is not a playground, it is a battleground.
• We are Children of God, we are servants of God, but we are also soldiers of God,
• Who are engaged in a spiritual war.
• We do not fight with weapons of war,
• We are not to be terrorists like ISIS/DAISH.
• But we are in a war.
• In another of his letters the apostle Paul described our fighting this way,
• (2 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 4-5).
“I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. 5 These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ”
• We use spiritual weapons to fight with,
• We use the Word of God and prayer,
• And we depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the power we need.
An army must fight together if the want to be victorious:
• And in this first section the apostle Paul reminds these Christians;
• That there are three essentials for victory in our battle to protect the faith.
(1). You Are Not Alone (CH 1 VS 27).
“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, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel”
Note the phrase, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”
• Every Christian has dual citizenship,
• Your passport may say British Citizen,
• But your Bible calls you a Citizen of Heaven.
• We may live on earth, but we are residents of heaven,
• That is why the Bible calls us, ‘pilgrims, aliens and strangers.’
• (1 Peter chapter 2 verse 11).
• And because we are residents of heaven;
• We should behave and live people of heaven.
• Have you ever been abroad on holiday and seen people from your own country?
• Being rude or offensive to the nationals of that country?
• If you have then you were probably embarrassed,
• Because instead of representing their country they have shamed it.
• You do not want those nationals thinking;
• That all British people are like those idiots who caused the offence!
• TRANSITION: Every Christian should;
• “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”
• Therefore, we should behave and live like heaven’s citizens.
• We are not to bring trouble on ourselves by being bad citizens,
• Christians should be good citizens, an example to others.
• e.g. we pay our taxes, we keep the law of the land, we respect authority etc.
Note the phrase that links to my sub-heading is: “striving together as one”
• No Christian should ever be on their own!
• God has placed us together in community, in family, in Church.