Sermons

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: gcurley@gcurley.info

SERMON OUTLINE:

• 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)

SERMON BODY

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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.

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