Summary: We ought to conduct ourselves like being a Christian actually makes a difference in our lives…whatever happens.
August 23, 2009 - Contending for the Faith Philippians 1:27-30
‘Whatever happens…’ How many times have you heard that phrase before? In what kind of circumstance was it? When you’re walking across a narrow bridge or ledge, what do people say? ‘Whatever happens…don’t look down.’ A movie perhaps; in Shrek, Puss is watching Fiona & Shrek and he says, ‘whatever happens, I must not cry…’ Or how about “Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.” Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941. Or my favourite….whatever happens, happens.
Today we’re going to look at what we should when ‘whatever’ happens; 3 verses in Philippians 1, 27-30. And there are 3 points I would like to convey to you from these verses.
Let’s read what Paul has to say to the church in Philippi:
27Whatever 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 one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (New International Version)
Whatever happens…conduct yourself worthy of the gospel. If we believe on the Name of Jesus as the Son of God, the Creator of the universe come to earth as the Saviour of the earth; if we have His Name as part of who we are by calling ourselves ‘CHRISTians’, if we believe that Jesus lives among us as the God/man, God with us, Emmanuel, that he allowed himself to be tied, beaten, wrongly accused, nailed to a cross, killed, buried and then raised from the dead three days later; all for the purpose of having your sins and mine forgiven through the shedding of His blood, if we truly believe that, then we ought to conduct ourselves like it actually makes a difference in our lives…whatever happens.
Are we willing to stand up for Jesus Christ in and through any circumstance we may find ourselves in, at whatever cost? What could that mean? Perhaps it’s friends teasing you for believing in ‘some higher power’. Maybe it’s co-workers avoiding you at the office because they think you think you’re somehow better than they are now that you’re ‘saved’. Maybe it’s a friend who feels God does not exist, and so you must be off your rocker to have faith in an invisible nothingness. Maybe it’s going to get tougher than that. Maybe someday believing in Jesus Christ will be punishable by imprisonment, public trial and execution like has happened in countries like Somalia, and other Islamic nations. Perhaps it will mean that family members disown us as if we had died, even having funerals for us to ‘mourn’ our faith in Christ. Whatever happens…if that were to happen, here, would we hold true to our faith? I hope so! I pray so!
Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation, He died! What am I willing to sacrifice for such an inexpressible gift of love? What price are we willing to pay?
We have the gift of the gospel, the Good News about Jesus, to share with a community that so desperately needs Him. For without faith Him…the truth is that people will die in their sin, and be separated form God for eternity. That ought to drive us to deliver the News to every doorstep around our homes, to every person in our neighbourhood, to each and every person we can.
Imagine if we someone found the cure to some ‘incurable’ disease, and then kept that discovery all to themselves. What selfishness, what greed, and what a tragedy we would think. It would be such a tragedy not to share the gospel with everyone we can. I think we would be amazed to find that so many people have no idea what the gospel even is. People think they know the Bible, but believe it to be simply a book of rules; do’s and don’ts. Some may think the church is corrupt and full of hypocrites, so why go? Some may feel they’re not quite ready to give their life to God today…maybe tomorrow. Well what if tomorrow never comes for them?
In 2 Thess. 6: Paul says this,
1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2For he says,