Summary: Philippians 1:27-30. Scripture calls us to live lives worthy of the gospel by standing firm in unity, striving together for the faith, and suffering willingly for Christ.
AGAIN I SAY REJOICE
LIVE LIKE YOU BELIEVE
- A famous actor was an after dinner speaker at a big fund raising function; and apparently he was well known for his voice because when he stood up to speak, he invited his audience to choose a poem for him to recite. There was a long silence until a retired clergyman raised his hand and asked for Psalm 23.
- The actor was slightly taken back, but agreed to read the Psalm provided the old pastor recite it after him; which the old man reluctantly agreed to do. So the actor recited Psalm 23 and received a standing ovation.
- Then the clergyman recited the Psalm, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Upon seeing this reaction from the crowd, the actor went over to the retired pastor and said to the guests “Do you know the difference between his version and mine? I know the 23rd Psalm; but this man knows the Shepherd.
- The difference between the two men in that story is that one knew about the Lord and the other knew the Lord. The reason why the old pastor’s recitation of the psalm moved people more than the actor’s is that it was obvious to them that the pastor was not simply going through the motions but was actually familiar with the Shepherd of whom he spoke.
- Because there is a difference between people that know a little something about the Christian life and people who know the Someone who empowers the Christian life. That difference is a personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And that difference reveals itself in a person’s actions; not only in how they talk about Christ (as in the story of the old pastor) but how they live lives that honor Christ.
- Our text in Philippians 1 today is a call to the Philippians to live lives that honor Christ and his gospel. And the same encouragement Paul gave to them, I will give to us. Look at v.27:
Read Philippians 1:27-30
- Paul moves here from what has essentially been an autobiographical introduction to the letter to his concern for the Philippian church. To this point, Paul has given us a lot of information regarding his situation in Rome. In vv.25-26 Paul told the recipients of the letter that he expected to be released from house arrest [which many believe he was] and to return to see them again soon.
- Then he charges them with this: only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come or I don’t come I may hear that you are living like you ought to. And I want to challenge us with the same charge this morning: we must live our lives like we believe what we say we believe. We must make sure that our conduct is consistent with biblical Christian character, so that the gospel is not dishonored.
- As we endeavor to do that, let’s first address what it means to live in a manner worthy of the gospel.
LIVE IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL
- The phrase “let your manner of life be” is translated from a form of the verb πολιτεύομαι which you can hear if you listen closely is related to our words “polis” (city) and “politics”. It means to conduct oneself as a good citizen of something; or to conduct oneself according to the laws and customs of a state. So Paul’s saying “Behave as citizens worthy of the gospel.”
- We will see later on in our study that Paul tells his readers that their citizenship is in heaven. A noun form of the same word is used there. We know what it means to be citizens of something. We are all citizens of the United States of America. What does that mean? It means we live here. We have a special status here that others in the world do not. We belong to the United States.
- As U.S. citizens we know that certain things are expected of us. There are things that U.S. citizens do and don’t do. We have certain rights and privileges as citizens of this country. But we know that while we are citizens here now, we are ultimately citizens of heaven. That’s where we really belong. So our conduct is to be consistent with the heaven-sent gospel.
- Matthew Henry summed it up well when he wrote “Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises.” And Scripture is full of passages that instruct us and encourage us to live authentic lives.
- Ephesians 4:1-2 says: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.