Summary: How are we doing as ’citizens’ of the kingdom in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation?
Citizens Living in the Midst of a Crooked and Perverse Generation
In verse 27 the word “conduct” denotes the “conduct of a citizen”. This is very important to the understanding of this passage of the letter.
HISTORICAL CONTEX: Why would Paul be writing to these believers in Phillippi about conduct as citizens?
1. Phillippi was a Roman Colony, however Rome was some 800 miles away.
2. Rome had granted certain cities in strategic places to be their colonies. They were like a “little Rome” placed in different frontiers.
3. By living there in that city you became a Roman Citizen, with the entire privileges and power of Rome granted to you.
4. It was big deal to be a Roman citizen, not only to you but to Rome as well. They expected certain standards of behavior from its citizens.
5. The reason the Roman Gov. had these colonies there was to influence the culture around them with the Roman culture. These citizens were to promote the Roman agenda. It was their expected duty, to protect the territory from being invaded by the barbarians that surrounded them.
6. This colony had all the power and influence of Rome behind them to support them in this endeavor. It was no small thing to be a Roman citizen living in the midst of the barbarians.
Do you see now why Paul addresses these believers in such a way? It was something they understood, and they knew the importance of this issue of CITIZENSHIP.
Do we? Have you and I ever been instructed on how to live as a citizen of Heaven here in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation? They were told to live as a citizen of heaven in a certain way, IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF Christ. As we said last week to “HONOR CHRIST”. This is quite a challenge; they had the influence of a barbaric culture all around them, a culture that deified people, believed in many gods, and had no respect for human life. A society that basically was living out of control. Out of moral control, political control, and no spiritual values what ever. HAVE YOU MADE THE CONNECTION? MAYBE AS AN INDIVIDUAL YOU FIND YOURSELF JUST LIKE THESE PHILIPIANS, LIVING IN THE MIDST OF YOUR MACEDONIA. AND ALL THAT THAT MEANS.
The question before us this morning is: HOW DO I LIVE AS A CITIZEN IN THE MIDST OF A CROOKED AND PREVERSE GENERATION.
BY THE WAY THE WORD “ONLY” HERE, MEANS ESSENTIAL.
1. 1:27-30—Promote our citizenship. V27 we are to advance the gospel. There is a gospel for the lost and there is a gospel for the saved. It is essential that we be found promoting this good news.. Don’t we all here this morning want to see the culture around us receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord? Don’t we want to see the saved around us come to the freedom that is found in Jesus Christ? Jesus said “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. We have the only message that can transform lives. Our king is an awesome king our kingdom is an awesome kingdom. I remember my dad when the John Deere Co came out with the four and six cylinder tractors; my dad was so excited he promoted this like you could not believe. He knew it would transform farming as he knew it. So how did Paul say they should promote this gospel?
1. To stand firm in one spirit. To persevere, not give up. Don’t back down or back up, don’t apologize for the Truth. Be resolute; know what you believe and why you believe it. Many cults are established and thrive on people who are not grounded in the Truth. It is hard to stand firm on something that you either don’t believe or don’t understand. But when you want to really know the Truth, God will reveal it to you. This message is a great example.
2. Strive together—help each other out, support one another. The imagery here is of a military formation. They looked like a block, wide and deep. The ones in front had a spear that was fourteen foot long, and the ones behind laid their spear on the shoulders of the ones in front. The enemy would see this formation striving together, and they knew they would not have a chance. When one fell in front there was anther to take his place immediately. They stepped in unison against the enemy. They had one common goal, defeat the enemy, keep the enemy away from their territory. It takes a unified effort in a body of believers and also in a family setting.
3. Don’t be scared—fear is a terrible thing when it comes to promoting our citizenship. Some fear the opponents of the faith, but we need to stand our ground. Stand and strive unafraid, don’t be ashamed or afraid to promote the faith.