Summary: Message on Christian character traits of conduct, unity and courage.
Phil 1:27 –2:4. “Living the life in 2007 ” .
We all make New Year resolutions: hopes – dreams – expectations – what are yours for 2007?
Lets be honest it doesn’t always work out – often the unexpected happens. Plans change - we may experience bereavement in 2007 – face ridicule in 2007 – our relationships may breakdown – suffer from ill health.
One thing is sure the Bible never promises an instant rose garden:
Job 14:1. Man born of a woman is of a few day and full of trouble.
Jesus said, “ in this world you shall have trouble – take up your cross and follow me - men will hate you and despise you because of me.
Paul tells us here V29 we are not only granted to believe in him but also to suffer for him.
It true that often our circumstances can often dictate who we are – who we become - the way we live. Psychologists will tell us we are products of our circumstances.
For the Christian God is saying to us in 2007 something different: Whatever happens – we are not to be shaped in the light of our circumstances but to rise above our circumstances and live in the light of the gospel of Christ. v27 whatever happens conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Have you heard the story about the army recruit who goes to boot camp and sees a card board cut out of the drill sergant with a caption above it“ We didn’t promise you a rose garden." After 8 weeks of hardcore training he noticed somebody had scribbled these words “Yes but you didn’t tell us about the fertiliser.”
Life can be tough just like an army boot camp - but one thing is sure just like the army boot camp life can mould and shape us into soldiers for Christ – life itself if embraced in Christ can serve as a benefit to our Christian character.
The purpose of letter: Paul had experienced much hardship - at this point he is in prison - V12 yet despite his circumstances. Paul wants them to know he is standing firm and is able to continue his effective ministry v12, his hearts desire that they will do the same.
Background Acts 16. After receiving the Macedonian call Paul goes into Europe it his 2nd Journey :
He set sail from Troas – Neapolis travelled NW along Egnatia way 10 miles to Philippi Roman Colony
Phiippi in the 2nd century BC was a Roman colony: political, social, architecturly all was a mini Rome.
When paul and Silas arrived a great work was done – effective conversions - Lydia- Demonic slave girl - The jailer and his family.
Yet he also knew much hardship beaten - flogged imprisoned – but a small NT Church was established.
In verse 1 – 26 He wants to assure them of his well being and that all the circumstances have taken place for his good and the advancement of the gospel. In v27 He begins to turn his attention upon the fellowship. He gives them three practical exhortations in living the Christian life.
1. Living the Christian life - involves appropriate conduct v27
Again and again the Bible calls us to live a life worthy of our calling: Eph 4:1.- Col.1:10- 1Thes 2:2- 2Thes.1:5.
God is calling us to conduct ourselves in a worthy manner – that our lives should be consistent with faith we profess to have – our lives should be living illustrations to all. Christ is changing us into his likeness. This is the principle of the gospel when Christ touches our lives our conduct begins to change.
Paul is literally saying here ‘live as a citizen’;(Roman citizenship) later he tells us 3:20 our citizenship is in heaven. We are visitors we don’t belong here, as such we should be living heavenly lives.
I would just like to say if you are a Christian today we all need to sign the visitors book because we are just visiting this planet.
When Queen Victoria was a child she didn’t no she was in line for the throne – Here instructors, trying to prepare her for the future, were frustrated because they couldn’t motivate her. He just didn’t take her studies seriously. Finally her teachers decided to tell her that one day she would become the queen of England. Upon hearing this Victoria quietly said, “Then I will be good.” The realization that she had inherited - high calling gave her a sense of responsibility that profoundly effected her conduct from then on.
In this we too are being prepared for greatness we have a great inheritance awaiting us – as such we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves appropriately in our speech, habits and lifestyles should be different to those around us. Peter:2:11-12 read.