Summary: There are two results to living together with the right conduct.
LIVING TOGETHER WITH THE RIGHT CONDUCT
A. We often fail to live with the right conduct in the church.
1. One day a little boy complained that his new shoes were hurting his feet. His teacher looked down at his feet. No wonder they hurt, his shoes were on the wrong feet. When she changed them he felt better and was soon the liveliest little fellow in the group.
2. We often go through life, even as Christians hurting. Perhaps it is because we fail to live with the right conduct as Christians.
3. We have become like the man who gave up his seat on a bus to a lady. She fainted. On recovering, she thanked him. Then he fainted. Courtesy has become a lost art, and often right conduct has become a lost art.
4. Paul was calling the Philippians and us to live by the right conduct, and not let it go out of style.
• You have Partnership in the Gospel (vs. 5), Proclamation of the Gospel (vss. 13-18); Conduct in the Gospel (vs. 27).
a. He has called for us to live together advance the gospel and to live together with the right desire.
b. He wrote in light of his imprisonment and impending trial. Now he tells us the right conduct is important no matter what happens.
B Paul calls us to conduct worthy of the gospel.
1. It made no difference whether Paul was released, forced to remain in prison, or executed, they must conduct their lives in a manner appropriate to the gospel of Christ.
• This is the instruction they needed if he did not see them again.
2. It makes no difference whether a decision in the church goes our way or not; we ought to conduct ourselves properly. There ought to be no fighting, grumbling, or arguing because we do not get our way, but simply live by the right conduct.
3. Our conduct ought to be the same as a good citizen acts in his country. That is what the word means. Paul is saying, "Behave the way citizens are supposed to behave."
4. The Philippians would understand this because they were proud of their Roman citizenship, since Philippi was a Roman colony.
5. They knew that Paul had used his Roman citizenship to bring about a speedy and dignified release from imprisonment there (Acts 16:36-40). Now they were challenged to live with a more significant citizenship; indeed their citizenship was in heaven (3:20) we are to behave like it.
6. This was a much more significant matter for them than for us.
a. We can be citizens without participating in government, without even voting.
b. For them the community they were citizens of was everything.
c. So Paul is saying to us that we are to live together as members of a community for the advancement of the Gospel.
d. We do not behave in order to go to heaven, as though our good works could save us; but we behave because we are already citizens of heaven.
e. Our conduct should be determined by the Lord’s standards: Babe Ruth illustration.
George Will writes in Men at Work: "Baseball umpires are carved from granite and stuffed with microchips...they are professional dispensers of pure justice. Once when Babe Pinelli called Babe Ruth out on strikes, Ruth made a populist argument. Ruth reasoned fallaciously (as populists do) from raw numbers to moral weight: ’There’s 40,000 people here who know that last one was a ball, tomato head.’
"Pinelli replied with the measured stateliness of John Marshall: ’Maybe so, but mine is the only opinion that counts.’"
The Christian must realize that God’s opinion is the only one that counts in determining our conduct.
7. When we fail to live together with the right conduct look at what happens.
a. The right of the individual becomes supreme and everyone does what he wants
b. When the organization dominates instead of the task, the individual is suppressed and it takes a Luther or Calvin to reestablish a relationship with God.
c. When community is obscured, we lose our concern for each other.
d. When creed becomes law, it takes a Campbell to call the church to unity and freedom in the Word.
That is what Paul calls us to.
LIVING TOGETHER WITH RIGHT CONDUCT RESULTS IN...
I. …COOPERATION — Vss. 27,28,
A. There often is division in the church.
1. There was certainly division in the church at Philippi. It was mainly a disagreement. Two women, Euodia and Syntyche, could not get along with each other.
a. Apparently the members of the fellowship were taking sides with one or the other of them. They were spending all of their time determining who to side with and who was right and wrong that the work of the church was hindered.