A. MARK #1:CHRISTIAN CONDUCT—HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP
B. MARK #2: HONERING THE GOSPEL
C. MARK #3: STANDING FAST
1. Must stand fast in one spirit & with one mind
2. Must stand fast in striving together for the faith of the gospel
D. MARK #4: COURAGE & FEARLESSNESS
1. Persecution is a sign of destruction
2. Persecution is a sign of salvation
3. Persecution is a privilege
4. Paul left a dynamic example in bearing persecution
I. THE MARKS OF THE GREAT CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 1:27-30
(1:27-30) Introduction: The Christian life is not a playground it is a battleground.
1. Paul faced a capitol crime and there was a strong chance he might be executed. He did not think so, but there was a strong possibility.
2. What would you say if your were writing to a group of God’s people for the last time?
3. The Philippian church was a great church and he wanted it to remain that way, so Paul reviewed with them THE MARKS OF A GREAT CHRISTIAN CHURCH!
A. (Verse 27a) MARK #1:CHRISTIAN CONDUCT—HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP
1. The word “conduct” is very significant.
a. Used only twice in the New Testament (Acts 23:1; Phil. 1:27).
b. Conduct means—the conduct and behavior of citizenship-the Philippians knew what Paul meant.
1) The Greek word is politeuo, from which we get “polite” and “political.” A polis was the basic unit of Greek society—an independent city-state. In imperial times, citizens of a Roman colony like Philippi regarded the whole Empire & their city as their basic unit of Greek society. The Philippians took their privileges and duties as citizens of Rome and Philippi extremely seriously, with great patriotism and pride.
2) The distinctive thing about these colonies was their fanatic loyalty to Rome.
3) The citizens kept all their Roman ties:
a) The Roman language, titles, customs, affairs, and the way they dressed was very important.
b) They totally rejected the influence of the world around them.
c) They were Roman Colonists with and alien environment.
c. In other words, Paul is saying,
1) behave the way citizens are supposed to behave
-so “let your fulfillment of duties as citizens of God’s kingdom and members of Christ’s partnership/community be worthy of that citizenship.”
-and while we are on earth we ought to behave like Heaven’s citizens, WHY? “For our citizenship is in heaven”…(Phil. 3:20),
-and because our names are already written in heaven, “rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20)
— Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV)
— And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, (Philippians 1:9-10 NKJV)
— But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13 NKJV)
B. (Verse 27b) MARK #2: HONERING THE GOSPEL
1. The word “worthy” is also very significant.
a. It means, to fit, correspond, be suitable, and be worthy.
b. The believer’s behavior is to…
1) fit the gospel he professes
2) correspond to the gospel he professes
3) be suitable to the gospel he professes
4) be worthy of the gospel he professes
2. How do you behave? Is it worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
a. Quote, “you are writing a gospel, a chapter each day”…
b. The greatest weapon against the Devil is a Godly life, the way in which you live (2 Cor. 3:2).
1) This is why it is so important to understand Sound Christian Doctrine (teaching).
2) What you believe is going to effect the way in which you live
3) Because whatever teacher you are listening to that is the sort of Christian and disciple you are going to become.
4) Hopefully I am teaching you accurately from the Word of God, I am going to labor to do that, to study, to rightly divide the Word of truth and so as your hearing these truth’s your life is actually forming around the things that I have been teaching you. And so that puts a lot of responsibility on me to teach you accurately, properly and be able to hear what the Lord’s trying to do.
3. This is also a picture of clothing, which is so often stressed in Scripture.
a. Sometimes we say to a person, those clothes you are wearing matches and enhances your looks and personality.
b. The same with the Gospel. If we put on the gospel or say we are Christians, we are to wear the Gospel or to act like Christians!
— Adorn (put on or wear) the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. (Titus 2:10 NKJV)
— But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…(Romans 13:14) W.W.J.D.?
— Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV)
c. As we grow up, we need new clothes because…
1) our old one’s don’t fit anymore
2) our desires change for new kinds of clothing or styles
3) they just don’t seem to match our personality anymore.
So, if this is true then there must be some things in which we must stop doing or to put off.
— But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, (Colossians 3:8-10 NKJV)
Let’s turn to Ephesians Chapter 4 and read verses 17-32 and see what God says about the way in which we should live.
4. What is the Gospel?
a. “The Gospel” is the Good News the Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-8).
b. There is only one “Good News” of salvation; any other gospel is false (Galatians 1:6-10).
c. The message of the Gospel is…
1) The Good News that sinners can become the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son (John 3:16).
2) “Christ lives in me . . .loves me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
d. The emphasis of the Gospel is…
1) Saved by God’s Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, nothing added or taken away.
2) Ephesians 2:6-10; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 10:9-10
5. But if I were to tell you the good news only, that would be only half of the message, there is also some bad news…
a. Those who do not receive Jesus Christ as there Lord and Savior, being forgiven of their sins will not spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, but in Hell, forever separated from God, being eternally punished.
b. According to the Bible, you have two options to choose from when it comes to deciding where you will spend your life after death.
1) one is Heaven
2) the other is Hell
a) Interestingly enough, people believe in Hell but they don’t believe that they are headed for there.
b) They believe Hell is only for people like Hitler, or other kind of criminals
c) But God’s Word Judges people by a different set of criteria or standard of judgment.
d) You are not sent to Hell for being a bad person any more than you are sent to heaven for being a good person, we all deserve to spend eternity in Hell (Romans 3:22-23).
e) God clearly says that those who reject the salvation offered through His Son, Jesus Christ, will spend eternity in this place of torment.
f) God repeatedly gives each person a lot of opportunities to choose life—abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven (2 Peter 3:8-9). If you haven’t made that choice yet, God is giving you the opportunity right now.
God’s Plan of Salvation
- What must I do to be saved?
Ø We must acknowledge we are sinners.
Romans 3:23 Every person is guilty of sin and has fallen short of Gods standard.
James 2:10 Breaking one of God’s laws make us as guilty as someone who broke them all.
Romans 3:10 No one can claim innocence before God
Ø We must understand the penalty of our sins.
Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death.
Ø We must confess and repent of our sins.
1 John 1:9 God promises to forgive our sins when we confess them.
Acts 20:21 We must turn from our sin and turn to God.
Ø We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
John 14:6 Jesus Christ alone leads you to God.
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found I no other than Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10 Belief in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is essential for salvation
Ø We must receive Christ into our lives to obtain forgiveness and eternal life.
John 3:3 We must be born again.
John 3:16 We are saved by believing in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 We are saved by Grace alone not by works.
C. (Verse 27C) MARK #3: STANDING FAST
Remember that Paul was in prison, awaiting trial on a capital charge. There was a chance he would be executed for a false crime. He was not really sure he would be released or be executed. Therefore, the church at Philippi had some much-needed exhortation.
1c. (Verse 27d) Must stand fast in one spirit & with one mind
1. Stand Fast
1) to stand firm
2) to persevere, to persist
3) to keep one's standing, don’t give up, and finish the race
2. One Spirit means, that all the members must be born again, having a renewed spirit, being committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, having a heart given over to Him, IS THAT YOU?
3. One Mind means, “the single mind,” that all members of a church must be set upon the same purpose; the purpose of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 4:3; Phil. 1:27; 2:3-4; 1 Peter 3:8).
2c. (Verse 27e)Must stand fast in striving together for the faith of the gospel
1. Striving together is a word taken from athletic contest, and gives us our English word athletics.
a. It is the picture of a team working and struggling together against strong opposition (cf. a Football team or Baseball, or Hockey team----illustration of third fiddle harmonization).
b. Paul pictures the church as a team, and every member of it, INCLUDING THE YOUTH, is to strive for the faith of the Gospel:
1) Strive, work, struggle, push, and exert all the energy possible; everyone cooperating together, not a single person letting up or turning aside or walking off the field.
2) The opposition is difficult; therefore, the faith of the gospel needs every member working and struggling together.
a) But remember, not everybody can be a captain or a quarterback!
b) The team has to follow the rules, and the Word of God is our “rule book,” and our goal is to honor Christ and to do God’s will.
(1) If we all work together, we can reach the goal, win the prize, and glorify the Lord.
(2) But the minute any one of us starts disobeying the rules, breaking training (discipline), or looking for glory (wanting to be the quarterback), the teamwork disappears, division comes in.
3) We are citizens of Heaven and therefore should walk consistently.
4) We are members of the same team (God’s team) and should work together
— Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV)
— Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3 NKJV)
D. (Verses 28-30) MARK #4: COURAGE & FEARLESSNESS
Being a Christian believer in a corrupt world is hard. People oppose our stand for Christ and righteousness.
1. Do you ever feel that people sometimes…
— Avoid, ridicule, mock, ignore, curse, question, mistreat, or even slander you?
Note the exhortation: we are not to be terrified by our adversaries. There are four reasons why.
1d. (Verse 28a) Persecution is a sign of destruction
1. Persecution is a sign that the persecutors are doomed. Note: it is a sign to them.
a. When we willingly suffer, it is a sign that God’s enemies will be destroyed and eternally lost 2 Thess. 1:4-8.
b. The Spirit of God is able to take their persecution of us and convict their hearts of the evil they are doing.
c. By that conviction they stand a better chance of being saved.
2d. (Verse 28b) Persecution is a sign of salvation
1. Persecution is a sign of salvation for us.
a. It is not the only sign, but it is one sign.
b. If a believer perseveres, it is a clear sign that he is being strengthened by the Spirit of God and is a true believer.
— Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12 NKJV)
c. Paul calls this “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10).
d. Jesus said, In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
3d. (Verse 29) Persecution is a privilege
1. Paul also says that suffering for Christ is a gift, a privilege
a. When we suffer for Christ, it is a high and holy honor.
b. Christ suffered for us and a willingness to suffer for Him is the very least we can do to show our love and gratitude to Him.
2. How many of you want to live a godly life? I do!
a. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, it is a promise! (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV)
b. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV).
c. The apostles were beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus Christ, and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus and continued to preach Jesus (Acts 5:41)!
3. Suffering should not shake us, because suffering is also appointed to us. That no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. (1 Thessalonians 3:3 NKJV)
4. Suffering also has these additional benefits:
1. it takes our eyes off of earthly comforts
2. it weeds out superficial believers
3. it strengthens the faith of those who endure
4. it serves as an example to those who may follow us
5. When we suffer for our faith, it doesn’t mean we have done something wrong. In fact, the opposite is often true—it verifies that we have been faithful.
a. Use suffering to let it build your character James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3
b. Don’t resent it or let it tear you down 1 Peter 4:12-13
4d. (Verse 30) Paul left a dynamic example in bearing persecution
1. This is in reference to Acts 16:19-40 cf. Philippians 1:12-14
2. Paul had been arrested, beaten, and jailed when he was in Philippi; and the church had witnessed the whole scene, he bore it all for Christ.
3. Therefore, we are to follow in his steps and bear whatever persecution comes against us--all for Christ.
4. The “Great Christians Soldier” can bear it all – through the presence & power of Christ.