Faithfully Representing Christ

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If you have your bibles this morning - turn with me to . Listen to what God’s word has to say to us this morning!
Philippians 1:27 NIV
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
Philippians 1:28 NIV
without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
Philippians 1:29 NIV
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
Philippians 1:30 NIV
since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
This morning I wanted to share a message that was applicable to our graduates --- but at the same time --- a message that applies to everyone of us in this room. If we backed up a few verses we would see Paul living a way that is advancing the gospel. Paul in prison realized that his current circumstances weren’t as important as what he did with those circumstances. He turned a bad situation into an opportunity to reach out the the soldiers in the prison. While we all may not be in prison - we have opportunities in life to encourage those around us --- because “discouragement” seems to be around every corner we turn!
In the past week, three families that are apart of our church family have lost loved ones. An opportunity to encourage and love on them.
Some have gotten news about their health that might not be the best - another opportunity to encourage and lift them up.
Others might be dealing with issues that we don’t even know about - but if we keep our eyes open - we can be there to encourage those.
This morning I would like to challenge each one of us - as seniors about to graduate - to senior adults who graduated some 70-80 years ago - to those young ones here - and those who fit somewhere in between - it is time to step up and faithfully represent Christ in and through your life! You see it is real easy to put on your “church clothes” and sit through an hour sermon --- but it is an all together different thing --- to live life in its ups and downs with all the bumps on the road of life --- AND THEN STILL FAITHFULLY REPRESENT CHRIST THROUGH OUR LIVES! Paul understood the importance of the message we promote through his life - my prayer for us this morning is that we, like Paul might grasp the same idea.
First I want us to see that...

Paul Did Not Ask Us To Do Something He Wasn’t Willing To Do Himself!

says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
Paul throughout his life, from his salvation to his death, strived to live and conduct himself in a way that broadcast Christ in everything that he did. In the good times - Paul chose to make much of Christ. In the days of tragedy and the days of imprisonment - again Paul was careful not to have those around him focus on him - but instead to see Christ. Amazingly throughout Paul’s life we see many come to know the Lord and trust Christ as their Savior! Have you ever thought about that - that in his 62 years of life - his witness and his lifestyle was lived in such a manner that it drew people to Christ.
I wonder today in our years here on this earth - how many of us can truly say that we used the time that God had given us to simply - MAKE MUCH OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST? If you are here today and you have been a Christian for 20 years - shouldn’t there be results of you living in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ?
At our last EKEO meeting at our house - our lesson was focused on our lives being MEGAPHONES FOR CHRIST! That how we lived and how we acted said and made much about our Christ. Do we get this?
How you carry yourself as a committed believer in Jesus Christ is as important as what you say. Francis of Assisi said, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."
We have to ask ourselves this day - is our belief in Christ - worth living it out in everyday life?
We have to decide today that is is indeed worth conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
Louie Giglio said this, “What is your message that is amplified to the world?” If it is about us and what we have done - that message will crumble; if it is about Christ and making much of Him - that message will transform lives right before our eyes!
Our lives should be reflecting Christ in all that we do - would you agree? The example was set for us by Paul and the scripture gives us instructions, it says, “Whatever happens” - conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of Christ. As I hear that - it makes me think that we might need to be a little more careful when in comes to things like:
The language we use
The thoughts we have
The patience we have with those around us
All of these seemingly smaller things --- ultimately matter in the bigger picture --- in the world in which you and have are now living --- we must be careful in our conduct that it points others to Christ and not away from Him.
Secondly this morning we see that...

Paul’s Challenge For Us Is To Stand Firm In Our Faith Together!

, “I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”
Throughout the scriptures this is a challenge that is before us as believers, that we stand firm in our faith. If and when we do this - I can promise you that the results will be amazing. I want you to think we me this morning about those disciplines that you choose to make part of your life. And if you stick to them and you stand firm in them the results are amazing.
Biblical discipline of standing firm in our faith - knowing that the end result of that standing firm will indeed pay off
Academic discipline - where you do all that you can to maintain and make high grades in school - the end result of that is huge rewards in scholarships
Athletic discipline - where you give all you can give + a little more and it pays off in the end with WINS and VICTORIES for you endeavors
Listen to a few more scriptures that call us as believers to stand firm...
1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Ephesians 6:14 NIV
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
2 Thessalonians 2:15 NIV
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2
Would you agree with me that when something is important to us - we are willing to stand up for whatever it is. Standing firm simply means that you agree that the thing you are standing for has value and it is important to you. Then you take your stand and you don’t allow anyone or anything to sway you from that stance. Today that is why it is crucial for you young people to decide what things are important in your lives; that is why all of us gathered here in the place must decide what ultimately we will stand our ground on.
In our passage today, there is a call to stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” For all of us, the call is to be unified in standing firm for the things of God. Over the years, some things have been placed before us that are called people to choose the side they would stand on. Sadly over the years many believers and many in the church have failed to stand firm on the things of their faith. As a result of this - our world has in my opinion moved further and further from the God of the universe. My dad who is 81 has said to me on many occasions - that the world is an evil place and he has made reference to the fact that this can’t go on much longer! Now if my dad notices that - it means it is bad!
It reminds me of the scripture in , that says, “We will not longer be infants toss back and forth by the ways and carried about by every wind of doctrine.” If we will stand firm in our faith and study and know what we believe - when the winds of deception come our way we will not be swayed. Satan would like nothing more than to cause you to waiver in your faith - but if we will decide in our lives that our Christianity is a top priority - we can stand even the attack of Satan on our lives.
I pray that as the people of God - that we will learn the importance of standing firm in our faith and leaning on other believers to help us through this life.
Then we see that...

Paul Shows Us That Some Will Oppose - But The Victory Is Ours!

Philippians 1:28 NIV
without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
I see in this passage great assurance for those of us who believe. It says that we will be saved by God! That is an amazing promise that we can know is true.
But I also see in this the importance of us FAITHFULLY REPRESENTING CHRIST with every ounce of who we are! It says in the passage that those opposers - will be destroyed! I hope for each of us that is a call to action, instead of a called to celebrate their demise.
The way that I see it is that even those who hate us; even those who oppose us; even those who mock and make fun of us; --- deserve you and I living our lives in such a way that they see Christ in all that we do.
There are times when I feel like someone is against me and my beliefs. Then I somehow want to believe that it give me the right to say of them --- they will get what they deserve. BUT NO ONE DESERVES TO SPEND AN ETERNITY IN HELL. Think about Paul in his lifetime --- he had people persecute him; they illegally imprisoned him; people beat him and treated him like trash ----- and for all of that, Paul continued to live his life in a way that allowed others to see Christ in him.
Today you and I have life pretty easy. Think about it - you practice the faith you want to without persecution or placed in judgment; we attend the church of our choice and we enjoy the benefits of our faith. We have the greatest gift ever given as a believer --- yet we go through life day after day; year after year - without making much of Christ at all!
Paul is saying to you and to me - God has you, even though you might face opposition. I have to wonder what you and I would think of Paul if he live in our world today. You see I say this because he would stick out like crazy; he would be ridiculed by our peers and sadly for some of us --- we too might join in in mocking him.
God is seeking a people today that would understand their place in Him --- and because of that --- He would find a people willing to stand up and live a life before others that made much of Christ. I wonder this morning as God looks over us - will He find obedient believers - willing to step up our walk for Him?
Finally this morning as we close...

Paul Reminds Us That Our Belief In Him Comes With A Responsibility On Our Part

Philippians 1:29 NIV
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
Philippians 1:30 NIV
since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
As believer there are many parts of our faith that we enjoy and we accept gladly… for instance
We really like the idea of Christ’s love for us...
We are thankful for the forgiveness that he provides...
We are grateful for His grace...
We love His salvation that He provides freely
Notice what verse 29 says to us, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ ---NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE --- BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIM
We like the “believing in Christ part” right --- we like the fact that he died on the cross and provided for us an opportunity to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. In fact we like that part so much we are raising up a generation that all they know about being a Christian is the believing in Christ part! But if we read on we understand that our call in this life is to do more with our relationship with Christ than just believe! It is a call to live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ; It is a call to stand firm in our faith even when those around us oppose us; and it is a call on our life to suffer for the cause of Christ.
Every once in a while I will hear someone say, “I am suffering for Jesus” - which translates - Zero suffering but instead living life all for me! The call on our lives is no different than that of Pauls - to come to know Christ and then to live everyday attempting to make His name known to the entire world. We see as Paul did that --- it caused him to suffer much for the cause of Christ.
So what about you and me? As we close out our time together, I simply want to challenge you to look into our own lives and ask ourselves the question - Am I Faithfully Representing Christ - 24/7, 365 days a year? If you can answer yes to that - then the suffering will come ---- but just as it did in Paul’s life, God will give you all you need to handle the suffering that is brought your way.
You and I have been blessed to live in a free country; We have been blessed and we have the freedom of speech, now what we have to grasps is God’s call on our life to put those freedom to use for the glory of God. Listen...
If we faithfully represent Christ in our lives every day - chances of being imprisoned for that are almost ZERO - but the results are HUGE
If we share Christ with a co-worker during the day - chances of being stoned to death are almost ZERO - but the results are amazing
If we speak of Christ during our daily routine - chances of being run out of town are Zero - but the impact of those conversations are great
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