River City Spokane

Gospel Living Together: Philippians 1:27-2:4

What’s up everyone! It’s Pastor Kerr Howell Jr. here. Welcome to Gospel Home Brew a resource from River City Spokane. Once again, let us let the word of God brew in us, so that we can stir it in others.

Last week, we trek through verses eighteen through twenty six with Gospel Home Shepherd Thomas. I do not know about you, but I was wowed by Thomas look through these verses. Thomas made so massively important points about what Paul was saying and he asked very important questions that I hope hit you in the core of your soul. The one question that hit me was the last question he asked: Is it (staying here on earth) because you desire to see those around you meet Jesus and grow in the faith or because you are treasuring something or someone more than Christ?

This question gripped my heart, because I believe it gets to the core of Paul struggle: What I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed. (Philippians 1: 22-23). I love that Paul was a raw and honest man. His struggle alone should speaks volumes to us! By him sharing this struggle was he was not saying he wanted to live because he was afraid of death, but just the opposite. Our culture is restlessly trying to live long and desires to be younger. We are afraid of death. But for Paul, the only reason he would choose to live is so that he could see the Philippians grow in Jesus and others would come to know him. This struggle and confession—to live is Christ and to die is Gain—was proclaiming to the Philippians—and should us—how we together live and die for the glory of Jesus.

So before, we read the scriptures that we will look at today, the question I want to ask you is this:

What is your ambition to live and die?

Dwell on that for a second. The question that Thomas asked leads us into the next second of this letter. So lets open our Bibles up to the letter of Philippians and read verses twenty seven to verse for in the second chapter. Let’s read it together:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others. (Philippians 1:27-2:4)

Man, these verses have so much for us! How I long to live this way! Christian this is what you called to. Jesus saved you for this. Through the gospel, Jesus is making a people for Himself. Know this! Jesus saved for Himself! What does this statement do to you? Do you believe this! You are His. He came after you. He granted Himself to you. He pursued you. Loved you. Became a man for you. Died for you. Stood for you. Lived for you. Resurrected for you. Reigns for you. And He did this so that you could and would live a worthy life. You do not live to become worth, but live to make Him look worth to the ends of the earth. From the way you work your jobs, raise your children, love your spouses, spend your money, interact with your friends and families, and how you live behind closed doors. He desires for you to live in a worth manner. So live, follow, desire, long, hope, enjoy, fight, think, rest, and die because He is worthy. Whatever you are doing that does not make him look worthy lay it down. It will not satisfy.

You cannot substitute Him!

We are the church! We are His hand and feet on the ground. We are different and that is awesome. Though different, though we have different stories, backgrounds, likes, hobbies, ethnicities, we are all His. We have all been wrought, sought, and bought by the same God. We are all called to live to make him look worthy. And we do this together. You are not only. You are not the only one struggling. You are not the only one broken. You are not the only one in this mission. We are the church and He is our God. Let’s live the gospel together.

The beauty of the new covenant is that it creates a new community—one that brings Jews and Gentiles, males and females, slaves and free, black, white, Indian, Chinese, Korean, German, Palestinians all together—and makes a new humanity out of them as they are untied in Christ by faith in Christ. Right now our country is going through a battle that actually aggravates me. The black and white lives matter movement is this fight. The reason that it aggravates me is not because I think it is wrong, but because we are trying to fight this race war with the wrong weapons. And the sad part is that Christians are actually fighting this war with the same weapons. There is only one Person that can win this battle within the person. His name is not black matter movement, but Jesus Christ. Do we believe the gospel? If so then this is what, and only what we need to use. Jesus said that in Him we are unified. I am not a raciest because I have molded my mind to think rightly, but I am not a racist because Jesus has shown Himself and His mission to me through the gospel. I follow Him and because of that I am about unifying people in Him. When people say that everyone is a racist and will always be a racist, they are cheapening the gospel. Jesus’ gospel is not cheap, but costly—it is inexhaustible.

I bring this issue up, because the section of Scripture we just read speaks to this issue, because He Paul is calling them to live worth lives, and when the follower of Jesus lives this way unity is accomplished, because the gospel calls us to live a togetherness that is alien to our world.

The gospel does not just transcend and transform our human institutions and divisions; its also transcends and transforms our circumstances. The gospel is what empowers the life for ongoing, living in the moment power of the good news. Divisions exist because sin and our sin nature exist, but the death of every sin and our sin nature exists as well, and His name is Jesus.
Christian look at this black-white fight through the lenses of these verses. Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.

What does it look like to live life in a manner worth of the gospel?
It means: Dying with Jesus to one’s self and being raised in Jesus to walk in the newness of life with our brother and sisters (no matter their race and color).Living grace filled lives that grant patience, mercy, gentleness for the spiritual journeys of others and a respect for the differences and idiosyncrasies we all bring to the Lord’s table.

Everyone is on level ground. And the ground is level at the foot of Jesus’ cross. Jesus made a rich Asian business woman, a poor slave girl, and a Roman blue collar jailer come to this ground. He made them one family. The same was true for the Philippians and the same is true for us. I know this is not any easy way to walk, but the gospel makes it possible.

In verse twenty seven, Paul is not exhorting the Philippians to live so that people hold them worth, but see that their God is worth. The way we live displays what we hold as supremely valuable. The gospel is about the God who is love. It is about the God who goes after His enemies with outstretched arms. It is about God breaking the lines his enemies have set up and changes them from enemies to children. Economic status, backgrounds, abuse, ethnicities, or world views do not stop him. It about God going after blacks, white, all tongues, nations who have sinned against him and forgiving them and rescuing them in Himself. The gospel is about the gift of God Himself.

The Worthy Life through Togetherness (1:27)

In these verses Paul uses political, warfare, and athletic terms to describe how we are to live. The Christian walk is warfare and striving side by side to display to the world that he is worthy. The words “your life” is built on the Greek word for city. It reads “ live as citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel. He uses the same word in Philippians 3:20 when he reminds the Philippians are citizens of heaven. This is the only time Paul uses this word in the New Testament. He may have chose to use this word because of the Philippians’ pride over their Roman citizenship. Remember Philippi was a little replica colony of Rome. Whenever you were in Philippi you felt like you where in Rome. This word speaks, because whenever someone visits a Christian church or community and observes their way of life, they should be reminded of Jesus’ kingdom. Churches are little outpost of the kingdom of God.

Everything we do should display this kingdom. We are living this life in the present to make known what the future will be like. The gospel has changed us and is changing us and will continue to change us. The power of the gospel does not stop at salvation (your rescue), but continues throughout your whole life.

We ought to live worth lives because we are children of God, because we can live everything he has called us to, and we ought to live, follow, and obey Him because of these truths and because we desire for others (different from us) to know this truth as well.

So Paul in verse twenty seven, tells us to live as citizen of our real kingdom. And in the same verse who tells us how to live this worthy life. And he says we go it together not alone. It is a team walk, not an individual walk. Yes, we all do not walk the same walk in life, but we are all called to strive side by side on mission together. Paul in the same verse provides two illustrative words for Christian togetherness: Stand firm in one spirit and strive side by side. The words show us that we are soldiers and athletes, fighting and contending together as we make known the gospel to our neighbors, friends, family, and the nations. The word for stand gives the picture of an army holding the lines against opposition. It is a word about determination and ambition, as the soldier holds his ground and does not leave his post. And we have this strength to stand firm because of our union with Jesus. He stands firm for us, so we can stand firm for Him and others. He is our Warrior King. The word strive gives the picture to the Philippians that it is working together that we stand firm. This athletic term was something that the Philippians were familiar with. It illustrates that Christians are in the arena of faith, which Paul was in with them, and they all need each other. We know this also to be true in the nature of our sport. No matter the sport. The team needs the coaches, the rules, the players to win the game. No team wins because of one person. Paul is displaying to them the importance of the gospel and how the gospel calls them to live a life of unity.

Who needs you to stand for them?

Who needs to by their side?

Who needs you to help them fight?

Fearlessness Through Treasuring The Gospel (1:28)

We are in battle. We do not engage in this battle alone. We need to fight alongside of believers, and not against them. And to do this we need to be “not frightened.” We need not be frightened about what comes against Jesus’ gospel—His gospel is stronger than any so called “good news.” We need not be frightened about what others think about Jesus gospel—His gospel is the only thing that can open their eyes and souls. We need not be frightened by what others can do to us—His gospel will sustain us through anything. We need not be frightened by opposition—His gospel can stand against anything. And Paul made known to them that the way they are not frightened by all this is by live a life that display the treasuring of the gospel.

“Let your manner of life (citizenship) be worth of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving sided by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.”
And because of this what can man do to me?

This means laying down things that do no matter, and holding on to things that do matter. This means that we avoid any argument that distracts us from our mission together. Also in this part of the verse (not frightened ), Paul uses a term for a startled horse. When this happens, the horse is uncontrollable and useless. Paul is saying not to be intimidated by them. We are to stand boldly and seek (together) to spread the gospel faithfully. Conflict with come within you and against you, but Jesus is stronger than this conflict.

Sign Post (1:28)

Also in the same verse Paul describes the nature of Christians suffering for the mission. This is a word of encouragement, which is also a warning sign post to unbelievers. Christians know that when you are standing together in the face of external pressures, something glorious is happening; a sign post is given. A tow way sign. It is a sign pointing to destruction and salvation, to confrontation and confirmation, to judgment and assurance. For the unbeliever it is being confronted with their unbelief and their impending judgment if they do not believe. For the believer it is the confirmation that in their struggle they really are God’s people and will be saved on the last day. I know this is not a politically correct verse. Paul knew this as well. The truth is no matter what you hear, not everyone is going to heaven. We do not all believe the same thing. Just like in the gladiators game in the Philippians time, there will be a thumbs up and a thumbs down. And which thumb others get is their decisive issue on what they will do with the man on the cross.

This verse should drive us to our knees, and it should not us to be stuck up or arrogant about of God. Remember you were on the other side before. And who caused you to be His. Jesus did. His gospel did. People need to hear the gospel, so they have the chance to choose. They need to confront this sign post. They will have to decide. Live worthy lives so that they are brought to this sign post. Our union with each other display our union with our Jesus.

Suffering as Gain

In verses twenty nine through thirty, Paul lets them know that suffering is a gift. It has been granted to them not on being rescued by God, but also suffering for God. We suffer so that people see this sign post. The gospel changed they way a child of God views suffering. Nothing happens to us in vain. He uses all of it. Every millisecond of it. Paul tells them to look at as a privilege and not as punishment. If our God had to suffer to win us, why do we believe that we should not to lead others to Him? The symbol of our lives is a cross not a cushion. Suffering is our sign post that we are his and it draws us closer to Him. We enjoy a special intimacy with Jesus as we identify with him through courageous gospel living. He is not abandoning you, but that he was in your place and is with you. Obeying Him will draw us to different types of conflict. There is great gain in our suffering. That does not mean you go looking for it, but you following Him to it and through it.

The worthy life involves the grace of believing and the grace of suffering, together in the cause of our Jesus.

Serving One Another In Compassion and Unity (2:1-4)

Living a worthy life of gospel living together is done through the command of unity. In these verses unity entails compassion, participation, affection, humility, and one mind. And in Jesus we have all this. This is how he lived and calls us to live. We share in His encouragement, his love, his fellowship of the spirit, his affection and mercy, and in his gospel. Our Jesus command us to be in unity. Jesus does not do this for unity sake, but for his sake. We are commanded to live this way so that the world we see Him through us together. And we do this together by reflecting on Jesus’ cross, reflecting on Jesus’ glory, reflecting on Jesus’ word. All this reveals to us Jesus live the Gospel and through Jesus’ Spirit we can live this way as well. It is not impossible. We can be unified in His mission and we must be. This displays Him as worthy.

Lets do gospel living together!

This is Pastor Kerr. Lets live in manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus. Let these verses brew in you today.
See you next week.

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