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January 9, 2022 7:00 am
All right not entitled this exposition normal Christian living.
You could almost call it normal church life because once again, while it certainly does address our individual loss, and that's very important to God. He really narrows the focus in on acting normal as a family together church family in your unity with one another in your relations to each other but the context is how it's difficult in this antichrist world is difficult in a world where the apostle Paul who, in effect, pastored this church. He's locked in prison and so he understands that to stand for the truth and live for Christ has a cost and he's going to tell this church, that's normal. Christianity the Jimmy church that's normal that your Christianity results in some opposition from the world. Sometimes it comes out of your marriage partner. Jesus said a man's enemies will be members of his own household. Sometimes income from that person you work with our in the neighborhood are young people at school, young people listen to me.
If you live for Christ. People at school are going to be against you, but possible to say that's normal. Christianity let me give you this quick backdrop. Most of you know something of my testimony.
I was converted H 19 as a college freshman actually listening to a preacher on the radio driving back to college on the Sunday night and as I started to attend church. I begin to hear stuff like come will blow that persons really sold out another really commit another really faithful I thought will if they are what's wrong with the rest of these people in the church.
What are they are they they just not committed or something. Then as time went on, and as I studied the Bible more and read church history and read how good solid faithful churches of the past impact of the past conducted himself. I realize that we had created an un-biblical dichotomy in the local congregation, which is next best thing about Job here maybe 70% there Christians, but their carnal Christian. I miss my Mario here, maybe 15, 20% other.
There the really spirit filled, dedicated Christians, but we need all of I said I'm fine with that if it's biblical but is really not there's there's not divisions of pretend you follow Christ or you don't follow Christ you honor Christ or you don't honor Christ. There's no levels other than the course offices of service that and make you a higher level just makes your service different world to be true by wording normal Christian's and we found out as time goes on. You know a great percentage of those in Baptist and evangelical churches are not truly Christians for generations would develop a system that works people through the motions. We had our own little sacramental system almost well. We really did Catholics have there's Episcopalians have bears in Baptist got their own go through this motion one another. I'll jump in this Hoople to clear your safe return. Take that you just go out there but just don't commit mass murder in your okay that's a little exaggeration but basically what he wants. We find out that in southern Baptist like the denomination, we are more most closely connected to the were not anymore officially that they claim 12, 15 million out of a how many million members maybe 5 million show up at church on Sunday. That's not what the Bible teaches. Yes, a Christian can backslide, but it shouldn't be 70 to 80% of Arco maybe 10 or 20% folks found out that Elise open to the pandemic that we will run 90%. We have run up to 94% of our worship attendance faithful in small group attendance and people are aghast at that. How in the world. I do you do that your special your unique you are sold out. No were not were normal, barely normal outside that. So Paul writes here to talk about church at Philippi and it scores and applies to all churches of all ages be part of sacred Scripture.
Here's what normal Christian living a normal church life looks like. Verse 27 chapter 1 Philippians only conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you are remain absent. I would hear that you are standing firm in one spirit and with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel in no way alarmed by your opponents, which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you and that too from God what to you. It has been granted for Christ's sake not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now here to be in me.
We start off with Roman one. This will be a brief review our conduct that exemplifies our citizenship.
The point Paul is speaking of here is that where all citizens of a new hire true kingdom. The kingdom of God and we are to conduct ourselves like were part of that kingdom and not conduct yourself any longer. Like your citizens of the world. We talked about how I just reading recently that the region of Philippi when when Rome conquered it, they that the Emperor required many of the Roman soldiers to stay there and live and occupy it and to encourage the soldiers pieces will just consider Philippi soil as Italian soil so your true Roman now your own Italian soil so they were proud of their Roman citizenship in this community now pulses or something far greater than that you belong to Christ you not just a Roman citizen your citizen of God's kingdom not conduct yourself properly, as a citizen of God's kingdom that we talked about the motivation for that conduct. Yes, that phrase in the verse 27 live worthy of the gospel live like one that God's change this gospel well black oneness been transferred out of the kingdom of Satan, the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of light. Conduct yourself inconsistency with who you are now. Now we all struggle. We all slip and we all fail.
Somebody get a little illustration that church was out in the little girl and her pretty little church dress runs out the door and she falls in a mud puddle. Well, stuff like that happens. But you would expect to show up the next Sunday. She still laying in the mud puddles we repented we go on and we keep striving to conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel.
The motivation is. This is Christ who saved us like the apostle Paul were ambassadors for God, we ought to be gospel worthy Christians that the second sub point under the conduct that exemplifies our citizenship is the manner the manner in. Here's where he points again at our unity together are oneness. The last part of verse 27 he says for the faith of the gospel on uses the plural pronoun.
Are you referring to all of them all be together and standing for those cardinal doctrines of the faith.written matters were were not to be so mildly biblical: I guess she's synchronizing a bar doctrines with the other common teachings of the world, absolutely not about our doctrine happens to line up with some other teachings doctrine finds that we are not adjusting our doctor and get along in this world.
So United and Dr. Newman talked about being united in spirit.
He says in verse 27 in one spirit last part of the verse in one spirit, and this is not the Holy Spirit, though it requires the Holy Spirit to do it, it means you are in camaraderie you're part of a team. Different roles different responsibilities but we all agree together. That's me of a united spirit to go forward for God's work and here's what you got and stand in the cultural context of the day. Maybe the reason why there wasn't such open specific.
Well I should say repeated open specific commands about meeting with the church was because if you named Christ you are outcast immediately and that culture you were considered the out scouring's of the culture you are considered considered as the Bible so that sheep to be slaughtered. You needed one another's what I'm saying. So it wasn't the task that we have today to tell people will be faithful in your church. There was nowhere else to go. I mean even members of your own household would hate you very readily if you became a member, a committed member of Christ Church, so they need each other and asked her together to be like a well-organized ball to not hurt you. Have you heard there's I think there's an important ballgame tomorrow that right you know anything about that those players on those teams all have different roles but there one spirit, we know what our coaches told us we know what our modus operandi is we know how we do office we know what we do because we know how we do special things etc. etc. and were one and the same. You're not going to get to the championship game. If your team's not wanting spirit. Paul says, and again I said this many times do you and I'm gonna keep saying it because the Bible consented. The hallmark evidence that you know and love Christ you know and love his local church now had to give a little balancing addendum to that. If that local church has not been reformed and it's full of unsafe people. That's difficult. I get that many of us have been part of churches where a lot of folks in the church. Don't act like they know the Lord and so it's hard you can't it's hard to be one in spirit somebody who don't have the spirit so that does happen, but if the church is decently biblically spiritually healthy. You're going to be drawn to it at a passion for and be one in spirit while united in truth, united in spirit and in third acid united in service and Paul keeps using these metaphors from the gladiator games of the day. The gladiator contest and here's one of them at the end of verse 27, striving together is doing be used as gladiators striving their contest fighting each other in the eighth and the Roman Coliseum Associates charts law car's in the White House.
Gladiators fight to the death, even most of the time you're in a strap with one another, united in doctrine, doctrine, united in spirit did the work of the church done that the manner of your conduct. That's the way it all look and I think Paul would say the church at Philippi was a pretty good example of that.
Not perfect were certainly not perfect but they were they were better than others at being on the right page. Now let's go to new material. II verses 22 third let's notice the conflict that identifies our citizenship. The conflict that identifies our citizenship. Verse 28 in no ways alarmed by your opponents. You have those who oppose you. You see conflict as a regular part of the normal Christian's life list. This part now a little bit about this particular context. Your charts being in conflict with the world is in regular part of normal church life pastor people talk about us and people think where this and people call us a call.
That's normal. That's normal.
It's abnormal when your church just kinda goes with the flow and thereby think you're wonderful.
Cannot remind you the flow is not toward heaven. The flow is not flowing toward God.
In this culture we not start using this more formally. That's this phrase right here Grace life Church of muscle Shoals. The oasis of sanity you go to church today there putting on shows that would rival Las Vegas reviews nonsense either deliberately teaching false doctrine are there keeping the Orthodox statement of faith with her actually functioning in false doctrine, trying to make sure the world still likes them. Sure the world that nailed our Lord and Savior to the cross were to somehow massage our doctrine, which is his doctrine so that the love us even though they crucified him. No, we don't go out trying to cause trouble you to show what love Jesus, you have trouble, conflict is normal. Well I end of this cut already got on this a bit. I think the expectation of conflict pulses basically expected.
That's what he says don't be alarmed by any says something interesting just put a up their brothers. They put that up just now, but will go. I'm sorry. While ago. I'm sorry to see it expectation of conflict. Verse 29 he says in no way alarmed by your opponents, which is assigned the destruction with them but of salvation. And that to forgot from God that was 28, 29 to you. It has been granted for Christ's sake. Interesting word granted the Greek word granted, there is Doron Doron the gases and computer and it's the same Greek word for gift Ephesians 2928 I think. Ephesians 28 by grace you been saved through faith that notice of it is the gift of God same Greek word, God says I gave you grace that saves you as a gift. That's why I've given you suffering now. Also as a gift.
I would say that means we are to expect some conflict I got sovereign in this. It's interesting that in some ages and in some countries and cities the church there's always some personal conflict and some people who oppose you for your Christian faith. But there's not that organize cultural wrath and opposition. I would say in America up until about 50 years ago. Generally, the culture was with us on our values and our conviction. It's no longer so just read a little news clip this morning. I don't normally look at a news clip on Sunday morning and came across it and they said there was race swimming meet and a boy who now claims to be a girl was swimming in the meat swimming against a girl who claims to be a boy but she hadn't transformed enough so she took us at swim with the girls insanity Bassar from brothers and sisters. What is this editor is a spiritual problem at its root at its root. It is this. I reject any creator mandating anything to me. I don't care what he made me and here's the phrase that's not my truth.
While got something to tell you you don't have truth. Truth is subjective.
It's outside of you. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life inside read against God our Creator is what it is.
So, as these things go on and you are not stand for what's right because of the problem to be called the malicious haters and all in all we could go the pulse of this normal expect that it can be on a personal level, I can come from a cultural level in this church experience both of that and we are increasingly going to experience more that an article it's a gift from God to suffer for his sake. That's what he says in verse 29 suffer for his sake literally in behalf of Christ.
So therefore do not be alarmed about it PC's.
Now let's remind ourselves that suffering itself is not a privilege we should not look for conflict.
We should not have a difficult personality and a confrontive nature trust may deliver Christ. It will find you. So we shouldn't court suffering but we should be willing always to suffer in behalf of Christ the interest of our Lord. His gospel and his church. The apostle Paul, of course, is a good example of that for sure now.
It's one thing to resign ourselves to suffering. It's another to realize the privileges that come through suffering. So when Christ says I've given you suffering as a gift.
Listen to me now. Some of the sweetest most glorious blessings will come to you when you suffer for Christ. That's another one of the seeming paradoxes of our faith. Paul said when I'm weak I'm strong paradox, but trying Christ so when you're placed in a spot that David did not have a clear teachings of Scripture or deny your Lord, are being faced with opposition and you choose to do what's right and be faithful to Christ.
God's going to give you gifts that you can't see you.
Here's what you will do. I will see the gift first then let me forget of it right know the gift may be that you get to go to heaven quickly. Paul imprisoned that month by the anything.
Rove don't have enjoying eternal bliss and pleasures forever. Nothing really going to have with their blessed gift nor the rich rich gifts is sanctification. When we suffer for Christ were drawn closer to Christ like to sit this way when you stand in the fire. Your heart stays warm and your if Dr. God's child, you're never happier than when your closest to him, so you can be like so many of our Baptist brethren of yesteryear, whom the state churches of Europe persecuted them mercilessly because they would not accommodate the state religion.
They stayed with the Bible, they wouldn't have their babies sprinkled in the fall state church they would only immerse true believers who were saved and for rejecting the state churches in sprinkling they were many of them drowned. Should you like baptism you like one of the water okay will drowned many of them were burned at the stake, and we have record after record after record after record after record that these martyrs siding with joy as the flames took their live set. How does that work you get grace when you need it. You get an extra dose of God's blessing when you made it.
I told you this before when you price to pay for 42 years you told him everything before Dr. Jerry vines on the plane and he was coming in for a landing and they get some terrible turbulence and they said we were shaken all of you had a whole dollar you flout your seat did have sink that I'm sure patient and I was so scared I thought were gonna die. Sure enough, he popped out of the cloud landed on the runway and Dr. von said Lord I taught my people.
The whole time I've been there pastor. When is there time to die. You'd get them grace and they would have peace in here.
I yes I am. I was terrified and scared to death. He said the Lord said to me you but you didn't die either. So God hadn't give you comfort and grace problem with nothing really bad will happen, but what I'm saying is there's a gift of God and suffering he comes to you. He draws us near its special we were in Brazil that now I can even say decades ago now and there a couple little twin girls in the church. 1213-year-old girls and they just sing have a vibrant faith very happy little girls and the pastor said you know those girls afternoon. I should know what this is, whether mom is a devout Catholic and in the Third World. In the old world.
The Catholics are more sure was a stringent maybe and they don't believe in you reading the Bible you take your instructions from the priest only as a little girls get up in the night and they go crack there. Dorcas is a lot in the hallway and I sit and open their Bibles by that little lot come to the hallway to read their Bibles overnight. Expect conflict. The expectation of conflict will number two conflict that identifies our citizenship would expect it not notice the exposures resulting from the conflict exposures resulting God's exposing he's making some things manifest so says in verse 28. Don't be alarmed by your opponents.
Scholars tell us.
The word alarmed was basically used in this day for a horse that was startled horse and start let me make it really jumpy and nervous, even shaky mess you up that people are coming against you. In other words, as if that's not to be expected. The word opponents there don't be alarmed. He says by your opponents. The word opponents means leaning against you. Stand up for Christ and there's all these people want to push back against you.
You see the world to leaning the wrong way the world is leaning toward Helen. We get saved we start leaning toward heaven.
Jesus said choose the narrow way you North America know what that mean there's a wide when there's an arrow at the narrow way major going down a narrow passage against the people who are all going the wrong way you going against the current. Don't be surprised if you run into an employer. If you run into the homework associate drawing to a family member of your into a friend in school's they have snide remarks cutting remarks and undermining remarks. I was talking to one of our ladies this week. No couple couple weeks ago three weeks ago and she's been with us a long long time and she said no Jeff, it was really hard for a long time. Some of you had been here very long. I know this will shock you, but people had always loved us, and I certainly didn't love you if you stayed in this church. She said it was hard for long time. This should but it's been worth it all the smile she should I faced opponents just by being a part of this church that I think I've been studying this. I think I said yeah that's normal.
That's normal that stuff going to happen now.
Here's what he said here get to the exposures noticing what he says here in verse 28 in no way be alarmed to be startled by your opponents. Those who are leaning against you.
There's that which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you gorgeous have a's. It's a sense that they are not of God is evidence that you're saved and you are of God remains by son. Actually it's a legal term which means proof it's proof that your gods and they're not.
So the fact that they oppose you, proves or exposes that they are not of God. They are what he calls here. Children of destruction. That's a powerful word is going to say verse 28 and that too from God. In other words, God is the agent that is coming to destroy and they are the children of destruction destruction doesn't just mean something bad happens along the way destruction is means it's it's it's is an intentional thing your your set aside for ruin in wrath. Those who are God's Christ are set aside for blessing and salvation is the point he's making.
So these things just prune there the evidences that company conflict now gets challenging at times to deal with conflict and deal with opposition because of your Christian faith. For example, the early Christians were often tortured. Sometimes they were thrown to the lions and when these terrible things happen.
False believers would say things like, will say they're not really gods that would be happening to them. Here you are suffering. Let me just talk to pastors were minute now the number of water broadcast here. You are going to terrible things, but you tried to leave your church to be solid and then all of a sudden someone so Christian leaders are mature Christian brothers in the region are going for that. You're not right.
God and I did that up all the stuff he's not a true apostle that was locked in prison they would say in this whole thing and in it for me personally, this was the toughest thing to deal with constantly taking everything you say bring it out of context. Put a spin on it to put you in the worst possible light.
All Jeff Knobloch teaches this whole Jeff knob believes that I was a no I don't take one paragraph out of 42 years of preaching for my convictions and they would do that to you. All you believe that justice snide cutting snarky opposition's first Corinthians 1119 talking to the church at Corinth was had a lot of unbelievers in the church. Our lease meeting with the church I should say he said for the must also be factions among you, that's an among this local church in order that those who are approved of God may have become evident among you through the conflict. The factious conflict God.
Over time, begins to show who really belongs to him and he really does not exposes the Lord says this really exposures that resolve the conflict. When these people confront you for your Bible beliefs, your convictions to back about your church and about your Lord, it's assignments and evidence they belong to Satan.
Their children obstruction sign that you are child salvation you belong to the Lord that you and I would say can we not have a different weight of show this, not a different approach than having to suffer no, there's really not that I'll be honest thinking just about us here in America. Here in the Southeast are suffering had been a lot really.
Sometimes the emotional element of it is really tough but then I had a man tell me one time who really suffered on the mission field physically. He said in the average American church the emotional, psychological pain, of how your tact for trying to be true to Christ is greater than the pain I felt physically loving person futile mission field so I don't want to belittle that if you're not locked in prison you not really suffering, yet because God gives grace.
For wherever we are. He gives prison grace he gives emotional distress, grace he's faithful to us. Also much more I could say bulimic on to see here encouragements in the conflict possible to say something here to encourage the church at Philippi to keep on keeping on, don't be knocked off track. Don't be alarmed by this conflict in these opponents. He says in verse 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now here to be in making a pause in prison.
At this time and they knew Paul's ministry.
Well, he was just constantly berated mock stoned left for dead ship wrecked beaten with whips imprisoned more than once and anxious in you will experience the same kinds of things mean every single Christian because we just generally true that the right to like they hated me because they hate our Christ can also sent me Christian and this is a good word for Jeff knob looked are you listening to Mrs. it's not about you. You're not all that important. PS they're attacking him. You sent me the way there after him and ultimate climactic ending of their spirit is the Antichrist himself will take the throne of earth and bring in the great harlot church made it back to school to be in a group and will be our tiny remnant of true believers and they'll crush them but it's not about the believers. It's about the price they hate is not about us is not about you that will help if you remember that the church should be encouraged, with apostle Paul says this this is encouragement because you gotta know this part of the schedule.
This part of plan the Philippians face the same type things they have idling emperor worship that dominated that city.
The letter you listen to him at the moment you say Jesus is Lord. He became the enemy of the Emperor who had the power of life and death in his hand. Think about powerful so Paul knew they were going to face some real tough dates or say the legalistic Judaizers who would come to the church and try to undermine the doctrines of grace and teach that Christianity just another type of keeping rules. The course there was the pagan sensualist to live for their lust, like our culture does today. Our culture today says any lust even below the animal kingdom ought to be celebrated one of vile people. That's so wicked. God gave us our sexual desires to be governed and be guarded so they could be the most pleasure and bring him glory. We pervert everything as a people and by the way, the Paul reminded the Corinthians 1st Corinthians always get that reference 1013 no temptation has seized you except what is common to man pauses. Here you can have the same type things so you say about my situation is special and unique. Although no many many others been through the yeah but you don't know what they're saying about me.
Ohno many others going and I just want to say this, I was sent to our younger folks, it may be likely that you will lose at least one job before you get to retirement age.
If you get to get there. Your faith in Christ are people in the public school system about the way we got some of the finest godless people in the public school system. I thank God for their missionary work in the school system. Amen. But there may come a day when you cannot give pledge to the oath they want you to take to work there. I don't know. I don't know but nothing has seized you.
Paul tells the printed except what is common to man. Others have gone through it. Others are going through one of the things that again keep coming out in this text is the metaphor. Some Paul brings out of the Olympics but more specifically the gladiator contest of the old Roman Empire.
For example, that word conflict in verse 30 the word opponents in verse 28, striving together in verse 27, all would be used in in a gladiatorial contest of the day.
The word conflict also is a word that is translated as fight Paul we use it later in second Timothy as we get there in our exposition fight the good fight. It's also word for race race is run the race with endurance so here we are in our culture today. Men fact I just heard some politician the other day so that there they are committed, they didn't say fight to the death that that's what they meant fight to the death to avoid this Christian state is trying to be raised back up in our country. Anything that reflects double teachings. We are against the new religion of progressivism is a religion of America while gives him what a horrible religion. It is, it is no forgiveness and no redemption. Your certain skin color.
You're just doing this is depraved, and beneath the rest some awful thing.
Hillary Clinton runs for president against Donald Trump and I'll never, I mean these words just pierced my heart I can't understand why more people to grab hold to it she said emphatically. The churches are going to have to change their doctrines will tell you what I got news for Hillary Clinton will take orders from her were not changing our doctrines we don't count the culture thinks about it we care what our Lord thinks about it so in the balance are in the in the context of encouragement limit written of me. Let's read Revelation 692 11 Revelation 6 not 11 when the Lamb broke the fill say I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God course context is a great tribulation, when persecution against the church will be at its very worst and because of the testimony which they had maintained. I think that's inching phrase because a lot of people professed Christ. But as the pressure came all day went with the Antichrist and the great harlot church. But there silently wouldn't they maintained, they stay true. Verse 10 and I cried out with a loud voice saying how Lolo Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on their none balance of biblical truth were to be forgiving of everybody and happy gracious toward everybody here. The Saints already glorified in heaven are saying. How long before you avenge our blood. There's a righteous vintage brothers and sisters. There's a righteous revenge is a righteous retribution.
And here's Paul Paul, the Lord encourages them in verse 11, and there was given each of them a white robe that white robe speaks of your and my redeemed ones you bear my righteousness and they were told that they should rest, and you have eternal rest for little while longer into the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed, even as they had been would be completed also so Revelation says that God in his sovereignty is marked out only so many of his children could be slain. Margaret remembered my candlelight message adjusted the darkness has abound put on the darkness can only go so far. God controls the dark. He's Lord of the darkness so we throw our are you listen we throw ourselves on our loving God who is absolutely sovereign and we say with Esther is my parish to parish. There's a God who's going avenge my blood to so he encourages those in this scene from glory that were martyred now at the end of the day everything comes from the Lord's hands. Look at verse 20 in the last phrase and that too from God know the words all that God's doing all that is happening is God's doing, and we look to God. I reward us from God. Our treasure is in God, not in this world we do not look to this world for our approval. We look only to God.
The gladiators of this day in the arena. They would fight in battle and it was grotesque and bloodied awful.
Sometimes I didn't fight to the death that many times they did, but at the end of the contest.
The custom was that the gladiator would look up at the Emperor and the Emperor would decide. Have you pleased me enough (by me and there was a gesture I found gesture. We don't know if is up or down, but will assuming if his life for himself. I proved you live you didn't fight well or right Emperor could say I disapprove.
I like what Lightfoot said in his commentary the Christian gladiator does not anxiously await the signal of life or death from the fickle crowd. We all went for this world. Tell us we labor own for God. We work in this church and we work without regard to the opposition for our approval comes from another as we end our striving together. We look up our father in heaven and were looking for approval of the disapproval of our father in heaven looks at his son Jesus to whom he's given all authority.
If you're in Jesus, God the son, Jesus, look to God the father and smiledů Then God our father looks down at us and says your project that's all that matters. So can I charge you this morning to keep on being a normal Christian people being a normal church in your conduct and in the conflict.
I'll close with this first Peter 510 and after use after you suffered for little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. Strive on keep on being a normal Christian