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February 16, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message from Philippians 1:27-30.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform.
Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled live worthy of the gospel, which is a study of the book of Philippians. Let's listen to today's message for Steve will continue the series studying Philippians in the life and character of Paul. The message is entitled live worthy of the gospel. Turn with me to Philippians chapter 1. Last week we began our series on live worthy of the gospel. As we talked about the book of Philippians, especially Paul's relationship with the church in the city of Philippi which is in northern Greece or what we know historically is Macedonia. This is a church of people he loved in his writing this from imprisonment in Rome to this church that is about 800 miles away in the writing of the letter. What precipitated it was a visit from a church member name a pampered diet is who brings him a love offering and so he writes this letter for number of reasons. One is to say thank you another one is to tell them about tell them about his circumstances that here he is in prison. But the wonderful thing about his situation is that the gospel is not being hindered that God is at work even though he is in chains. He's in bonds and we really see the heartbeat of Paul's life, his passion, what consumed him and that's actually found in Philippians 121, where he says for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
If you could sum up Paul's life in one word you would sum it up. The word Christ. You know when you think about people in the world that are very famous.
You can sum up their life and one word like a goddess football player soccer player from Barcelona in a messy and how do you solve some of his life is football or someone else that's involved in business and you would sum up his life, his business or whatever it is, the Paul's life is an example to believers of a joy filled life is that Christ is his life.
We come to Philippians chapter 1 verse 27, which is really the beginning of our study this semester so it would take us all the way through a good portion of chapter 2 Paul begins in verse one with the first command that he gives the Philippian believers and that's what I want us to look at this morning because my message is entitled live worthy of the gospel because we see this beginning beginning in verse 27 and will read down to verse 30. Let's hear God's word this morning. He says only let your conversation be as a become of the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel and in nothing terrified by your adversaries. Which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation and that of God for under you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now here to be in me.
Here the apostle Paul establishes to the believers, the priority of living worthy of the gospel. So this morning I'd like us to just began with the foundational message of what what is it mean to live worthy of the gospel and and how do we live that way.
So really I have three simple points. The first is simply the meaning of living worthy of God of the gospel. What is it mean the King James version says only let your conversation be as it become of the gospel of Christ. The ESV reads only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ to their couple keywords I want us to focus on the first word is a word conversation only let your conversation now only thing a conversation we thought we think about talking but in biblical but but in this word in the in the King James English had the idea that your life speaks your life says something, but the Greek word here for conversation is even more interesting because it comes from the root word holiness, which is the word for city and the Greek word for conversation literally means your citizenship. We all understand that in biblical times to be for example a Roman citizen was a big deal he's writing to the church of Philippi, which is a Roman colony. It's like having an American passport. So when he says only let your conversation be he's talking about you as a citizen of the kingdom of God. Fact is, he uses the exact same word in Philippians 320, notice what he says in Philippians 320 pieces for our conversation is in heaven and that word conversation is the same word. It is the word citizenship are citizenship is in heaven. You can say this way we have dual citizenship. We are members of an earthly kingdom. So all of you sitting here are our citizen of some country, maybe in America your many most of your Americans but you may be from Korea.
Are you might be from China. We have over 40 countries here represented in the student body. So you are a member of the earthly citizenship. But if you're a believer you're a member of a heavenly citizenship. So is establishing this very clearly and here's what he is saying live as a citizen of heaven.
And the idea is even clearer when you think of the fact that the city of Philippi was a Roman colony and the people were proud. Romans and the city of Philippi was built to look like Rome because Rome was the template and all the Roman colonies were made to look just like that so they had a Roman cardo. They had a main Dragon that was where all the shopping was done, they would have a Roman temple they would have a Roman bathhouse, they would have a Roman amphitheater and every Roman colony you went to. They all look the same and that's why they call these Roman colonies little Rome.
So here's what Paul is writing he is saying the church is a colony of heaven. Or we could say this way that the church is a little part of heaven I've preached in all kinds of churches with all kinds of different names, but I've never preached in the church that was called the little heaven church but that's what he's calling us to do. One writer, Gordon fee puts it this way live in the Roman colony of Philippi, as were the citizens of your heavenly homeland like Philippi is a little Rome. So the church is a little heaven and he is saying to us today. The same thing. He said the fruit to the field Philippi believers. You are different. Therefore, you should be different. You are a child of God you are a citizen of the kingdom of God live like that. Your life should manifest that way the people of Philippi in their day, being Romans are like the people of the day they are preoccupied with their own culture. For example, they would be wrapped up in their own social status as Roman citizens and all that meant for their lives.
They would be wrapped up in their intense nationalism and the power that was found in the Roman Emperor, their lives would be wrapped up with their enjoyment of the blessings that come from Caesar and they show their loyalty by bowing their need. Every year in worship and confessing Caesar is Lord. Well, the believers were to live in a way that shows that they are citizens from a different country. They are citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
So that's who you are, you know, if you come to Bob Jones University. It it all to feel differently.
Why because we are citizens. All of us here are citizens that were believers of the heavenly country.
So how do you live as a citizen of heaven and Shakespeare. Shakespeare's play King Henry V.
The main figure as a young man called Prince Henry down the play scene is a vein morally lax young man who basically spent his time partying with an old man named John Falstaff when when Henry's father, the king dies Henry goes through a dramatic change in the Prince realizes his unworthiness and that the crown will be his. Through no virtue of his own. In other words, he didn't deserve it. So he confesses to his dying father concerning the crown. He says to his father.
You won the crown you wore the crown you The crown. Now you're giving the crown to me and then upon the crown being given to him.
Henry valves to live a worthy life, a life that reflects his noble heritage in his majestic position. How do we live as citizens of heaven will Paul says we only do this by living worthy of the gospel. Look at your text only let your conversation. Your citizenship be as piquant with the gospel of Christ. The word become a fair means to treat something of the highest value in the highest worth. What is the most precious thing you won't. What is it that you want to protect. I don't think your cell phone is the most precious thing you own, but it is important, and therefore most of you probably have some kind of protective covering on it on OtterBox or whatever because how many of you have ever dropped your cell phone writer time you've ever cracked your cell phone.
Raise your hand yet.
So what you do you protect it you want to buy another one so you take care of it. When the idea of the word become a means that your citizenship that you are a child of God is your most precious possession and he says only let your conversation be.
That means number one priority. Out of all the infinite things in your life that are important. This is the most important and therefore we should intentionally live our lives to make the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The number one concern Jesus said in this way, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added on it unto you the greatest struggle every one of you are going to face in your life is not. Do I believe in Jesus but is the gospel in Christ number one over everything. Does he have top priority. So how do you then make the gospel our number one priority in its live in such a way as we reflect its value, and that leads me to the second point, and that is the marks of someone who live worthy of the gospel. How do you know this and actually Paul tells us here because he gives to key identifying marks. Notice what he says in verse 27 only let your conversation be as become of the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you or else be absent. That is, with arm with you are not, I may hear of your affairs, and now he explains that and he gives us the first Mark of what it means to live worthy of the gospel. He says that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
The first identifying mark of living worthy of the gospel is steadfastness that you stand fast in that phrase stand fast is not a command and it's not a correction. It's not like you're not standing fast. Therefore, you should. And he's not commanding them to do something he is actually commending them because it's what we call the present indicative you can read it this way because you are currently standing fast in other words, what he saying as I'm writing to people who I love, I'm not correcting you I'm not commanding you, I'm commending you to keep all keeping all. I mean, we've been commending you for wearing a mask, but we need to be key, but we need to keep on keeping on. That's what he saying to us that we keep growing that we stay solid and this steadfastness includes two key areas number one there's a steadfastness in ministry. Notice what he says at the end of verse 27, striving together for the faith of the gospel, the word striving together means to work as a team.
It's not all it's not a sport that is a one person sport like golf or tennis but is a team sport like football or soccer, volleyball, and what he is saying is, the church is to work together like athletes or like soldiers in a company and you play to win. He says keep working together and striving together to get the gospel out for 29 years. It was my privilege to travel as a full-time evangelist. The first nine years I traveled the first 10 years as an evangelist. I traveled by myself. It was just my family and I but into my 10th year in evangelism. We started a team that traveled with us for about 20 years and we were literally were a team and we would have upwards to nine people traveling with a seven singles and a married couple and what do we do. We's we work together as a team to get the gospel out. It was one of the greatest joys of my life. He's talking here about being instead fast in ministry, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord when Charles Haddon Spurgeon built his famous church called the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861. He had a dedication service and this is what he said.
He said I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshipers shall be the person of Jesus Christ. That's his foundation, the body of divinity to which IPN and by myself forever, God helping me is not a system of divinity or any other human treatise, but it is Christ Jesus who is the sum and substance of the gospel which are interesting that that was stated almost 100 to 660 years ago and today that church still stands steadfast preaching the gospel after hundred and 60 year be steadfast in ministry. Are you involved in evangelistic work. Are you involved in outreach are you working together with others to share that gospel message.
That's how we live worthy of the gospel. But not only are we to be steadfast in ministry, but we are to be steadfast in the unity, notice what he says. Stand fast in one spirit, one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
You could say this way to put your heart and soul into it. This is not apathy. This is not have to heartedness this is heart and soul. One of the great keys to effective ministry is when believers are committed to together and they are unified together. I think one of the greatest or limit put it this way when the most important things that I can do is a president that Bob Jones University is to work with our faculty and our staff and our student body to be aligned together because when one person does the work you get energy when two people do the work to get synergy and you get a lot more accomplished you for the statement. Many hands make light work and he's talking about the affected influence of the church when we are hard and soul committed together.
One of the problems of the church at Philippi.
The same problems we have today and that is that there was a ruling tension in the church between two church members have learned something over the years that when churches have problems on the inside. They are rare and rarely effective in the ministry on the outside. When the church turns in on itself.
It forgets to turn out to the world and the conflict is found in chapter 4 and verse two it was between two women in the church that couldn't get along with each other. Can you imagine that what were their names well. We read in Philippians 42 I beseech you odious and I beseech so touchy.
I'm sorry syntactic, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. Now there is an issue between them. What was it I don't know Paul doesn't tell us, but the fact the matter. It doesn't matter, because what really matters is getting out.
People when the church is committed to gospel ministry. They will always be steadfast, steadfast in ministry, steadfast in unity Claire out the hindrances and let's get the gospel out, but there's a second mark of living worthy of the gospel and that's not only steadfastness but that's also fearlessness, but what he says in verse 28 and in nothing terrified by your adversaries.
Which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation and that of God hears what he saying he saying don't be intimidated by witnessing and don't be intimidated by unbelievers anybody in this room who's ever tried to share the gospel anybody in this room this ever tried to share the gospel understand what it means to be afraid I don't know why it is we can talk about anything, but when we start talking about Jesus. We get afraid and I often wonder why is it that were so naturally fearful on that point and were not. Another part of me. We can talk about what we think about plot politics easy, but to talk about Jesus is a different story and I believe the reason is is because we enter into the real world of spiritual conflict, but we also know that when we open our mouths we begin to speak for Jesus. What happens as we begin to experience a boldness that the Holy Spirit gives us it just a it's an amazing experience. So Paul is writing to the church in Philippi who were to spread the gospel in the city and he says don't be intimidated by your adversaries, because the moment you share the gospel, you get one of two reactions using a positive or you get a negative when I first started sharing the gospel.
When I got saved my freshman year college I began to share the gospel with friends of mine. I expected them to accept my message into accepted me and I began to experience real rejection.
My first thought is maybe I'm not telling the story correctly well have been corrected over that. Generally, the problem is not you telling the right story. The problem is there under conviction and their reacting. Why, because the gospel message is good news, but it starts with bad news. The bad news is that your center in your loss and you're going to hell to face the judgment of God. The good news is, God loves you and he sent his son in the world to die for you.
The bad news is that you have to be humble and repent, and acknowledge that you can't save yourself the good news is if you put your faith in Jesus will save you and that message brings conviction that because that's what he means when he says, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation and that of God. What he is saying is the reaction of unbelievers is the indication that they feel the future reality that there lost in there under conviction but God's conviction is always the way God works folks, people don't come in the kingdom of God without some kind of violence, the kingdom of God suffers violence was at me means a conflict just like we have violence and protest in the United States of America. That's what goes on in the human heart when they hear the gospel message one because it is a conflict in their soul. Your Paul said don't be afraid to share the gospel.
Be fearless. God is convicting centers of their sin, which is the first step toward salvation so's. How do we live worthy of the gospel with steadfast in ministry and unity and where fearless in giving out the message that Lisa my last point, and that is the motivation for living worthy of the gospel and notice what he says the universe 2930 for under you it is given.
The word given their means to be graced like a gift for under you.
Something is been graced unto you, so he's talking about what motivated him.
The word forest is the word means. For this reason.
For this reason God is graced you with something so is talking about why he is, we should be steadfast in fearless for God is graced you on the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him. How is it that you and I got saved. We got saved by grace through faith, even faith is a grace is a gift from God and is using your salvation to show you something else.
God is graced you with these not only grace you with salvation on but is grace you with something else. What is that for not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.
God is giving you the gift of the grace of suffering. Now that is like really strange to motivate you to be faithful and yet when you look carefully at the Scripture, the gracious gift of suffering for Christ is considered to be a magnificent gift because of the reward that comes Matthew 512 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.
You know that every time somebody rejects you are a tax you for your faith in Jesus Christ.
It's called crowns in heaven. That's the motivation and I want to be faithful is the grace of suffering and then finally it's the Fellowship of suffering. Notice what he says having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now here to be a me know what Paul's talk talking about is he saying this he saying to the Philippians Philippians you guys are suffering at the hands of the Romans in your own community. Well, you saw what happened to me when I was in Philippi because when I can your city preach the gospel. You know they did they beat Paul and they beat me and Silas up and they threw us in the prison Paul and Silas in the Philippian jailer. He says you see my suffering, I'm suffering today in Rome you're suffering because of Rome and by the way, there's 1/3 person. This also suffered by the Romans who is that he was nailed to a Roman cross. And Paul is taking the Philippians and himself and bringing them into the Fellowship of suffering with Jesus because they all suffered together. We all understand a closeness that comes through suffering. How do we know that because you're having to wear a face mask because your school got close down and you had to go through covered 19 and though nobody likes it there something that happens when you suffer together you know it does it brings you closer together, and here's what he is saying when you and I suffer for Christ sake, not only do we experience God's grace and blessing, but we experience a close and intimate fellowship with the one who suffered the most.
Christ on the cross so live worthy of the gospel. Father, we thank you for your word Lord forgive us of not living worthy and help us to. In Jesus name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the book of Philippians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled live worthy of the gospel which was written for the series, visit our firstname.lastname@example.org