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1702. Live Worthy of the Gospel

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
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February 6, 2024 2:31 pm

1702. Live Worthy of the Gospel

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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February 6, 2024 2:31 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message from Philippians 1:27-30.

The post 1702. Live Worthy of the Gospel appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled Live Worthy of the Gospel. Let's listen to today's message where Steve will continue the series studying Philippians and 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 and the city of Philippi, which is in northern Greece or what we know historically as Macedonia. This is a church of people he loved and he's writing this from imprisonment in Rome to this church that is about 800 miles away. And the writing of the letter, what precipitated it was a visit from a church member named Epaphroditus who brings him a love offering. And so he writes this letter for a number of reasons. One is to say thank you.

Another one is to tell him 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 1 21 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 in one word like a guy that's a football player, a soccer player from Barcelona named Messi and how do you sum up his life?

It's football. Or someone else that's involved in business and you would sum up his life as business or whatever it is. But 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 will take us all the way through a good portion of chapter 2. Paul begins in verse 1 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 in verse 27 and we'll read down to verse 30.

Let's hear God's word this morning. He says, Here the apostle Paul establishes to the believers the priority of living worthy of the gospel. And so this morning I'd like us to just begin with a foundational message of what does it mean to live worthy of the gospel and how do we live that way?

So really I have three simple points. The first is simply the meaning of living worthy of the gospel. What does it mean? The King James version says, only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.

The ESV reads, only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. So there are a couple of key words I want us to focus on. The first word is the word conversation. Only let your conversation. Now when we think of conversation we think about talking. But in biblical, but in this word 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 polis 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. The fact is he uses the exact same word in Philippians 3.20. Notice what he says in Philippians 3.20. He says for our conversation is in heaven.

And that word conversation is the same word. It is the word citizenship. Our citizenship is in heaven. You could say it this way, we have dual citizenship. We are members of an earthly kingdom. So all of you sitting here are a citizen of some country. Maybe most of you are Americans. But you may be from Korea or you may be from China.

We have over 40 countries here represented in the student body. So you are a member of an earthly citizenship. But if you're a believer, you're a member of a heavenly citizenship. So he's 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 drag and 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 looked the same.

And that's why they called these Roman colonies little Rome's. So here's what Paul is writing. He is saying the church is a colony of heaven.

Or we could say it 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 a 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 worthy 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 to the Philippian believers. You are different, therefore you should be different. You're a child of God. You're 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're 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 showed their loyalty by bowing their knee every year in worship and confessing Caesar as 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 ought to feel differently.

Why? Because we are citizens, all of us here, are citizens if we're believers of the heavenly country. So, how do you live as a citizen of heaven? In Shakespeare's play, King Henry V, the main figure is a young man called Prince Henry. Now in the play, he's seen as a vain, morally lax young man who basically spent his time partying with an old man named John Falstaff. Well, when Henry's father, the king, dies, Henry goes through a dramatic change. And 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 kept the crown, now you're giving the crown to me. And then upon the crown being given to him, Henry vows to live a worthy life. A life that reflects his noble heritage and his majestic position. How do we live as citizens of heaven? Well, Paul says we only do this by living worthy of the gospel. Look at your text. Only let your conversation, your citizenship be as becometh the gospel of Christ.

The word becometh there means to treat something of the highest value and the highest worth. What is the most precious thing you own? 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, an otter box or whatever. Because how many of you have ever dropped your cell phone? Raise your hand.

How many of you have ever cracked your cell phone? Raise your hand. Yeah, so what do you do? You protect it.

You don't want to buy another one, so you take care of it. When the idea of the word becometh 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 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 it this way, seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added 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 and 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 lived worthy of the gospel.

How do you know this? And actually Paul tells us here because he gives two key identifying marks. Notice what he says in verse 27. Only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ that whether I come and see you or else be absent, that is whether I'm with you or 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. And 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's saying is I'm writing to people who I love. I'm not correcting you. I'm not commanding you. I'm commending you to keep on keeping on.

I mean we've been commending you for wearing a mask. But we need to keep on keeping on. That's what he's 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 a sport that is a one person sport like golf or tennis.

But it's a team sport like football or soccer or 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 that I traveled or first ten years as an evangelist I traveled by myself.

It was just my family and I. But into my tenth year of evangelism we started a team that traveled with us for about 20 years. And we literally were a team. And we would have upwards to nine people traveling with us.

Seven singles and a married couple. And what did we do? We worked together as a team to get the gospel out.

And it was one of the greatest joys of my life. He's talking here about being steadfast 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 worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ.

That's his foundation. The body of divinity to which I pin and bind 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. You know, it's interesting that that was stated almost 160 years ago and today that church still stands steadfast preaching the gospel after 160 years. 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 unity. Notice what he says, stand fast in one spirit, one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. You could say it this way, put your heart and soul into it. This is not apathy, this is not half-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 let me put it this way, one of the most important things that I can do as a president at 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 you get synergy and you get a lot more accomplished.

You've heard the statement, many hands make light work. And he's talking about the effective influence of the church when we are heart and soul committed together. And one of the problems in the church of Philippi is the same problems we have today, and that is that there was a brewing tension in the church between two church members. I've learned something over the years, that when churches have problems on the inside, they are 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 four and verse two and 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 4, 2, I beseech Euodius, and I beseech Sotechi, I'm sorry, Syntechi, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. Now, there was an issue between them.

What was it? I don't know. Paul doesn't tell us, but the fact of the matter, it doesn't matter. Because what really matters is getting out the Gospel. When a church is committed to Gospel ministry, they will always be steadfast, steadfast in ministry, steadfast in unity. Clear 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. Look at 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.

Here's what he's saying. He's 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 that's 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 we're so naturally fearful on that point and we're not on other part. I mean, we can talk about what we think about 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 mouth and we begin to speak for Jesus, what happens is we begin to experience a boldness that the Holy Spirit gives us.

It's just an amazing experience. So Paul is writing to the church in Philippi who are 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. You usually get a positive or you get a negative. When I first started sharing the Gospel, when I got saved my freshman year of college and I began to share the Gospel with friends of mine, I expected them to accept my message and to accept me and I began to experience real rejection. And my first thought is maybe I'm not telling the story correctly. Well, I've, I've been corrected over that. Generally, the problem is not you telling the right story. The problem is they're under conviction.

And they're reacting. Why? Because the Gospel message is good news but it starts with bad news. The bad news is that you're a sinner and you're lost and you're going to Hell. You're going to face the judgment of God. The good news is God loves you and He sent His Son into 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, He'll save you and that message brings conviction. The fact is 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 they're lost and they're under conviction.

But God's conviction is always the way God works. Folks, people don't come into the Kingdom of God without some kind of violence. The Kingdom of God suffers violence. What does that mean? It means a conflict.

Just like we have violence in protest in the United States of America. That's what goes on in the human heart when they hear the Gospel message. Why? Because it's a conflict in their soul. You know what Paul said? Don't be afraid to share the Gospel.

Be fearless. God is convicting sinners of their sin which is the first step towards salvation. So how do we live worthy of the Gospel?

We're steadfast in ministry and unity and we're fearless in giving out the message and that leads to my last point and that is the motivation for living worthy of the Gospel. And notice what he says at the end of verse 29 and 30, for unto you it is given. The word given there means to be graced, like a gift. For unto you, something has been graced unto you. So he's talking about what motivated him.

The word for is the word means for this reason. For this reason, God has graced you with something. So he's talking about why it is we should be steadfast and fearless for God has 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 he's using your salvation to show you something else God has graced you with. He's not only graced you with salvation, but he's graced you with something else.

What is that? For not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. God has given you the gift, 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 5-12, 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. Do you know that every time somebody rejects you or attacks you for your faith in Jesus Christ, it's called crowns in heaven. That's the motivation.

And I want to be faithful. It's 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 in me. Now what Paul is talking about is he's saying this. He's 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 came to your city to preach the gospel, you know what they did? They beat me and Silas up and they threw us into prison.

Paul and Silas and the Philippian jailer. He says you've seen my suffering. I'm suffering today in Rome. You're suffering because of Rome. And by the way, there's a third person that's also suffered by the Romans.

Who was 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 closed down and you had to go through COVID-19 and though nobody likes it, there's something that happens when you suffer together. You know what it does? It brings you closer together.

And here's what he is saying. When you and I suffer for Christ's 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. Thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Philippians on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-11 16:32:22 / 2024-02-11 16:41:57 / 10

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