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January 14, 2020 12:00 am
What do people think of church extension of our Kingsway what people in your world think of your country and have one of the primary problems. Is there automatically get a think of perhaps Christian. They now withdraw their listener were living in a manner worthy of the gospel that we should be demonstrating to our world that the gospel has the power to change lives because they can see it is changing our gospel isn't just for the wealthy and the powerful. The gospel doesn't pay attention to things like race, education, upbringing, or social status. The call of the gospel is simple. It's for everyone. And God calls us to live it out for a watching world. The apostle Paul lays out key principles of how you and I can live out the gospel in Philippians 127 and that's our theme today here on wisdom for the heart here Stephen Devi with today's. There is this interesting Greek legend that I came across.
I enjoy reading this was the tail or legend of the beautiful woman named Atlanta and her long line of hopeful suitors. Atlanta loved to run the race legend had it. She was the fastest runner in her Greek city state. Her parents were insisting she choose one of these suitors, so she decided that what she do is challenge them to a foot race with one condition, she would marry the man who won the foot race against her.
But all those who lost would be put to death that took about your dating life.
I'm sure but at any rate, some men actually stepped forward accepted or challenge convinced they could outrun her and one race commenced.
Then another and another. All these men lost and all of them lost their lives, then a rather brilliant young man came along named hippo mayonnaise. Hippo mayonnaise also accepted the challenge. But before entering the foot race. He had a jeweler fashion.
Three small apples made solid gold for the race began. He took them inside his Nike running suit when the race began. Atlanta pulled ahead of them somewhat easy, but he took from his pocket. A golden apple and tossed it in front of her off the path of the glitter of that exquisite joy caught her eye. She stopped to pick it up and when she did he spread pastor Atlanta recovered caught up race was halfway over and she began to outdistance him once again. The legend says another Golden Apple rolled off the track, just ahead of her. And again, she was struck by the glitter of the Golden she ran over to pick it up, allowing mayonnaise to sweep pastor the goal line was now in sight.
Atlanta ran like she'd never run before we want to remain single. As they neared the goal she once again edged ahead and one last time he threw and she spotted the exquisite golden apple just off the track and that she momentarily wavered between the gold and her goal mayonnaise swept pastor and won the race. Legend has it they were married and live happily ever after. I seriously doubt that part day as with any of Aesop's fables. They all come with the moral to the story more than likely the moral of the story here is to never take your eyes off the goal, no matter what glitters just off the path.
The Libyans were running well.
The focus gospel of Christ and the glory of God. Paul is still concern.
He knows they're actually wolves running along the path as well. Ready to take any stray, ready to pounce.
Ready to take advantage that they can against the flock of God's more than anything Paul wants the church to stay focused on the main thing in fact is we go back in our study the chapter 1 Paul is going to deliver in these next few verse words, a warning that they keep the main thing central you've heard it before. The main thing in life is to keep the main thing the what the main thing and just what is that for the believer today will if you're reading through Paul's letter that many would agree that by the time you arrive. It is last paragraph you've arrived at his main, his main idea for the letter. Everything is hinged to these verses and everything swings from Nepal is going to deliver to these runners in the faith. The main thing which should be there goal. Let's go back and pick it up at verse 25 and Doug go forward and convinced of this. I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again and now he gets to this point only stop there from only linguist point out that this word Minos would be like lifting your finger in warning one. I want to stay with you. Paul says I want to realize. I can multiply fruit magnify the Savior. But one thing keep this in mind, you could paraphrase it. Just one thing only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ summarizes everything, everything fits underneath it. Everything is hinged to go back to this over and over again I thought was interesting. Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy.
Those are six English words to translate one Greek word, and it's a loaded word in order to understand what the main thing was in Paul's mind would better understand the emphasis of this is one verb word Paul uses here is the verb from Pella to Ohio, from which we get our politics, let your politics be worthy of the gospel palace was the Greek word for the city. Their city was a palace that noun form of the word for political political allegiances citizenship. Paul is effectively saying live in your city as a worthy citizen of the gospel of Christ. That is obviously meant as one word a lot more to these original hearers and would automatically mean to us because were limited by by English. Paul obviously did not go into an elaborate explanation on what it meant to be a citizen of their city, state, as citizens belonging to their city. They got it just to refresh so that we can correctly apply this remember Philippi is up is a Roman colony. It has been presented the prestigious what they call "the Italian right there in Rome, Italy, the Emperor granted the Italian right to certain colonies and with that came great.
Press the wonderful rights and status. For one thing, they never had to pay taxes again. He would often take veteran soldiers who served with with a great distinction and heed the CDs colonies with these men.
Philippi is a Roman collar colony with a with a standing garrison with retired generals and and and so forth and so as a result they had this great sense of nationalistic pride you talk to a citizen of Philippi about about the Roman Emperor and they would be quick to say something positive that you mentioned something to them about the Roman empire and they would stand up tall, you mentioned the fact that they were all given what the rest of the Empire clamored for that was a literal citizenship in the Empire and they would stand even taller. We know from history that these Roman colonies were called little room and how far away they were Rome in miniature, and they adopted everything about the Empire.
They adopted the that the language which was left, and they would call their leaders, their magistrates by Latin terms.
They dressed in the Latin toga they spoke the Latin language, the matter how far away they were they belong to Rome. What this meant. In practical terms was that these Philippian citizens would be one highly devoted in their occupation for the betterment of their city to they would be careful not to discredit the policies the city they didn't want to bring disfavor on the city free, they would be loyal in their viewpoints, lining up with the Empire and for they would want to live in such a way that they would be considered personally honorable citizen when you understand the kind of word you can then understand a little more clearly the connection. Paul is effectively saying to believers be highly devoted in your occupation to the betterment of God's purposes on her to be careful not. This is not to discredit the city of God. Three. Be loyal in your viewpoints so that they line up with the word of the Emperor and for live in such a way that we will all be considered honorable members not only of this little colony here in this local church, but ultimately the Empire with Christ or King song about Paul's effectively telling these believers to live as were the citizens not only in the city of Philippi. Although by the good Christians ought to make the best citizen, but as citizens belonging to the city and people of God. In other words, it will be just talk a little about this if the citizens of Philippi were automatically as they receiving this letter that interested so devoted to the honor of their human kingdom. How much more should we as believers be devoted to the church of our Lord today, which represents in miniature, the reign of Christ, we listen of the average citizen of Philippi was so careful not to discredit his city and his Emperor. Imagine how seriously we should view anything that would discredit the church and weaken the credibility of the reputation of our Emperor and his gospel. Everyone kind of citizens are we for the sake of our city in heaven here on earth kind of reputation we give our Savior.
John MacArthur writes in his commentary on Philippians this when the unsaved. Look at the church and they do not see holiness, purity and virtue. There appears to be no reason to believe the gospel would proclaim when pastors commit gross sins without consequence.
When church members steel cheat gossip quarrel when congregations seem to care little about sin and hypocrisy in their minds. The world is understandably repulsed by their claim to love and serve God in the name of Christ is dishonored. Good quote.
See Paul is appealing to the basic desire of every Philippian which they had which was to represent well his Roman citizenship. Why, because whatever people thought of him or her.
They thought of the Empire, the reputation of the Empire was no better than the reputation of any individual citizen. I don't misunderstand, Paul is not saying here that we need to live perfectly so that we can be worthy of salvation.
Keep in mind is writing the Christian we don't behave so that we can be worthy of going to heaven is our we behave as good citizens of heaven because we are going there and because we want to make sure that heaven has a good reputation on earth. By the way, we behave 20 say live in a manner worthy of your citizenship. Ultimately, the kingdom of heaven. I traveled to many places in the world have had the privilege of doing that involve Lord willing, do it again this summer traveling to Argentina to preach and it's always interesting to me how other countries view American you can feel it in some places I've been. I can tell they it was awkward.
Some places I have been there was anger. Other places are grateful, depending on how they view the country from which are common that you mean the same and vice versa. Traveling to one particular country. 20 years ago and was walking through the marketplace with with them. One of our global development teammates and the I noticed people just were looking was a lot taller than most of them. They just sort of stared, they knew I was a visitor and they knew that I was more than likely an American. I asked my friend what they were thinking of me as an American and he laughed and he said well many of these people automatically think that since you're an American, you are sexually promiscuous and you're carrying a gun, so they just gonna walk around me like that house. At first starting place in ministry what people think of the church colony of heaven and extension of our king's reign what people in your world think of your country and have one of the primary problems. Is there automatically going to think of perhaps some Christian they know and draw their inclusion listener for living in a manner worthy of the gospel that we should be demonstrating to our world that the gospel has the power to change lives because they can see it is changing hours.
If they do not see the gospel changing our lives, our gospel is meeting is just hot air. The truth is the world around us will only know the power of the gospel by what it it sees the gospel doing you may have heard of before. The truth remains and is worth repeating.
Your life may be the only Bible people around you will ever read the reading the classic little poem reads you are writing the gospel a chapter each day by the deeds that you do in the words that you say, men may read what you write, whether faithful or true say what is the gospel according Paul writes only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ to how you do in practical terms.
Hope all is going to deliver three aspects of how to conduct ourselves as individuals and as a church in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, we have time for the first one today. Notice the middle part of verse 27, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear by the way, Paul effectively holds up his finger and he says now listen, keep this one thing in mind and I'm probably going here about later on the local church and the reputation was spreading. By the way, Paul wrote to unbelieving assembly. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is being reported all around the world. Romans 18. Tragically, he wrote to the Corinthian church is actually read parted that there is sexual immorality among you prescribing five. He also warned the Galatian church that he had heard they were so quickly deserting the one who called them by the grace of Christ.
Galatians 16 to the Thessalonians. He wrote this Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought good news about your faith and love.
That's the reputation to have word was getting around. Paul knew this is think of it that way that Paul is going to say later on in the letter that he is expecting to hear good news. But to bring joy. This is what Paul wants to hear about this church.
In fact, our church could see this with this one principled point here is all covered publishing only hear that your conduct is committed to repairing a dis-unifying spirit. I want to hear that your conduct is committed to repairing a dis-unifying spirit. Notice that I may hear that you are standing firm. It's gonna take effort and commitment daily in one spirit, probably some parallel thought here is Paul refers to this common spirit, and ambition. Common purpose and a little later on notice and x-rays. He talks about one mind. The key point is that there is oneness that there is unity in the church and that's got to be hard work. In fact, you've experienced, perhaps the same in your own family is hard work right. I'm even deciding where to get AOE you might have through four opinions and the more people involved, the harder it is. Is it any wonder that Paul holds up his finger and says to a church were not sure how large it was, but it'd probably reach that point of 100, 150 or 200 he said look you have to work really hard you're going to have to stand firm in one spirit what Paul does here to help us understand even better to drive home his point is, as he often does, he paints a word picture of the verb here in the text for standing firm is a military metaphor. It pictures the Philippian believers in the local church serving in the same Army. Now they would understand the way that they worked as a unit we don't necessarily so, let me spline the Roman footsoldier never thought alone wasn't some heroic solo sword fight that in the movies. Most they fought in in the in a failing state they they fought together in units eight rows deep on voice commands or trumpet sounds they could move forward and they would move forward as a unit they can move sideways, they could move backward.
They even were treated as a body. It was an incredible thing to see during the Roman Empire.
In fact, this made them so undefeatable for so many years. She was to stay in formation to strive together to stand firm in one spirit that one author will point out that defeats could result if even one soldier broke ranks and allow the enemy to pour in to the stream was there unity unity provided their strength by the way is little wonder then that the enemy for the last 2000 years has had one primary goal and it is to divide and what conquer someone breaks rank and are easy to pick off the wonder Paul by the way. Throughout this letter comes to this point in verse 27 and is going to come back to it time and time and time again, just as you is a family of three or four, two or three or four or five or 10 have to stand firm. You got to constantly be repairing anything that would this unite so also in the church.
Strength comes in the unity of the body. I came across an Ethiopian proverb in my study said it this way when spiderwebs unite they can tie up a line I think of the lien is roaming about seeking someone some church, some individual believer to discriminate is the main thing live up to your citizenship in Christ and live out the gospel how well here's the first way and way. Think of this way become a part of the bundle and while you're at it. And while you're in it continually repair anything that with this unified give you very quickly. Eight ways to make that happen.
Human cities fastening right down here a way assume personal responsibility for your spiritual growth. In the unity of the body it your responsibility number to participate in the services of the Lord's day on a regular basis. For us it's morning and evening number three join in the family life of the church through a smaller group context might be an adult Bible Fellowship or a weekday Bible study before exercise your spiritual gifts and talents in specific areas of involvement for the sake of the body. Number five support the variety of ministries through prayer.
Number six contribute financially to the church in a consistent, generous manner. Number seven.
Tell others about your relationship with Jesus Christ and support others who do the same in number eight respond positively to those in leadership. By the way, what I what I just read is a list that we have been encouraging. Over these 28 years, but I actually read you from a list comes from another church first Evangelical Free Church of Fulton, California. These were eight ways they developed unity under the leadership of their pastor teacher Chuck Swindoll as they served together for 23. The truth is these these principles work in California and they work in caring to their ways to reveal we are standing firm in one spirit, no matter what Paul is raising his finger here in warning is emphasizing no matter what the world, the flesh, the devil ourselves might throw onto the pad just off the path. Discredit. See distract this unified, no matter how glitters no matter how interesting the matter how invite make sure we allow nothing distract us from the goal and the gospel. Lori Stevens outlined Ross, one of the for how you and I should live in this lesson that he's calling the main thing we found that January is a month where our giving legs a little bit behind.
And if you can support our ministry during the month of January we be grateful as a thank you.
We'd like to send you a copy of Stephen's booklet entitled moving forward and reverse. You can give us a call today if you dial 86 648 Bible. That's 86648242531 of the best ways to keep current with what's happening in our ministry is to follow us on social media. Be sure and like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we post a new full-length video every Wednesday morning and of course join us tomorrow for more wisdom for the hearts