“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, 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. For 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 hear to be in me.” (Philippians 1:27-30)

Christians need to live in the Gospel that we have received. The Gospel that, through the grace of God and our faith in His Word, has received salvation so great and miraculous. As we love God with all our heart, mind, and spirit, we must also know the responsibility to share His truth with our neighbors. The mission field ripe for the harvest is not always in a distant land, not always across town, but it is with the person next to us. It is good to be in the fellowship with fellow believers in Jesus, but it is better to be in the presence of those who do not know Him. It is a blessing to be an instrument of the Lord to change the direction of a hopeless one towards the Kingdom of God the home of our only hope.

The Apostle Paul, who was a former persecutor of the followers of the way, that only way provided by Christ Jesus, met Him one day on the road to Damascus. From that encounter, Paul became the greatest missionary of the Gospel of Jesus. From that day, Paul knew that he had a great responsibility to tell all who would listen of the miracle of salvation through Jesus. Paul was on a mission to minister to the Greeks, the non-Jews, that they too might be restored to God their Creator. “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:14, 16)

After Paul met Jesus, his focus changed from living for this world but the Kingdom of God. Paul’s mission was to go and tell a broken people; also, they could regain a relationship with God Almighty and become a child of God. Everything Paul did was a reflection of the glory of God that all could see the light to lead them out of the darkness. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

Paul charged his son in the faith Timothy with the mission that he had also accepted. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2) To be an effective teacher of the Gospel, one must walk in a way that is worthy of a citizen of Heaven. As Paul wrote to us in the passage we are looking at today. “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)

In our repentance, a turn from our desire for the world to a love for the Kingdom we are walking towards, we must have a change in the way that we think. Most thoughts we have of this world have no eternal value and profit us not. When we walk in the world, we walk by sight, but when we walk in the Kingdom of our new identity, we walk by faith. We cannot look and see the Kingdom with our eyes, but by our faith, we can live there today.

We cannot be chained to the ways of this world, cannot invest too much thought in it, as the world leads to a dead end. Once we were in the world, but now are not a part of the world. Leaving our old ways requires a different set of goals, a different perspective, and a different vision. Our eyes are not set on the horizon of the day, but on an eternal day, we see by faith. Paul explains we need a transformation. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Some battles must be fought against evil habits, which would harm the testimony we are developing. “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.” (Colossians 3:8-9) We must flee from the lusts of the old days and pursue the things of godly living. “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) The testimony we are building is the victories we have won in the power of the Holy Spirit. They will know by the change of our character.

We must be worthy of the Gospel we have received by standing firm on the truth of our Saviors Word. Jesus came to testify to the truth, and His Word has endured through the eternity past and will for an eternity before us. Our battle is not only of our self, not only of the ways of the world but against evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. Paul explains that the Christian must not go out unaware, unequipped, to fight the evil spirits that seek to destroy. We must be each day armored in God’s Word. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

We are never alone as the Lord is always with us. The Lord has promised He will never forsake us. He is always with us as we abide in Him and Him in us. Nothing in creation can come between our Lord and us. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

The Church is the body of Christ, and the saints can be found all around us. At our conversion, HIs Spirit came to abide with us as our counselor and guide. It is He the Holy Spirit that is with us, before us, and behind us. The Holy Spirit is the One that joins the Church together in like-mindedness with Jesus. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.” (Ephesians 4:4) We are unified by the prayer and instruction of Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion that we would all be joined together in the unity of God’s Spirit. “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)

It is by God’s grace we have received the Gospel, and it is a great treasure that many in the world never find. There is nothing in the whole of life that be of greater importance than the grace God has shown to us. We must always be on guard against those who would try to dissuade us from the truth. On guard from the fiery darts that Satan and his angels will toss at us. Persevere as our character is built on that faith that keeps us walking on water. Never lose focus on the Lord’s leading. “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

As in any army, the Lord has given us our commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This Commission is our privilege and holds an awesome responsibility to go and tell the world of the Salvation we have received. Always in prayer that the seed of His truth will find good soil and grow. “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)

The world has no intention of finding the truth and, therefore cannot understand it. God will open doors, but still, it is a person’s choice to accept or reject. It will not be easy, and there will be conflict. It is only a battle in a victory already won on the cross of Jesus. We can overcome because Jesus overcame and will lead us onward. Do not fear in your gospel walk and go with love for those who intimidate you, as Jesus loved them enough to die for them. “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:14-15)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick, First Baptist Church of Durant, February 12. 2020

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