“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
How interested are you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
· If you are not a Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about you.
· If you are a Christian, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is your life, and potentially life to everyone you meet.
1. The Conduct…. v. 27a “Only let your conversation be as it becometh
the gospel of Christ…”
Do you think about the way you life and how that reflects on the gospel of our Savior?
Let’s nail down what “the gospel” is. It is “the” gospel...the one, the only one of its kind. The word “gospel” means “good news.” This is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ...the saving, forgiving, life giving message of Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Savior.
This word “conversation” in the KJV doesn’t simply mean your “talk” but means your “conduct, way of life or behavior pattern.” This same Greek word is the one from which we get “politics” and “police” and it has to do with citizenship. Don’t let me muddle the clear waters of this verse. Paul was telling people for the sake of the gospel watch the way they are living...souls are at stake.
We do not live a certain way in order to go to heaven, but because we are going to heaven.
This is a reminder that “this world is not my home, we are just passing through,” but that while passing through we want other to know our Savior. And we need to keep in mind that some people have not listened to the gospel because they have been turned off by what they have seen in our lives.
From time to time I have been asked about which is the best “Bible translation,” and according to the one asking me I have answered, “The Bible that has been translated into our lives. It not only matters what we believe, but how we behave.
· Your language doesn’t become the gospel when its full of 4 letter words.
· Church people who immoral are unbecoming to the gospel.
· People who are angry are not becoming the gospel.
· People lose respect when they see Christians drink and party.
When King David did his dirty deed he caused the enemy nations around him to blaspheme the Lord, 2 Samuel 12:14.
2. The Consistency…. v. 27b“...that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs.”
Do you know how you can make a difference with the gospel? Some should answer, “Get a Bible education.” Others, “Be a powerful preacher.” It is really to be consistent in your daily life as a believer.
Don’t live one way when you are around some people, and another way when you are around a different group.
3. The Co-operation… v. 27c “..that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind
striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Defensive...“Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind…” Would it be amazing if everyone who was a member of this church had only “one mind” between us. A person over there was struggled with some, another person was trying to make the right decision, yet another was attempting to get direction… “whose has the mind?” The truth, is we ought to have just “one mind” between us….
- We ought to only want to glorify God.
- We ought to only want to know and do His will.
- We ought to …
What wrong with too many people in the church is they are “out of their mind” or they give you a “piece of their mind” and then nobody has any “peace of mind.”
Offensive...“Striving together for the faith of the gospel.” The word “striving together” is an athletic word. And Paul idea is that people in the church work as a team. Our study series is all about the word “together.” And what a team the Gospel Team is. It’s a team with centuries of work. It’s a team that is international...literally round the world.
Strive together for the gospel….
· Pray for souls.
· Surrender your life to this work.
· Support missions with your giving.
· Go on a mission trip...hay, just start by going across the street.
4. The Courage… v. 28. “In nothing terrified by your adversaries…”
Paul now used a word for a “horse” that was spooked. Horses are spooky. On a major fishing/camping trip in Colorado back in the early 1990s we rented a couple of lamas to pack our gear in. They were great. One morning some people who horseback came through our camp, the horses saw the lamas and freaked out. To use this King James word, they were “terrified.”
If you are a Christian and live your life for Jesus Christ there will regularly be things that can terrify you! And notice, these are plural “adversaries.” About the time you overcome one enemy, another takes its place.
5. The Cost… v. 29.
6. The Context….v. 30. The famed Apostle Paul….in a Roman jail…. Philippians prison epistle.
Let me introduce you to another man who prayed, “Lord, send me anywhere … lay any burden on me...sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Thy service and to Thy heart.”
Send him anywhere...indeed.
Here is a man who walked over 11,000 miles and traveled over 29,000 miles (before air travel), and it is estimated that he spoke personally to over two million people.
He was not a door-to-door salesman or a telephone solicitor; he was a missionary for the gospel of Christ.
He had wanted to go to China, but the Opium War prevented that. When he hard another missionary, Robert Moffat, refer to “the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been,” he determined to go to the interior of Africa.
Early on, a lion leaped on him and clamped its great teeth into the missionary’s shoulder, leaving it permanently crushed. When he retreated to the safety of the Africa coast to heal, he fell in love with Mary Moffat, Robert Moffat’s daughter, and married her. Years later he would bury his wife and one of their children in African soil.
With the remaining children sent back to England, this missionary went deeper into the jungles, going from village to village, telling the natives of the God that came to earth as a man and died for their sins.
He wrote in his journal that his diet was so bad he had to take his belt in three notches. For months at a time, he ate nothing but dried maize.
Gradually, all of his teeth fell out. He had boils and lacerations all over his feet. In some villages, the natives would prop him up against a tree so that he could preach the gospel from a standing position. At times, he was even tied to a tree with vines, just to keep him in an upright position.
Another man, one who described himself as the “biggest atheist that ever lived,” went to spy out this missionary and to see if the stories were true. It was he who uttered the immoral words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”
And when Henry M. Staney of the New York Herald found David Livingstone of Scotland, Livingstone was partially blind and nearly dead.
Stanley only traveled with Livingstone for four months, but in that time Stanley wrote that Livingstone was “a man who had sympathy for everyone but himself.”
Stanley wrote, “Finally, after these months, Livingstone converted even me to Christ.”
But even as weak and sickly as he was, Livingstone would not return to civilization with Stanley.
Eventually, Livingston could not walk or even be moved. The natives prepared a hut from him, they put him on a cot, and there he stayed. An African convert names Chumah lay across the doorway so that no animal could get into the hut to devour the dying Livingstone.
In the middle of the night, Chumah was wakened by a groan from Livingstone. The missionary had rolled out of bed and was on his knees in prayer. And that is how he died.
Livingstone’s body was left to dry in the sun for two weeks. Then it was wrapped in animal skins, placed in a cylinder of bark and painted with ar.
Weeping natives took Livingstone’s body, tied it to poles and carried it 1,550 miles from the interior of Africa to the coast. The trip took nine months and Livingston’s body was welcomes at the coast by 700 freed slaves who wanted to bid a last farewell to the man who brought them the gospel.
A contingent of Africans even accompanied the body as it was shipped to England and eventually buried at Westminster Abbey.
His heart, however, had been cut off from the body, and buried in Africa at the food of a mvula tree, suurounded by the smoke of “the thousand villages” that had now heard the gospel.
All of that thanks to one man.
And suddenly, do you feel a little bit lazy? And ashamed that you have done so little with so much?
- Tereance D.McLean With a Bible in My Hand Pulpit Helps, January 1998 -
On the plains of western Canada, early in the fall of the year, during the wheat harvest a 3 year of girl wandered from the yard of her farm house, out into the tall grain and became lost. As the night fell and the cold became more intense, the child’s father and dozens of neighbors searched frantically here and there through the fields in a fruitful effort to find her. Finally one of the men called the search to a halt, and suggested that they all join hands, and like a giant combine, and comb through the field. This they did and finally in the bitter-cold hours just before dawn the child’s lifeless body was found. The little girl had succumbed to exhaustion and cold. In anguish, the poor grief-stricken father cried out, “Oh, God, why didn’t we join hands sooner!”
That is what we must do.