Our Manner of Life
March 26, 2017
We are going through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. And here we are at what is widely considered to be the main idea of the entire book. Paul instructs the church to let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel. He tells believers to stand firm and strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. And he encourages God’s people that there is meaning to Christian suffering.
First, let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Christ is magnificent and glorious. It involves the forgiveness of sin, the promise of resurrection life, the hope of a new heavens and a new earth, and the love of God. Does your manner of life reflect the greatness of such things? Let our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Let us think and talk and act in ways that are becoming of what our Lord did for us. Let us carry ourselves like global citizens of an everlasting kingdom.
Second, stand firm and strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. This past Friday, we had another monthly praise night here at church. And after all the festivities and food, we were all in the lobby just talking to one another when eventually we formed one big circle. I don’t know if any of you noticed it, but I definitely did. And it was so encouraging to see it. It was so encouraging to see us side by side. We are all very different people with different backgrounds and ages and gifts and Disney princess profiles. But I praise the Lord that he brought us together here at Highland, and I am thankful for the unity that we have in him and for the sake of the gospel.
Let us continue to maintain this precious unity. Do not take this for granted. Too many churches struggle and even fold because of disunity. There is something really special about endurance, teamwork, and staying for the long haul. Let us be like good athletes or good soldiers who stick together side by side and work together and fight the good fight of faith together - all for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Third, let us be encouraged when we go through suffering for Jesus. You are united with Christ. And you are becoming like Christ. You are one with him. And you are conforming more and more into his image. Do you know what this means? This means that your life will be patterned after the life of the Lord. Christ suffered, and so will you. Christ resurrected and so will you. Christ ascended into heaven and so will you. Christ was exalted and glorified and so will you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, there is a point to Christian suffering. And that is very encouraging. It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. Persecution may come our way now or later. We may be ridiculed at school. We may face opposition at work. But when suffering happens, remember that we suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ. It’s for him.
Brothers and sisters, this is our manner of life. We suffer. But we strive together side by side. And we walk on this earth in a way that reflects the glory of the gospel of Christ. The Philippians lived in a special city. Philippi was a Roman colony. Although her people were far away from the capital city of Rome, the ethos, the character, the privileges and laws, and the whole Roman way of life were lived out by the citizens of Philippi. It was like a slice of Rome in Macedonia. Paul quietly but brilliantly taps into this idea here. He reminds the church of her high citizenship of heaven. Every local church is like a colony of the future kingdom. Every body of believers is like a royal embassy for the glorious king. Every worship service is like a slice of the new heavens and new earth. And although the king’s people were far away from home, the ethos, the character, the privileges and laws, and the whole manner of life is lived out by those who carry the most powerful and respected passport on earth: the passport that bears the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and his magnificent and glorious gospel. Therefore, brothers and sisters, as you travel, represent your country well. For this is our manner of life.