INTRO: In the book of Proverbs is this thought: As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov 25:25). Paul longed to have news of the brethren and friends in Philippi. With persecutions already becoming very severe he was understandably concerned about the spiritual state of this church he loved so much. What he hoped to hear was the same thing hedhave wanted to see had he been present with them. Often, when the person in authority is away, matters of business or home are allowed to slip a bit. News of the return of that person brings a flurry of activity as all work to set things in order. But such should not be the case in the church.
I. PAUL SOUGHT CONSISTENCY AMONG DISCIPLES (1:27a)
A. What you say you are and what you are should agree
1. Eph 4:1 Titus 1:2,5,7,10 1 Pet 3:2
2. consistency is probably one of the most difficult of all attributes to attain in any realm (how hard in parenting)
3. yet, inconsistency is not only sinful in a disciple, it is so destructive of open doors of opportunity
4. The Gospel According To You
B. Conversation ... actually, citizenship
1. Philippi as a free, Roman city ... Roman dress, manner, culture, Latin spoken, etc. ... great points of pride
2. there were privileges, but, also, responsibilities
3. a Roman valued and lived his citizenship (Acts 16:37,38 with Acts 22:24-29)
4. behave as citizens of Gods kingdom should! (Eph 2:19) the ugly American is the only picture many foreign countries know! how sad that this is the only picture many people have of the church
II. PAUL SOUGHT COOPERATION AMONG DISCIPLES (1:27b)
A. Unity is a vital sign to the world around the church
1. Jno 17:20-23 connection between unity and convincingness
2. Eph 4:1-3 worthy walking involves our diligently seeking unity of the Spirit
3. is the inclination to fragment, to divide?
4. so often over nothing but personalities does a church find itself divided: Phil 4:2 and 3 Jno 9
B. Striving together ... actually, as athletes ... a team
1. one attitude, one conviction, one faith
2. standing fast possible only with that teamwork
3. every team member is vital there must not be jealousy because one is not quarterback nor pride because one is!
4. in one spirit ... the intangible, determined, loyal, winning spirit ... the esprit du corps of the church
III. PAUL SOUGHT CONFIDENCE AMONG DISCIPLES (1:28-30)
A. Fear is such a depleting, dissipating emotion
1. standing by the choice of discipleship is so important
2. but in days of trial, persecution that firmness is also so hard
3. when the heat is on the natural response is flight, escape, hide, avoid
4. Phil 1:28 is saying that our standing fast is proof that Gods affairs are working as He intended!
B. Terrified ... a picture of a war horse shying in battle
1. certainly discipleship is warfare (Eph 6:12)
2. and when conflict rises because of our discipleship and faith, we could shy away like the terrified horse
3. but we must remember that with privilege (1:29a) comes responsibility and, at times, suffering (1:29b)
4. it helps us stand by our choice to know that others are having similar struggles (1:30) ... we must be confident
CLOSE: The four verses of our text say so much about what the Lord expects of us, how the church should work as a team and the confidence which should permit us to be steadfast and which should prevail in Christian hearts. Is it the ideal toward which we strive but will never reach? No! It is what the writer had every reason to expect his friends and brethren to be.
Cecil A. Hutson
06 January 2000
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO YOU
You are writing a Gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do
And the words that you say.
Men read what you write,
Whether faithful or true;
Just what is the Gospel
According to you?
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)