Speaker: Brandon Cooper
January 30, 2022
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcript service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Do you want to go ahead grab your Bibles open up to Philippians chapter one, we’re going to finish up that chapter this morning, we’ll be starting in verse 27. Philippians one, verse 27. As you’re turning there, there is an old youth group illustration, where youth pastor will put a cup of water on a stool or something like that. And then I’ll kick the stool. And what happens, of course, the water spills out. And so he’ll ask the youth group, why did water spill out of the cup? And the youth who already have issues with authority will roll their eyes at him and explain it’s because he kept the stool, obviously. And hello, okay, so water came out, because I kicked the stool. Let’s try that again. Let’s test your hypothesis. No, put down another capital kick the stool again, except this time, Coke will come out of the cup. And he’ll go ha-ha. You said that the jolts causes water to come out. But the jolt made coke come out? Would you like to revise your hypothesis? And they get confused at this point. But that’s okay. Because he’s willing to explain it because that’s how illustrations work. And so he’ll say, the jab just reveals what is already inside the cup. And that’s how it is for us as well. When life gives you a jolt, what comes out. Whatever was already inside of you. And so we see it, especially in our words and our actions. Again, somebody cuts you off in traffic. That’s a jolt and what comes out, is it water? Is it Coke? Like I can’t speak for everyone here. I will speak for myself. But when I’m feeling fussy, because of life circumstances, I treat my kids and my wife differently. And that’s not because of them. Right? It’s because of me. It’s not because my circumstances either. That’s how I’ll explain it. And you probably have done the same thing. Well, you know, it was a long day. If you’ve been through what I’ve been through, you would understand No, no, the Job did not make this come out. The job just revealed what was inside already. So that’s what’s happening in Philippi. It would seem we know that they’ve got opposition we keep talking about in fact, we’ll finally get to the opposition this morning, which is good to see what is the jolt revealing in them. So we have this shift in verse 27. From Paul’s affairs at last to there’s you may remember, we look back in verse 12, a couple weeks ago, now that Paul, he’s writing this friendship letter. And so he does the greeting and the thanks and the prayer and all of that. And then he gets diverse 12. And you’re supposed to explain what’s going on with you at that point, except Paul can’t talk about himself without talking about the gospel. So really, he just gives a summary of what’s happening with the gospel in his life. Then in verse 27, he shifts Okay, enough about me, let’s talk about you for a bit here. In fact, he made that transition kind of near the end of our passage last week, because there’s a certain point in the future where his affairs and there’s affairs are going to overlap, he hopes, I think I’m going to remain I don’t think I’m going to be murdered at this point. But I’m gonna be able to continue with you for your progress and joy in the face. So that’s what is gonna happen there. That’s the Philippians. And now he said, But why don’t we bring it back to the present? And what’s going on in your lives? What are your current circumstances? Why is he doing that? Because your current circumstances are the sphere in which the gospel will advance in you. And through you can only happen in your current circumstances. That’s just how time works, right? So that’s the only sphere in which the gospel will advance or not. Because of course, the Gospel doesn’t have to advance. It could go backwards, almost in a sense in your life. So the question for us this morning is how do we live so that the gospel actually does advance especially when somebody is kicking the stool out from under us, especially when we’re being jolted? The reality is that we could proclaim a false gospel by our conduct, so that our culture even as a Christian community contradicts our message. The message of the gospel that we’re proclaiming this is not hypothetical. By the way, this often happens. You can probably point to examples in your own life are examples that you’ve witnessed. Maybe it’s social media comments from someone who claims to be a Christian, or you’ve seen the gossip and backstabbing and bickering. The churches have been so famous for for so long, and it’s what’s happening in Philippi at this moment, but we don’t want to do that. We don’t want to be the cause of gospel retreat.
No, no. What does it mean? What’s our what’s our theme for Philippians as a whole, what’s our thesis statement is up on the screen again, if you haven’t been here, the last couple of weeks we want to emulate Christ. Why, so that the gospel will advance despite opposition, despite people kicking the stool, right for our joy, and God’s glory. So what does that look like? How does that happen? How then shall we live? As we consider this topic of gospel living? We’re gonna ask three questions. The three questions that Paul walks us through in this text, the what, how and why questions. So let’s start with the what of gospel living. Let me read just the first part of verse 27. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. That’s the main point, of course, right there. This is what he’s talking about. So what do we do instead of letting circumstances jolts sin out of us? That’s kind of the question here. Notice that he begins by saying, whatever happens, this is a, this is a rough phrase for us, if we’re gonna have to reckon with this one. Because whatever happens means there’s no excuses. There are no circumstances that give you a get out of sin free card, they give you a free pass to go. Well, if you’re going through that, then of course, it doesn’t matter how you speak, or how you act, whatever happens, no excuses, as we bring good news. Because we’re all about gospel advance, right? Good news, gospel, same thing, Gospels, just the old Anglo-Saxon word for good news. So as we bring good news, just like Kyle read for us earlier, we want our feet to be beautiful. That is, we want people to be excited to see us coming. want people to be excited to hear from us? What will make them excited, even eager to hear from us is our worthy living, living that matches the beauty of the gospel? Like imagine that we’re up here right now holding a Stradivarius, greatest violins that have been made priceless treasure such beauty, right? But not in my hands. Because I don’t know how to play the violin. So I got news for you, even if it were a Stradivarius, it is not going to sound good, sound really awful, like strangling a cat and you would quickly leave? I am not worthy of a Stradivarius. That’s for sure. We possess the gospel as Christians, which is infinitely more valuable, more beautiful than a Stradivarius? How does the gospel sound in your hands? Because at this point, we’re all supposed to be playing the violin. Now, the reality is, when you first pick something up, you’re not very good at it. Even the people who should be playing Stradivarius is we’re not good when they start it. And that’s true of us also, and we just got to remind ourselves, not everyone here has been following Christ for an equal amount of time. So when you first start on the Christian journey, you’re not going to be good at violin, the gospel is not going to look as beautiful as it should in your life. You know, you got to feel like, look, I’m inside instead of outside, like stealing your car radio. So this is progress. For me. That’s pretty good at that point, right? But what about 30 years from now? Have you been playing your scales? Have you been working on your fingering? Your tone, all that kind of stuff? That’s the question. One of the top reasons that people reject the good news is because of our hypocrisy as Christians. Now, we do have to talk about this a little bit because sometimes when people accuse Christians of being hypocrites, all they mean by that is that Christians still sin. That’s not hypocrisy. Just if that’s you, let me help you out right there. Okay. We still sin. Nothing we have ever said claims otherwise. Certainly, Scripture does not suggest otherwise, either. That’s not what we’re talking about. But we’re talking about willful sin. We’re talking about being unconcerned about sin. We’re talking about 30 years from now being able to play the violin exactly the same way we play it today. That’s the issue. And that has been true. Like, I cannot deny that reality. There might be some in the room right now who have rejected Christianity. You’re only here because somebody is dragging you here, something like that, because of our hypocrisy. And I all I can say is, it’s true. I wish it weren’t noticed. So that is exactly why Paul is writing. The Philippians are falling short. We’re gonna keep seeing it in the letter. In fact, that’s why Paul always writes you know, it’s an interesting observation. But there is no New Testament letter that we have that wasn’t occasioned by some issue in a church. Every letter we have is because they were messing up gives you a little bit of comfort doesn’t the no like, well, we’re not perfect. If Paul were alive today, he’d be like to the church at
City View. Yes, sin lingers, but the point is, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can actually create gospel culture. The Gospel can advance as what Paul calls us to do. So conduct yourselves in that manner worthy of the gospel. Now I rarely quibble with the NIV I like the translation very much. I think it’s excellent. I do think this translation right here could be a little bit better. Because the word that Paul uses is not conduct yourselves. It’s related to the word police like city, we get much Metropolis from it, we get politics from it, right. And so he’s talking about their citizenship, which if you can go all the way back to week one, which feels like an eternity ago, but would have been like three minutes for the Philippians, when they first read this letter, we still got the citizenship idea in our heads, like how important this is to the Philippians. So what Paul is saying here is you need to live as true citizens of the heavenly kingdom. That’s what it means to live worthy of the gospel. And this would resonate with the people in Philippi. Because, again, trying to remember back to week one, everyone in Philippi, had been granted Roman citizenship. So here’s this weird little Roman colony in Greece. And Paul says, and that’s what we’re supposed to be to. We’re supposed to be this weird little heavenly colony in the world, where Kingdom outpost we live as true citizens of that kingdom? That, by the way, is why use the phrase gospel culture. Because we’re from a foreign country at this point, have you ever visited a foreign locale, or even seen a foreign enclave within another country, you know that you’re going to see different culture to show up there and people might be dressed differently? Probably eating different foods is probably a big part of the reason in fact, you’ve got a little enclave here is because they want the food that makes them feel comfortable. And you’re almost certainly going to hear a different language as well. But when people come here, what do they see? Does it feel like a different culture? Like I’m in a, I’m in a different country at this point, aren’t? Do they see the beauty of the gospel etched on our lives? Because that’s what gospel living is. It’s when our lives adorn the gospel. been struggling with an illustration for what I mean exactly by adorn the gospel a little bit like magnifying Christ, Christ already magnificent, we just help show how magnificent he is. It’s kind of the same idea. With gospel beauty. It’s like we’re all painting the same landscape. Because it’s one of those landscapes where you just go. That is stunning. That is beautiful. We all painted a little bit differently, but have we captured its beauty in the way we live our lives in our humility? Do they see Christ’s humility and our love, especially for people who maybe are kicking the stool out from under us? Do they see Christ’s love in our holiness? As we keep the commands of God and show that they are good? Do they see the splendor of God’s holiness? Or? Well, the reverse is true. When we live unworthy of the gospel? We do such immense damage. Because we proclaim a false gospel, then we show that we belong to the same kingdom. I mean, think about what adultery communicates. For example, if marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church and the church’s devotion to Christ, what does adultery show? A very false gospel, but even gossip and backstabbing within the church, the kinds of things that typically churches just sort of tolerate. What does that proclaim? Well, if God isn’t even powerful enough to reconcile us to each other, maybe he’s not powerful enough to reconcile us to him. That is a false gospel. We maybe need to take this seriously. That’s why Paul’s talking about this. Alright, so there’s the what? Now let’s get into the how exactly do we adorn the gospel, we keep reading the rest of verse 27, numbers 28 as well, then whether I come and see you or only hear about you, in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one spirit, striving together as one for the face of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved and that by God. Alright, so the what is how is that we adorn the gospel by living worthy lives? Okay, how exactly? Well, Paul says,
I’m hoping to see you guys again soon. And so when I visit, or if things don’t go the way I’m expecting, and I’m still in prison, and I just got to send Timothy to you. Instead, when Timothy comes back and reports, what will I see or hear from him? And so he’s almost got this, this checklist. It’s like the health inspector and he’s like, this is what I’m gonna look for when I visit your kitchen. And that’s what’s happening here is he’s like running diagnostics on the church, three tightly related elements that he mentions. He says, I will know that one, you stand firm in the one spirit, stand firm and the one spirit that is unmoved from the hope of the gods. so that nothing can jolt us away from that place where we stand firm. But that means we recognize the jolts will come. So when we lived in Colombia, we often rode FLOTUS, which are the public buses, but they’re small. And it has changed at this point. But at the time we were there, there were no bus stops. So a bus stopped anytime somebody went like this. As you can imagine, that means it’s a lot of this, right? So you learn to stand on the bus, with some bounce in your knees. That’s what Paul’s saying. We got to live with some bouncing our knees, so that we are unmoved from the hope of the Gospel standing firm. In the one spirit, that’s an important phrase for Paul, because the spirit is what unites us to God, the Spirit indwelling us that’s how we are united to God and thus to each other. That’s important. If you’re in the NIV, you actually have a footnote at the bottom that says, verse 27, it says, maybe it’s not the one spirit maybe it’s just in one spirit, lowercase s, like the sense of we’ve got a kindred spirit among us. That’s not it at all. There’s a reason it’s a footnote and not in the text. That’s not the right translation, what they have in the text is the right one for sure. When Paul uses the word one, and spirit together, he is talking about that spirit, rock unity, here’s Ephesians, four, verses three, and four gives it to us exactly make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. So our unity is as spirit unity, through the bond of peace, there is one body, right one, one body of Christ, one church, and one Spirit. And so they go together, the source of our horizontal unity with each other is our being united to the one Spirit. Because if we’re all united to him, we are all automatically united to each other. That’s what takes us a minute into that second point, then So first, you stand firm in one spirit, second, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel. Notice we got the repetition of that word, one, his emphasis is on unity. Because this is the problem we see in Philippi. There is this unity, perhaps because of the external opposition they’re facing. And it’s proclaiming a false gospel. So he’s got this emphasis on unity, the one spirit is the source of our unity, and then as one striving together as one, that’s the manner of our unity. The word striving, by the way, is a great word, we get our word athletics from this word. It’s a good analogy, isn’t it? You have undoubtedly, if you follow sports at all, at any point in your life, at some point, you’ve seen a lesser team, overcome a team with more talent, because the lesser team played together. And you hear that phrase, this was a team effort, everybody did what they were supposed to do. And as a result, we had this massive, upset, upset. And that’s what the church is supposed to be. We’re using our gifts together as one to do what God has called us to do to advance the gospel in us and through us. But you know that the opposite is often true. Also, getting involved sports at any point, you know, that at some point, and some game, somebody decided they were the superstar, and they were going to do it all by themselves, and they didn’t. And it cost the team, the game. The same is true in mission, the gospel will not advance through a fractious church. How could it because the manner of the messengers would contradict the message itself, which undermines Of course, the message, yet people come in with ugly feet must be bad news. Why would we listen to that? That’s the point, of course, that Paul was making here. Our message and our manner must match. We need gospel doctrine. Yes, we also need that gospel culture. You cannot jettison, eager. If you want the gospel to advance what an important word for us today, in the American Evangelical Church, I
hesitate to use the word OpenGL because I don’t think it means anything anymore, has become largely a political category. And at that point, it’s no longer helpful for describing who we are. But let me use the one in quotes actually, because that’s probably what I mean. Anyway, the evangelical church in the United States is actively splitting. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement at all. So this is a little bit like what happened 100 years ago, with the modernist fundamentalist controversy, which you know, was precipitated by Darwin and all of that to a large extent, but what was happening there was a group that was jettisoning gospel doctrine. You know, now in light of what we’ve learned from Darwin and historical criticism of the Bible and stuff, we know that virgins don’t have babies. People don’t rise from the dead miracles don’t happen. We need to do to pull out that timeless spirit. Virtual truth about whatever, whatever, whatever. That’s one group, and then this other group split away from there, and we need to hold on to gospel doctrine. But what did they do in response? Well, anything this other group was doing became suspect automatically. So this group over here that didn’t care about the virgin birth, was very concerned about feeding the poor. So if you fed the poor, that means you must deny the virgin birth. So we don’t need to feed the poor anymore. The abandoned gospel culture. We’re going through the same thing right now. This is what’s tricky, because we got one side, jettisoning gospel doctrine. Usually issues more like sexual ethics, but still in all sorts of areas, right, where we can question the Bible in all sorts of places. And so we reduce it to gospel culture, maybe summarize best by the sign, you probably pass on your way here, which says the bottom, I think it’s in the purple kindness is everything. And that’s kind of the point really was just let’s just be kind to judges love one another. That’s our culture. It is a love devoid of content, which you can also see on the sign Love is love means we refuse to give this any content whatsoever. We’re not gonna define this term. But that’s the idea. We’re focused on the practices. And then the other side is going no, no, we got to stand firm in the face of the gospel, contend for the faith once for all entrusted the saints. And so we’re gonna cling tightly to gospel doctrine, we’re not going to give that up. But any side that does is probably suspicious, so very concerned about things like justice, or equity. We know that means right. So anyone over here who uses those, well, they’re suspect. They’re woke, preaching Cultural Marxism, and probably got CRT going through their brains or something. Never mind the justice and equity get used throughout the Bible. But you have churches splitting, right churches actively splitting as a result. What would Paul say to us in this moment, as the church is putting like this, he would say this right here. Church going that way church is going that way, and policy and there is a we a tertia. There’s a third way. And here’s the thing, when you come to a fork in the road, it’s not a question whether you go right or left you go up, totally different plane altogether. It is the gospel plain church, a gospel course. And that is what happened by that’s where the evangelical church comes from. You got the modernists in the fundamentalist. And then you had people like Carl F. H. Henry, come along sounder, the Seminary where I attended, who said, Guys, you have to have both. You have to have gospel doctrine and gospel culture, or guess what, you’re not a gospel people. We want to be a gospel people. So we contend for the faith of the gospel on the one hand, which means that if your take on justice, for example, means that you are going to jettison what the Bible clearly teaches about things like sexuality, because you’re so caught up in the word oppression, that you won’t even listen to what the Bible God has to say about this subject, then you’re no longer our Gospel people, because you’ve been in Gospel doctrine. But on the other hand, we have to contend to the face of gospel as one on the other side, if you can extend, extend the right hand of fellowship, to somebody who’s got, let’s say, a broader definition of systemic injustice, or a different sense about how the church should combat it. You know, over gospel people, because you have abandoned gospel, practice, you script strip the gospel doctrine, or gospel culture away, and you’re left with something different than gospel Christianity. By the way, I’ve made this at the like, the national political level and all that. It’s not just that though, like this could just be a question of an individual being divisive individually. Which also proclaims a false gospel, like if you’ve got somebody in this church, and you’re saying that I could not be in community group with that person.
Well, that’s bad, right? You know that that’s the same thing. Because again, what gospel you proclaiming Christ is not strong enough to reconcile the two of us. That’s a false gospel, we got to be very careful here. So you stand firm in the one spirit striving together as one to the face of the gospel, without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you third way that we do this. So here’s the confirmation, by the way, that they are suffering persecution, the Philippians being without being frightened by those who oppose you. So I keep saying that they’re being persecuted and this whole time you just had to trust me until now we’ve got confirmation at long last, but this is so important, its idea of doing all of this without fear, because it is fear that drives the unworthy responses, because fear on the one hand leads to capitulation, culture is going to reject us or challenge us or maybe even persecute because our view of this or that, why don’t we just give it up? And we’ll have to worry. And then fear also drives our I liked the way Daniel darling put it in a recent article I shared on the Pulse this week actually, he and I had been thinking the same thoughts was nice to see something else. Right and the whole modernist fundamentalist parallel what not. He called it theological McCarthyism. So if you don’t know McCarthyism, you got to look up your US history. That’s not my problem. Okay. But the whole idea there are at this moment, at least 132 communists in, and that’s kind of what is happening, especially in the very online of angelical culture. There are at this moment, at least 132 CRT advocates in the Gospel coalition. Come on gamma, okay. Like, we don’t want to be engaged in that. But it’s a fear piece, as well. That is when opposition comes, there are two temptations to give in or to take on. And neither one has a gospel response. So that I think this is why there is the oven gel of angelical quotes. And angelical church is so obsessed with winning these days. And winning is like giant quotes around that one, okay? Why do you have a job a church is so obsessed with winning these days, because we fear like a fear that we are losing rights. Usually, they were fear that we’re losing, but rather than lay our lives down, like, you know, trying to think of an example here, Jesus, we got this come and take it mentality, which is like, Peter, by the way, they come to arrest Jesus. What if Peter cuts the guy’s ear off? Okay. That’s not the gospel way. I mean, what does Jesus say as he heals the guy’s ear, by the way, he says, If I were concerned about winning, I could call 12 legions of angels, we take care of this problem. That’s not the gospel strategy. We win by losing. Here’s how we’re gonna win, we’re gonna win them over by dying for the goblin. Jesus obviously, lives this out. And we’re here to emulate Jesus, and Paul as well. So what does no fear look like? Well, it would be that bold, winsome proclamation in the face of opposition, like Paul, and even to some extent, like the rest of the church in Rome that people were being called to emulate you remember, verse 14, because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. There you go. We’ve already had the example to imitate in verse 14. Now why would we fearlessly proclaim the gospel even in the face of opposition? Because we cannot lose what matters? So why would we be scared? If you remember the last sermon in our gathering series? We already won. We can’t lose because we already won. Which should help us out with our fear isn’t what is the worst they can do? And we are like a billion light years away from this by the way, what is the worst they could do? kill you and your loved ones. Okay. Does happen after the Paul happy to Jesus, happen a lot of Christians. What would Paul say about that? We don’t need to wonder He already said it. We’ve already got this to die is gain. We don’t lose anything. When we die. We get what we’ve been striving for this whole time. Where then is fear is exactly what Paul says, By the way, living like that. This a hopeful, unified Gospel Mission is a portent of what’s coming. We can be fearless because we will be saved. I love that by the way, our salvation is in the future tense. Do you notice that in Scripture, sometimes our salvation is in the past tense, we have been saved? Sometimes in the present tense, we are being saved and sometimes in the future tense. Which one is it? Yep. All three. And what I love too, is that he says we will be saved and that from God just reminds us our salvation is God’s from first to last. And there again is the confidence because of my salvation. were up to me, like if this gospel has gotten me in the door, and then I had to get the rest of the way. Good luck. I’d be lying in the ditch already. Okay, no, salvation is his from first to last. And by the way, those who oppose us will be destroyed. Because we know that’s the end of the story, of course, and that certainly will refer to some people who reject Christ to the very end. But I think we’re going beyond that too. We’re talking about the spiritual forces of darkness like this is a portent to them. Also, remember, the cosmos is watching us and they see the powers of darkness see their defeat in our fearlessness in proclaiming The Gospel. You want to know what this looks like? It was Luther who endured a bit of persecution. He wrote words some of you will recognize, and though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness, grim, we tremble not for him his rage we can endure. For Lo, his doom is sure one little word should sell. What’s the one little word by the way? For Luther, especially, what do you think that word is? gospel, the gospel, of course, which we proclaim, with love, without fear. That’s the how, lastly, the why we read verses 29 and 34. It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now here that I still have. We know this is the why because it begins with that crucial little word for when you’re doing Bible study, of course, you got to pay attention to these words, these logical explainers. So this is where Paul is saying, Let me tell you the reason for what I just said. And here it is. Paul’s giving the theological explanation for why we can proclaim without fear, even despite opposition. What he says is, it has been granted to us the word there is actually the word grace, it has been graced to us graciously given to us on behalf of Christ for His sake. So what has God graciously given to us for Christ’s sake? Well, not only faith in him, but suffering on his behalf as well. God graciously gives us suffering. Any questions? Good schools and prayer? Yeah, we got questions. I’ll let Calvin explain because I think he explains it. Well. He says this Oh, is this conviction were fixed in our minds, that persecutions are to be reckoned among God’s benefits, what progress will be made in the doctrine of godliness. And yet what is more certain than that it is the highest honor of the divine grace that we suffer for his name either reproach or imprisonment or miseries, or tortures or even death. For in that case, he decorates us with his insignia, his cross, but more where we found who will order God and His gifts to be gone, rather than embrace the cross or readily when it is offered to them, whoa, then to our stupidity. It was good to be a 16th century pastor, you can call people stupid more often. So. Because we are His people, we suffer as he did, or, to put it in Pauline terms to live is Christ, and at worst to die is gain. Now this grace is given to Paul and the Philippians. He says, you can further confirmation that they are suffering. In fact, this takes us back to verse seven again felt like a month ago or so but would have been a long time not that long between as it were first here in this letter, he said, you share in God’s grace with me. This is the grace that he’s talking about. Not all of it. But this is a part of that grace is that they both get to share suffering. And even similar suffering. Paul’s in a prison in Rome, you know, waiting to stand before the Emperor and the Philippians are being persecuted by the Roman Emperor Colt in Philippi. And don’t miss by the way, this is a little off point. But I just want to make sure we see it. Since you’re going through the same struggle you saw I had they personally witnessed Paul suffering. Who are we talking about here? Well, how about the flippin jailer, who you know, like whipped Paul, and put him in chains for years releasing who is now a member of this church. They saw Paul’s struggle. Now they hear that he’s still suffering for Christ. In the Philippians are going through it as well. They share the same sufferings, but if they share the same sufferings that of course means they should respond in the same way that is they should emulate Paul our main point we keep coming back to who rejoiced in his suffering because the gospel was advancing despite it. Suffering grows us up. We know that Peter tells us that it flipping proves the genuineness of our faith. James tells us that we should consider joy when we suffer trials because it produces perseverance in us and perseverance when it finishes its work matures. Us. So there’s the gospel dance in us. And then as we talked about last week, suffering lends power to our proclamation so that the gospel advances through us in our suffering as well. Paul’s not the only one who rejoice in his suffering though, listen to the disciples, this is just a few weeks after Christ’s resurrection acts 541, the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name.
There’s that same word worthy, by the way, counted worthy, that’s exactly how we’re striving to live. The worthiness of the gospel scene and our response to suffering as it knits our hearts together, focuses us and proclaims the death and resurrection of Christ, the triumph of God in His supposedly two feet, I get that this is a hard message to hear, especially today. I think there are two ways to hear this. And it’s kind of a vicious cycle, actually. The one is that we hear this message with guilt. Because we know we are not living like this not living lives worthy of the gospel, and not living lives that result in our persecution. There’s a fair question to ask if you’ve never been persecuted for your faith, just how boldly Are You Living Your face? And you hear that and you go, right, guilt. But then what’s the next thing you go through? You go Okay, so I’m going to start living like that, except that if I start living like that, then I’m gonna be persecuted. And I don’t want to be persecuted. And so you don’t live like that. And there’s the guilt. And then there’s the fear. And then there’s the guilt. And then there’s the fear. And then there’s the guilt. And then there’s the fear. The key is the why, right? What’s going to break us out of that vicious cycle, what’s the stick, we poke through the spokes so that the bike flips over? The why is for the sake of Christ isn’t granted to you on behalf of Christ, for his sacred for the sake of Christ, the Gospel focuses us on Christ. And when we look at Christ, we see the paradigm for our suffering. We see it again, he lost. And that’s how we won. And we’re willing to go through that our cross is the only road we can take to our resurrection; you can’t be raised from the dead until they kill you. Right. So it’s the paradigm for suffering. But even beyond that, the paradigm for our response in the here and now to suffering as well listen to how Gordon Fee puts it, I think it’s brilliant. He says this through death on a cross. Jesus not only saved us, but modeled for us God’s way of dealing with opposition, loving them to death. Could that advance the gospel? Sure. Sure, it could mean what did the centurion say? When he saw how the manner of Jesus’s death? Surely this was the Son of God. And then we got to think is, suppose we had protesters out front, once the weather gets nicer, they’re not going to protest today. But April or May or something like that, protesters are out front, maybe it’s because we preach a biblical sexual ethic. Or maybe it’s because we touch on topics like justice and equity, and therefore we’re too woke. Maybe we got both groups protesting on opposite sides of the parking lot, even. How do we respond? Love, right. Like we’re going out there with coffee and donuts, or coffee and kale chips, depending on the protesters. Let’s pull these strands together. Let’s take away what God has for us today. So what is gospel living? How do we do it? Why would we do it? It’s this by our lives. We must adorn the Gospel we proclaim, with love and without fear, because we suffer for Christ’s sake. That’s all right. That’s the what by our lives, we must adorn the gospel, we proclaim heart with love and without fear. Why? Because we suffer for Christ’s sake. So as we close, what do you need to do in response to this teaching? Because certainly the answer is not just listen to it. What do you need to do in response to teaching? How is the spirit prompting you to obey as an individual? First of all, I mean, maybe you have a flagrant sin in your life that is unchecked, it is proclaiming a false gospel, are you openly hypocritical? Then we got to deal with that first and foremost, but it might be that you’ve got respectable sins, the kind of church often tolerate that is also proclaiming a false gospel. Maybe it’s self-sufficiency. And we don’t even see that as a sin in our culture, do we? And yet what you know what the biblical word for self-sufficiency is, by the way, godlessness, because that’s what it is, I don’t need God. I’ve got my education and my experience and my talents, I can take care of this. That proclaims a false gospel. Or maybe it’s you know, a few of us are in Romans one right now or in Romans 123, doing some pretty intensive study as a group here. One of the centers that Paul lists in Romans one is malice. was the last time you confess malice in your times of private worship, because I Look at our culture right now. Malice seems like a good word for a lot of us, doesn’t it? ill will towards people with whom we disagree. How did Jesus respond? Love? Not malice? And so maybe that’s what we got to look at what citizenship does your life proclaim? That’s the question we got to ask as individuals. But we got to ask questions of ourselves as a church as well, because Paul’s emphasis in this passage is uniformly corporate. He’s looking at the community of believers. Does our church culture here at City View, adorn or distort the gospel? It’s a good question for us to look at. And maybe that’s big church, and we can talk about that and you got thoughts, send them my way, certainly speak to one of the elders but what’s let’s look at how we gather in smaller groups as well look at your community group, your journey group or, or maybe you’re looking at the church with a capital C, and again, our social media interaction and stuff do we see missional unity, and missional fearlessness? What about when opposition comes? What happens then? When opposition comes your way or our way? Are we quiet or quick tempered, fearful or fractious? Where we a different plane altogether, imitating Paul and Jesus so that our words and actions proclaim the gospel doctrine expressed in Gospel living. In one way we live worthy of the gospel, by the way, as individuals and as groups is acknowledging when we don’t live with you. The Gospel, as we said, is going to be reality until glory we need to confess regularly, before God and before each other. A lack of confession diminishes Christ, we must see that because we don’t understand then why Jesus had to save us. We need to seek forgiveness from God but from others regularly routinely, do you. We do not want to proclaim a false gospel by living poorly we must take care. We want people to see the beauty of the Gospel, the humble self-sacrifice of Christ, the love of God, the unity of the Spirit in us in us and how we live by our lives, we must adorn the Gospel we proclaim, with Rob and without fear, to suffer for Christ’s sake. Let’s pray. Lord, we want to live lives worthy of the gospel, that display the beauty of your love for us expressed your kindness to us in Christ Jesus,
we confess that we often fall short. That we often mar the beauty of the gospel with a graffiti of our sin. But even then, Lord, when we humble ourselves before you and before watching the world, and confess our shortcomings, would the beauty of your forgiveness, your compassion your patients be seen in our lives? glorify yourself in us, Lord. As you sanctify us, make us more like Jesus, through and through. For our bodies, soul and spirits are kept blameless, the coming of our Lord. And until that time, Lord so that when people see us coming, they’re excited to hear what we have to say, because they see the beauty of our feet. They see the beauty of our lives as messengers, where we need to change convict us, Lord, and change us, by Your grace and by Your Spirit active in us. And we pray this for us not just as individuals, but as a church as well. May we be a colony of heaven, a little enclave where the culture changes, and it is immediately recognizable to those who come through our doors or who interact with us outside our doors. And Lord made them the gospel advance through us, as others join this kingdom. As you woo them by your grace. We pray this in Christ’s name