Scripture references are taken from the NET2 translation unless otherwise noted.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. 29 For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.” Philippians 1:27-30 NET2.
Take a few minutes to read the entire book of Philippians and you will discover the general focus concerns how Believers in Jesus Christ are to conduct themselves in the face of those who are not in favor of the Message of the Gospel unless they think the message favors them.
Paul wrote this to the church in Philippi while in prison and we can be certain that his time there was not a time of joy or peace, but the Apostle found his strength in Christ, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance.I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you did well to share with me in my trouble.” Philippians 4:13. The last phrase, “you did well to share with me in my trouble” gives indication of the concern the Believers in Philippi had for him. They, no doubt, were fearful for his life.
Reading the history of the Republic of Texas gives some foundation for understanding Paul’s plight and the Believers’ concern for him. At the Alamo on February 23, 1836 Colonel William Barret Travis wrote this plea for help,
“A vanguard of Mexican dragoons under General Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma arrived in San Antonio on February 23, followed by General Santa Anna himself later that day. The Mexicans surrounded the Alamo, Travis began writing pleas for help. One of his messages, sent via courier to Gonzales (70 miles away), read: “We have 150 men and are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance.”
Within a few days these 150 gallant men died in defense of something they steadfastly believed in, ‘freedom from the tyranny of Mexico.’ There are some who disagree with what they were doing, but Texas did gain freedom from Mexico and joined the United States in 1845 because people “stood their ground” in the sight of overwhelming odds. They believed in what they were doing.
The Message According To The Bible or The Message According to You
The question is, “Do you really believe in the Person of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and the Message of the Gospel?” The question runs deeper than the reading of it because some folks enjoy interpreting the Word of God from their experiences as opposed to allowing the Word of God to speak to their experiences. How does this work?
In the case of sin, people would rather God not be so harsh on the sin they are enjoying and themselves being the sinner. God addresses both the sin and the sinner throughout Scripture. He does, indeed, pardon the sinner provided the sinner stops the sin. Most sinners want their sin to be forgiven and to be able to continue the life of sin they enjoy. But, this is not possible.
Look at what John writes in 1 John 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not resulting in death.” John is not distinguishing between unpardonable and pardonable sin here. Some seem to think that so long as there is hate for the sin and for himself for sinning or they are never far from repentance and forgiveness. However, if a man begins to enjoy sin, and sin becomes the deliberate and enjoyable spiritual damnation is not far behind. Sadly when this happens repentance will not and cannot enter his mind. The Holy Spirit will not be heard.
We must remember that Jesus said this, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” John 16:7-11. To live in or to practice sin is to be condemned just as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:18, “The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”
If anyone addresses sin from personal perspective instead of addressing sin from God’s perspective, spiritual death will ensue; forgiveness is not possible if repentance is not perceived from a biblical point of view. God’s forgiveness is available to anyone when they seek His mercy. When the sinner wants to be forgiven he must be willing to repent of the on-going sin being accomplished. What we know is that God will forgive anyone who will repent of a lifestyle of sin. Also, those who are not included in salvation are rejected by God because they are not willing to repent of their sinful lifestyles. God will not forgive anyone unless they repent.
For this reason we find Paul making known those who practice particular kinds of sin and will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Look at Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6.
Secular and Progressive ‘Christians’ Have Changed the Gospel Message
In recent years our culture in America and possibly the world in general has been over-run by a large segment of people who ‘want their cake and eat it, too.’ In other words, they want to choose how they live with all the rights and privileges everyone else enjoys as well. The common response from the rest of us is, “NO!! A thousand times,NO!!” Most of us do not want to live in a world where sodomites are allowed to be one way some days and another way on other days. I do not want a female inside a men’s restroom anytime and I do not expect my wife or daughter to find a male in the women’s restroom, either. This is wrong because this is sinful and God calls this an abomination.
This is not a sexual thing about which I speak this is a sin thing I address because the Bible, God, addresses unrepentant sinners very harshly. He says that unless there is repentance of sinful lifestyles those who participate will not God to His heaven. For people who refuse repentance from certain kinds of sin in the OT, God simply instructed His people to stone these abhorrent people.
The problem that we see today is growing secularism or progressive move toward lifestyles that the Bible calls abhorrent and sinful. The problem belongs to the unrepentant, “If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10.
What did John write? “If we say we have not sinned, we make him (Jesus) a liar and his word is not in us.” People who claim to be “Christian” and refuse to follow the principles of the Book God wrote are NOT born-again Christians, these poor wretched souls are on their way to the Lake of Fire…Hell.
Look at what Jesus says in Revelation 22:16-19, ““I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star!” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.”
We must see our lives from the perspective of God’s Word, repent of our sin; seek His forgiveness and live in His light.
Jesus is Lord!!