Sunday, 07 March 1999 00:00

The Lifestyle of a Christian

Philippians 1:27-30 (KJV)

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; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

These verses are in the form of an appeal to believers in Christ Jesus. Since it is not a tragedy for a Christian to die (v. 21), then let your "conversation be as it becometh the gospel." The word "conversation" means lifestyle. "Becometh" has the idea of "fitting" or consistent with." In other words, let your lifestyle as a Christian be consistent with the gospel that has saved you.

  1. Your life can change only through the power of the gospel (v.27).
    It is only through believing the great truths of the gospel that a person is forgiven of his sins. Some people are fond of saying they have no interest in theology or doctrine, only morality.
    1. The New Testament does not appeal for good behavior to anyone but Christians.
      You can expect nothing from the world but sin. Paul tells us that we were all once in sin, incapable of anything else. "For we ourselves were on time foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving different lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another" (Titus 3:3). It is belief in the gospel that changes the heart of man.
    2. The New Testament, on the whole, does not give a list of rules and regulations.
      Rather, the New Testament gives to us a principle and asks us to apply it to our lives. It is not, "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not," but rather, "in light of," "therefore," or "only." "Conversation" (conduct yourselves NIV) carries in its original meaning "citizenship." You're saved from the fear of death (v.21), therefore live as "citizens of heaven" (v.27).
  2. Your life can change both outwardly and inwardly (vs. 28-29).
    Paul first deals with the external aspect of our Christian life and then the internal (2:1-5).
    1. We are to stand firmly... "striving together for the faith of the gospel."
      This is a military phrase that means "hold your ground." When others contend that the faith of Jesus Christ is unnecessary, you stand firm. When others attack Scripture, or your stand for truth, you "stand firm." It has the idea of one who will not compromise.
      1. You can only "stand firm" when you are in a fight and the Christian life is a "fight."
      2. You would never be challenged to "stand firm" if it weren't possible to "fall back."
    2. We are to serve boldly... "in nothing be terrified of your enemies."
      Some people are paralyzed by their past, others are fearful of the future and friends, and still others are weary because of their own wickedness. Has God saved you? Then stop worrying about those enemies of the cross—follow Christ boldly.
    3. We are to see clearly... "it is given unto you not only to believe, but also to suffer."
      There will be persecution as a Christian. It is a given. You will suffer for Christ. "Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
  3. Your life can change today by the power of God (vs. 27- 30).
    There is never one who turns to God for a change of life that remains unchanged.
    1. Your salvation in Christ is of God... the desire to call upon Christ is from God. The faith you have in Jesus Christ is of God. Salvation is of the Lord.
    2. Your suffering for Christ is of God... you suffer for "His sake."
      There is a world of difference between suffering for sin and suffering for Christ. The very fact you suffer for your faith in Christ is "evidence of your salvation."

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