Paul’s direction is to “live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1.27).
The gospel of Christ includes a message about how to go to heaven when you die, but it is much more.
This is how Mark describes the gospel.
Mark 1.14-15 – Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
The gospel or “good news” is that God’s kingdom is available.
It is the responsibility of the King to provide for and protect his subjects. Citizens of the kingdom are required to be loyal and serve the King.
Isaiah pictured the peaceful kingdom of God.
With righteousness he shall judge for the poor
and decide with equity for the oppressed of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
The wolf shall live with the lamb;
the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the lion will feed together,
and a little child shall lead them.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11.4, 6, 9)
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) describes the benefits and the requirements of living under the authority of King Jesus.
Jesus said there were two primary responses to the presence of the kingdom of God.
(1) Repentance – To repent means to change your mind.
The good news (gospel) is that God’s kingdom is present on earth. People who respond to King Jesus will change how they approach life and follow his direction.
(2) Believe the good news. What we believe about life will affect our behavior.
If we believe the presence of God’s rule on the earth is good news, we will adjust our behavior to conform to it.
If we do not believe God’s kingdom is good news, we will resist and oppose it.
Both of those responses are evident today in the behavior of people and nations to the good news of God’s kingdom.
Heaven, Yes, but Much More!
When people only believe the gospel is about how to go to heaven when they die, their behavior may not look different from people who are tied to the current world’s system.
When we realize that the good news is about God’s rule and activity on the earth, we will desire to conform to his guidance.
Paul’s words will resonate with our hearts.
Philippians 1.27-30 – Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel
And in no way frightened by those opposing you. For them, this is evidence of their destruction but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing.
For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ but of suffering for him as well,
Since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
As we live in a manner that is worthy of being partners in God’s kingdom, we will need to do two things.
(1) Stand firm.
Ephesians emphasizes the need to stand firm, based on the opposition that citizens of God’s kingdom face.
Ephesians 6.13 – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having prevailed against everything, to stand firm.
God has provided the same weapons he uses to defeat evil powers to the citizens of his kingdom.
Ephesians 6 lists the defensive and offensive weapons that God has put at our disposal. We will be more effective in the face of opposition when we stand with the assistance of these weapons.
(2) Stand firm in unity.
We are to stand “firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel.”
The Roman army was a dominant force in the first century. Soldiers were trained to work as a unit. The unique formation of the army unit was virtually impossible to defeat by known military strategies.
The Roman Empire eventually fell, but it was the military that kept the Empire stable until the end.
As citizens of the kingdom of God, the church is most effective when we strive side by side with each other while embracing the values of the kingdom.
Living a Jesus-kind-of-life
The reason why living a Jesus-kind-of-life is so important for Jesus’ followers is that this is the only we can live worthy of the gospel.
The church in America is far from unified. Members in individual churches often refuse to stand side by side. The same is true of various denominations.
The safest and surest way to unity is to strive to live like Jesus. A prayerful study of his life in the Gospels and an alignment to his purposes are essential for this to take place.
If the church unifies as Paul commanded, we will be like the Roman soldiers of the first century. We will be a powerful force for God’s kingdom that will be difficult to resist.
Rudy Ross and I have talked about the Bible for years while eating at Fric and Frac. Each day, we produce a YouTube video that invites you into our conversation. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
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