Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Act Your Identity
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  • Victory In Jesus
  • Glorious Day
  • The Old Rugged Cross (I Am Free)
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • Act Your Identity

    The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. We are sons in the family, enjoying the fellowship of the Gospel (Phil. 1:1–11); we are servants sharing in the furtherance of the Gospel (Phil. 1:12–26); but we are also soldiers defending the faith of the Gospel. And the believer with the single mind can have the joy of the Holy Spirit even in the midst of battle.
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    “The faith of the Gospel” is that body of divine truth given to the church. Jude calls it “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Paul warns in 1 Timothy 4:1 that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” God committed this spiritual treasure to Paul (1 Tim. 1:11), and he in turn committed it to others, like Timothy (1 Tim. 6:20), whose responsibility was to commit this deposit to still others (2 Tim. 2:2). This is why the church must engage in a teaching ministry, so that each new generation of believers will know, appreciate, and use the great heritage of the faith.
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    But there is an enemy who is out to steal the treasure from God’s people. Paul had met the enemy in Philippi, and he was now facing him in Rome. If Satan can only rob believers of their Christian faith, the doctrines that are distinctively theirs, then he can cripple and defeat the ministry of the Gospel. It is sad to hear people say, “I don’t care what you believe, just so long as you live right.” What we believe determines how we behave, and wrong belief ultimately means a wrong life. Each local church is but one generation short of potential extinction. No wonder Satan attacks our young people in particular, seeking to get them away from “the faith.”
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    How can a group of Christians fight this enemy? “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:4, nasb). Peter took up a sword in the Garden, and Jesus rebuked him (John 18:10–11). We use spiritual weapons—the Word of God and prayer (Eph. 6:11–18; Heb. 4:12); and we must depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the power that we need. But an army must fight together, and this is why Paul sends these admonitions to his friends at Philippi. He is explaining in this paragraph that there are three essentials for victory in the battle to protect “the faith.”
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    The first...

    Consistency (27a)

    Philippians 1:27 NKJV
    27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
    The old English word conversation, of course, means walk and not talk. But we don’t use old English words anymore. So the word “conduct” is the word we use today. The most important weapon against the enemy is not a stirring sermon or a powerful book; it is the consistent life of believers. But here in the KJV and NKJV the word is a noun. In the original, Paul wrote it as a verb.
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    The verb Paul uses is related to our word politics. πολιτεύομαι: to conduct oneself with proper reference to one’s obligations in relationship to others, as part of some community—‘to live, to conduct one’s life, to live in relation to others.’ He is saying, “Behave the way citizens are supposed to behave.” ILL - what we used to tell our school students on outings.
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    Paul is suggesting that we Christians are the citizens of heaven, and while we are on earth we ought to behave like heaven’s citizens. He brings this concept up again in Philippians 3:20. It would be a very meaningful expression to the people in Philippi because Philippi was a Roman colony, and its citizens were actually Roman citizens, protected by Roman law. The church of Jesus Christ is a colony of heaven on earth! And we ought to behave like the citizens of heaven.
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    “Am I conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel?” is a good question for us to ask ourselves regularly. We should “walk … worthy of the calling” that we have in Christ (Eph. 4:1, nasb), which means walking “worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10). We do not behave in order to go to heaven, as though we could be saved by our good works; but we behave because our names are already written in heaven, and our citizenship is in heaven.
    It is worth remembering that the world around us knows only the Gospel that it sees in our lives.
    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?
    (source unknown)
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    “The Gospel” is the Good News that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1–8). There is only one “Good News” of salvation; any other gospel is false (Gal. 1:6–10). The message of the Gospel is the Good News that sinners can become the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son (John 3:16). To add anything to the Gospel is to deprive it of its power. We are not saved from our sins by faith in Christ plus something else; we are saved by faith in Christ alone.
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    “We have some neighbors who believe a false gospel,” a church member told his pastor. “Do you have some literature I can give them?”
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    The pastor opened his Bible to 2 Corinthians 3:2, “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (nasb). He said, “The best literature in the world is no substitute for your own life. Let them see Christ in your behavior and this will open up opportunities to share Christ’s Gospel with them.”
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    The greatest weapon against the devil is a godly life. And a local church that practices the truth, that “behaves what it believes,” is going to defeat the enemy. This is the first essential for victory in this battle. Second...

    Cooperation (27b)

    Philippians 1:27 NKJV
    27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
    Paul now changes the illustration from politics to athletics. The word translated “striving together” gives us our English word “athletics.” Paul pictures the church as a team, and he reminds them that it is teamwork that wins victories.
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    Keep in mind that there was division in the church at Philippi. For one thing, two women were not getting along with each other (Phil. 4:2). Apparently the members of the fellowship were taking sides, as is often the case, and the resulting division was hindering the work of the church. The enemy is always happy to see internal divisions in a local ministry. “Divide and conquer!” is his motto, and too often he has his way. It is only as believers stand together that they can overcome the wicked one.
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    Throughout this letter, Paul uses an interesting device to emphasize the importance of unity. In the Greek language, the prefix sun- means “with, together,” and when used with different words, strengthens the idea of unity. (It is somewhat like our prefix co-.) At least sixteen times, Paul uses this prefix in Philippians, and his readers could not have missed the message! In Philippians 1:27, the Greek word is sunathleo—“striving together as athletes.”
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    Jerry was disgusted, and he decided to tell the coach how he felt. “There’s no sense coming out for practice anymore,” he complained. “Mike is the team—you don’t need the rest of us.”
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    Coach Gardner knew the trouble. “Look, Jerry, just because Mike gets many of the chances to shoot doesn’t mean the rest of you guys aren’t needed. Somebody has to set things up at the basket, and that’s where you come in.”
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    Sometimes a team has a “glory hound” who has to be in the spotlight and get all the praise. Usually he makes it difficult for the rest of the team. They aren’t working equally together, but are working to make one person look good. It is this attitude that makes for defeat. Unfortunately, we have some “glory hounds” in the church. John had to deal with a man named Diotrephes because the man “loved to have the preeminence” (3 John 9). Even the Apostles James and John asked to have special thrones (Matt. 20:20–28). The important word is together: standing firmly together in one spirit, striving together against the enemy, and doing it with one mind and heart.
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    It would not be difficult to expand this idea of the local church as a team of athletes. Each person has his assigned place and job, and if each one is doing his job, it helps all the others. Not everybody can be captain or quarterback! The team has to follow the rules, and the Word of God is our “rule book.” There is one goal—to honor Christ and do His will. If we all work together, we can reach the goal, win the prize, and glorify the Lord. But the minute any one of us starts disobeying the rules, breaking training (the Christian life does demand discipline), or looking for glory, the teamwork disappears and division and competition take over.
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    In other words, Paul is reminding us again of the need for the single mind. There is joy in our lives, even as we battle the enemy, if we live for Christ and the Gospel and practice “Christian teamwork.” To be sure, there are some people with whom we cannot cooperate (2 Cor. 6:14–18; Eph. 5:11); but there are many with whom we can—and should!
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    We are citizens of heaven and therefore should walk consistently. We are members of the same “team” and should work cooperatively. But there is a third essential for success as we face the enemy, and that is confidence. And third...

    Confidence (28-30)

    Philippians 1:28–30 NKJV
    28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
    “Don’t be alarmed by your opponents!” The word Paul uses pictures a horse shying away from battle. To be sure, nobody blindly runs into a fight; but then, no true believer should deliberately avoid facing the enemy. In these verses, Paul gives us several encouragements that give us confidence in the battle.
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    First, these battles prove that we are saved (Phil. 1:29). We not only believe on Christ but also suffer for Christ. Paul calls this “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). For some reason, many new believers have the idea that trusting Christ means the end of their battles. In reality, it means the beginning of new battles. “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
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    But the presence of conflict is a privilege; we suffer “for His sake.” In fact, Paul tells us that this conflict is “granted” to us—it is a gift! If we were suffering for ourselves, it would be no privilege; but because we are suffering for and with Christ, it is a high and holy honor. After all, He suffered for us, and a willingness to suffer for Him is the very least we can do to show our love and gratitude.
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    A third encouragement is this: others are experiencing the same conflict (Phil. 1:30). Satan wants us to think we are alone in the battle, that our difficulties are unique, but such is not the case. Paul reminds the Philippians that he is going through the same difficulties they are experiencing hundreds of miles from Rome! A change in geography is usually no solution to spiritual problems, because human nature is the same wherever you go, and the enemy is everywhere. Knowing that my fellow believers are also sharing in the battle is an encouragement for me to keep going and to pray for them as I pray for myself.
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    Actually, going through spiritual conflict is one way we have to grow in Christ. God gives us the strength we need to stand firm against the enemy, and this confidence is proof to him that he will lose and we are on the winning side (Phil. 1:28). The Philippians had seen Paul go through conflict when he was with them (read Acts 16:19ff), and they had witnessed his firmness in the Lord. The word “conflict” gives us our word “agony” (agonia), and is the same word that is used for Christ’s struggle in the Garden (Luke 22:44). As we face the enemy and depend on the Lord, He gives us all that we need for the battle. When the enemy sees our God-given confidence, it makes him fear.
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    So, the single mind enables us to have joy in the midst of battle, because it produces in us consistency, cooperation, and confidence. We experience the joy of “spiritual teamwork” as we strive together for the faith of the Gospel.
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    Conclusion:
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    A. Let’s live our lives worthy of our calling as citizens of heaven.
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    B. Let’s work together as a well-practiced team to succeed in this game of life.
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    C. Let’s not shy away from the struggle of living the Christian life.
      • Philippians 1:27NKJV

      • Philippians 1:27NKJV

      • Philippians 1:28–30NKJV

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