Read Philippians 1:27-30.
If you live in Fort Smith for any time at all, youll learn a very proud phrase popularized by our Mayor, Ray Baker. Lifes Worth Living ... in Fort Smith, Arkansas! What impresses me about the way the Mayor uses the phrase is the way he can slip it in to almost any talk on any occasion. And it really does seem to fit most occasions. And people join in shouting it along with the mayor. The slogan has caught on. It creates unity. And its always appropriate to consider life worth living. I think that Paul the apostle would appreciate our citys slogan. He might add that life is worth living especially when you live it worthily.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he appealed to their sense of civic pride too. As citizens of Philippi, they were proud of being a civilized outpost of Roman culture in the wild frontier of the Empire. Many of its citizens were veterans of the Roman army, retired politicians, transplanted Romans. They were patriots, loyalists and proud of their status as a Roman colony. Being a citizen meant certain privileges, but with those privileges came responsibilities. And they had to live it out.
Paul is counting on the Christians there having this attitude about being good citizens. He want to encourage them to understand how their life in the city and their life in Christ overlap. Pauls no dualist he wont allow them to break up their lives into compartments. Whether he is there or not, they are to be people who live life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Whether they are conducting life in the city or in the church, it is all life in Christ. For the Philippian Christians, being good citizens means being good disciples. They will fulfill their duty to be good members of the community if they will live their lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. Lifes worth living in Philippi when you live in Christ.
If its true for Philippi, then its no less true for us. We have an opportunity to be a people who enhance and bless this region. Our lives are not compartments. We ought to call upon and encourage one another to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. So, whatever you do and however you serve in the cities of this region, do it in such a way that it honors Christ. Lifes worth living in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Van Buren, and Greenwood, and Alma, and Barling, and Poteau, and Roland, and Cedarville, and Rudy (who did I forget?) ... and what makes life worth living is living worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Heres what it means ...
Armies and sports teams are good examples of what it means to struggle together and be unified. Why cant the church be the greatest example to all the world of this? It makes sense arent we united in Christ? Arent we all comforted by his love? Arent we all in fellowship with the spirit? Arent we called to tenderness and compassion? Of course! The answer to all these is yes! So, we ought to be the best sign, the best example of what unity and community is all about. Because of Christ and the gospel, people should see in us a life that worth living!
A faith of opposition vs a faith of courage -- God did not call us to be a fearful, timid community of believers reacting anxiously to that which seems improper. God did not give us a spirit of fear and weakness, he gave us a spirit of power and called us to love. He didnt call us to lash out, he called us to stand and live a live worth living. If we are a united group, if we are those who are disciplined and consistently live out of the gospel of Christ then we will be a sign of Gods intended future a colony of heaven on earth! Those who would oppose Gods future will notice it. And those who welcome Gods future will notice it.
This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be savedand that by God.
The focus for the church is on how to live. We cannot concern ourselves with how God will deal with opponents. Thats Gods business, not ours. We can preoccupy ourselves with the failings of others, or we can focus on our own integrity. Paul is encouraging citizens of Christs community to live a worthy life that means focus on our own character and integrity even if that means struggling and suffering. God will address that which does not conform to his kingdom. We must dedicate ourselves to living in step with Gods kingdom community. If we know what we are for, then what we are against is evident.
Conclusion Live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ.
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