We are in the 2nd week of looking at One Resolution that will give our hearts the one thing it longs for most of all: contentment. And remember that this One Resolution is to Live A Life Worthy Of The Gospel! Let’s look again at our Scripture from Philippians 1:27-30 (NLT)
27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
The Gospel is not about what we can do. The Gospel is all about what God has done, is doing and will continue to do for us because of His grace. It’s not the “Gospel of Our Best Efforts” but The Gospel Of Jesus—God’s Best Effort For Us.
And because it’s about God’s Grace, it’s not left up to our best efforts to honor Christ, But To Honor Christ By Allowing Him To Live In And Through Us With The Power Of Resurrection! There are 6 Key Decisions you must make in order to experience Contentment—the first Key Decision is to have an Undivided Heart for God and what HE wants for our lives.
We have come to that second part of verse 27. On the surface, this seems to be one of those verses that translators can’t agree on. Allow me to explain:
- The KJV—“that ye stand fast . . . with One Mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
- The NIV—“that you stand firm . . . contending as One (Meaning Person) for the faith of the gospel.”
- And in our reading today, the NLT—“that you are standing together with . . . One Purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.”
OK, we have One Mind, One Person, One Purpose; Which is correct? All Of Them! In the process of translating the ancient texts, it’s not a word by word translation but involves the context of the phrases around each word. The Greek word used is psychē (psü-khā’) and by itself it means The Soul, that deepest part of who we are.
It refers to the essence of a person—their mind, their purpose in life, their identity in life. But more than just the word psychē (psü-khā’) is the phrase Stand Fast, Standing Together, Stand Firm.
And then there’s that other phrase: Striving Together, Fighting Together, Contending. Now we come to the next step in the life that is worthy of the Gospel—Living Together In Community, and not just any community. And here is the One Thing you really need to remember from today’s message: That We Need To Be The Community That Has A Pinpoint Laser Focus On The Kingdom Of God.
The community we are called to live in is the community of faith. Call it the church, the body of Christ, or community of believers—this is where God is calling us to live this life of contentment. The world says contentment is found in what you can do yourself.
But that deep and abiding contentment, that contentment which can fill any and every heart is found in our relationships of working together in a common bond. When we put our life in grace smack dab in the middle of a bunch of other lives in grace, the power of God’s grace intensifies in each of us.
Don’t put your life in with a bunch of people living by rules and regulations and doctrines. Put your heart and life in people who know that it’s all about the relationship God gives us in Jesus! You have a choice: to be a Pretender or to be a Contender in the pursuit of contentment.
To go at this life of contentment by yourself makes you a Pretender! You can have all the trappings of success—the job, the house, the car, the toys—but these things will not give you the necessary strength to maintain that One Resolution!
I need others around me who share my passion for Jesus. You need others around you who live passionately for Jesus. Wrap it up in a box, take it to the bank and cash it, put it in the display case—Unless You Commit And Invest Time With People Passionate About Jesus, You Will Lose Your Passion For Jesus.
That’s why you need more than an hour on Sunday morning. I’m talking about developing and nurturing those key relationships that will enable us to allow Christ to live in and through us. Our greatest desire should be for God and one of the most powerful ways we find and experience God is through the Body of His Son—The Community!
It takes more than a sign with a name on it to be the Body of His Son. There has to be a connection, not to rules or creeds, but to that sustaining and life-giving connection to Jesus. There has been this long running theological question: Can A Person Be A Christian Without Going To Church?
One side says, “Sure, because it’s about faith in Jesus’ work on the Cross.” But that’s the wrong question to ask. The real question that needs to be asked often is this: “How Long Can A Person, Who Is Able To Go To Church, Remain A Christian Without Going To Church?”
And the answer? “Not As Long As It Takes!” Why? Because there’s some tough stuff out there that you just can’t handle alone. Let me ask you this: Would you want to go face to face with someone like Terrance Cody alone? Now, for you unfortunate people who don’t remember Terrance, he played nose guard for the University of Alabama in 2008 and 2009.
Terrance weighed 360+ pounds. His job was to push aside 300 pound offensive linemen in order to tackle the unfortunate soul who had the football. And when coaches prepared to play against Terrance they always had at least 2 linemen assigned to the difficult task of blocking him. Knowing this about Terrance, back to my original question: Would you want to go face to face against someone like Terrance Cody? Of course not, unless you have a masochistic personality and love getting beat up.
Listen, there are spiritual forces out there that make Terrance Cody look like a 96 pound weakling and you do NOT want to face them alone. Their Sole Task Is To Cause You To Lose Your Hope, Lose Your Faith, And Lose Your Joy So That You Lose Your Contentment. It’s a struggle at times; it’s always a battle to live a life worthy of the Gospel by allowing Jesus to live in you and through you. That’s why the gift of God’s Grace includes the gift of the Community Of His Son.
And as Goliath shouted insults at David, your enemy will shout insults at you. Pretenders in the pursuit of contentment go at it alone. But Contenders For Contentment Surround Themselves With Those Who Have The Same Desire To Live A Life Worthy Of The Gospel Of God’s Best Effort.
We need each other and we need to be here for each other. Now, we will not always agree on every little thing, but we can agree on the main thing: That We Need Stand Together Being The One Person For The Gospel Of God’s Best Efforts.
This is the One Mind: That We Stand Together As ONE! Here’s how we Stand Together As One Community:
1. Being The One Mind—In Faith
Being The One Mind In Faith is all about The Cross. It’s not that we all agree on doctrines or interpretations, but that we all agree that the main thing is The Cross. The Cross levels the playing field. No one here is better than anyone else. Flip the coin over and we see that no one here is any worse than anyone else.
We are bound together by one common need: A Savior. And we are bound together by one common remedy: The Cross. Whether we like different styles of music, whether we want different forms of worship really doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all stand beneath the One And Same Cross with the conviction that This Cross makes all the difference in our lives. Our connection is to the relationship with God.
2. Being The One Person—In Witness
Being The One Person In Witness is all about The Gospel! What if a researcher stumbled across a vaccine that would prevent anyone else from ever contracting cancer again? Do you suppose that researcher would hide his discovery?
Do you think he would place it under lock and key and never let the world know about it? I don’t think so! He would call a press conference, call all the drug manufacturers, and start the process for FDA approval because that would be good news for the world.
We have the best news for our world—Redemption And Release. We add value and credibility to each other’s witness when we show The One Person to our world: That We Are People Changed By The Love Of God And Are Committed To Sharing God’s Love Together To Our World
Your life will validate the witness of another and their witness will validate your witness. When we stand together believing that God’s love is for everyone, that we will not judge or turn our back on anyone and that His love will change everyone who accepts His love, then we make an impact on our world.
3. Being The One Purpose—In Action
Being The One Purpose In Action is all about The Mission! It doesn’t do us any good if we sing, pray and study if there is not subsequent action. Every Community of Jesus has a God-given Mission and every believer has a God-given mission that will be related to the Mission of our church.
This is where we will find God’s Vision for this place and where you will find your place in that Vision. God Does Not Give A Mission Without Also Giving The Means To Accomplish That Mission. Inside of every one of you is a passion, an ability, a skill and a spiritual gift that is a perfect fit for this Mission. Some of you will be out front doing this work.
Some of you will be behind the scenes praying or organizing or sharing your resources for this God-Given Mission. If I could afford it, I would have bought every one of you a mirror this week and right now have you look in that mirror and tell you: The Mission Of This Church Is Counting On The Person You See In That Mirror.
To Live A Life Worthy Of The Gospel Of God’s Best Effort You Must Become A Part Of Something Much Bigger Than Yourself—The Citizens Of The Kingdom Of God. Look around you; go ahead, I said “Look around you!” We Are Here, In This Place, Because Of The Cross And For Each Other And For Those Not Here Yet.
Contentment grows in each of us when we become a servant to the people you just saw. The Kingdom Is Not About You—It Is About Each Other And Those Not Here Yet That We Should Be Inviting Into A Relationship With Jesus. Jesus makes a promise that you can count on to always be true and never fail: If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matt. 10:39 NLT)
Because you can’t follow Jesus and stay where you are, here’s your Next Step:Designate A Fast And Prayer Time at least 3 times a week. Fasting means giving up something in order to focus on God. Here are some suggestions for your Fast:
- Give Up A Favorite TV show
- If you do social media, give it up for a morning or evening.
- Give up a meal
- Give up a hobby
- Give up watching the morning or evening news
- Give up something you do regularly or enjoy
- Then spend that time focusing on God through prayer
Remember One Resolution for the rest of your life: To Live A Life Worthy Of The Gospel Of God’s Best Effort!