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The Marks of a Believer

Notes & Transcripts

The Marks of a Believer

Philippians 1:27-2:13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Aug. 12, 2012

*In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he said: “From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17)

*Can you imagine that? -- In 2 Cor 11:23-28, Paul gives a brief summary of the things he went through:

23. Are they ministers of Christ? -- I speak as a fool -- I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

24. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

25. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26. in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27. in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—

28. besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

*Paul had amazing dedication to the Lord. And we may never bear marks like that. But there are spiritual marks that every Christian should bear. And the Holy Spirit points them out in these verses.

1. Christians, we surely bear the mark of God’s story.

*This is the mark of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Paul centered on the gospel in vs. 27, where he challenged believers with these words: “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.”

*Christians, our faith is in the gospel or good news about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

-The good news that God loves us and sent His Son to die on the cross for us.

-The good news that Jesus rose from the dead!

-The good news that Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life to everyone who will trust in Him.

*Here in vs. 27, Paul stresses that the gospel we believe in is worthy.

[1] The gospel is worth our best conduct: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

[2] The gospel is worth our standing together: “So that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit.”

[3] And the gospel is worth our striving together: “With one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

*The original word for “striving” there is “ath-leh'-o.” That’s where we get our word “athletics.” And the idea is that we are wrestling together on the same team, “striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

[4] In vs. 28-30, the gospel is even worth our suffering.

*There Paul told the Philippians that as they strived together for the gospel, they should not be:

28. . . 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.

*Yes, there is great opposition to the gospel. And many people in the world would hurt us today, if they could. But even if they hurt us, we still have something to say!

*I love the way Paul puts is in Romans 1:16, where he said: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

*And in 2 Timothy 1:12, he says: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

*We are never giving up on the gospel of Jesus Christ! -- No matter what.

-This is the mark of God’s story in our lives.

2. But God also wants us to have the mark of charity.

*This is the mark of our love for one another, and we see this mark in Phil 2:1-2, where Paul said:

1. Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,

2. fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

*Well, let me ask you:

-Is there any consolation in Christ?

-Is there any comfort from His love?

-Is there any fellowship of the Spirit?

-Is there any affection from Jesus Christ? (The KJV says “bowels”: feeling so strongly for someone that you can feel it in your gut. And in this case, it’s the feeling of pity, sympathy, kindness, compassion, affection.

-Is there any affection from Jesus Christ?

-Is there any mercy from Christ?

*Of course, the answer to all of these questions is “Yes, yes, yes!”

-And so Paul says in vs. 2 that we should have the same kind of love for each other!

*Listen again to Paul’s plea in vs. 2: “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

*Here are a few things to remember about this God-kind of love the Lord wants us to have for each other.

[1] First: It’s not just a feeling.

*Many people in our society have been brainwashed by TV and movies to believe that love is just a feeling. Well, love is not just a feeling, though it often feels great.

*Love is a commitment. Love is a commitment that cares for the other person, whether it feels good or not. Love is what gets a mom and dad to walk the floor at midnight with a sick baby. It doesn’t feel very good. But it sure is love.

[2] Love is a commitment. -- And love takes action.

*We see this in vs. 4, where Paul said: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

-Love motivates us to help take care of each other.

[3] Love also sacrifices for the other person. And the greatest example of all time is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

*In vs. 5-8, Paul shows us the Lord’s sacrificial love in action. Here Paul said:

5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

*As believers, God wants us to have this same kind of love.

-Not just a feeling, but a commitment.

-A love that takes action.

-And a love that sacrifices itself for others.

*This is the mark of charity, the mark of Christ-like love in our lives.

3. But God also wants us to have the mark of humility.

*Again, the greatest example of all time is Jesus Christ. Listen again to Paul’s description of the Lord in vs. 5-8:

5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

*Paul says, to Christians: “LET this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” “LET this mind be in you.” This expression tells us that God is already trying to develop this humility in our hearts. And why? -- Because He wants us to be more like Jesus.

*But it can be hard to humble ourselves. Don Shula, was the legendary coach of the Miami Dolphins for many years. Ordinarily he is known as a very humble man, but Shula told about the time his pride got the best of him.

*He and his wife went to a small town in Maine to avoid being noticed on their vacation. They went to see a movie on a rainy, messy night. And when they walked in, the people began to applaud. The famous coach whispered to his wife, “I guess there’s no place we can go where people won’t recognize me.”

*Don sat down, shook hands with the man on his row and said: “I’m surprised you knew who I am.”

*The man replied, “I’m supposed to know who you are?” -- “We’re just glad you came in, because the manager wasn’t going to start the movie unless there were ten people here.” (1)

*We all can get lifted up with pride, but God wants to see the mark of humility in our lives.

*In 1 Peter 5:5&6, the Apostle Peter said:

5. Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

6. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

*God tells us to “be clothed with humility.” And it’s interesting to know that the original word for “be clothed” is found only here in the New Testament. This word doesn’t mean to put on just any clothes. It means to put on a special scarf or apron that was only worn by slaves.

*Become a slave for Jesus.

-“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.”

-God wants us to have the mark of humility in our lives.

4. He also wants us to have the mark of giving glory to God.

*This is the mark of worship and we see it in vs. 8-11

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

*Every knee should bow to Jesus. And eventually, every knee will bow to Jesus. But it is infinitely better to bow down before Jesus in this world, trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord, eagerly worshipping the Lord because we realize that He is the Almighty son of God who loved us and gave His life for us.

*God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is worthy of our worship.

-And He wants to see the mark of worship in our lives.

*Surely He wants to see us worship Him at church every time we possibly can. But if these were the only times we worshipped God, we would only worship Him 3 hours a week. God is looking for a whole lot more than that from us.

*And don’t get me wrong here. I surely want people to worship the Lord at church. But if you are not worshipping the Lord:

-Alone in the car.

-Alone in the shower.

-When you first wake up.

-When you lie down to sleep.

-When you have a daily devotion time.

*If you are not regularly worshipping the Lord in your heart, you are much less likely to worship Him when you do come to church.

*God wants to see the mark of worship in our hearts: Giving glory to God.

5. But He also wants us to have the mark of loyalty.

*This is the mark of obedience, and we see it in vs. 12-13, where Paul said:

12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13. for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

[1] Paul stresses the importance of our obedience in the first part of vs. 12, where he said: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence.”

*In other words: “This work of obedience is so important that it must go on, whether I am with you or not.

*Paul also stresses the importance of our obedience in the last part of vs. 12, where tells Christians to: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

*This is not the fear of losing our salvation.

-It’s a healthy fear of falling short of all we can be and should be in the Lord.

-It is the holy fear of bringing hurt to His Kingdom, bringing hurt to the people around us, and bringing hurt to the lost who need to see Jesus in us.

*Of course, Paul stresses the importance of our obedience.

[2] But Christians, in vs. 13 he also stresses the assurance of our obedience: “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

*So the old preachers used to say this about our salvation: “God works it in. And we work it out!” We work it out, taking extra care to be loyal to our King.

CONCLUSION:

*The Lord surely wants to see some spiritual marks in our lives:

-The mark of God’s story: The gospel of Jesus Christ.

-The mark of charity: Christ-like love for one another.

-The mark of humility: Gladly serving the Lord.

-The mark of giving glory to God: Eagerly worshipping the Lord.

-And the mark of loyalty: Willing obedience to the Lord.

*If we have these marks in our hearts, we will surely make a difference in our world.

1. Source: “In Other Words” - Spring 1998 #2 - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - 6130 Barrington - Beaumont, Texas 77706 (409) 866-2111 - www.iows.net

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