“Popular With Whom?”

Posted: July 1, 2019 in Christian Life, Crowns, Philippians, Spiritual Warfare, Suffering

Philippians 1:27-30

Most of us want to be liked and accepted by others. We spend a lot of time, effort, and money to make others like us. Just think about how much money we could save if everyone were blind and couldn’t appreciate the clothes we wear, or the cars we drive, or the houses in which we live.

Most people want to be part of the in crowd.” But what price are we willing to pay to be popular and accepted? Are we willing to go along to get along” even if it violates the clear teachings of the Word of God and our consciences? Does it mean anything to you that you grieve God when you sin – act lawlessly (Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:4)? Are we willing to be unpopular with the world’s crowd so that we can be well pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:9; See Psalm 1)?

The Apostle Paul realized that preaching or teaching in the abstract and in generalities to no one in particular resulted in weak Christians. The truth that is found in God’s Word must be presented clearly and simply to others who, in turn, need to apply it to their every day lives. He told Timothy to Preach [proclaim] the word! Be ready in season and out of seasons. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.” (Find out why in 2 Timothy 4:2-5). James, the Lord’s half brother wrote, But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 2:23).

In his brief letter to the church in Philippi, Paul expressed his desire for them to live, to stand, to strive, to be fearless, and to suffer for the cause of Christ if necessary (Philippians 1:27-30; See 2 Timothy 3:12). Let’s think about these things for a few minutes.

Live. (v. 27a) When God saves us as a result of our believing in/on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day, He begins the process of conforming us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:1, 2). This involves our cooperation with God. In another letter, the Apostle Paul instructed believers to put off their carnal way of thinking that often results in unbecoming, sinful behavior that can have detrimental consequences in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms. Then he told believers to put on other things that display Christ like behavior (See Colossians 3:5-17; Galatians 5:22, 23).

Quote. A good place to learn to be Christ like is when we encounter the little complaints which people have. We cannot mature unless we have occasions and provocations that disturb us. Every big thing is made up of a lot of little things.” – Dr. H. L. Schafer

Consistency. Even though we’ve been saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ, we still retain our sinful nature that we inherited from our parents (Psalm 51:5; 1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25). We still have the potential to behave like unsaved people when we act carnally (1 Corinthians 3:1 ff; 5:1 ff) or yield to the temptations that come from the devil/demons or from the world system. But when God saved us, we became partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), and have the potential to live a life that pleases God (2 Corinthians 5:9; See Romans 8:8). Paul wanted believers to learn to lean on the Lord for strength to do the things He wants us to do. It’s available to all Christians (Philippians 3:10; 4:13). A consistent, godly life has a tremendous impact on others around us. But an inconsistent, hypocritical life brings disgrace to God’s name which could result in our being chastened severely by the Lord (Hebrews 12:5 ff; 2 Samuel 12:14). When a believer sins, he/she needs to confess the sin(s) to God the Father and then claim His forgiveness (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51:13).

Stand. (v. 27b) All around us a spiritual battle is raging for the control of the mind, emotions, and actions of mankind including Christians (Ephesians 6:10-17; 1 John 4:4; 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 10:5). But the Good News concerning Christ’s death for our sins and His bodily resurrection must be proclaimed if people are to be saved (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16, 17; 10:9-17). When was the last time you shared the Clear Gospel” with an unsaved person? Do you really care about lost people? If not, ask God to stir you up His love in your heart (Romans 5:5; Revelation 2:4). Are you helping Christians stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-17)?

Unity. In His High Priestly prayer, Jesus expressed His desire that true believers be united in their objective of glorifying God and loving one another (John 17:21; See Ephesians 4:4; John 13:34, 35). Sometimes it’s very difficult to know who the true Christians are and who are only “professing Christians.” God knows those who are His, but we can only make an evaluation of a person by his/her beliefs and behavior (John 10:27; James 2:18-20). We are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Disobedient Christians, who engage in habitual, sinful conduct/lawlessness (1 John 3:4-9), will be disciplined by God (1 Corinthians 11:30-32; James 5:19, 20; 1 John 5:16), and need to be shunned by other believers until repentance and confession have been made (2 Thessalonians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 5:1 ff; 2 Corinthians 2:1-11; Ephesians 4:32; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16).

Strive. (v. 27c) Too many Christians are not focused on the things that God wants us to think about and do (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1 ff). We have Good News for people who are dying physically and who are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). Getting this information to them may cost us our lives. Jesus laid down His life so we could be saved (1 Peter 3:18; John 10:10-18), and Paul endured all things for the salvation of the elect (2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33). In like manner we should be willing to follow their examples in an effort to reach the lost and edify believers. The Crown of Rejoicing” awaits Christians who are involved in leading others to Christ so they can be saved (1 Thessalonians 2;19, 20). The Crown of Glory” is given to those who shepherd God’s flock God’s way (1 Peter 5:4).  This involves feeding, leading, guarding, and healing God’s flock of sheep.

Problems. The devil is delighted when the Gospel is not clearly presented to unbelievers and when Christians are confused about how they are supposed to live holy and godly lives (1 Peter 1:15, 16), once they have been saved (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:10-17; See our Dispensations Chart).  All of the Bible is for us, but not all of it is addressed to us (Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17).  Far too many Christians never share the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) with lost people, and some add to it or subtract from it and cause others to believe in vain by adding good works to faith in Christ alone (1 Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).

Fearless. (v. 28a) All believers need to Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He and demons are real and they are enemies of God and would like to overthrow God and overwhelm His children. Paul reminded Timothy that …God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). John, the Apostle, reminds us that [we] are of God, little children, and have overcome them [those with the spirit of antichrist], because He [God] who is in [us] is greater than he [the devil] who is in the world” (1 John 4:4; See Ephesians 2:2). Nothing can happen to a true child of God without God’s permission. True Christians have confidence in God’s ability to raise the dead and give them a better life in heaven if they are killed (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).

Doomed. (v. 28a) All those who reject God’s offer of salvation that is available to all mankind, will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer forever in accordance to their works done on earth (John 3:16, 18, 36; Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8). Where will you spend eternity?

Reproof. God the Holy Spirit reproves (convinces) unsaved people of the sin of unbelief in Christ, their need of Christ’s righteousness to enter heaven, and the ultimate judgment to come on them as it will on the devil and his angels/demons (John 16:8-11). There are no second chances or opportunities to be saved from the lake of fire after an unbeliever dies (Hebrews 9:27).

Resurrection. Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead guarantees the resurrection of all human beings who die (1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 51, 52; Hebrews 9:27). Do you know in which one you will participate if you should die? The Scriptures don’t teach the annihilation of the wicked or reincarnation as some cults and religions teach.

Suffer. (v, 29). While true Christians will not go into or through the seven years of the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:9; See Daniel 9:27), all Christians who desire to live godly lives will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). The Gospel is offensive to proud men and women who think the can save themselves by their good works (1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:8; Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Quote. We who preach [proclaim] the Gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world…We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not compromise but ultimatum.” – A. W. Tozer

Help. We’re here to assist you and others who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17). If you’re a true Christian, we’d like to ask you to take this information and pass it on to other people who are teachable and willing to change.  To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” Join us on “Facebook” and “Youtube” for our Bible studies. We can be reached through our website: www.kelseypeach.com.

Share. We’d like you to memorize this short Gospel presentation and share it with unbelievers as God the Holy Spirit leads you: Friend, you have sinned. But Christ died for sinners and rose again. Trust Him alone and He will save you eternally. Do it now!” – Dr. Manfred Kober [1]

[1] https://www.faith.edu/1993/02/do-we-really-know-the-gospel/

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