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Christ's Offer Now Delivers Us Contending Truth! (C.O.N.D.U.C.T)
Ramesh C. Reddy
Hi everyone :)
May the Lord Jesus empower you and give you endurance now and forever! Amen!
Quiet Times (Psalm 68, Proverbs 28, and Philippians 1:27-28)
What a glorious Lord we have, he who bears our burdens also give us our salvation. (Psalm 68)
When their is moral rot in a nation, it's government topples, but with honest leaders their is stability. (Proverbs 28)
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God.” (Philippians 1:27-28)
I asked myself what could ‘whatever happens’ refer to?
It came to my mind that ‘it may refer to what is happening with Paul in prison or it may refer to whatever happens to the saints in Christ in their life. Whatever the reason is there is a command to follow:
“Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
I learned from this verse that ‘manner’ could be good or bad such as having good manners over bad manners. In this case the saints in Christ Jesus are to behave in a good manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Their behavior mannerisms should reveal to those around them that this gospel they are following is something worthy to be followed and the gospel’s focus is on Christ.
What is 'the gospel of Jesus Christ?'
What came to my mind was understanding the role of man-God which can only truly be represented with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Man and God were together.
Man sinned and rebelled from God.
When that happened, a huge chasm was created separating man from God because God in His Holiness cannot allow sin to enter into His presence.
Through the ages, man has tried to do everything he could to reach God mostly through his good works but everything he did was as filthy rags to God and did not create a bridge to reach God.
Finally, God in His love knowing the state of mankind from the beginning took the role of reconciliation upon Himself. He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into the world to be reconciled to God if man would be willing to walk on the bridge to God.
Jesus Christ became that bridge that connected the huge chasm separating man from God. Now man could walk over the bridge and reach God. To be able to get access to the bridge, man had to acknowledge that he cannot ever reach God by his own good works and his ways. No matter what he does, he will always fall until He looks to the cross of Jesus Christ.
It is at the cross that man realizes while he was yet a sinner Christ Jesus died on the cross to save him. At that moment, God began the work to redeem humanity because the price was already paid for each human being.
Man had to accept the free price that was paid for him as God's gift of grace. Those who looked to the cross were covered in Christ's blood which became the only way that man could have entrance to the bridge and reach God. Looking to the cross meant confessing their sins and repenting of their sins asking Christ's forgiveness and Christ's cleansing blood to cover them and wash them whiter than snow.
Now with Jesus in man's life, the good works that come out of him are a result of the Holy Spirit working in his life. Now man in gratitude to God cannot help but serve the Lord in love and devotion.
Even when man messes up, the Lord's forgiveness and blood is their to cover him when he looks to Jesus. Now man is free and can be with God as His Salvation.
For me that is the gospel in a nutshell which can be summarized by John 3:16.
I asked myself why does Paul tell them to 'conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?'
The answer is reflected in the ‘if-then’ or ‘cause-effect’ relationship:
If (you conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ) then,
Whether (I come and see you) or (I only hear about you in my absence),
I will know that you stand firm in one spirit,
contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.
Paul makes the saints in Christ know regardless of the senses he uses such as seeing or hearing, if they are conducting themselves in the right way, he will know about three things occurring in their lives as a starting point:
Standing firm in one spirit.
Contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.
Not being frightened in any way by those who oppose them.
These things in effect would show them ‘being saved by God’ while those who oppose them ‘being destroyed’.
What does it mean ‘to stand firm in one spirit’?
I realized it means being united in the faith following the same gospel of Christ. This meant for me even when claiming to be a particular denomination, the denomination should not be the focal point of the gospel. Rather Jesus Christ should be the focal point for the gospel to be seen and heard in our lives. For the Good News is Jesus Christ. Once that is realized there should be no compromise or budging but standing firm in one spirit.
It was interesting to realize that ‘you’ was used 7 times once as 'yourself'. I saw the ‘you’ representing the community of believers receiving the command and it’s outcome if followed. Paul was addressing the community of believers with his letter rather than an individual person. This meant as a community they were to stand firm in one spirit. But it could also be taken for each believer who follows the command.
What does it mean ‘contending as one man for the faith of the gospel?’
What came to my mind was boxing. When you are a boxer contending for a championship, there is preparation involved before the match. When match time comes you still contend for that championship which involves putting yourself on the frontlines against your opponent. There are times that the contender will fall but gets up again. There are punches exchanged back and forth too. At times, there is a knockout during the contending part.
What does it have to do with contending as one man for the faith of the gospel?
The analogy is not complete but the boxer can be seen as the Christian who contends for the faith of the gospel. The opponent can be Satan using the forms of pantheism, relativism, pluralism, nilhism, existentialism, determinism, and other kinds of 'isms' and oppositions to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you fight those opponents whether they are your professors non-biblical views, your friends views, views of evolution, atheism, etc, there will be times you will take punches that will hurt and also bring you down.
But with Jesus Christ on your side, if you keep focused on Him and the community of believers He has given you to be at your ring side, you will get up to contend. You cannot do it on your own as a lone-ranger Christian. If you try to defeat Satan on your own without help, you yourself could get knocked out. That will not be a pleasant sight.
The key is contending as one man for the faith of the gospel where ‘one man’ could refer to the help taken from the community of believers in Christ. For that to happen, we cannot be a lone-ranger.
What does it mean ‘not being frightened anyway by those who oppose you?’
I learned it means not giving up or throwing in the towel while contending for the faith of the Gospel. It also mean not letting any kind of fright stop us whether it be ridicule from our professors, ridicule from our peers, etc when we stand for the Gospel even if they are hurting punches of persecution, prosecution, etc.
The effect of doing it is two-fold:
Those opposing us will know that their way of living can lead to destruction and our way of living in Christ can lead to Salvation from God.
I saw important implications for our lives here. I learned that as saints in Christ Jesus, we ought to conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so those around us (Christians or pre-Christians) whether they see us or hear about us can know that we stand firm in one spirit, contend as one man for the faith of the gospel, and not being frightened by those who oppose us whether it be in school, in the workplace, or in the home!
They everyone will see that the Gospel is worthy to be followed and that is because of the reality in Jesus Christ and our lives individually and corporately reflect the Sprit of Jesus Christ in us.
By the way we live in front of our professors, peers, parents, etc will show others that there is destruction involved for their lives spiritually without Jesus Christ and there is Salvation involved in people’s lives who have Christ with them.
May we not let opposition stop us from the way we conduct our lives for the sake of the Gospel! Amen!
Christ’s Offer Now Delivers Us Contending Truth! (C.O.N.D.U.C.T)
Dear Jesus, thank you so much for offering us deliverance with contending Truth. We Oh Lord need your help to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel so that people around us can see or hear that we have stood firm in the spirit, contending as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened by those that oppose us. In this way, we thank you that those who do oppose the Gospel can know that they are in danger of destruction but those who are with you are saved by God. Use us as your vessels wherever we are. And Lord, when we do fall and mess up, please help us to get up and go on. We thank you for being are there as our Good Shepherd. When we get dirty, you clean us up, when we are bruised you can heal those wounds for you heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds. Thank you so much Jesus for your Word. Help us to live for you faithfully. Thank you Jesus. In Your Name I Pray Jesus! Amen!
Love in Christ,