|'Your life as a gospel sermon' (1)
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ ... stand firm in one
spirit, striving as one man for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27) [Italics added]. Through the power of the Holy
Spirit conduct your life as a gospel sermon(1) for the benefit of those who observe you from afar, a well as
for those in your closest fellowship; particularly, if the gospel is coming under attack(2). In Philippians
(v.1:27), the apostle Paul encourages our 'contending'(Niv) to be directed toward achieving unity as "with one
mind striving(Kjv) together for the faith of the gospel". The temporal striving that originates in the natural
mind of man is perpetuated through a worldly system of acquisition, possession and position ... and if allowed
to go unchecked in the life of a believer can lead to a works-over-faith practice resulting in a sense of
self-righteousness. Christ identified and made reference to many challenges in this life, yet He directed the
purpose of our striving to be in service of unity for the faith of the gospel. God has given us a will which
allows for choice in the opportunities and situations He brings or allows to come across the pathways of our
life, as well as the freedom to make decisions which will effect our eternal reward and judgment. The
worldly system constantly peers, gazes and observes the striving of Christians in an effort to comprehend the
differences between the economy of God and that of man [economy here includes standards for determining
right & wrong, law & government, absolute truths, scriptural based values and spiritual grounded faith], e.g.,
'you must learn to serve before you rule', 'must forgive before you are forgiven', 'must die before you can be
born again'. We either are a part of the worldly economy or we have given ourselves over to God's (heavenly
economy) commandments, precepts, decrees and absolute truths. One of the more pointed scriptural
admonitions we are challenged to evidence in our daily life is ... "live in this world, but be not a part of it" (see
Jn. chap., 15 &17). Many will profess they do not live in (or are of) the world, yet their behavior, attitudes and
allegiances signal otherwise! Man truly can not simultaneously live in both worlds and serve the Holy
purposes of God (see Lk. 16:13 - serving two masters and Jas. chap.1., double-mindedness).
Our life is a sanctified platform for launching God's "living gospel" into all situations, assignments and
circumstances we encounter each day. When we conduct ourselves as a "living sermon" our desire for and
commitment to personal ministry, as well as our striving, will change dramatically (see Mk. 8:36 - "... gain the
whole world, and lose your own soul?"). Our striving reveals much about what we value, our priorities, and how
we use the gifts, favors and blessings of God in our life. Striving can also reflect what we are willing to
sacrifice (place on the altar) in our life for God's purposes (meditate on - Heb. 12:4 - see Niv Study Bible note!). For
our life to become a 'living sermon' the self (individual, corporate, religious) must first be sacrificed on the altar of
'surrender' and consumed by the cleansing fire of the Spirit. Those who proclaim to 'live by faith', 'walk in
the Spirit' and are 'dead to the world in Christ' had best have the manifest power of the Spirit roundabout
them and evidenced in their ministry to others (individually and corporately). When and if the body-of-Christ (the
Church), in America, becomes the Living Sermon of Christ then "... all things are possible with God" (Mk.
10:27). To live out the Sermon of Christ requires a reckless abandonment of the self, total surrender to His
will and a willingness to freely give your life for His purposes and the outworking of His end-time plan (Eph.
1:10-11, Eph. 2:15-16).
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
(1) (see SFLB/TIC-1 Phil. 1:27) (2) (see Niv note - Phil. 1:27)