Philippians 1:27-29 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
… let your CONVERSATION be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ …
In modern English the word “conversation” means “an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people : the act of talking in an informal way”. The word “conversation” entered the pulpit years ago when the Seeker Sensitive Movement gained popularity. There was a time when the Pastor got up and preached the authoritative Word of God. But the Seeker Sensitive Church changed “preaching” into a “conversation”. There was less authority and more tolerance. The late great W.A. Criswell, the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas once preached in 1963:
“The actual minister of today, usually, as you find him, will be an effete, effeminate, dilettante, standing in the pulpit with his mild manners, speaking to a mild-mannered congregation on how to be more mild-mannered.”
Prayerfully that’s not what you’re going to hear tonight. Though it is the middle of the week I am praying that the Holy Spirit grab us, lift us up, and help us to understand what the Apostle was talking about when he wrote “let your CONVERSATION be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ”.
“Conversation”. The word in the Old English – a word that was understood back in the day that it was written – means “the act of a citizen”. The original Greek word in this text is is πολιτεύομαι politeuomai (pronounced pol-it-yoo’-om-ahee). If you look at the word you can see it looks a little like political. There was a time when being political meant “being a good citizen – expressing allegiance to your country or nation”. Later in this letter the Apostle writes:
Philippians 3:20-21 For our CONVERSATION is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Here he uses the same Greek word – slightly different but the same – here it is πολίτευμα politeuma (pronounced pol-it’-yoo-mah). You can see the similarity.
We who are Christians are citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom. We are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of God. Though we live on this earth and should be good citizens of the country we live in, our allegiance is first and foremost to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ our Savior.
1 We Are “Citizens” Of The Kingdom Of God Because Of The Gospel. The Apostle said:
Philippians 1:27 … let your conversation(way of life) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ …
We are not citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom – destined for glory – because of anything we have done. We are saved by the Grace of God! When God saved Israel He warned His people against arrogance, saying:
Deuteronomy 7:7–9 (ESV) It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore …
We who are children of God’s Kingdom need not be puffed up in our salvation. The Bible says that:
Isaiah 64:6 … we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
It is not that we were better than other men or women that we are citizens of His Kingdom. We are all in the same state, for the Scripture says …
Romans 3:23 (ESV)… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
This is the BAD NEWS. But the GOOD NEWS is that
Romans 3:24-26 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
I have heard of people who, in order to escape terrible injustices and horrible treatment, risk their lives in flimsy boats to try and cross the waters from Cuba to the Florida shores … a distance of about 90 miles. They risk everything to trade their citizenship, to get away from the darkness of the dictators and to the hope of America. Many die in the attempt. How horrible it must be to be raised in countries where there is no freedom!
But to enter the Heavenly Kingdom – that New Jerusalem – does not require a dangerous passage over treacherous waters. It is Jesus Christ Who is both the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the Author. It is His Blood that purchased our redemption.
Ephesians 1:7 7 (in Jesus Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
We have no pride in acquiring our citizenship! We are citizens because Christ paid our passport.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin left a crimson stain,
Oh but praise Him!
He washed it white as snow.
Our citizenship should be AS IS BECOMING the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is received by GRACE.
At the end of the worship service a little boy watched a man go forward and stand at the front of the Church. “What is that man doing, Mommy?” the child asked. “Why honey, he is asking Jesus for something.” The child replied, “Well if he really wants something from Jesus he needs to get down on two knees.. That’s what I do at night before I go to bed”. There is great wisdom in a child. The Bible declares:
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Jesus Christ provided the treasury of Grace, but only those who receive it humbled in His sight shall be blessed. Jesus died for every man – but only to those who receive Him as Lord and Savior.
2 Corinthians 5:15 (NLT) (Christ) died for everyone so that those who RECEIVE his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
The glorious Gospel of Christ declares that all may be saved if they but receive it’s promise. When a person no matter how leprous, no matter how blinded by sin, no matter how lost asks “how may I be a citizen of Heaven?” our answer must be repent and look to Him.
Look to God in the manger, that blessed Baby Virgin born
Look to God hanging, bleeding, the Son dying for you
Look to Christ gone from the tomb, risen, conquering the grave
Look to Him ascending, sitting at the Father’s right hand
Look for Him coming, He is coming again
and one day He will reign, and we will reign with Him
2 We Are Citizens Of Christ’s Kingdom. We Are Citizens TOGETHER. The Apostle wrote:
Philippians 1:27-29 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL;
We should be in one mind. Focused. On. Jesus.
The Church of Jesus Christ is to be an earthly reflection of the New Jerusalem. The only revolt that ever occurred in Heaven was when the Devil, called in Revelation the Dragon, with his tail drew out the third part of the angels of Heaven (Revelation 12:4). The Devil and his angels have stood against God from the beginning – and …
Revelation 12:9 …. that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
There is no place in Heaven for the devil and his angels – and there is no place in the Church for the devil and his angels. The Church is a family of faith, a people who love one another because they have been loved.
The One Who saved us by His Blood said:
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
We are to love and encourage and support one another. When we get to Heaven there will be no hospitals, no graves, no sickness, no sadness. When we get to our eternal home, that Heavenly City, there will also be no misunderstandings, no divisions, no arguments, no grudges, no uplifted by pride, no backbiting, no hurt nor pain in all of God’s Holy Mountain. The Bible says of the Christian that we are to be reconcilers.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
When every member is reconciled to God and our eyes are collectively on Christ, glorifying Him, magnifying Him, then we are most like that Heavenly Jerusalem. We stand fast in one Spirit – the Holy Spirit. We are with ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER for the faith of the gospel. Nothing harms the cause of Christ more than the Judas Iscariot going out and selling Christ for his own gain. The Iscariot often dies by his or her own hand. But those who live as if a citizen of Heaven will be Christ-like not Judas-like.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
Treat one another as the workmanship of God as Ephesians 2:10 declares.
None of us are perfect – but we are moving toward perfection.
None of us are masterpieces, but we are the Master’s one and all.
All of us struggle, and sometimes fall.
But we are children of the King – if we have received Him on bended knee.
Remember the words of the Apostle:
1 Corinthians 12:13-14 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.
1 Corinthians 12:26-27 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
This sense of family is missing from far too many Churches today. The Church is a city – a microcosm of the New Jerusalem. The Church is a body with every member following the Head that is Christ. We are to treasure Christ and treasure our Christian family.
3 We Are Citizens Of An Eternal Heavenly But Hated Kingdom.
Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
The Apostle does not speak as if we might have adversaries. If you are a Christian you will have adversaries. The world hates the Gospel. The Apostle said:
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
The Gospel is FOOLISHNESS to the world. The Light cannot ever be palatable to the darkness. Darkness and light are always at war. Good and evil are always at war. There is no peace between Satan and the Son of God. If you belong to Jesus you will be attacked. Jesus said:
Matthew 10:36-39 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Oh, how the world and the worldly hate a sectarian Gospel. But Beloved, it is not the Gospel if it is not the Gospel of Christ.
Jesus clearly said:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
You cannot win anyone to the Kingdom of God if you are not serious about your faith. You cannot be double minded, with one foot in the fallen world and one foot on the ship of salvation. Choose!
I remember as a little boy going fishing with my dad. We would step off the dock and onto the edge of the boat, then quickly get fully in the boat. One time it was particularly windy, and I kept one foot on the dock as with the other I stepped on the edge of the boat. Daddy told me
“Boy, make up your mind.
Get IN the boat,
Get ON the dock,
or gravity and the tide will make the decision for you!”
Citizens of the Kingdom live for the Kingdom. We are sold out for Jesus! I heard a story once about the Roman Legion who went to conquer, traveling by ship. When they docked, the citizens of that land gathered what weapons they could to defend their homes. Forming into a small army, they headed toward the shore to attack the Roman Legion. But they weren’t prepared for what they saw. When the Legion disembarked they fired flaming arrows into the ships, burning them until they sank. When the citizens saw this they laid down their weapons and surrendered.
The Legion was not going to retreat.
These people were serious about conquering.
Too many local Churches today are trying to live in two worlds. We cannot. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. Christ is our Savior and King. We will be attacked. We will be hated. But we will NOT be defeated, for Christ is at the helm of this great ship. In NOTHING we are to be terrified of our enemies. NOTHING! Christ has conquered. He has won. The darkness may still be, but God greater than any darkness.
Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
It is a privilege to suffer for Jesus. He suffered for us. He suffered to save us. The darkness of evil will always attack God’s Kingdom and God’s citizens. The Bible says:
Luke 6:26-35 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.  And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
When evil is done to you, do not join the darkness but let the light of the Kingdom shine through you. Let others see Christ in your hands, your feet. Let others hear Christ from your lips. Whatever you suffer, suffer it for Christ’s sake. For one day we will join Him in glory. O glorious day!
May God touch your hearts with His Word.