He has conscripted us into His army. We have a mission given to us by our Commander-in-Chief, to take the message of His salvation and Lordship into enemy territory, to win captives from the forces of darkness. As in every war, our mission requires combat and struggle. If we forget our mission and get caught up with our own comfort, we will be quick to desert the cause when the enemy attacks.
Paul describes the Christian cause in such combat terms in Philippians 1:27-30. We think of Christianity as something that increases the well-being of our daily lives. We focus on the benefits that come from being Christians. But, the danger is, in focusing on our own well-being, we forget our mission. If we forget our mission, there is no way we will fulfill it. And, we become an easy target for the powers of darkness.
We must focus on the Christian mission: To Proclaim the Faith of the Gospel.
We’ve already seen that the gospel was the central focus of Paul’s life. In 1 Corinthians 9:23 he says that he does “all things for the sake of the gospel.”
In Philippians 1, he uses the word “gospel” six times: verses 5, 7, 12, 16, 27 (twice). He alludes to it in other language several more times: “to speak the word of God” (1:14); “preaching Christ” (1:15); “proclaim Christ” (1:17); “Christ is proclaimed” (1:18); “Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted” (1:20); “to live is Christ” (1:21). Paul’s focus should be the Philippians’ focus, and ours:
He charges them to stand firm and strive together “for the faith of the gospel.”
We need to keep the goal in view, that hurting people need healing so that they can be deployed into the battle of reaching lost people with the gospel. Thus, in order to fulfill our mission, first we must focus on it. The church is here to proclaim the faith of the gospel.
We fulfill the Christian mission:
By Walking Consistently, Working Cooperatively, and Opposing Confidently.
A. WE FULFILL THE CHRISTIAN MISSION BY WALKING CONSISTENTLY AS CITIZENS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phi 1:27a). The Greek word translated “conduct yourselves” is literally, “live as citizens.” Paul is saying that Christians, no matter where we live geographically, must view ourselves as citizens of another country, namely, of heaven. Thus we should live differently than those around us who are Citizens of this Earth. Our lives must be worthy of the gospel of Christ. We seek to please our heavenly “emperor” and to live by His laws as revealed in His Word.
So the first thing, if we want to fulfill our mission as Christians, is to walk consistently as Citizens of Heaven.
B. WE FULFILL THE CHRISTIAN MISSION BY WORKING COOPERATIVELY AS CONTESTANTS ON THE SAME TEAM.
“... standing firm in one spirit, with one soul [lit.] striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phi 1:27b). The Greek word translated “striving together” is sunathleo, from which we get our word “athletics.” The prefix, sun - means “with” or “together.” The picture is of an athletic team, working in cooperation and coordination toward a common goal. That goal, as we have seen, is “the faith of the gospel.”
“Together we have done it.” That should be our Christian attitude, of working together as teammates in the great cause of Christ. A united team can win. A team divided against itself, with the teammates bickering or fighting over the glory, will lose. Thus we fulfill our mission of proclaiming the faith of the gospel by walking consistently and working cooperatively.
C. WE FULFILL THE CHRISTIAN MISSION BY WARRING CONFIDENTLY AS COMBATANTS IN THE SAME ARMY.
“... in no way alarmed by your opponents--” (Phi 1:28a). We should not create enemies because we are harsh or bad-tempered people. But, if by your life and words you oppose sin and challenge the forbidden ways of the world, especially, the sinful ways people in the world make money, you will have enemies.
If Christ, the Son of God suffered, and if Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles suffered, then we’re in good company if we suffer for the sake of the gospel. Someday soon God will save us and will condemn those who persecute His church. Stand confidently for the Lord and rest in Him.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.... Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:22, 23, 26).
When you trusted Christ, you didn’t join a country club.
You got drafted into God’s army!
Your mission is to proclaim the faith of the gospel.
How you balance between focusing on our mission against dealing with personal emotional or problems?