Whatever Happens – A Good Word for the New Year

I preached this sermon a few years ago.  My mind went there today so I am sharing it.  Feel free to pass it alongPhilippians 1:27-30

Whatever Happens 

Not a Blast of Hurry 

Missionary J. O. Fraser who worked among the Lisu peoples of China, once commented about the necessity of waiting on the Lord to do His work without the frantic, panicked rushing about that characterizes much of our labor. He said:

In the biography of our Lord nothing is more noticeable than the quiet, even poise of His life. Never flustered whatever happened, never taken off His guard, however assailed by men or demons in the midst of fickle people, hostile rulers, faithless disciples—always calm, always collected. Christ the hard worker indeed—but doing no more, and no less, than God had appointed Him, and with no restlessness, no hurry, no worry. Was ever such a peaceful life lived, under conditions so perturbing?*

So, there are certain verses in scripture that are “the bar” for us to look as a standard.  

Elsewhere in scripture, we are told to “love as I have loved you.” We are told to “forgive as God in Christ forgave us.”

Those are bars by which we decide if we are tall enough to ride this ride.

So, Paul remember is speaking “To All The Saints” … so he is speaking to Christians … This is not a “bar” in order to receive salvation … but because we have heard God’s voice, because we have responded in faith, because we have received his grace …. Because of all of that, there is a BAR for us … a standard

Look at it, read with me the end of the chapter, 1:27-30 – READ it

Who is he talking to? You Together … “Conduct yourselves” … Again, I said last week that WE are a WE … so for FBC, a group of saints working together, we have something that we are striving for as we go forward rejoicing together.

So … Look at somebody right now and say “Pay attention, this is FOR US” …  

So Paul says “Whatever Happens” here in the NIV84 

NASB and ESV says “only” – HCSB has “Just one thing”, and the NLT “Above all

It is the word – monos = only, alone, throughout

It is an adverb describing the verb “conduct” .

As you conduct yourselves, church … Conduct yourselves singularly throughout, every time, regardless of the circumstance

Every season, every circumstance, every challenge, every triumph, tragedy, trip, in Everything, Every Time, in every way …  

These are certainly conditional instructions, “if … then …” but there are certain things … And Paul seems to be laser focused in this letter on the things that do not change regardless … i.e. Rejoice always 

So, here are some things then … Whatever Happens …  

1. Conduct Yourselves 

Remember Paul said “for to me …” life is Christ 

So, he says that means that I must conduct myself in a certain manner. This is a certain manner …

This word is interesting …

Politeuomai = system of government, behave, live, lead one’s life

So, what will be the governing force for us? What will legislate our actions toward one another, toward the world, toward the image of Christ in the dark, in the light?    

He says …

 A. A Manner Worthy 

This “conduct yourselves in a manner”, pertains to a member of a body, a person with a title has a responsibility. We hear criticism of a President saying “that is just not presidential” … I’m sure you have been told to live like the uniform you wear … “You are a Soldier”, “You are an Airman”, you “represent the United States of America.”  

Paul uses this word in Acts 23:1 “I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 

Paul was a man with a sense of duty … Paul was saying that every day, at the end of the day, I can lay my head down and know I have done my full duty. Kenneth Wurst quotes John’s pupil, Polycarp, “if we perform our duties (same word) as simple citizens, he will promote us to a share in his Sovereignty”

So … Citizens of Heaven … members of the Family of God … Often when the boys would leave the house, just as they got to the door, I would say “hey wait, come here … don’t forget you are a Goforth …”  

Paul says, “you are a member of the body of Christ, you are a citizen of heaven … Live like it”

There is a pattern we should follow, there is an obligation for us to fulfill, a manner worthy …

 B. Of the Gospel of Christ

Where does the ability to rejoice come from? The Gospel.

You know, I don’t understand some Christians …  

– I don’t understand ANGRY Christians. You know they walk around like someone took the last lollipop. They act like they are angry that they have to be good or something.   

Angry Christians … is that worthy of the Gospel?

– I also don’t understand SAD Christians either, the slightest thing doesn’t go their way, and they are sad. It’s like they were just told that they weren’t God’s favorite. It’s like they opened a box of cracker jacks and no ring. It’s like you just came down to breakfast and found their little sister got the toy from the box of Cereal. Their bottom lip is out over a 4 cent toy, while they live in the greatest house and are members of the greatest family.

Sad Christians are not living in a manner worthy of the gospel.

– I also don’t understand Frightened Christians. They live like they aren’t sure if God will work it out. They aren’t sure he is Sovereign.

Scared Christians aren’t living in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

What is the Gospel? What is the Good News of Christ?   

The Gospel 

While we were Still Sinners, separated from God, hopelessly lost and headed to hell, Jesus Christ was appalled and wrought salvation with his own hand. He left Heaven, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, demonstrated his divinity with miracles, counted the cost of our sins, and paid the debt fully with his death on the cross. He forgave our sin, removed the guilt. He imputed righteousness to our account, he was resurrected on the 3rd day proving his power over death, and promising me resurrection as well. He has made us rightly related to God, his Children now by right given, receiving full inheritance, and an eternal place in his home, and right now he is at the right hand of the Father, and one day will return to take his own to where he has prepared a place for them.

That is the Gospel … Live in a manner, conduct yourselves, like that is a REALITY to You …? And so Conducting in a manner worthy, we are living

2. Confirmed In The Faith 

Paul says if you live this way … if you act like you belong, He will know that you …  

Stand Firm 

I have to say that Angry Christians, Sad Christians, Frightened Christians, sometimes make me wonder about their Faith …  

Oh yes, we all get angry, we all get sad, we all get frightened, that is our humanity showing. But the angry one, you know all the time angry, may not know the Joy of the Lord which is our strength.

The Always Sad one, may not understand that Christ leads us in Triumph, that I can taste and see that he is Good. They may not know the Satisfaction of God as my portion.

The always scared one may not know The One who says “be not afraid, I will never leave you or forsake you.”

If you know him, Stand Firm in the Faith 

If following him brings suffering your way,

Stand Firm 

Philippians 1:29 (NIV84) says  

29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

Did you hear that “it has been granted to you … on behalf of Christ, not only to BELIEVE on him but also to SUFFER FOR him.   

*Hey honey, we just got an invitation in the mail. The return address says “The Lord Almighty, Heaven” …  

“Well, Open it”

“it says, Greetings Jim Goforth, it has been granted to you, on behalf of Christ, to Believe on him, and to SUFFER FOR him”

“Amazing … wait what?

Yes Two Gifts of Grace 

Salvation in Christ


Suffering for Christ

SO …

Stand Firm

Not stand firm UNTIL things don’t go my way … No … Whatever Happens I will Stand Firm

When things aren’t how I like, when I’m mad, I’m sad, I’m scared … stand firm …

Exodus 14:13 (NIV84)  

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…”

2 Chronicles 20:17 (NIV84)

17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ ”

Psalm 20:7–8 (NIV84)

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

Psalm 40:2 (NIV84)

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Proverbs 10:25 (NIV84)

25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

That’s the manner of living, whatever happens for the saints 

That’s the vision for the saints at FBC

It is the “bar of gratitude” for the Grace, for the Gospel, willing to stand in any circumstance

Whatever Happens – Stand Firm

You can’t stand firm and proclaim if you aren’t convinced,

but I stand because I know …

You can’t stand firm unless you are Convinced

I Know …

Psalm 20:6 (NIV84)

6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed …

Psalm 139:14 (NIV84)

14 … your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 140:12 (NIV84)

12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 (NIV84)

14 I know that everything God does will endure forever…

Romans 7:18 (NIV84)

18 I know that nothing good lives in me…

2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV84)

12 … Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

So, FBC Saints, Whatever happens …

Every time, throughout, Conduct yourselves like citizens of Heaven, Convinced of your faith and Every Time … We the Church in Ktown, fellowshipping in a Diverse Family of Christ Followers, Faithful to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, we MUST …

3. Contend for the Faith

When, “whatever” happens to us … we need a rally point …  

Israel was battling against Amalek in Exodus 17. God told Moses to keep his hands raised up and God would give them Victory as long as Moses hands were raised.   

After Victory, Moses built an altar and named it “Jehovah Nissi”, the “Lord My Banner” the place around which we rally when we are under attack

Whatever Happens, we will rally together to contend for the Faith …

 A. United Battling Together 

– Around the Gospel  

Oh too often the Saints have a pet project, and sometimes it is honorable, sometimes it is not, but it must be Gospel Centric. If what we fight for doesn’t have the Gospel as its message and salvation as its ultimate end is just wasted time, spiritually speaking. So when whatever happens, we rally around the Gospel … we may not agree on style, we may not agree on methods, but we can agree on the Gospel, can’t we?

“contending as one man” NIV84 

“striving side by side”

This word is

Synathleo = struggle along with.

Robertson says this is “ striving as in an athletic contest”

struggle along with” – Rallying togetheraround the advancement of the Gospel, together … when we are not unified we stand like a one or two legged chair.

Psalm 133 says How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.

Nehemiah 8:1 says the people gathered unified in purpose and called for the Word of the Lord.

We gather here every week to hear God’s word and leave here unified around the gospel so that we can Strive Together, contending as one man, struggleing alongside

Whatever happens, if we are the graced of God, we are going to suffer the attacks of the evil one, because we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but rulers, authorities, powers, and forces of this dark world. If there is no struggle, then we aren’t going against the flow of evil. If we aren’t experiencing the struggle then maybe we aren’t on the narrow way.

V30 “You are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear I still have

So, we strap on the Armor of God: Rally to the Banner of the Gospel and we can do so …

  B. Unafraid of Opponents

v28 ”without being frightened

pytro = to be intimidated, scared, frightened, afraid ..  

Come on … this is most dangerous church in the World … I know there is no one afraid here 

Hebrews 10:38–39 (NIV84)  

38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

1 Corinthians 15:57–58 (NIV84)

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Whatever Happens

1 Corinthians 9:12 – “… we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel

Whatever Happens … we are ready for whatever

We will serve through whatever

1 Corinthians 9:12 says we can put up with anything

How could Paul say he could put up with anything?   

Because we have our eyes, hearts, mind, hands, knees focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we become Mad, Scared, Angry, it’s because we have shifted our gaze.

If I am supremely focused on the Cross of Christ, the promulgation of the Gospel, I can survive whatever happens, I can put up with anything …

1 Corinthians 9:19–24 (NIV84)

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I have a part in the presentation of the gospel, so do you in example, in word, in deed, we are part of portraying the Gospel and I don’t care how High Profile it is. I don’t care how clean it is, I care not about difficulty or Ease of service … I am focused on the end …

An unknown farmer plants his wheat seed. He nurtures it, waters it, and prays a lot. It sprouts, stalk grows, it flowers, it matures, it is harvested, sold, processed, purchased again. Then the flour from the seed is sifted, mixed with ingredients, made lovingly into bread, sold at the market, someone buys it and takes it home, they smile, take a bite and say “wow that is delicious”.

Somewhere, the unknown Farmer Smiles

Waiting for the Smile, Heart Set on the Smile, is how the Farmer makes it through Whatever … and that governs his life for the glory of God  

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