Character & Conduct
This morning’s worship was led by Aaron Davies-Whitfield who continued his study of Philippians, preaching from chapter 2 verses 14-16 – such a relevant scripture after what has happened in our nation. The Word of God challenges us and changes us. Often the Word of God, which is ‘sharper than a two-edged sword’ (Hebrews 4:12), challenges us. It shows us things about us which do not line up with the Word of God. We must humble ourselves and acknowledges our shortcomings and confess. We need to repent and turn to someone we are in great need of, turning away from sin to Christ, asking for forgiveness and grace. The process of taking out sin in our lives is painful but necessary. This Word is a challenge to us all, it’s a good challenge. Character is our reputation, conduct is our behaviour, and how we conduct ourselves. Paul is talking about a Christian character and conduct. He covers three areas:
- Our relationship with God – This always comes first. Before we do wrong to anyone, we have first done wrong to God.
- Our relationship with others
When Paul says, ‘Do all things’, this shows us that nothing is left out. God asks that our Christian life is one of affecting every area. We are born again, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our life is to be different in every single aspect.
‘Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am Holy’ (1 Peter 1:15-17). Paul here is talking to believers. Our holiness first comes with Salvation, it is not just about morals, it is about being the people of God. We are set apart. Because we are His people, we are to be different. We belong to Christ, so we have to live as the people of God.
Verse 15 – we are the sons and daughter of God. The pulpit is not a place of politics. It’s the place of God. Whatever our views of the Referendum we must not fight. The body of Christ goes far deeper than our political views. Whatever we voted, we must love one another. We are one body, inextricably bought with the blood of Christ, we all belong to the same Father. We must come together as a Church. If the people of God cannot come together, how can we be an example to others?
There is a greater ‘in or out’. Are people in the Kingdom? There is a greater cross to put by your name – the cross of Jesus Christ. The gospel still carries on, it is the greatest need, the greatest light and the greatest message. It travels throughout divisions. It has travelled throughout history. This gospel must carry on. It should be the most important thing in a Christian life. Glorifying Christ is the greatest work, the gospel is the greatest campaign.
‘Do all things, without murmurings and disputings’. Our delight is to please God. The children of Israel were on a journey and murmured. Don’t murmur to God, He loves us, He is the sovereign. Remember the character of God and let it change you.
Our conduct should be ‘Blameless and harmless’ to others. We need to be different and love one another, serve and help one another. This is the beauty of the church. Manifest His love, care and compassion.
‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you’ (Matt 5:44). We can be one thing in church and something different behind closed doors. In your whole life, in your very thought life and deeds, in private places, strive towards the Saviour. Don’t settle for remaining to be the same people, strive to be more like Jesus, wanting to be more and more a holy people. Strive for a closer walk with God, this is the path to glory. We are to be ever more increasing in our life to Christ. There is always a need to confess our sins, to grow in grace. What is on the outside should be the same all the way through, displaying Jesus on the inside and outside.
‘Crooked and perverse generation’ – we live in a fallen corrupt world. It is dark, it is evil. As the Church, as the people of God, in a nation that is split down the middle, we need to be an example. We need our light to shine before men, to show the light in a very dark time. God knows we live in a dark, evil world and this is why He asks us to shine. We are the light, we are different, we are changed, and we are the people of God. Our love is for God not the world. Our desire is not for ourselves but for God. We need to shine. The church must set the example, we must hold first to the Bible – the light. It is the truth in the midst of corruption and lies, it is the testimony we are to hold. We need to practice what we preach otherwise we are empty. Let people see unity and love in us, see something different in us.
‘I may rejoice in the day of Christ.’ Live this life for Jesus, whatever the cost, whatever the price, whatever the mockery and scorn. Be a light shining continually in the storm, in calm, but always shinning for the Lord. Let this message change us.