Do I Love My Church Family Enough to Not Bring Reproach Upon the Church?

God inspired Paul to write this to the church at Philippi:

Philippians 1:27-28 (ESV)
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Take note of that first sentence:  “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  Notice how he correlates it as a “clear sign” of “your salvation.”

Our salvation depends on what kind of life we lead.  Whether we go to heaven depends, for the purposes of this article, on whether our lives are the kind of lives one would expect someone who obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ to have.

Our lives — specifically, our “manner of life” — must “be worthy of the gospel.”  In other words, what we do and how we are must in itself be a form of evangelism.  It must be something that makes biblical Christianity attractive to the unbelievers with whom we interact, something that would make them want to be a part of it too.

Christians, never forget this.  The lives you live outside of the church building throughout the week on Monday through Saturday…the words you say…your actions…your attitudes…all of it MUST be compelling evidence to everyone who knows you that Christianity is both real and worth their time.  You are the only Bible many in your lives will ever read.  You must therefore live your lives in such a way to reflect what is in the actual Bible, so that the non-Christians in your life will be willing to read it and study it with you.

However, what happens if you continually act and talk in an unchristian manner?  Answer: you will do untold damage to the cause for which Jesus died!

Think of the political comments you make on social media or at the workplace, all those times you mock and disparage President or Senator __________________.  Now, read this:

1 Peter 2:11-17 (ESV)
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

And this:

Titus 3:1-9 (ESV)
1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Also, think of the complaining you do.  I know you do it, because we all do it.  We complain about work, about spouses, about kids, about the house, about the car, about politics, about sports, about everything.  Now, read this:

Philippians 2:14-16 (ESV)
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Think of any profane language you use.  I’m talking about taking God’s name in vain, using vulgarities, telling dirty jokes, and the like.  Let’s include gossip in this also, because that’s as hurtful (even more, really) as any insult or curse would be.  I would like to say that no one in the church does this, but that’s not true.  Many of us do.  Now, read this:

Ephesians 4:29-31 (ESV)
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

And this:

Ephesians 5:1-4 (ESV)
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Friends, there is a reason Jesus told us this:

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

There’s a reason Paul told us this:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (ESV)
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

If we allow ungodliness and sin to reign in our lives, we bring reproach upon the church of whom we are a part and for whom Jesus died.  Neither we nor our church family will be able to reach out successfully to the lost if this is how we are.

Remember…the church for whom Jesus died is more important than us.  May our words and actions always put her and Christ in the best possible light!

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