How Then Should We Live Part 2
Bible Text: Philippians 1:27-30 | Pastor: Craig Wilson | Series: Philippians |
January 31, 1945, was the day that the life of Eddie Slovik came to an end. Eddie didn’t die of natural causes, nor did Eddie live a long, prosperous, and glorious life. No, on January 31, 1945, private Eddie Slovik became the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion. He was executed because he deserted not only his country but those who needed him the most, which was a time of war. And when they needed him the most, when they thought they could count on him, not only to protect their nation but to protect their own lives, Eddie deserted them. And we may look at the penalty for desertion as rather harsh. Why would the military put a man to death? Well, the military understands the power and the need for unity. The military understands that there is strength in numbers. The military understands that if you can get people all working together for the same common goal, united against a common enemy, that they can do what seems to be impossible. They understand the need for unity. They understand that there’s a tremendous strength that takes place when people of various backgrounds all come together and work towards a common goal. In their case, the goal was to win a world war.
The Goal of the Church
In the case of the church, our goal is the advancement of the gospel. And if you doubt, the power of unity, I would encourage you to go back to the book of Genesis and read the account of the Tower of Babel and see what God had to say about them as they began to work together. But in our text, in the previous paragraph, Paul said that for him to live was Christ. And when Paul said that he’s referring to real life, he’s not talking in theory. He’s not talking in abstraction. He’s referring to life as we were created to live. He lives to glorify Christ, he lives to enjoy Christ. He lives to love Christ. He lives to obey Christ. He lives, if need be, to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ. When Paul says “for to me to live is Christ” he is telling us that he finds his fulfillment in Christ. He’s telling us that he finds his satisfaction in Christ. He has found what so many people spend their lives desperately looking for. He understands that satisfaction in life, contentment in life, joy in life, peace in life does not come from all of the empty wells that we go searching through in order to find peace and contentment and joy and satisfaction.
Paul is saying that anything that is worthy of the word life is found in Christ. And we know the Bible tells us that God gives us all things richly to enjoy. But none of those things is to take first place in front of Christ. None of those things are to be the priority for us. Christ is to be the priority. And really that’s a call for us all to examine our own lives and say, what is it that we are finding our enjoyment in? What is it that gives us the most enjoyment? For parents that could be their children. For husbands and wives, it could be each other. For some, it could be a career or it could be a multitude of other things. But we need to check up on ourselves and see what it is that brings us the greatest source of enjoyment, the greatest source of pleasure. What is it that is the priority in our lives? We are to enjoy nothing more than we enjoy Jesus Christ. And how would the world be changed if they saw Christians who actually lived that way? How would this world be impacted if they actually saw Christians who lived out what they believed? Instead of chasing the same goals that the unbelieving world does. Instead of trying to find their satisfaction, their joy, in the same way, in the same empty wells that the unbelieving world tries to find it in.
Well, now in the paragraph that follows Paul tells us as believers that we are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Now, I want to be sure that we understand Paul is not introducing a new subject here. There’s a tremendous unity to Scripture, obviously, and a tremendous unity to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. So he’s not introducing something new here. He may be explaining it in a different way but he’s not necessarily introducing a new subject. He’s continuing to show us what it means for us to live like Christ. He’s continuing to show us what a Christ-centered life looks like. And when Paul summons us to live a life worthy of the gospel, he’s issuing a call to self-examination. I wonder, do you on a regular basis take the time to sit down and reflect on your life and see why you’re making the decisions that you’re making? Do you ever sit down, just you and your conscience, and ask yourself what is it that is motivating me? What is it that is causing me to make the decisions that I’m making, which in turn leads to my actions, which in turn leads to my lifestyle? So here in Paul’s summons, to live a life, to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, there really is a call to self-examination. To stop daily, frequently and examine ourselves, and if necessary to repent of what we see.
A call to self-examination
If we never take the time to examine ourselves, to see why we’re doing what we’re doing, why we are motivated in the way that we’re motivated, we probably will never repent of those things that we need to repent of. See, even as Christians, we can sear our conscious and we can engage in sinful activities to the degree that after a while they lose their sting. And the weight of conviction is not felt as it should be. And before you know it, we don’t even consider it a sin anymore. We don’t even think about it anymore. We don’t get that knot in the pit of our stomach, that kind of a warning bell saying, wait a minute, hold on, you shouldn’t be doing this, check yourself. So implied here in the call to live a life worthy of the gospel there’s a call to self-examination. We need to examine ourselves.
And then Paul goes on to help us understand what the characteristics of a worthy life are. And he’s going to flesh them out for us. He’s not going to leave us in the dark at all. He’s going to show us how this truth, and, this is key, he’s going to show us how this truth can be applied during a time of suffering. We must never ever forget that Paul writes to this church to this book to the church at Philippi as they were suffering. Yes, he writes them to help them to live with joy. But the backdrop of that is that they are suffering. They are a group of suffering believers, he makes that clear in his letter. And so he writes to them and says, hey, this is how you can, even in the midst of your suffering, even in the midst of your persecution, even during the time of darkest trial, you can still live in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.
And as I said last week, he does so by drawing on two images that were very familiar to them to demonstrate what this all looks like. The first image, as we saw last week, was that of being a good citizen. Some of the believers in Philippi had achieved status as a Roman citizen. And those who had certainly taken great pride in their citizenship. So Paul uses that image to help them understand how they should live because they are a citizen of a much greater kingdom. They are a citizen of a kingdom that is beyond compare. He wants them to help them to understand this is how you should live because you are a kingdom of heaven. You are citizens of heaven.
This week, I read some stories of those who immigrated to the United States and became citizens and the common thread when people become US citizens is they have great joy. They take pride in the fact that they have been able to accomplish a goal, a dream for them, and they have become a US citizen. And I thought to myself, what about us as Christians? Do we have the same kind of joy? Do we take the same kind of pride in our heavenly citizenship? Or do we slink around, not wanting anybody to know, living on the fringe, living on the edge, never telling people who we really are? What if Christians in this country, in this world, would stand up in mass and say, I’m a citizen of heaven? That’s the most important thing. Yes, I was born in America. I was born in Canada. I was born in Istanbul, but I’m a citizen of heaven. And that means more to me than any other citizenship. Do you think the world would take notice of that? What if we quit fighting over the things that aren’t going to matter for eternity and say, I’m a citizen of heaven. And so as a citizen of heaven, Paul says, you need to live in a manner that reflects that.
So here’s the big picture. In order for us to show the world that we are citizens of heaven and in order to live as citizens of heaven, we need to live in unity. That’s the big picture. And then there are three things in the text that Paul is going to show us, that demonstrates how we can live in unity. So here’s the first one. By the way, let me just back up. I don’t want to forget this. You know, there is tremendous power in unity. We’ve heard now since March “we’re all in this together”. And I know we may not, we may be sick and tired of hearing it, but the reality is, we are all in this together. And we can fight, kick, scream, whatever, but that’s not changing the situation. And the reality is if we would understand that we are indeed all in this together and that we would be unified in what they would say is the possible solution to all this perhaps this would all be over much sooner. I said in the first service, I feel like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day, it’s just the same after the same, after the same, after the same. I was at the dry cleaners and the lady said, “oh, it’s it’s almost the first of August.” I say, can we just skip the rest of the year and go right to 2021? I’d be much happier that way, you know?
The power of unity
Unity. There’s power in unity. The world understands the need for unity. The world understands that there’s power in unity, but sadly, many Christians do not. And they show it by their actions. And Paul is advocating that Christians of all people should display unity because frankly folks, the stakes are much too high for us not to. So here’s the first of the three things. The first way that you and I as Christians can live in unity is by making the commitment to stand firm in the faith of the gospel. Therefore, a life lived in a manner worthy of the gospel is a life of standing firm. Now, we need to keep in mind that Paul is primarily writing to the church. He’s writing to the church at Philippi. Now certainly what he says applies to individual believers, but more than that he’s writing to the church. He is not trying to make us some kind of Lone Ranger Christian. He’s not painting a portrait of some solitary figure who’s on the frontlines of the battle, standing there all alone holding back the forces of darkness, all by their lonesome. That’s not the picture that he’s painting at all. He’s writing this to the church.
Look, again a verse 27. Paul says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or I’m 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.” And what does Paul want to hear about them? That they’re standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. If we just take a couple of moments to reflect on his words we understand he can’t be writing to individuals. How can you strive side by side with yourself? You can’t. So he’s advocating unity here amongst the people of God’s church. He’s not addressing individuals, but the church. And the image that Paul’s words painted in their minds was again that of a legion of Roman soldiers in battle. And in the heat of battle, the Roman soldiers would stand side by side and put their large shields in front of them in order to protect them and it created this wall that was very difficult for the enemy to try and penetrate.
Now, what does this image convey? What should this image convey to us? Two things. Number one, it conveys unity. He says they were standing side by side, they were striving together. There are no individuals here. There’s no lone wolf here. Although they were, yes, individuals they were acting as what? They were acting as one. They were acting as a unified body. They were a team all thinking alike and all fighting alike. They all understood who the opponent was. It wasn’t themselves. They understood who the opponent was, and they understood the goal. So they had unity. Second, this image conveys strength. They understood that there is strength in numbers. They understood that they were much stronger unified, as a unified body, than they would ever be as a collection of individuals.
Remember, they as a church body, they were suffering, they were being persecuted. And suffering is always difficult. And we never want to minimize suffering in any way, shape, or form. Suffering is always difficult. But Paul wanted them to know that, hey, you’re not suffering alone. You’re part of a unique group of people. You are part of a unique family. You’re part of the family of God and we share in your suffering. Paul wrote to the church Rome rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. And they certainly needed to understand that they were not alone. In their suffering, they needed the encouragement and the strength that came from knowing that they had the support and the comfort of others. And as they stood side by side striving together for the faith of the gospel, they could look to their left and see a friendly face and be encouraged. They could look to the right and see another friendly face and they would be strengthened by that. Folks, that’s why it’s so important to attend church on a regular basis.
Tuesday night, we went up to see my oldest daughter Jessica in Lawrenceburg, and her church is just like so many other churches, they weren’t able to have service for 8, 10, 12 weeks, whatever the case may be, but they were doing it online. And now they’re back and they’re having to do multiple services as well. And she said something that really blessed me. She said, “you know, doing church online is just not the same as being there in person.” And I’m fearful for those who are satisfied with church online. I really am. There’s really no strength to be drawn from that. There’s really no encouragement to be drawn from that. We are strengthened, we are encouraged when we realize we’re not in this alone, that we’re not isolated. That we’re not suffering alone, that our times of trouble, we have not been deserted. God’s family is there for us, God’s family is there praying for us, helping us. I need the strength and encouragement I see from your friendly face, even if it is behind the mask, amen.
Likewise, you need the strength and encouragement that comes from knowing that in your times of trouble, that in your times of suffering that you are not alone. That somebody else has your back, somebody else is there for you. They’re fighting with you side by side with you and for you. That’s part of the reason we gave you the prayer card. We want you to keep those in your Bible or hanging on your fridge or at your desk or wherever the case may be. Keep it close at hand and let it be a reminder to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. See you just never know what somebody’s going through. You have no idea what they are dealing with at that very moment that the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray for them. Do not take that lightly. Don’t say I’ll pray for them in 10 minutes, don’t say I’ll pray for them an hour from now. Pray for them right then and there. And if you can’t pray through the entire list, pray for who you can pray for. Say I don’t know what their needs are. Well, here’s what you do know: they’re in a fight, they’re in a battle. They’re living life in a fallen world. They may be discouraged. They may be depressed. They may be fighting a battle that you have no idea about. Pray for them. Use the card. Don’t lose the card.
What happens when we turn to the left or the right and you’re not there? It’s so easy for you and me to become discouraged, isn’t it? Do you think I like preaching in this setting? I’m just baring my soul with you. It’s discouraging. It’s discouraging. I pray that this ends soon, sooner rather than later. I just bear my soul over that. It’s discouraging when you make adjustments so that everybody can come then some won’t come. When you take every precaution that you can, and they still won’t come. It’s discouraging. It’s discouraging. A church can fight when they’re less than full strength. But it’s much harder to fight with part-time soldiers.
So the first characteristic of a life worthy of the gospel is a life of unity. And how is our unity demonstrated? Well, Paul says by standing firm. By not retreating, by not giving up any ground at all, by not compromising the message of the gospel. But what is it that enables us to stand firm? Is Paul calling us to do this in our own strength? Is he saying suck it up? I don’t believe so. Paul says that we are to stand firm in one spirit. The question is whose spirit- our human spirit or the Holy Spirit? Now, if you have an ESV or NASB, or a New King James Version or some other versions of the scriptures, you will find that it’s a small “s”, which simply means that the translators didn’t think that it was a reference to the Holy Spirit. And you can find plenty of commentators who follow those lines that they don’t think that it’s a reference to the Holy Spirit. But, as you might imagine, you can also find an equal number of commentators who do believe that is referring to the Holy Spirit. So the question is, what do we think? What do I think? Well, I think it’s referring to the Holy Spirit. Let me give you my reasoning. Let’s work through this together.
The Holy Spirit is the source of our unity
First of all, it is the Holy Spirit that creates unity among believers, is it not? In our flesh, it’s difficult, if not outright impossible, not only for us to create unity among ourselves, but to maintain that unity. And then you add in the X factor, which is the fact of their suffering, of their persecution. And that makes it even more difficult for them to maintain that unity. See, it’s only as we individually, of course, and corporately as a church. It’s only as we are filled with the Holy Spirit will we be able to maintain, to live together in unity, especially during times of suffering. And by the way, part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to cure us of our individualism. The Holy Spirit works to break us of thinking only about ourselves and not looking out for the interests of others. If not, cut out Philippians 2 and throw it away. But it’s survived all this time, hasn’t it?
But those are not reasons enough to say that it’s referring to the Holy Spirit. So we see just a couple verses later in chapter 2:1 of Paul’s letter, Paul refers to their participation in the Spirit, capital S. That’s a clear reference to the Holy Spirit. And Paul combines that with what? Encouragement in Christ, love from the Father as our motivation to have the same mind and same love with one another. Now, the Greek word that’s translated with a small s there is pneuma. But that same Greek word is translated spirit, capital S, in chapter one, verse 19, and chapter three, verse three. And if you check your text, each of those is a clear reference to the Holy Spirit. One commentator explains this. He says, if this is the Holy Spirit, this would parallel Ephesians 4:4 where Paul emphasized one body and one spirit to stress the importance of unity in the church as well as Philippians 4:1 where Paul commanded the believers to stand firm in the Lord. Dennis Johnson writes, “Isn’t it God’s Spirit who is the protector in which we stand strong and our divine guardian of unity of soul and mind,” which I would agree. So I personally believe that when Paul instructs us here to stand firm and strive together in one spirit, he’s referring to the power of the Holy Spirit. And that creates confidence in me and comfort in me that this is actually possible. That I’m not being asked to do something that really is going to sap me of all of my strength and energy trying to create and maintain the unity.
So, to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ, we must stand firm by the power of the Spirit during times of trouble, persecution, and suffering. And as we stand firm, what happens? We bring glory to God. As we stand firm during the difficult times of our lives, what do we do? We put God in the very best light in the eyes of our unbelieving family, unbelieving friends, unbelieving neighbors, unbelieving coworkers. But what happens when we don’t stand firm? That your God must not be much. Look at you. Look at how you’re responding. Look at how you’re acting. Paul not only desires that we will stand firm with one spirit but also in one mind. And the point is he’s just continuing this theme of unity. He continues to emphasize the need for unity. He’s continuing to say church you need to demonstrate unity. And what is the purpose of this unity? Is the sake of unity, just for the sake of unity. Is it unity for the sake of just making our lives better? Let the pastor sleep at night. Is that why he’s urging unity? No, no. That brings us to our second point.
Striving togeether for the faith of the gospel
The second way that you and I as Christians can live in unity is by making the commitment to strive together for the faith of the gospel. Now, in order to do this, we must properly appreciate the gospel. We must see the gospel as the treasure that it is. We must see it as the pearl of great price. We must understand that there’s nothing more valuable to us than the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must see it for its infinite worth. And the more that we value the gospel, the stronger our determination will be to do what? To stand firm and to strive together for the sake of the gospel. When we properly appreciate the value of the gospel, we will be willing to lay aside all of those petty differences, all of our preferences, because we understand that they are not nearly as valuable as the gospel. I truly believe we would do ourselves a tremendous favor by simply meditating on the gospel until we come to a greater appreciation of the gospel. How you live, hear me closely, how you live is a measure of the value you have assigned to the gospel. How you live is the measure of the value that you have assigned to the gospel.
Paul says we need to be striving side by side together for the gospel. And what image comes to your mind when you hear the word strive? Is it a leisurely stroll? Is it drinking lemonade laying back in the hammock? No, that’s not the image I get. The image that comes to my mind is one of intense labor. It’s an image of effort and exertion. It’s an image of sweat and hard work. And again, Paul draws upon military language here to describe a group of soldiers who are standing side by side and they’re fighting a common foe. And a common Roman military formation was they would assemble the soldiers in a square, side by side in a square. Now think about that. That meant that somebody always had their back. Right? So they could go into battle knowing that somebody always had their back. They could focus on what was in front of them. They didn’t have to worry about who or what was behind them. So that’s the image that Paul paints for us here. We’re striving together, side by side, knowing that our brothers and our sisters in Christ have our backs. But sadly we know that’s not always the case is it? But just because it’s not the case all the time doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be that way all the time.
Listen, when you live for Christ, when you take a stand for Christ, you will have enemies. They may be nice to your face. But they’re your enemy. It could be your boss. It could be a professor. It could be an unsaved church member or an unsaved church attender. You just don’t know. But this one thing I do know, if you take a stand for Christ, you will have enemies. It’s good to know that someone’s got your back. Okay, that’s exactly how it should be. Isn’t it sad that those who you thought had your back desert you in the heat of battle? It’s sad. It’s tragic. Paul says don’t do that, strive together for the faith of the gospel. The church has been given a mandate, we’ve been given a great commission, we are to take the gospel to every tongue and tribe and nation. It’s a great calling. It’s a great commission. It’s a huge undertaking. It’s a difficult undertaking. Frankly, it’s a dangerous undertaking. That’s why we must stand firm in the power of the Holy Spirit. And that’s why we all must strive together to contend together for the faith.
Standing, Striving and Advancing
Now, what’s interesting here is that our striving together, in that idea of striving together, it also has the idea of advancing. Say now wait a minute how can we stand firm and advance at the same time? Well, understand the standing firm when it comes to the message of the gospel. We stand firm for the gospel, we don’t compromise the message of the gospel, we don’t water down the message of the gospel, we don’t soft-pedal the message of the gospel. We don’t tell people what they want to hear in order to get them to believe some kind of gospel. No, we stand firm for the gospel. And when you stand firm for the gospel, the world won’t like it, they will hate it. They will mock you, they will ridicule you, they will say you’re low brow, you have no intellect at all, look at what you believe. But we stand firm, we don’t compromise a message. We don’t give an inch.
But at the same time, we’re striving together to advance the gospel, which means we advance the gospel in our own homes, we move out of our homes into our neighborhoods, out into the workplace, out into our world in order to advance the gospel. And what Paul’s advocating here is really aggressive Christianity. When I say aggressive Christianity, I’m not talking about obnoxious Christianity. I’m not talking about in your face Christianity. That should never take place. And some people with their misguided, misplaced zeal think if they’re not offending everybody, they’re not preaching the gospel. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We can and we must be aggressive without being obnoxious. To be aggressive is to be proactive. To be aggressive is to take advantage of whatever opportunities the Lord presents to us. To be aggressive means that we actually make plans to present the gospel, preparing ourselves for whatever opportunities may come our way. To have aggressive Christianity is to see an open door and not see how long it’s going to be open but to immediately go through it. Aggressive Christianity is to live with a sense of urgency and a sense of destiny. To cast off our complacency. It’s to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest. And then when we’re done praying, we get up and we go work the harvest. And we ought to meditate on the Lord’s words there, particularly on that word harvest. What does that imply? You only pick the harvest when it’s ready to be plucked, right? The farmer doesn’t plant the seed and two weeks later go out expecting the harvest. He has to wait, he has to plant the seed. But he has to wait for the harvest. Well, Jesus says look, the harvest is ready. The harvest is plentiful. We’re not lacking in the harvest. What we’re lacking in is workers. There’s a tremendous labor shortage. For the harvest.
I said in the first hour, okay, you don’t want to go pick corn, fine. Go find you another crop that you want to work in. Maybe you want to pick strawberries, have at it. Maybe you want to go to the apple orchard, have at it. Maybe you want to go the strawberry patch, have at it. Just be in the harvest. And by the way, the harvest doesn’t come to you. My grandfather owned the farm and we would spend time up there and summers and whatnot. And all the time that I spent up there, I never once heard a knock on the front door and there was a stock of corn saying alright, we’re ready. No. When the harvest was ready, he knew it and what did he do? He would go out and he would work it. It took some effort. It took some labor in order for him to bring in the harvest. And the harvest is the reward for our standing firm and striving together for the faith of the gospel. And is it little wonder that the church as a whole sees so little fruit because we don’t stand firm, and we don’t strive together for the faith of the gospel.
The unity we display has a direct impact on the advance of the gospel. Therefore, to treat unity carelessly, to not contribute to maintaining unity is to say, I really don’t care about the advance of the gospel. Remember what Jesus said? All men will know that you’re my disciples by… great music? Laser light shows? Smoke machines? Is that what he said? No. “All men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” Not if you bicker with one another. Not if you tuck tail and run when things get tough. They will know that we are the Lord’s disciples as we stand firm and strive together for the faith of the gospel. There will be no reality of our faith if we don’t stand firm if we don’t strive together. And the unbelieving world won’t think much of our faith either. Oh, it’s a faith for the good times. My daughter Jessica was telling me as well that the pastor very wisely understands that when they can all get back together, their church is going to be much smaller. Why? I believe God’s using this to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff. She was telling us of one particular family that they were friends with. In the time I visited the church, he led the worship and we just all watched. And they’ve informed the pastor, they’re not coming back. That God has led them away to a much larger church. What kind of faith is that?
Staning and strving fearlessly
Third way. The third way that you and I as Christians can live in unity is by making the commitment to be fearless for the faith of the gospel. As we stand firm and we strive together, Paul says we should do so with courage and Paul uses a very interesting word here. It’s a word that’s used to describe a soldier’s horse getting spooked on the battlefield and stampeding. I should have asked Christina this in the first hour but I think when one horse takes off, the others tend to follow. You’ve seen westerns, right? Some knucklehead shoots their six-shooter and starts a stampede. That’s the word that Paul uses here. Don’t get spooked. Because if you get spooked, there’s a very real possibility that everybody’s going to tuck tail and run. Paul says, don’t do that, live with courage. Why does the lion roar and why does the bear growl? To scare their prey, to make them freeze. To cause panic. Paul says there’s no need for you to react that way. Why Paul? Because you are standing firm you’re striving together in the power of the Holy Spirit. Who is the Holy Spirit afraid of? Nobody, nobody. Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world.
What happens when we stand firm and strive together? Two things. First, Paul says, is a sign to our opponents of their certain destruction. The word sign there has to do with supernatural power. And we shouldn’t downplay what Paul’s saying to us here. As we stand firm as we strive together we have nothing to fear but the opposition does. But normally what do we see in the church? It’s exactly the opposite. It’s the church that’s running scared. But God, Paul says, God will use our unity as a token of their destruction. Our unity sends a strong clear signal to our opponents of God’s power. This is God that does this. And they may not even acknowledge it publicly, but inside they are. And of course, we take absolutely no joy in their destruction. In fact, we do just the opposite. We have compassion for them and we invite them to join us. Now to pose a second, Paul says, it’s a sign to us as believers of our salvation. It’s a means of God providing us with the assurance of our salvation. As one pastor told his congregation, he says, “it is not possible for a Christian to stand firm under persecution and for the world to dismiss it as nothing. It is evidence of supernatural power, consequently as a token of salvation to the Christian and of destruction to those who will not believe.”
How then will YOU live?
So let’s end where we began two weeks ago. How then should we live? Will you be Private Eddie Slovik, who is infamous for being a deserter when others needed him the most? Or will you be known as a faithful brother and sister in Christ, who made the commitment to stand firm and to strive together, and to make whatever sacrifices are necessary for the unity of the gospel, to live in unity? And the key to leaving in unity is to recognize our tendency towards selfishness, and self-centeredness. To continually seek to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, whose power will break our tendency to put ourselves first, while at the same time empowering us to fearlessly stand firm striving together for the advance of the gospel in the glory of God. The question is, how then will you live?