Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
I. THE APPROPRIATE METAPHOR. The Church is a city, set on a hill. The Divine mind has expended infinite treasures on it. It is a masterpiece of perfection. Its foundation is Christ.
1. We expect to see order in a city: so there must be laws and government in the Church.
2. There is to be beauty in a city: so all excellence should be in the Church.
3. In a city we expect commerce; so the Church is to send her merchandise to all parts.
4. In an imperial city we look for the residence of the sovereign, and this is the comfort of the Church — "The Lord of hosts is with us."
5. As it is a city, it is a place of chartered privileges — the free gifts of the reigning monarch.
II. THE GENERAL DIRECTION. What does this venerable citizen say to his fellow citizens? It is not the profession of citizenship that will avail.
1. With regard to your principles: God gave His Son to die for you rebels; therefore you owe your lives to Him.
2. Let your conversation be as becometh the privileges of the gospel — how varied and rich they are.
3. Let it be as becometh the holy practice required by the gospel. "Let your light so shine," etc.
III. THE PARTICULAR ENUMERATION.
1. Steadfastness. I never knew a man who was always changing whose piety was deep and sincere. Be steadfast in your attachment to
(1) your own Church;
(2) its doctrines;
(3) its discipline.
(1) of judgment;
(2) of affection.
3. Energy and activity.
(T. Mortimer, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;