Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
I. WHAT THE GOSPEL IS.
1. It is the gospel of Christ because —
(1) He is the author of it.
(2) The pith and marrow of it.
(3) The finisher of it. It is His property, it glorifies His person, it is sweet with the savour of His name.
2. It is the gospel of Christ. Good news.
(1) It removes the worst ills — sin, death, hell.
(2) It brings the best blessings — reconciliation with God, goodwill on earth, eternal happiness in heaven.
II. OUR CONVERSATION MUST BE SUCH AS BECOMETH THE GOSPEL. The gospel is —
1. Simple. So should we be in our dress, our speech, our behaviour. Wherever you find the Christian you ought not to want a key to him. He should be a transparent man like Nathaniel and "as little children."
2. True. Gold without dross. So should the Christian be in his talk. There should be no scandal, oath taking, equivocation, still less lying.
3. Fearless. It calls things by their right names, and is the very reverse of what is now called charity. Be honest and brave in your profession and action,
4. Gentle. Bad temper is quite contrary to the gospel. Have a lion's heart, but a lady's hand.
5. Loving. Without love the Christian is as sounding brass.
6. Merciful. Harsh or miserly people do not become the gospel.
7. Holy. The Christian must be holy as Christ is holy.
III. THE STERN NECESSITY OF A CONVERSATION THAT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL.
1. If you do not live like this you will make your innocent fellow members suffer. You tempt others, and bring discredit on the whole Church.
2. You make your Lord suffer. The world lays your sin at the door of your religion.
3. You will pull down all the witness you have ever borne for Christ. How can your children, neighbours, etc., believe you if you act inconsistently.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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;