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Turn Up The Light

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Integrity - living as Christ’s children in a world that seeks to darken that light

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Hiking by starlight
When you see nothing but darkness there shines the brightest light.
That is a hint of where we are going this morning.
Let’s pray and prepare to hear from God this morning.
Philippians 2:12–18 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Now whenever we look at Scripture we need to remember that this is all in a larger context. For us this morning, we must realize what this has just followed - this is all part of a letter that the Apostle Paul has written to the church at Philippi.
The section that we are in really began back in the last chapter (remember there weren’t chapters and verses when it was written), it all began at verse 27 of chapter 1 where Paul began this grand exhortation to the church as to how they should live.
That statement is key to our understanding of this passage. He is writing to the church, not to an individual. You’ll see how that’s important in just a moment.
Philippians 2:12 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Obedience - fear and trembling - this all sounds like it’s works related. But that is not Paul. Paul is the one who wrote to the Ephesian church
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Philippians 2:12 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Throughout chapter 1 what we saw was it’s not about “me”, it’s not about our works, our lifting ourselves up by our bootstraps. It’s God who works.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Again, I ask, “Who is this written to?” It’s written to the church at Philippi, not to Charlie or Charline Church goer. It’s a letter to a group not to an individual.
The statement “God helps those who helps themselves” is the antithesis of the gospel message.
This is important because we can get heretical thinking individually that I need to work out my salvation. No, I don’t - it’s being worked out in me through Christ and through the church. In the context of our passage it is the church that needs to workout it’s salvation with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2:12 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Philippians 2:12b ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Now if we back up we have that incredible hymn of Christ’s humility - we talked about that last week, being equal with God but not considering equality with God something to be grasped he emptied himself, he took on the form of a servant, he was born in the sinful likeness of man, he humbled himself (think of how he served, washed the disciples feet, etc)., he obeyed to the point of death, even death on a cross. Down, down, down, down, down, down.
To what end? Being a servant or as Paul says so often he’s a slave - he has no rights and will boast of nothing except Christ.
The next couple of verses tell us some of what has been happening in the church at Philippi and around the world in every church at some time or another. Paul writes
Philippians 2:14–16 ESV
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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.
Phil 2:14-15
Do you grumble? Do you allow yourself to get frustrated? Do you hold onto a hurt and think you’re RIGHT to do so?
That’s not light, that’s darkness. We are to shine as lights.
Paul writes: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing...” He seems to leave room there for the heavy sigh, but even that reveals our attitude, doesn’t it?
Why? It’s there in verse 15, “you shine as lights in the world.”
How do we do that?
Verse 16, “holding fast to the word of life.” That’s the gospel message. Hold fast to the fact that Jesus loves you and he loves that person that you may not like so much!
There has been an overwhelming sense of the idea of dying to self, and living for Christ throughout the letter so far. Whether it was Paul’s references to being a servant at the opening of his letter, to not being concerned over his imprisonment because it was working to advance the gospel, to his declaration of “to live is Christ and to die is gain,” and now he tells us to do everything without grumbling, disputing, or questioning that we may be blameless.
This theme continues:
Philippians 2:17–18 ESV
17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
So what’s our takeaway?
Are we a group of grumblers and disputers? Do we hold on to grudges or past hurts?
If we’re honest there are those certain things we do grumble about. There are hurts that we have enjoyed for far too long holding on to in our own self righteousness.
Let’s turn that over to the Lord.
OR
Are we a group of people who look at others as better than themselves, humbling ourselves in service to others?
If we’re honest there are those certain things we do grumble about. There are hurts that we have enjoyed for far too long holding on to in our own self righteousness.
Let’s turn that over to the Lord.
Lastly, how are we shining our light into our community as a body, as small groups that represent this body, as families, as individuals?
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