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Holding Fast and Hold Forth The Word of Life

Shining Lights In A Dark World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Text: Philippians 2:14-18

Shining in the Darkness

We live in a spiritually dark world.
I was scanning headlines this past week. It was one catastrophe after another:
The stock market is down (bad for retirement investments)
Inflation is up — a lot!
AND even if you can afford groceries, the store shelves are empty!
There are labor shortages everywhere
Our politicians continue to fight amongst themselves for power instead of working to solve REAL problems for which they were elected.
We are on the brink of a world war. According to Business Insider, Ukraine, Taiwan, Iran, N. Korea, and the Himalayas all have potential to ignite WW3
Meanwhile China is claiming huge swaths of the Pacific Ocean
Yesterday, we mourned the over 63 million babies killed since Roe v Wade became law 49 years ago
63 million.
I saw a question on social media: If a thousand years from now someone unearths our civilization and saw that it had killed over 60 million babies and thrown them in dumpsters, what would that future people think of us?
It would be easy to allow ourselves to be discouraged over such headlines and the deep spiritual darkness they represent.
But the Light has come!
Jesus is the light.
John 1:4–5 (NLT) tells us that: The Word (speaking of Jesus) gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. ⁵ The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
The darkness cannot EVER extinguish the Light, so Jesus invites us to join Him:
In the light:
1 John 1:5 NASB95
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:7 NASB95
7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Are YOU walking in the Light of Jesus?
Have you experienced the Light of salvation by repenting of your sins and believing in Jesus for salvation?
Is the Blood of Jesus cleansing you from all your sins?
If you haven’t turn to Him today!
How can WE, puny as we are shine the light of Jesus in our world?
Our text this morning tells us how.
Text: Philippians 2:14-16
In past weeks we have discovered some key ways to shine light in the darkness.
They are simple, but they are not easy.
Vs. 14 tells us that one way we can be light in the darkness is by “doing all things without grumbling or disputing...”
Vs. 15 talks about how that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we must live lives that are blameless, innocent of all sin and above reproach
Even as people around us live lives that are crooked and perverse
The darkness of their sin doesn’t rub off on us — instead the Light of Jesus, the Light of Life shines through us and brings the illumination of LIFE into their existence
Vs. 16 encourages us, as we will examine more closely this morning, the importance of holding fast and holding forth the word of Life.
Life Application Bible Commentary says that:
When Paul saw the church remaining pure and blameless and holding the word of life out to their unsaved neighbors, he would be able to boast on their behalf, knowing that his work among them had not been for nothing.
The commentary goes on to say:
Christians can develop a "fortress mentality" about surviving in a depraved world. Such a mind-set prefers to withdraw into church or family, away from the evil world, shutting it out. But Paul didn't support a fortress mentality. Instead, he required believers to take the gospel out into the culture. It is a waste of energy just to leave a light on. Church people must help illuminate the way so that others can find Christ.
We will look at this thought more in a minute, but ...
Finally, vs.17 and 18 talks about living lives of joy — and sharing that joy of the Lord with others

Holding Fast The Word of Life

Let’s look more closely at verse 16 — holding fast the Word of life.
The Greek word here could be translated 2 ways:
Holding fast, or tenaciously holding onto the Word of Life
AND holding forth, or giving away, the word of Life — sharing the Gospel with those who are walking in darkness.
Life Application Bible Commentary:
The church was not to sit in pristine purity, merely reflecting light in the darkness. There was work to be done—the light must disperse or illuminate the surrounding darkness. So the Philippian church should hold out the word of life by spreading the truth of the gospel beyond the doors of the church.
The Greek word translated "hold out" was used in secular culture for offering [a beverage] to a thirsty guest.
The Philippians were to offer the gospel to a dying world, for the gospel alone brings abundant and eternal life.
The phrase is also translated "holding fast to the word of life" (nrsv) and could therefore be an encouragement to the Philippians to be grounded in the truth, refusing to compromise.
Both meanings work together—as the believers "hold fast" to the truth, they can "hold out" that truth to others.
To illustrate holding fast the Word of Life, I want us to think about one of King David’s mighty men named Eleazar.
We read about him in:
2 Samuel 23:8–10 (NASB95) These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time; 9 and after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. 10 He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.
Think about Eleazar:
He was one of David’s top 3 mighty men.
When the enemy came in like a flood.
When everyone else scattered and ran.
Eleazar stood fast with his sword in his hand.
Of course we know that the Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17)
Eleazar stood against the enemy, wielding his sword until his hand was cramping so hard it was like his sword was stuck to his hand.
And the Lord brought about a great victory that day.
Let’s be like Eleazar.
Let’s run to the battle even when others run away.
When the enemy comes against us, let us use the sword of the Spirit against him
Like Jesus did in the wilderness.
Three times the devil came to Jesus to battle Him and take Him down
Three times Jesus defeated him by saying very clearly: “It is written!”
When satan says you are sick, you are going to die — tell him IT is written in Psalm 103:3 God heals ALL my diseases.” You are defeated devil!
Romans 14:8 (NASB95) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
In the mighty Name of Jesus, you will NOT defeat me with discouragement and depression.
When satan says, I’ve got your family and I’m going to kill them all, say, “Not so devil. It is written in Acts 16:31 that if I believe I will be saved — me AND ALL my household.”
I will not yield my family to you devil.
I will be like Job of old who had 7 seven sons and 3 daughters:
Job 1:4–5 (NASB95) His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Job refused to give up on his children.
Let us refuse to give up on our kids and grandkids.
Let’s go to battle for them in prayer, speaking the promises of God over them.
Do you get the idea?
Refuse to let go of the Word of Life!
Hold onto it so tightly that your heart forms itself in the shape of the Word.
Even if everyone else turns from God’s Word, the Word of Life, you hold onto it.
Never let go.
Because it is through the Word that God will bring about a mighty victory.
Hold fast the Word of Life.

Holding Forth the Word of God

But don’t just hold FAST the Word of Life — hold FORTH the Word of life.
God has called us to be lights shining in the darkness.
As says Isaiah 60:1–3 (NASB95) “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 “For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. 3 “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
We have something the world desperately needs — light in the darkness — the Word of life — truth to combat the lies and deception all around us.
As 2 Peter 1:19 (NASB95) So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
As I said at the beginning of this message — there are so many things that people are struggling with today.
But they don’t turn to the God who can bring them through.
They are not listening for the sure Word of Life:
Amos 8:11–12 (NASB95) “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. 12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.
They stagger and run everywhere looking — but they are looking in all the wrong places.
Psalm 145:18 (NASB95) The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
Let us hold forth the Word of God to those who are starving for it!
Let’s be like the 4 leprous men that I have often talked about.
Their account is in:
2 Kings 7:3–9 (NASB95) Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why do we sit here until we die? 4 “If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.” 5 They arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans; when they came to the outskirts of the camp of the Arameans, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” 7 Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life. 8 When these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they entered one tent and ate and drank, and carried from there silver and gold and clothes, and went and hid them; and they returned and entered another tent and carried from there also, and went and hid them. 9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”
Like those 4 lepers, God has miraculously provided a spiritual feast.
If we keep it to ourselves we are not doing right.
If we keep silent, we will give an account to God.
He has called us to not only treasure the Word of God for ourselves — but to share it with others.
Are we doing that?
But we can’t share what we don’t have.
Let’s ask God to touch our hearts and minds with a hunger and thirst for God’s Word — the Word of Life.
Let’s ask God to give us a boldness to share what He gives us.
Not sharing politics, not sharing ideologies, not sharing our useless opinions — sharing the Word of life.

Wash Me Clean With The Word

“Lord, please cleanse us today from the evil of neglecting Your Word.
Psalm 119:11 (NASB95) Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
Psalm 40:8 (NLT) I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”
(Altar & Prepare for The Lord’s Supper)
As I said at the beginning — it is Jesus who has made it possible for us to walk in the Light of His salvation — to BE Lights in a dark world. He does that through:
The giving of His body to be beaten.
His sacrifice on the cross.
The pouring out of His precious blood.
We are called to remember that sacrifice by partaking of the Lord’s Supper together.
Before we partake together, let’s make sure we do so in a “right” manner
1 Corinthians 11:27–28 (NLT) So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.
I’m not trying to exclude anyone.
I’m trying to get you to repent of your sins BEFORE you partake.
Ephesians 5:25–27 (NASB95) … Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, ²⁶ so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, ²⁷ that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
John 15:3 (NASB95) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Prayer

The Lord’s Supper

Come:
1. Break the bread
2. Get a cup
3. Hold elements
4. Stand (or sit) across the front.
5. We will all partake together.
Bread
1. 1 Corinthians 11:23–24 (NLT) For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
2. Prayer
3. End prayer with prayer from Seder:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.
4. Partake
Cup
1 Corinthians 11:25 (NLT) In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.”
1. End prayer with prayer from Seder:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Partake
Jesus is coming soon!
1 Corinthians 11:26 (NLT) For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
He IS coming again!
G. Dismiss with Hymn
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