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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!
Even if you could afford groceries the store shelves are empty!
There are labor shortages everywhere
Our politicians continue to fight amongst themselves instead of solving REAL problems.
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
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:
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.
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
But 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.
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.
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