We Are To Be Shining Lights

Bible Book: Philippians  2 : 14-18
Subject: Witnessing; Evangelism; Christian Living
Introduction

Having told the Philippian believers to work out, or express, the salvation that was in them with a passion to please the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul then spelled out how this could be done.  Practical Christianity is about to become even more practical.  If the unbelieving world is to see the outworking of the already inward salvation, it is necessary that believers affirm and emulate the blessed Word of God.

I.  OUR BEHAVIOR.  14

This verse provides a lifetime goal for the believer.  The difficulty of this verse is not how to understand the English, or even the Greek, but how to put into practice what Paul gave as an imperative if the unbelieving world is to be attracted to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Greek  N.T. “all” stands first in the sentence, emphasizing that nothing is excluded.

“Do” is present tense, emphasizing a practice, a continually doing something.  This is to be the believer's way of life, the way the Christian works out, or expresses his salvation.

I go to church.

I am to be the church; His body.

A. WITHOUT MURMURINGS.

Means grumbling; complaining, muttering.  The person who is characterized by a complaining attitude is not properly expressing the salvation he possesses; therefore, he is not attracting unbelievers to Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:10-11: “nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”

Murmurings also refer to the undercurrents of undertone often heard in whisperings and gossip.

“Glory Stealer” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Undercurrents – dangerous in oceans (beware).  They are also dangerous in the church.  They will pull you in and suck you under.

B. WITHOUT ARGUING.

Normally, where there’s grumbling, arguing will follow.  Translates open debates (business conferences), disputing.  Both prevent the believer from being the kind of witness he ought to be.

Paul warns that if we don’t stop what is under the surface (grumbling), it will become open dissension and debate (arguing) on the surface.

II.  OUR BECOMING.  15a 

“may be” – may become, indicating that the Philippians had not yet reached this state but that Paul was concerned that they soon come to this place.  Remember, he was there for their progress in the faith.  We are on a Journey with Jesus; we are to grow!

A. BLAMELESS.

Faultless before the watching world.  Unbelievers should not be able to point a finger of accusation at the believer.  No believer is perfect, therefore, each Christian has the responsibility to face up to the wrongs he has committed against others.  If he has not admitted these wrongs, he will have the finger of accusation pointed at him.
“The best thing to do with committed sins is to admit the sin.”

B. HARMLESS.

Pure, innocent; the believer is not to have mixed motives in what he does; he is not to connive to get his way.  Unalloyed, without the mixture of the sinful deficiencies that mare the unsaved.  Unadulterated; some appear to be spiritual in order to achieve a certain goal.

EXAMPLE:  Richard Nixon with Billy Graham

C.  FAULTLESS.

Unblemished; just as a lamb brought for a sacrifice in the Old Testament had to be unblemished, so, too, believers ought to be unblemished as they walk before an unbelieving world.  To live without thoughtless inconsistencies; beyond reproach.

1. In A Dishonest Generation.

“crooked” – unscrupulous; dishonest.  This is the kind of world in which the believer lives and is to glorify Christ.

2. In A Depraved Generation.

Noah was righteous in his generation.
Perverse – to turn with intensity; the world has turned from the truth and has been perverted and depraved.  The generation loves darkness rather than light.  Perverse also means to distort, to twist, to turn to one side.

III.  OUR BELIEVING.  15b-18

A. THERE IS A CONTRAST (COMPARISON)  16
1. Shine.

“shine as lights” – luminaries; like the stars in the sky.  As the stars give forth the glory of the heavenly lights, so believers are to reflect the light of Christ in the midst of corruption and darkness of sin.
Daniel 12:3: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

Matthew 5:15-16: “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  "Let your light so shinebefore men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Notice we are not commanded to shine, rather he stated that they were shining.  It may not be as bright as it ought to be, but it’s shining.
Sin dims the believer’s light and prevents the reflection of the light of God’s glory through us.  Keep in mind, we can shine only as we permit Him to shine through us.

A tragedy of our times is that many professing Christians do not live much differently than non-Christians.

Perhaps the greatest tool Satan uses is professing Christians whose lives deny their profession.

Remember, just as the sun, moon, and stars shine in an otherwise dark sky, believers are to shine (show their character) in the midst of a dark culture.

2. SHARE.

“Holding fast the Word of Life” – holding forth; here it refers to believers holding out or offering something for others to take; as one would offer food or a gift to someone.

Hold fast to the Word of Life as he seeks to be a radiant (shine) testimony in a crooked world.

Holding forth is a present active participle, which indicates the action goes on at the same time as the action of the main verb.  That is, the Philippian believers were shining as lights in the world while holding for the Word of Life.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is not either/or, but both/and. We are to shine and share.

Psalm 96:3: “Declare His glory among the nations, his wonders among all peoples.”

We are to shine like a star and speak like a man

The whole world is our field.

My life is to be a witness and my lips are to be witnessing.

Walk/Talk

Behave/Believe

Witness/Word

Christian is to study the Word, apply it to himself, and then translate it into daily living before the world and shareit.

Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” 

Study, Do, Teach.

“Word of Life” – the gospel which when believed produces spiritual and eternal life.

B. THERE IS CONCERN.  16-18

Obedience would cause rejoicing at Judgment Seat.

1. Rejoicing in Victories.  16, 17, 18

v.17-18  An attitude of natural joy ought to accompany any sacrificial Christian service.  

v.17 “being poured out” – to be offered as a drink offering. Speaks of his present ministry among the Philippians.  The “drink offering” refers to the topping off of an ancient animal sacrifice.  The offerer poured wine either in front or on top of the burning animal and the wine would be vaporized. The steam symbolized the rising of the offering to the deity for whom the sacrifice was made.

Paul offered his life as a “drink offering” and saw the Philippians as priests who were offering their lives sacrificially and faithfully in service to God. 

2. RUNNING IN VAIN.  16

Paul wanted to look back on his ministry and see that all his efforts were worthwhile.