Shining As Lights in the World

by | Jan 28, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

Information about this sermon:

Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Philippians 2:12-30

Philippians 2 calls all followers of Christ to “shine as lights in the world”. It is by shining the light of Christ into the world that we proclaim Jesus to be Lord and Savior. However shining as a light for Christ is difficult. Our motivations are muddied with our own self interests and need to be validated. These self-centered motivations are made evident by the way we complain and argue with one another. We complain because we doubt that God is good and we argue because we are dreadfully insecure. The only way to find the confidence and security we need to shine as lights in the world is to work out our own salvation, come to the end of ourselves, and put our only hope in Jesus Christ to save us.


Well this morning we continue with our our series uh through the Paul’s letter to the Philippians that we’ve begun in this this season uh together and uh the reason to remind you that we’re walking through Paul’s letter to the Philippians is because of the really the main theme uh as Paul was writing to the Philippians as he was in jail in Rome uh he was writing to them to encourage them to continue advancing the gospel stay on Mission keep on doing it they were facing all kinds of outside threats uh that were that were threatening them and that uh there because of that there were issues that were going on inside the church uh but Paul says you even through it all I’m suffering think of all that I’m going through but the mission is continuing I’m continuing to preach the gospel El and God the word is getting out to all the borian guard we looked at a few few weeks ago that the mission continues despite the threats and what we’ve learned over the past couple weeks that Paul reveals to us is uh the biggest threat isn’t external at all the biggest threat to the advance of the Gospel isn’t all the stuff that’s happening in the world it isn’t all the stuff that’s happening in the culture every generation has faced outside threat and the gospel continues and the mission continues because even the Gates of Hell cannot triumph over it but the danger the threat resides in our own Hearts the threat to advancing the gospel last week and as uh as Paul be or as uh Chuck began uh the our chapter two we were we were led to the need for humility in our hearts to advance the gospel that it’s Absol absolutely necessary uh and today there’s two more threats that uh that Paul specifically speaks to uh in our verses especially the the first verses um I’m going to leave the last verses of um uh verses 18 verses 19 through the end of the chapter to you it’s mostly uh Logistics of what’s going on and and what’s happening and it’s important uh but I really want to look at these verses 12 through 18 together uh and in verses 14- 18 Paul reveals that there’s two interior in our own heart threats to advancing the gospel that we have to be aware of and that we have to deal with before we can worry about anybody else and sharing the gospel with others in our lives uh and those two threats are complaining and disput disputing complaining and disputing you know uh I heard a story about a young man who decided to to join a a monastic order uh and to enter into the monastery as a full-time monk uh and so the the group The the monastery in the monastic order he chose was particularly strict uh had a very strict way of life and the head monk uh told them when he was being uh when he was being brought into the monastery that they were sworn to total silence uh they could they could not speak one word at all total silence but every 10 years they were allowed to speak two words two words after 10 years they they were allowed to speak and so after 10 years of total silence the head monk uh went to this uh now not so new monk right uh and and and told him that indicated to him that it was time for him to speak speak two words and so that monk said bed

hard and then he went on and resumed his silent study and his worship and his work for another 10 years and so after that next 10 years had passed the head monk uh came up to him again and indicated that it was time again for his him to be able to speak his two words so the monk said food [Applause] bad and then he resumed his silent study and his worship and all of his work for another 10 years and another 10 years pass and the head monk again came to him and indicated that it was time for him to speak uh his two words and so the monk uh then said to the head monk I

quit and the the head monk shook his head and he said I knew this was coming for the past 30 years you’ve done nothing but complain

I can speak of complain me because it’s near and and dear to uh to my own heart unfortunately I look I can don’t have to look back very far I got um I got the summons for jury duty yeah the the dreaded summons to uh to to do my civic duty um and uh and I’ve been complaining about it all week all week I’ve done nothing but complain about all that I’m like how inconvenient this is going to be all the responsibilities I have and to have to go and then what’s going to happen and kept hoping that on Friday I was going to get that email that said your group isn’t needed that’s happened once before but I didn’t I’ve got to go tomorrow um and so I’ve just been complaining to everybody that that would hear complaining complaining complaining but Paul says in verse vers 14 do all things without grumbling or disputing 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 light in the world Paul’s concern is that we shine bright as lights in the world for Christ that we continue to advance the gospel and and then he’s telling us that complaining and uh and disent or disputing Among Us hinder our gospel proclamation in the world of being those lights that shine uh in the darkness of this world to a crooked and wicked generation but what does Paul mean well the grumbling uh is literally muttering it’s to mutter or to complain it’s the same word that if we remember our study on acts uh when the need for deacons arose remember there was the the the grumbling that was going on about the way that the the helist versus uh the the Jewish Christians then they were they were arguing about how their their widows were being treated in the distribution uh of food and the things they needed well they were grumbling they were complaining uh that their folks were being neglected do you do you ever

complain no if have you ever tried not to have you ever done the there’s an exercise uh the tame the tongue exercise that uh where you try to go a week without without complaining it’s impossible unless you just don’t talk to anyone and then you’re doing all the complaining in your own heart right like it’s happening in your own head you’re complaining to somebody uh the second word is don’t he’s saying don’t dispute meaning don’t argue don’t argue now this doesn’t mean don’t have debate this doesn’t mean don’t have discussion uh what this is is it saying do not uh do not argue with one another you know Mark Twain uh said never argue with a fool because onlookers may not be able to tell the

difference you know there there’s something to that right about our uh about our Witness to others but the issue here isn’t discussion is GK T Chesterton said uh the thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a

discussion because there’s something different about discussing an issue and arguing about it isn’t there something very different and what’s different is about what both of these things the complaining and the arguing about what it speaks about our own Hearts because it speaks about something much deeper something much deeper within us because you see the grumbling the grumbling the complaining it it speaks to a deeper lack of trust in God’s goodness and provision that’s really what it is like why am I grumbling about serving jury duty and because because it makes me worry about all the things I got to do this week and how am I going to do them and what’s going to happen and and and I start to get all this fear and anxiety in me because I realize I don’t trust God I don’t trust his provision I don’t trust that in his goodness and that’s why we complain because because we don’t trust in his goodness and of our heart of hearts why do we dispute why do we feel the need to argue instead of really just discussing with humility with other people why do we have to argue which means we got to win right we can’t just have the discussion we have to be the one to win the battle it’s got to be ours because it shows that there’s something in our heart of hearts that’s incredibly insecure we’re not truly secure in our own Hearts GK Chester has also said it’s always the secure who are humble you know when when we’re truly secure in our own Hearts we don’t have any need to argue we can discuss somebody else can even if they think they won great you go ahead and think you won it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter right we’re free to do that but but those issues in the human heart are a problem when when when we argue and when we complain because what we’re doing is we’re not loving God with our heart soul and mind and we’re not loving our neighbor as ourself what Jesus has called us to and it affects our mission it affects our ability to share Christ and to shine as lights in a wicked and crooked generation because the wicked and crooked generation of which every generation has right right of people are walking in darkness complaining and arguing is the norm so what makes us any different what makes us more secure are we any different what what makes us more content and trusting in the goodness of God that causes us not to need to complain in the first place there’s got to be something deeper there’s a deeper problem in us that has to be answered and so I wanted to work backwards and start from from those verses because now I want to go back uh to the first verses to show what Paul’s getting at of we we can’t make ourselves more uh less grumbly and and less argumentative uh we can’t force ourselves to be I mean we can try but it’s still gonna it’s going to break out uh something deeper has to happen something deeper within ourselves and with our own hearts and so Paul in verse 12 said therefore my beloved as you have always obeyed so so now not only as in my presence but much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling work out your own salvation with fear and trembling you know I think when we hear this passage presented most of the times it it see it’s usually given as hey you need to work harder right you need to be doing more you need to be you need to be training your your spiritual self for salvation you got to work harder but that’s not what Paul is saying here he’s saying work out your own salvation there’s that that that key there your own what Paul’s saying here is stop worrying about everybody else and start worrying about you and how are we supposed to do it we’re supposed to do it with fear and with trembling as but that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to be scared that doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to be in doubt uh the word fear Phobos it means lacking the sufficient resources or ability to handle the matter so when you think about it when you’re afraid why are you afraid because you don’t have the ability to keep yourself safe right that’s why it happens when when my you know there’s difference between being startled and scared but you know my son loves to hide behind the wall when you know when I’m walking around the corner to try to scare me right and it startles me because I think I can protect myself in that moment it’s why you know I always have to sleep closest to the door uh because I you know although I sleep through everything anyway but you know like I’m going to be the one who’s ready to to protect everybody because there there’s that fear that’s in me that’s say if I don’t I won’t have the ability to so fear is that that knowledge that awareness within ourselves that we lack the ability uh to to handle the matter that is before us and so what the this is telling us is if we’re supposed to work out our own salvation with fear what we’re supposed to come to in this matter is the to the knowledge that we do not have the ability to save ourselves that there is nothing we can do to earn our Salvation that it is something that we’ll get into a minute that God has to do with for us and so it means to coming to a place uh fear when you’re working out your own salvation is come to that place we sometimes we talk about it it’s becoming a little bit cliche we have to come to the end of ourselves and and as you would flee from somebody that you’re afraid of we’re supposed to flee from ourselves guess what when we’re worried about everybody else’s sin around us guess what we’re not worried about our own our own he’s saying we’re supposed to be so broken so aware so aware that we cannot deal with it ourselves and that we are so desperately dependent upon on the grace of God that we’re to run away from ourselves and run to Christ we’re supposed to do it with trembling fear and trembling right it describes the anxiety of one who who distrusts his own ability completely to meet that which is required before him and this is a little different between the fear of God uh which is the beginning of wisdom and which is important this is meaning he’s doing telling this this fear and trembling in the context of being aware of ourselves and working out our own salvation and so the fear here is to when you come to the end of yourself when you see what your heart truly

is that you truly fear yourself and what you’re actually capable of you know it’s uh Keller we I think we use this quote all the time but he says cheer up you’re much worse than you

think so that sounds like bad news right but but Paul but to begin with Paul says it’s absolutely necessary for us to be working out our own salvation worrying about ourselves and our own hearts and being aware of where our what it is within us that wants to complain what is it within us that wants to be uh arguing instead of just discussing that part of us that needs to win every discussion and debate instead of instead of truly loving someone and helping them to come to what we really know to be true and being secure in that well Paul goes on in verse 13 to give us the assurance that we need the security that we need to be so secure that we that that we don’t have to argue to be so trusting in God’s goodness that we have nothing to complain about because in verse 13 Paul says for it is God who works in you

both to Will and to work for his good pleasure that’s the grace the grace of God yes we’re supposed to examine ourselves we’re supposed to see our own heart and our own sin before we worry about anybody else around us we’re supposed to worry about because it’s meant to bring us into that humbling place but also that place of seeing God’s grace because it’s only at the bottom it’s only at the end it’s only when we’ve run away from ourselves that we come to the realize that we have no hope if God’s not the one to work in us to transform Our Hearts by his grace both to Will and to work for his good pleasure the transformation we need in our own Hearts isn’t by us working harder and trying harder at it trying to be more humble or trying not to complain and not trying not to be an arguer it’s becoming more and more reliant on the grace of God and his son Jesus

Christ and let’s just think about those two things the complaining and the arguing if we take it to Jesus if anyone had a right to complain it was our savior he’s the only one who truly in every way suffered and died who didn’t deserve it in some way who wasn’t sinful he was without sin what did he do when he was accused when he was asked to defend himself what did he do he stayed silent he didn’t have to argue he didn’t have anything to prove because he was Secure and knowing that he was in his father’s hands and he did that because he loves us so that we can trust him and we can know that he is good that he will take care of us that he will provide in our lives we can trust in that we have don’t have anything to complain about we know that we can are secure in him because it’s him when we’ve come to the end of ourselves and we’ve fleed and we’ve run into the loving arms of our savior that we are safe and secure because it’s now God who’s at work in US to Will and to work for his good pleasure the holy spirit is at work in US transforming us more and more with every day that we can have that security friends as the Lord as we prepare our hearts for the advancing The Gospel Mission the imperative that Paul’s laid in front of us the absolute demand that Paul makes on our lives is to work out our own salvation check ourselves always be checking our own hearts with fear and trembling that we may run into our loving savior’s arm that we may find security and comfort in him alone that we may shine as lights in this crooked and wicked generation amen

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