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Lights In A Dark World I - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2020 12:00 am

Lights In A Dark World I - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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August 28, 2020 12:00 am

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

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Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the glory's of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.

This is Lasey Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. I know that most of you are, like I am, deeply concerned about the conditions that prevail in our country today. I trust that we all are diligent in prayer, seeking the Lord to intervene. Join me for a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank thee for thy daily mercies. We thank thee for thy sovereign grace given us through Jesus Christ. In these dark times, when there are so many issues that have come to the forefront and so many things that are in opposition to the truths of thy word, we pray for thy intervention. We pray that you would spare this nation, that our religious liberty would not be taken from us.

Guide and direct in every detail, we pray, for Jesus' sake. Amen. Today, our subject, Lights in a Dark World. We live today in a time of great prosperity. People in America, in particular, have more than could ever have been imagined by previous generations. And yet, in spite of the fact that people, in general, have more material possessions, more opportunities to travel, more of the things that would be considered that which would bring satisfaction, there probably is as much discontentment, murmuring, and complaining as has ever been known. You find people who are sometimes seething under the surface because they feel they haven't gotten their fair share of the prosperity of our time. People are easily irritated. People are impatient. Some of the common rules of courtesy that were prevalent in our land a few years ago have been forgotten. They're demanding, overbearing, complain about most anything and everything.

They're ready to sue you at the drop of a hat. When we see that kind of a spirit and attitude prevailing, it brings home to us the vivid contrast that should be observed in the lives of God's people. And we have that before us in the passage that we're ready to look at now in our study in the book of Philippians. Philippians chapter 2, reading verses 14 through 16, reading verses 14 through 16, do all things without murmurings and disputings, that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.

My subject for this section of our study is light in a dark world. We note three things in particular here. First, we are told to be submissive, that is, do not complain. Furthermore, we are told to be holy, to live as sons of God. And then we're told to be active, to hold forth the word of life.

Paul has been talking to this church about the importance of unity. He has set forth the example of Jesus Christ, pointing out that Jesus humbled himself, took upon himself the form of a servant, went to the cross, and then God highly exalted him. He is saying that we have in our Savior the example that we should follow because he says, let this same mind be in you which was also in him. He then admonished them in the 12th verse that as they had obeyed while he was with them, he encouraged them to continue to obey while he was away from them, that they would work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. This does not indicate the fear of man, but an awesome respect for God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Those who tremble at the word of God give evidence that their hearts have been touched by grace and that they belong to him.

Now he says, as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling, do it without murmurings and disputings. Do not complain. Do not complain. This word murmur also means grumble and that's one of those words that kind of sounds like what it is. Grumble. What does a grumbler sound like? A complainer. Somebody that's making noises and saying things you'd really care not to hear. You don't want to be around somebody all the time that complains, complains, complains about everything.

Nothing is ever quite right. But you see that's an indication of the depravity of our nature, our fallenness, that we are prone to complain. Rather than being thankful, rather than recognizing our unworthiness and how we deserve not even the least of his mercies, we tend to murmur. But your obedience, the working out of your salvation, is to be done with joy.

That's another of the themes of this book. Paul is constantly talking about rejoicing in the Lord in spite of his adverse circumstances and he tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. We are to serve God, not under a slavish fear.

When we talk about obedience, we're not talking about legalism. We're talking about serving God out of love because of his marvelous grace, because of what he's done for us and because of what he's doing in us. For as he tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, he says it is God that worketh in you both the will and the do of his good pleasure. So if God is working in you, you're not on your own.

You're not trying to do this by just gritting your teeth, digging your heels in and say well I'll do it if I have to or I'll try to make it. No, God is working in you. You're empowered with the presence of the Holy Spirit to be able to serve him willingly, lovingly. Let us then be sure that we do not give way to the weaknesses of our flesh, fall into the same spirit that is seen in the world around us because we are to be lights in a dark world.

If we have the same kind of attitude, use the same kind of language, make the same kind of complaints, become the same type of unhappy grumbler that others are, our lights are not going to be shining. We're not going to be a witness. You might try to talk to somebody about what you believe and they're going to be very unimpressed because you must display it first in your life. You must be able to demonstrate that you are one who finds joy in the Lord no matter what your circumstances are. But if you're given to murmuring, your testimony is vain.

Nobody's going to be impressed with you. People complain today even when they have an abundance of material possessions. And I really believe that some of this has come about because of an incorrect understanding about how parents ought to train their children. Many parents are so interested in pursuing their own interest, so involved in making money, so tied up in their jobs, so much in pursuit of their own entertainment. They don't spend adequate time with their children. They don't teach and train their children. They don't properly discipline their children. Their children are being taught the concept of self-esteem and so indeed the children esteem themselves very highly. As a result, they feel like they're entitled to everything. They make demands and the parents would rather give in to their request than to have to put up with the feedback, the rebellion, the complaint that comes when they don't let them have their way.

So rather than parents being the authority figure which God has designated that they ought to be, they appease their children. I had parents say to me, well I'm afraid to take a real firm stand. I just don't know what my child would do.

I just dread to think about the consequences. It's just easier for me to let him go and come as he wants. Let him do what he wants to do. Let him put whatever posters on the wall he wants to put there.

Let him listen to whatever kind of music he wants to listen to. Let me tell you parents, God holds you accountable for the training of your children. And if you deal with your children in such a way, giving in to every whim, every desire, every request, let them have everything they want. You think you've got to keep up with everybody else, give them the best of material things and you focus their attention on that till they have become so selfish and self-focused they become a perpetual complainer.

You're accountable for having contributed to it. And then not only do children sometimes whine and murmur and complain rather than displaying a thankful attitude, but then wives will complain about their husbands, murmur about them, talk about them to other people, talk about them behind their back. That is a violation of every biblical principle that you can imagine. A husband may talk about his wife, refers to her as the old woman, calls her a nag, speaks to her or about her in an unbecoming fashion, murmuring against her. God's not pleased with it. It may not be your husband or your wife, but you may just complain about people in general. Have you noticed that some people seem to find that to be the most important part of their conversation? There's always somebody to complain about, somebody to put down. That's gossip.

It is something that is strictly forbidden in the Word of God. People grumble about their work. Nothing's ever right at work.

Too much is expected of me. The boss is overbearing. The people I work with are difficult.

Let me tell you, it may be that you have forgotten who you're working for if you've become a grumbler and a complainer. You are to serve, not with eye services, men pleasers, but as unto the Lord. Even if you have a difficult job, an overbearing boss, if you understand when you're going to work, you're going to work for Jesus Christ. You're going to put forth your best effort. You're going to do the best possible job. You're going to seek to magnify Him. No matter how challenging the task is, it changes your whole perspective. I'm here on this job to honor Christ.

I'm here to do my best that I may shine as a light in a dark world. If I join with everybody else in this place who is murmuring and complaining, am I going to have any kind of a witness? All kinds of complaints about work, about the government. Certainly our government has its faults and flaws, but can you think of any other government in the world today under which you would like to be living? Can you not be thankful for the one that we have, thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy here? I got an email yesterday from Elder Guna in India talking about the authorities that have come several times recently to examine their books and to search out what all they're doing, reporting back to the officials and keeping them on edge as to what may be the next step in depriving them of their religious liberty. One American preacher visited in the area recently and was beaten severely with crowbars. We have liberty here.

What a treasure, how we ought to thank God for it. Is it not out of order then to be spending our time murmuring and complaining and grumbling? You can fall into the trap of complaining about the church. Thankfully I don't see this much among our people, but I hear it as I talk to ministers of other orders. They say there are people today that are just constant church hoppers.

They just go from one to another. They go to one church and decide they don't like the music program. They go to another church and they don't like this, they don't like that, and they're constantly looking for somewhere else and they're always talking about those where they just were.

We ought not to be a murmurer. No church is a perfect church. Every church being made up of fallen sinners saved by grace has its faults and its weaknesses, and those are things that we ought to labor for and pray for that they might be strengthened. It's possible to become very critical not only of the church itself and the members of it, but of the pastor. In years gone by I've known the families and later admitted that they had spent so much time criticizing the church and the pastor in particular that they discouraged their children and their children when they became of age turned away from the church entirely.

They said we can understand now that we contributed to that. It was partly our fault because we'd go home from church and pick apart the sermon that we had heard. You'll never hear a perfect sermon from the lips of men. You'll never have a perfect man standing in the pulpit.

God has this treasure in earth and vessels, and whether it is me or any other man that stands here, any man who seeks to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ needs your support, your encouragement, and your prayers. If a man is at fault, the preacher ought to be personally approached and labored with in a gospel way just like anybody else. But if you talk about him, if you murmur and grumble, are you here that such and such a preacher said something and you quoted as though it's fact and you don't know? That's gossip. That's grumbling. That's sowing discord.

Murmuring. Sometimes people become murmurers and complainers about any service that they render. Somebody said to me one time, I'll tell you I just feel like I've done more than my share. I've really stuck my neck out for people. I've ministered to them. I've done this. I've done that.

They went down a whole long list, but you know, nobody's appreciated it. And I tell you what, I'm just giving up. I said, that's good. Looked at me kind of funny. Said, you think that's good? I said, yeah. You never should have started because obviously the reason for the service you rendered was you wanted somebody to appreciate you. You wanted somebody to pat you on the back.

Nobody ever did. So you're ready to quit. Good. You ought to quit. Any service that we render is to be as unto the Lord. So if you get to the place you feel like you're overburdened, you're put on, you're doing too much, somebody else is not doing their job and all the time you're working, you're thinking about, where's everybody else? Why isn't somebody else helping me out?

Why isn't somebody else doing this? You're not serving with joy unto the Lord. He says, do all things without murmuring. Thank God for what opportunities you have to serve. Thank God for what opportunities you have to give.

Thank God for what opportunities you have to minister to anybody else and to lift anyone else's burdens. But don't be a murmur, a grumbler. They had that problem in the early church, believe it or not. Acts chapter 6 verse 1, and in those days when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily administration. There was poverty in that day and the church was seeing to it that the widows were cared for. But here those of the Grecian lineage said our widows were being neglected. Things are not being dealt fairly.

These who are natives of Jerusalem are getting more than our people are. There was murmuring, murmuring. Now they resolved that by appointing the first deacons to see that the ministers would not be distracted from prayer and the preaching of the word to have to resolve these difficulties.

But can you not see how inappropriate it was, how petty that these kinds of controversies would arise? Paul is keenly aware of the weaknesses of the flesh and how people give way to them. And so he's saying your obedience is to be with joy and without grumbling. You are to work out your salvation with a humble spirit of joy. Let's look at the book of 1st John. 1st John chapter 5 reading in the first verse. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and keep his commandments. How is it that we know we love God? Not just because we sing a song, oh how I love Jesus. Not just because we declare to somebody I really love the Lord with all my heart. But the way that is demonstrated is that we love the children of God. We know that we love the children of God when we love God and keep his commandments. The evidence that we love him then is that we do what he says, that we keep his commandments. For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not grievous. As soon as you come to the conclusion that what is being preached from the word of God is burdensome, difficult, grievous, ought not to be preached. You have a tendency to reject it, to draw back from it.

You know there's a problem. You're not viewing it in the proper light. You're not understanding that the very basis and motive for all of our service is to be loved. That we are to serve with a humble spirit out of love in gratitude for the mercies of God for all that he has done for us. When we understand something about how amazing his grace is, seeing ourselves as fallen ruined sinners, knowing that we could never have saved ourselves, but he has saved us by his grace. Is that not reason to inspire us that in every detail of our life we want to love him supremely, we want to seek him first, we want to honor Jesus Christ in word, in deed, in every part of life.

Surely if we find that to be difficult it's because we fail to grasp how desperate our state was, how significant our need, how impossible it would have been for us to have recovered ourselves. And now that we have been touched by grace, called by the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, washed, the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, having a hope of heaven in our heart, knowing that we're but strangers and pilgrims here, but we look for that city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Is there not then every reason to commit ourselves to him and to serve him faithfully in all that he calls upon us to do? First Peter chapter 4 verse 9 says, Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

Without grudging simply means without murmuring, without complaining, without being a grumbler. So if somebody were to read in the scripture, well I'm to be given the hospitality. So I'm going to do that. I'm going to invite some people to my home for dinner.

I'm going to invite some people traveling through to spend the night. But the whole time you're about it, you're muttering under your breath. I don't know why I had got myself into this mess. This is an imposition on my time. This is inconvenient for me.

Is it not something I really want to do? The whole effort is vain. And that's applicable to any kind of service that you render. Use hospitality one to another without grudging, without murmuring, without complaining. Work out your own salvation with a humble spirit, with joy in the Lord. Now furthermore, as we talk about this matter of being submissive and not complaining, we learn in the scripture that we are to profit by the mistakes of others. That is when we look at the murmurers and complainers that are vividly described in the pages of scripture, we are to learn not to follow that terrible example. In the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 10, this is made plain when Paul refers to those former times.

He's saying, I would not that you should be ignorant brethren. I want you to know about what happened to our fathers in olden times and says in the 10th verse, neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. See the Bible has a lot to say about murmuring. Somebody might conclude this morning, well I think there's probably sins of a greater magnitude you could preach on. I don't know that it's necessary to take time this morning to talk about murmuring. I dare say that the sin of murmuring is more widespread than we might want to admit. We probably all have done a little grumbling here and there that we wouldn't want to concede, but it's there nevertheless. Some of it is spoken, some of it is internal, but we're still grumbling before the Lord.

This is a significant sin and this is something that's to be faced, recognized, repented of. Verse 11 says, now all these things happen unto them for in samples and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. He says these things were not written just to be part of a history book, just so you can go back and see what happened in the long ago. They're recorded for your learning. There's a lesson you're to learn.

You're to profit by it. You're to see the grave error on the part of these in years that are past and not follow their example. The one that thinks he stands, a person might say today, well I just don't believe this applies to me.

I think I'm in great shape on this point. He says the one that thinks he stands is ready to fall. May all of us recognize the weakness of our humanity, the weakness of our fallen nature, the inclination to be a murmurer, a complainer rather than one who is continually rendering the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto God. Well there's no question but what we're living in a dark world and it gets darker all the time.

Some of the things that are transpiring in this day showing no regard for law and order certainly indicate the deep corruption that's in corruption that's in fallen man and how much we need to shine as lights in the darkness that's around us. I hope that you will write and let us know that you've listened to the program today. That's to the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. And until we greet you next time, this is LeSara Bradley Jr. bidding you goodbye and may God bless you. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest. I am my Savior, I'm happy and blessed, watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-24 05:23:15 / 2024-03-24 05:32:52 / 10

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