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February 24, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message entitled “Shining Lights” from Philippians 2:14-16.
For Bolivians is is really trust because it's because he's writing all these letters to the Philippians and all this entire time he's in prison so you accounting different circumstances. Your Bob Jones with time management or troubles with classes of investors, interest board and then letting the trust guideway child that had been going to change lanes that I guide he's always there for me and he always provides strength that I need Bob Jones University students who been blessed by the chapel messages in the Philippians series called live worthy of the gospel was now listen to today's message from Philippians 214 through 16 entitled shining lights, but would you please take your Bibles and turn with me this morning to the book of Philippians we been working our way through our theme this semester on living worthy of the gospel and Paul is writing a church of people that he deeply loves his message is challenging but is highly encouraging.
He's not really writing them to rebuke them, though there are some corrections he's making but most of all, this is a church that he lives who loves him and there's nothing more wonderful.
I think than to be a member of a church where your pastor loves you and you love your pastor and you love the people of the church. Yesterday was my privilege to be in a church near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and last night near North Augusta, South Carolina, and to be in a church where people love each other and am looking forward to the day when church will not be as uncomfortable as awkward as it is now. This too will pass and will be able to be back in full and complete fellowship of churches. I hope that you are faithful to church. I hope that you're going faithfully every single Sunday morning I realize it's a requirement but is also a privilege.
People ask me is it a problem for you to preach on Sundays. No, I say, going to church on my own. Sundays is a blessing is not a pressure pressure for me is not Sunday morning. It's Monday morning and everything changes but to be in God's house.
What a blessing as we look at this passage of Scripture. This morning I want to challenge your heart with the theme that Paul sets forth here, especially in verse 15 we read beginning in verse 14. These words do all things without murmurings in disputing's that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you 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. Father, please place your word this morning and speak to our hearts through it.
In Jesus name, amen. Sometimes it's not even most the times it is hard for us to appreciate the value of light until you experience total darkness. My wife and I were married in 1980. We spent most of our honeymoon up in the mountains of Colorado, but our first couple of days. We went down to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We went to one of the tourist locations there called the Cave of the winds. As we were on the tour. They took us into a room into a cave and they said we are going to turn off the lights in your going to experience total darkness. This is now there's a rail there that you would put your hands on because you probably find yourself actually feeling very unstable and it will throw off your equilibrium and sure enough, when the lights went out. It was the creepiest thing. I took my hand and put it in front of my face and I couldn't see it on and grabbed a hold of my wife's hand and the rail and just to stabilize myself because it was just such an awkward feeling and when the lights came back. Suddenly, everything that was at peace and so you learn to appreciate life especially when you experience darkness. The apostle Paul here is writing to the church at Philippi. He's telling them to live your life worthy of the gospel live out a life that reflects the gospel experience that you had in your life. In verses 14 through 16. He is telling the believers. One of the ways in which we live worthy of the gospel and that is that we live as shining lights in a dark world.
The world that were living in described in Scripture is living in spiritual and moral darkness, so that everywhere that we go we are to shine as lights and I want us to look at that this morning as we look at these verses more carefully and I want to ask and try to answer three questions. Question number one is this what is he mean by being a shining light, he says, among whom ye shine as lights.
The word shine. There is the idea, of course, what you would think the production of light.
You look up and you see the lights in the ceiling here and there, shining upon us and the phrases in the present tense.
Now he's not speaking about something that you used to do. He speaking about something that you're doing now we turn the lights on and were experiencing the light in the word light here is a light producing object that is set in the sky.
The best way to look at it is in a dark night you go out and you see the shining stars or you see the moon or course when the sun comes up in the morning and it's it dispels the darkness of the night he's talking about us shining light these luminaries in the sky we are shining with the backdrop of black darkness. He says we are shining light. So what is it mean to be a shining light. It actually means to be what you are.
It's not something you produced is something that you really are because what is the Scripture say Matthew 514, he says, Jesus says you are the light of the world.
Second Corinthians 46 for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In other words, when you got saved God shine the light you came to see the light in the midst of your darkness, your darkness of God, your moral darkness. But God saved you know growing up in a Christian home. Sometimes it's hard to really recognize my case.
I did grow up in a Christian home. I didn't hear the gospel to I was 17 years old. I did get saved until my freshman year in college. So for me it was a really light and darkness experience. I was in darkness, I didn't know the truth. I didn't understand the gospel and I came to the Lord.
Actually, the light shined on me through the preaching of the gospel in a and when I when that light shined in my heart and I received it. Suddenly I had the light shining out of me. So here's what Paul is saying he is saying that we are to let our light so shine before men in a dark world. Believers are simply called to be what we are for you, or sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord walk as children of light be what you are. You are the light of the world. You can create the light. You don't form the life you don't turn the light so you are light because Christ the light of the world is in your life so you saying simply this. Be in Christ, what you are mentally to the second question, that is, where are we to be shining lights.
Where is our light shine in verse 15. He is very very specific. He says you are to be sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world and actually saying two things your number one in general he is saying that Christians are to shine light into the world know what is he mean by world course, he's not talking about the physical world that we live in peace talking about the world of unbelievers, the mass of unsaved humanity, who are living their life every day to fulfill their own desires to fail to fulfill their own dreams to create their own reality through their mind and that's the way that they are living every single day, and here's what he is saying these people are living in a darkness they don't know God and they don't know the life of God or the life that they should be living in God they don't know that.
So we saying to us, we are to shine the light through our faith to our testimony the way that we live. We are to shine into the darkness of this world. John 319. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world.
That's Jesus, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. As believers we are to live in the middle of a spiritually and morally dark world.
He says your to shine as lights among them. This means that Christians are not to run in high God is never called his people to isolate themselves from the world. Isolation is never a good thing. I think we would all agree with that. You don't want to be isolated from people coming back to school was not a burden. It was a blessing. What's the blessing the blessing is being with people and so we saying as children of God we are today only rub shoulders with to walk among and work with unbelievers. That's why often times will encourage you that when you graduate leave Greenville. I'm not saying you should never stay angry. No, I'm not saying that that's a are a wrong issue. That's not the point of trying to make the point is this if your light than what should you be doing. You should be shining you should be going out into the world and everywhere you go you shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and it gives light under all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
You should make plans in your life to be in a place where you can shine into the darkness light can only influence darkness by coming into contact with it and that's what he's called us to do to go into all the world and to spread the gospel.
So in general. He says we are to be lights into the world, but then he becomes very specific and notice what he says that we are to shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. He is giving us here are the characteristics of the distinguishable characteristics that are in the world and notice what he says. He says they are crooked and they are a perverse nation.
The word crooked means to be curved for her, and perhaps you've heard of scoliosis of the spine, God created the spine to be straight and it works best when a stray but often times people get a curvature in their spine. He's talking about a nation in the word nation. There is not like the United States of America is actually referring to a generation so we speak about generations. We talk about baby boomers. That's what I am.
We talk about millennial's, what is a millennial is somebody who was born and they were given a trophy for being born. Then there's generation Z gin Sears that's most of you, if not all of you and what he is saying is every generation has spiritual and moral scoliosis. They are if you could say in this way, they are not straight, they that they're not living shrewd.
They don't they don't live honest, upright lives in obedience to God.
They walked contrary to God's truth and in the second word is the word perverse of the word perverse has the idea of twisted it's the twisting of correct behavior as it's revealed in Scripture. And so we live in a very twisted world today where good is being called evil and evil is being called good and things today that are brought out in public, whether it's it, whether it has to do with human life or human sexuality is very twisted.
The world is twisted and so what he is saying to us as believers, as we are to live our lives as light and we are to live this slide out in a generation that is twisted, and he is crooked and right. Here we see a very important point that Paul is making and that is how do we influence the world. This is always been the struggle among believers. How do we influence the world and Paul's concern is that believers recognize that you reach the world by being different from the world. How different is darkness compared to light how different is the kingdom of God. Compared to the kingdom of Satan.
How different is it how how difference is truth. Compared to that which is error and often times Christians don't really want to live with the reality that they are supposed to be different and you cannot have genuine impact upon the world.
If you believe that in order to reach the world. You have to be like the world that is not the truth, he says, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
What are you to do.
You are to shine as lights. It should be so clear that everywhere you go that you are distinctly and uniquely different. First of all in what you believe and secondly, in the way you behave your walk and your talk.
They should be absolutely consistently different from the world because that's what light does.
We should be shining lights morally and ethically, and spiritually, and relationally in the midst of darkness, when the greatest testimonies to the darkness of this world is a Christian family of husband and wife that are faithful to one another to raise their children in the truth who are faithful to God in the local church who live their lives out in the community as a testimony to this will.
So Paul is calling us to be shining lights in the midst of occur, a crooked and perverse nation that leads me to the third and final question that is then how do we do this. How do we shine as lights in the world. And Paul basically says two things. Number one, we do it.
First of all, through our conduct.
The way we live. And secondly, through our conversation. What we say our wall and our talk and notice if you will please how he says we are to be shining lights. First of all, in our conduct. Notice what he says in verse 14 he says do all things without murmurings in disputing's that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without review. The first thing he tells us is that we are to act like a son of God.
Think about that. I have four children and they all have the same last name, and on many occasions I've said to them, remember your last name. Don't ever forget it.
I said remember that everywhere you go. You're going to reflect on the name of your family whether it ends up being the good name or bad name is can be based on the way that you live folks. We must never forget. We must never forget that we are sons and daughters of God. We have been adopted into God's family we share in the family love. We will one day spend eternity as perfect sons and daughters of God. We must never ever forget that and he tells us that we are to live our lives and show ourselves to be sons of God, and he says. First of all by being blameless. What does it mean to be blameless. It means that you don't become an excuse for the unbelievers unbelief. If you grow up in a Christian home.
Sometimes it's hard to see this when I became a Christian I was the first Christian in my family I don't.
I didn't know anybody in my family that was a believer and when I began to share my experience of conversion. The first thing I began to sense was that they were going to watch the way that I live and sometimes the greatest witness is the consistency of your life among your own family and I knew that I did not want to become an excuse for my family members unbelief. They may not believe. But at least I don't want to be an excuse and often times is Christian young people growing up in a Christian home. You don't really realize that and so in some sense, you become extremely lax in your behavior. Not really realizing that people are watching you. He says don't become an excuse. Then he says that we are to be harmless to work harmless. There has the idea of sincerity, genuineness, always remember, the world is going to use you as an excuse for their sin by calling you a hypocrite you to live your lives like 24 ^ pure goal that the the accusation that you should receive is that you're the most sincere genuine Christian people have ever met, blameless, harmless, and then he says, without review, and the word without rebuke is the idea of a lamb without spot or blemish. It speaks of the character of Jesus that was perfect and he's calling us as Christians to have the right kind of character before the whether it's honesty or hard work will we represent the Lord in the way that we live in the way we deal with things.
I'm so thankful up I just did an interview podcast with Mr. Buettner. We talked about his experience of being the CFO of Dr Pepper and we talked about that experience of living as a harmless blameless child of God, without rebuke. That's what he's calling us to do. We are to live this way and then I want you to notice how it is that were to do this because Paul gets really really specific we would say in the preaching world.
He starts meddling. He really gets down to our behavior and notice the two things he says in verse 14 he says do all things without murmurings and disputing's what is murmuring. We were not murmuring means to complain means to gripe it's it's the 11th commandment thou shalt not whine murmuring.
It's it's that that under the breath griping and the word is used three times in the New Testament and in each case it refers to dissatisfied grumblings of any kind that promotes tension within the Christian community.
The thermostat that sets the temperature of any Christian organization is always the tongue. It's always what comes out of the mouth and what comes out of the mouth is what comes out of the heart because the tongue is the dipstick of the heart and what comes out of your mouth reveals the condition of your heart, so is talking here about basically unfulfilled expectations. Things that I want things that I desire and I'm not getting those in so I react and I complained to those thing. It can be selfish, complaining, impatience, towards what is not understood. Unbalanced criticism of others and little matters grudgingly unwillingness to be helpful. It's always expressed outwardly and then the second thing he says is he says do all things without murmurings and disputing what is the word dispute mean it literally means to dialogue it means to quarrel it means to constantly argue over differences of opinions were not talking about doctrinal truths were talking about differences. What kills every ministry every time.
What kills every relationship every time. Are these two things, whether it's complaining or whether it's disputing and God commanded the Israelites to conquer the land of Canaan out to think about this, God brought them out miraculously from the land of Egypt. They crossed the Red Sea in a miracle that God in the wilderness, God says I'm in a be with you any just proved he was with them because he parted the Red Sea and he delivered them from the angel of death but you know what happened to the children of Israel that got out of the land of Egypt.
They never got into the land of Canaan and for 40 years they wandered in the wilderness in every single adult over 20 years old, died in the wilderness. Do you know why you want but you know the calls of why they didn't get into the land. They didn't get into the land because they complained because they disputed because they argued and complaining, always leads to some form of unbelief. Why, because when we complain we actually are complaining against God's sovereignty in my life. Listen that very carefully when I complain I'm not talking about constructive critiquing. No words here something we need to fix.
Okay, that's a positive thing. But when we whine and complain. We actually are grumbling out against the sovereign control of God in my life and it shuts down the blessing and they didn't get into the land of Canaan. Now let me just say this in a positive way. There has been more this is my seventh year Bob Jones University.
There has been more to complain about Bob Jones University this semester than it any semester I've experienced in the seven years of any you have more to complain about. You have to wear these stupid masks you have to socially distance your EE what what you used to be able to get in the dining common in the way it was. It's not that way today there's more reasons to complain that it any time I've experienced in being a Bob Jones University and I want to say publicly that this is the most happy and grateful, joyful atmosphere I've experienced in the 70 you know I because you just happy to be here. I'd rather be here than sitting at home doing homeschooling. I'd rather be here with my friends and by the way, thankfulness covers a multitude of sins. There's all kinds of things you could complaining gripe about.
But if you keep in your heart that God has been here and I'm happy here and sure I don't like where the mask but okay if we if we had to do this to get through and get our education and be be with our friends and move forward. I'm good with and I'm happy with it and the point of the matter is it's that spirit that changes everything.
What Paul is saying is everywhere I go I should choose to rejoice. That's what that's what the book is all about and he says you do this. First of all, by the way that you live in, and secondly not close with this piece is holding fast for 16 the of life and what he's talking about is how do we shine as lights number one buyer behavior in number two by our communication and the holding fast the word of life is literally the holding forth the gospel because what is the gospel is the light and to hold it fast means to constantly everywhere I go I spread the gospel. If you going to the community of Greenville and you come into contact with somebody that is an unbeliever. If you have any window of opportunity. You need to take that opportunity to put the gospel in every where we go, we hold for the word of the life of the gospel and Paul concludes why this is so important to him. He says so that I have not so that I I conclude that I have not run in vain. Neither Labor Day was a document he's talking about investing his life in the church and the church over time dies, you know I've preached in many churches that don't exist in the long and at some point somewhere. The church began to drift from actually being shining lights because of the church continues to shine the light of the gospel that people continue to grow and people continue to be safe. And here's what Paul is saying I don't want the church at Philippi to die, I want you guys to shine everywhere you go and constantly be spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He said that's the point I'm trying to make. Help us Lord to be shining lights father, thank you for your word and help us Lord to shine everywhere we go. In Jesus name, amen.
You've been listening to a sermon from the book of Philippians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled live worthy of the gospel which was written for the series, visit our email@example.com. Join us again tomorrow is we continue the study in Philippians on the daily plan