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1708. Shining Lights

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2024 6:00 pm

1708. Shining Lights

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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February 14, 2024 6:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message from Philippians 2:14-16.

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The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

The theme for Philippians is really trust because it's Paul, he's writing all of these letters to the Philippians and all this entire time he's in prison. And so, you know, and counting different circumstances here at Bob Jones, whether that's time management or troubles with classes or whatever it is, that's just kind of my encouragement to trust the Lord. I've been learning to trust God with trials that I've been going through.

I've learned that God is always there for me and he always provides the strength that I need. Those were Bob Jones University students who've been blessed by the chapel messages from the Philippians series called Live Worthy of the Gospel. Let's now listen to today's message from Philippians 2, 14 through 16 entitled Shining Lights. Well, would you please take your Bibles and turn with me this morning to the book of Philippians. We've 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 loves.

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 it 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 I'm looking forward to the day when church will not be as uncomfortable, as awkward as it is now. This, too, will pass and we'll be able to be back in full and complete fellowship in 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 it's also a privilege. People ask me, is it a problem for you to preach on Sundays? No, I say going to church on Sundays is a blessing. It's 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 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 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 bless your word this morning and speak to our hearts through it in Jesus name. Amen. Sometimes, if not even most of the times, it's 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, and we went to one of the tourist locations there called the Cave of the Winds. And 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, and you're going to experience total darkness. They said, Now there's a rail there that you want to put your hands on because you'll 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. And I 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 light, especially when you experience darkness. The apostle Paul here is writing to the church of Philippi, and he's telling them to live your life worthy of the gospel. Live out a life that reflects the gospel experience that you've had in your life. And 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 we're living in, described in scripture, is living in spiritual, immoral 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 does he mean by being a shining light? He says, among whom ye shine as lights.

The word shine there is the idea, of course, of what you would think, the production of light. You look up and you see the lights in the ceiling here, and they're shining upon us. And the phrase is in the present tense. Now, he's not speaking about something that you used to do.

He's speaking about something that you're doing now. We turn the lights on, and we're experiencing the light. And 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, of course, when the sun comes up in the morning, and it dispels the darkness of the night. He's talking about us shining like these luminaries in the sky.

We are shining with the backdrop of black darkness. He says we are shining light. So what does it mean to be a shining light? It actually means to be what you are.

It's not something you've produced. It's something that you really are, because what does the scripture say? Matthew 5 14, he says, Jesus says, you are the light of the world. 2 Corinthians 4 6, for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 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 shined the light on you. You came to see the light in the midst of your darkness, your darkness of God, your moral darkness, but God saved you. You know, growing up in a Christian home, sometimes that's hard to really recognize. In my case, I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I didn't hear the gospel until I was 17 years old.

I didn't 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. And 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 are 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 didn't create the light. You don't form the light.

You don't turn the light zone. You are light because Christ, the light of the world, is in your life. So he's saying simply this, be in Christ what you are. And that leads to the second question and that is, where are we to be shining lights?

Where is our light to shine? And 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 he's actually saying two things here. Number one, in general, he is saying that Christians are to shine light into the world. Now what does he mean by world? Of course he's not talking about the physical world that we live in. He's talking about the world of unbelievers. The mass of unsaved humanity who are living their life every day to fulfill their own desires, 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 he's saying to us, we are to shine the light through our faith, through our testimony, the way that we live. We are to shine into the darkness of this world. John 3 19, this is the condemnation that light has come into the world, that's Jesus, and men love 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 you're to shine as lights among them. This means that Christians are not to run and hide. God has 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 he's saying as children of God, we are to daily rub shoulders with, to walk among, and work with unbelievers. That's why often times we'll encourage you that when you graduate, leave Greenville.

Now I'm not saying you should never stay in Greenville, I'm not saying that that's a wrong issue, that's not the point I'm trying to make. But the point is this, if you're light, then 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 unto 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 the characteristics, 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. Perhaps you've heard of scoliosis of the spine. God created the spine to be straight and it works best when it's straight.

But often times people get a curvature in their spine. He's talking about a nation and the word nation there is not like the United States of America. It's actually referring to a generation. So when we speak about generations we talk about baby boomers, that's what I am. We talk about millennials, what is a millennial?

It's somebody who was born and they were given a trophy for being born. Then there's Generation Z, Gen Zers, 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 it this way, they are not straight. They are not living truth. They don't live honest upright lives in obedience to God.

They walk contrary to God's truth. And then the second word is the word perverse. And 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 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 is we are to live our lives as light.

And we are to live this light out in a generation that is twisted and 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 has 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 truth compared to that which is error? And oftentimes 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. One of the greatest testimonies to the darkness of this world is a Christian family. A husband and wife that are faithful to one another.

Who raised 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 world. And so Paul is calling us to be shining lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. That leads me to the third and final question and 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 walk and our talk. And notice if you will please how he says we're to be shining lights first of all in our conduct. Notice what he says in verse 14, he says, do all things without murmurings and disputings that you may be blameless and harmless the sons of God without rebuke.

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 a good name or bad name and it's going to 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 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 lived. 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 as 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. The word 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 are to live your lives like 24 karat pure gold. The accusation that you should receive is that you're the most sincere genuine Christian people I've ever met. Blameless, harmless, and then he says without rebuke. 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 world. Whether it's honesty or hard work or we represent the Lord in the way that we live and the way we deal with things.

I'm so thankful. I just did an interview podcast with Mr. Beuter and 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 we're 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 disputings. What is murmuring? The word murmuring means to complain. It means to gripe. It's the 11th commandment, thou shall not whine. Murmuring, it's that under the breath gripey.

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 he's talking here about basically unfulfilled expectations, things that I want, things that I desire and I'm not getting those and so I react and I complain to those things. It can be selfish complaining, impatience towards what is not understood, unbalanced criticism of others in little matters, grudging unwillingness to be helpful and it's always expressed outwardly. And then the second thing he says is, he says, do all things without murmurings and disputings. What does the word dispute mean? It literally means to dialogue. It means to quarrel. It means to constantly argue over differences of opinions. We're not talking about doctrinal truth, we're 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.

I want you to think about this. God brought them out miraculously from the land of Egypt. They crossed the Red Sea in a miracle. They got in the wilderness.

God says I'm going to be with you and he just proved he was with them because he parted the Red Sea and he delivered them from the angel of death. But do 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 and every single adult over 20 years old died in the wilderness.

Do you know why? Do you know the cause 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 to that very carefully. When I complain, I'm not talking about constructive critiquing. In other words, here's something we need to fix, okay? That's a positive thing. But when we whine and complain we actually are grumbling against the sovereign control of God in my life and it shuts down the blessings.

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 at Bob Jones University, there has been more to complain about Bob Jones University this semester than at any semester I've experienced in the seven years I've been here. You have more to complain about. You have to wear these stupid masks.

You have to socially distance. 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 than at any time I've experienced in being at Bob Jones University. And I want to say publicly that this is the most happy, grateful, joyful atmosphere I've experienced in the seven years I've been here.

You know why? Because you're 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 complain and gripe about. But if you keep in your heart that God has me here and I'm happy here and sure I don't like wearing the mask but okay if we have to do this to get through and get our education and be with our friends and move forward I'm good with it. 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 the book is all about. And he says you do this first of all by the way that you live and then secondly, and I close with this, he says holding fast, verse 16, the word of life. And what he's talking about is how do we shine his lights?

Number one by our behavior and 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?

It's the light. And to hold it fast means to constantly everywhere I go I spread the Gospel. If you go into the community of Greenville and you come into contact with somebody that is an unbeliever and if you have any window of opportunity you need to take that opportunity to put the Gospel in. Everywhere we go we hold forth the word of the life of the Gospel and Paul concludes why this is so important to him.

He says so that I conclude that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. 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 any longer. And at some point somewhere the church began to drift from actually being shining lights. Because if the church continues to shine the light of the Gospel then people continue to grow and people continue to be saved. And here's what Paul is saying, I don't want the church of 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-14 21:24:23 / 2024-02-14 21:34:18 / 10

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