Summary: God wants us to be: 1. more peaceful (vs. 14-15). 2. more faithful (vs. 14-16 & 19-23). 3. more joyful (vs. 16-18). 4. more hopeful (vs. 23-24).

God’s Goals for Our Christian Growth

Philippians 2:14-24

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Aug. 19, 2012

*When I preached the funeral for Mrs. Opal Self last week, I saw a lot of people that I have not seen for almost two years. One of the people who stood out the most was a young lady named Brittany. When I saw her last she was in Middle School. That girl has grown a foot or more!

*It was jaw-dropping to see the change. -- And God wants to see some jaw-dropping growth in us. Our growth as Christians is one of the main themes in this tremendous letter. Paul prayed for it back in Philippians 1:9-11. There he said:

9. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,

10. that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

11. being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

*God wants us to grow. And in tonight’s Scripture we see 4 goals for our growth.

1. First: God wants us to be more peaceful.

*This is the goal Paul stressed in vs. 14-15, where he tells believers:

14. Do all things without complaining and disputing,

15. that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

*“Do all things without complaining and disputing.” In other words: “Don’t be fussing and fighting. Don’t be griping or complaining, against God or against each other.”

[1] We certainly need peace in our homes. I can’t tell you how many families I know that have been in sheer agony because they just could not get along.

-We need peace in our homes.

[2] And we need peace in our churches. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have probably see people fussing and fighting in church.

*When we went to Emmanuel 1992, they had been through a terrible split. The church had gone from about 120 down to the 50’s.

-A lot of people had been hurt.

-One good man had suffered a stroke in part from the stress.

-Some people dropped out of church for years.

-And some may never go back.

*Paul knew all about fussing in God’s church. He talked about this here and in his correspondence with the Corinthians. The Book of Acts also tells us about the personal problem that arose between Paul and Barnabas. It concerned Mark.

*Listen to the Scripture in Acts 15: 37-40:

37. Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.

38. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.

39. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;

40. but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.

*That word “contention” means there was irritation and angry dispute. They were inciting each other, egging each other on. There must have been terrible heartache in the church at Antioch over the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas.

*Think about it: Barnabas and Paul fighting!

-Barnabas whose very name meant the son of encouragement.

-Barnabas had introduced Paul to the Apostles and vouched for his salvation.

-Barnabas later went 100 miles to find Paul in Tarsus and bring him back to help lead the church in Antioch.

-Barnabas went with Paul on that first mission trip together and saw the Hand of God at work in a wonderful way.

*Now they were fighting with each other. -- What a tragic mistake.

*I wonder if Paul was thinking back to this sad time when he later wrote these words in Phil 2:3: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

*And now in vs. 14-15:

14. Do all things without complaining and disputing,

15. that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

*The more we are able to do all things without murmuring, complaining and disputing, the more we will be able to shine as lights in the world, shining to give light to the dark world around us.

-No wonder God wants us to be more peaceful.

2. But He also wants us to be more faithful.

*God wants all believers to faithfully shine as lights in the world. This is another part of God’s message to us in vs. 14-16, where Paul said:

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