Summary: Being the light of the world is a cooperative effort between God and ourselves.
Let You Shine
Text: Phil. 2:12-18
1. Illustration: Jesus himself said to his disciples, "[L]et your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) This is a concept that is sometimes a challenge for us. In fact I recently read about a little girl who came home from Sunday School right after studying this verse. She asked her mother, when she repeated the verse, what it meant. Her mom said, "Well, it means that when you are good and kind and thoughtful and obedient, you are letting Christ’s light shine in your life before all who know you." The very next Sunday in Sunday School, the little girl got in a bit of a fracas with another student and created somewhat of an uproar--to such an extent that the Sunday School teacher had to go and find her mother to get her settled down a bit in the class. Her mother was concerned when she got to the classroom and said, "Sweetie, don’t you remember about letting your light shine for the Lord before [others]?" The girl blurted out, "Mom, I have blowed myself out!"
2. Now I don't know about you, but when Jesus tells me I am the light of the world it makes me feel pretty good about myself. Maybe I'm not so bad after all!
3. However, the reality for all of us is at times we let our light go dim, and we come to the sobering thought that being the light of the world is going to take some work.
4. Being the light of the world means...
a. You Are A Work In Progress
b. You Are A Light In A Dark Place
c. You Are A Trophy
5. Let's stand together as we read Phil. 2:12-18.
Proposition: Being the light of the world is a cooperative effort between God and ourselves.
Transition: The first thing we have to come to grips with is...
I. You Are A Work In Progress (12-13).
A. For God Is Working In You
1. Anyone that has ever driven the Interstate highways in Ohio knows all about a work in progress. We were officially declared a state on March 1, 1803 and we're still being built it seems like. By the time they finish work on one stretch of highway it is time to tear it up and start all over.
2. What we need to realize as Christians is that we are a work in progress. When we constantly compare ourselves to others wishing that we could be as "spiritual" as they are we do ourselves and our spiritual growth a great disservice.
3. That's what Paul is getting at when he says, "Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear."
a. Once again we see the Pastor's heart of Paul. We can see over and over in this letter the genuine love that he has for the believers in Philippi.
b. He mentions how they had always followed his instructions, but what instructions is he talking about?
c. Whenever Paul talks about following instructions or obedience to his teaching, he is always talking about instructions about Christ.
d. For Paul faith in Christ is ultimately expressed as obedience to Christ and coming totally under his lordship.
e. This is the only type of instruction that Paul is concerned about.
f. He commends them for following his instructions when he was with them, but he says that it is even more important that they follow those instructions while he is away from them.
g. Paul then takes it a step further by telling them to work hard to show the results of your salvation.
h. I like the translation here in the NLT, because traditionally this phrase has been translated to "work out your salvation."
i. The idea of working for or earning your salvation is the furthest thing from Paul's mind here.
j. He is not talking about earning your salvation. Rather Paul is talking about living out your salvation. He is talking about walking the talk.
k. He is talking about living out the difference and transformation that Christ has done in your life.
l. What Paul is talking about here is walking in obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.(Fee, 232-235).
4. For many of us this seems like a tale task to accomplish. But Paul gives us some very good news here. He says, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
a. Paul now shows them that they have the power of God living in them that enables them to live out their faith.