Summary: Letting your light shine in all circumstances
There was a Christian family who had trouble getting along with their neighbours, who were also Christians. They argued back and forth and finally one of the neighbours was about to go on vacation. They hoped that this might reduce the tension between the two.
After one family left on vacation the one still at home noticed that their dog had gone from their fence into the neighbour’s fenced yard. Not only had the dog gone into the neighbour’s fence, but by the time they saw the dog it had the neighbour’s pet rabbit in its mouth and was shaking it.
When they finally got their dog back into its pen they discovered the neighbours pet rabbit was dead. So this incident would not cause more tension they decided to clean the rabbit up, give it a bath, dry it off with a hair dryer, comb it and put it back into the rabbit cage. They thought that this would cover up any more problems that could arise between the two families.
When the other family retuned from vacation they went into their back yard. There was screaming and the neighbours came running to the back yard and asked the them, “What is wrong?
The neighbours told them that before they left on vacation the rabbit died and they buried it in the garden. Now the rabbit is back in the rabbit cage again.
This should have been a wake-up call to the them on how not to act as a Christian. I think all of us in our time have needed good solid advice when it comes to “how we should live”. Paul probably has this in mind when he writes the Philippians.
This morning we are going to look at Philippians 2:12-18. Let’s read that this morning!!!!
12. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed –not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose.
14. Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15. so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and deprived generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16. as you hold out the Word of life
– in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did run or labour for nothing. 17. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith. I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul starts chapter 2 with the Greek word [hoste] equivalent to “therefore”. A little thing that I think of when I see the word “therefore” in the scripture. I always ask myself; what’s that therefore there for? What’s that therefore, there for? To answer that, we need to look at the passage preceding the word therefore.
Paul is saying to the Philippians, Jesus Christ is God and he humbled himself as no one ever has.
He became obedient and demonstrated the greatest example of humility. That word therefore means, now live under that Lordship of Christ who was exalted. Christ gave us the example so “therefore” go do likewise.
This is a command but if we look at the choice of words that Paul used we see him demonstrating Christ’s love in his instruction to the Philippians. Paul says: “Therefore, my dear friends”. Paul starts his instruction motivating them in love, to a deeper level of obedience.
You that are parents and have raised children know that when you instructed or disciplined in love – it was far more effective than if you were angry.
This passage Paul starts out in love is broken up into three sentences or sections.
First, we see in verses 12 and 13 a call to work out their salvation. Second, in verses 14 to the first part of verse 16, Paul says that the people should void internal conflict and show integrity in their character. Third, in verses 16 to 18, Paul urges the people to rejoice with him as they serve together.
1. Working out our salvation
Verse 12 says. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed –not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
Paul is not talking here about initial salvation when someone comes to Christ. He is talking about the life with Christ, the journey. He is talking about salvation in the sense of living the Christian life.
There are three aspects of salvation. First, there is initial salvation, the point when we come to Christ. Second, there is salvation present; this is our salvation journey, our life with Christ. Third is salvation future when we will be glorified in the presence of or God.