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This letter is all about joy. It's like bells keep ringing each time we study. It's like a light shining in the midst of deep darkness.
The world says to get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can. Paul says it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The world says that what's yours is mine and I'll take it if I can. Paul says, what's mine is yours and you can have it if you need it.
The world says, take advantage of me and I'll get even. Paul says, if you take my coat, I'll throw in my shirt as a bonus!
The world says, hit me and I'll hit you back. Paul turns the other cheek.
And when it comes to finding true joy, God's ways are higher than the ways of the world as well. The world has no real joy. And Christians have far less joy than they can afford!
We must understand that the road to joy is a paradox!
The world says that joy comes from aggression. Fight for it, and take what you can and leave no prisoners! Climb the ladder of success no matter whom you have to step on.
Paul reminds us and the Philippians that JOY is putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last!
v. 17 'offered upon the sacrifice'
This is a figure of speech, making reference to the OT drink offering. [Numbers/Leviticus] As the burnt offering and meal offering were being consumed by the fire, the drink offering was poured out upon it. It immediately dissipated/evaporated. It disappears! All you have left is the original sacrifice.
Paul uses this as an illustration of himself, saying, I want to be poured out for Jesus where you don't see me or give me glory, but all you see is Jesus and His sacrifice!
This brought Paul great joy, and it is the opposite of what the world has taught us!
Jesus' example is by far the best. Joy comes from sacrificing for others, not by competing with others! Christ won the battle without a sword.
He defeated hatred with love. [lies/truth pride/humility hostility/kindness bitterness/forgiveness greed/giving] He won by surrendering!
The drink offering isn't the only word picture he paints for us.
v. 15 We are like sons in the family and stars in the sky.
'shine as lights' = luminaries = heavenly bodies of the sky.
He deposited the light in us that we might shine to this dark world. He said He is the light of the world, but then He commanded us to be the light of the world...to be like Him! And to let His light shine thru us.
We were walking in darkness because of sin.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
When you were born again the light came on! This is yet another joy bell which rings in this letter! And the brighter you allow your light to shine the happier you will be.
Here are 3 characteristics of the light:
1. Light shines unless it is hindered.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Paul then names 2 of the bushels which hinder the light.
v. 14 murmuring and disputing
Murmur is one of those words that sounds like what is means, like buzz or thud.
ill.--you tell your kid to do their chores and they walk away and you can hear 'murmurrrmurrr'.
It is an undercurrent of complaining, behind the scenes.
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts...
This is so unbecoming of a Christian, because it is the opposite of praising. It is being negative when we have so much to be positive about!
Please don't join the ranks of the mumblers/grumblers. They have enough members already!
Instead of being humbly grateful they are grumbly hateful! Nobody likes to be around them.
Complaining is actually an outward sign that we aren't right with God inwardly.
"To swear is wicked because it is taking God's name in vain. To complain is wicked because it is taking God's promises in vain."
You see, when we murmur about our life and circumstances what we are really saying is, If I were in charge, I could do a better job than God!
Murmuring is a bushel that will snuff out your light!