Summary: We must shine as a witness for Christ without grumbling or arguing.
Title: Philippians 2-Grumbling
Text: Philippians 2.12-18
CT: We must shine as a witness for Christ without grumbling or arguing.
FAS: New research shows that many of us really do believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Researchers for Gallup measured residents' interest in moving out of state by asking, "Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?" Based on the responses, it looks like Americans have a contentment problem. Gallup reported that 33 percent of all survey participants want to move to another state, according to the average of the 50 state responses. Seventeen states come close to that 50-state average. Another 16 are above the average range, including three states populated with people showing an especially high desire to move.
But does that mean these unhappy residents will take the initiative to pack up and move?
Probably not. "In the same poll, Gallup asked state residents how likely it is they will move in the next 12 months. On average across all 50 states, [only] six percent of state residents say it is extremely or very likely they will move in the next year, eight percent say it is somewhat likely, 14 percent not too likely, and 73 percent not likely at all."
LS: In other words, it appears that many of us would rather complain or grumble about our lot in life than actually take action to improve it.
Lydia Saad, "Half in Illinois and Connecticut Want to Move Elsewhere," Gallup Economy (4-30-14)
We are in our second week of the Philippians series. Last week we looked at the Hymn of Christ, Philippians 2.5-11, which showed us how we should live to be more like Christ. I am continuing right where we left off. Today I am working with Philippians 2.12-18. In today’s text, Paul encourages the Philippians to work out their salvation by the power of God’s enabling grace and to shine like stars in a dark world.
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 in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 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.
In this passage Paul is telling the church to get their shine on by making the glory of Christ known in a dark and perverse culture. This follows the Hymn of Christ. A majestic beautiful passage, that leaves us in awe and wonder. Yet there is a practical implication of this passage, which this week brings out. Notice how it starts. Therefore.
Paul is looking back at what was just said and is about to offer some strong exhortations about it. Paul exhorts the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling to shine like the stars in the sky.
Verses 12-13 provide us with a wonderful starting point for understanding what we call in theology “sanctification,” that is, the lifelong obedience of believers, which leads us to be more like Christ. This passage is not works-based righteousness. Paul does not say work for your salvation. We can’t earn salvation, Ephesians 2.8-10, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Paul says work out your salvation. Huge difference. God has worked salvation for us by His sovereign grace alone. Christ has done the work on the cross to bring “justification”. Sanctification is about living in light of this gracious gift.
Paul teaches us about sanctification, he commends, then he commands, and then he comforts the Philippians. [Screen 3]
Commending: 2.12a Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-