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Summary: #3 of a 6 part summer series from the Book of Philippians on how we are free in Christ

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“POSITIVELY Free”

Freedom! Week #3

Philippians 2:14-18

INTRODUCTION:{Video: Virtual Family - sermonspice.com}

Wouldn’t it be great if it was that easy? Just put on a gadget and all our negative verbiage is translated into words that edify and encourage. That would be great! But let’s face it, there is no such gadget even though a lot of us could really use it. In fact, I believe that many Americans believe they have a license to complain. We may be some of the worst offenders when it comes to negativity and complaining. If you’ve ever taken a mission trip you may understand why I say that. The trips I’ve been on are in 3rd world countries and it’s amazing that they have so little, yet complaining is almost non-existent. Why is it such a problem?

I think at least part of the difficulty is that we have an unrealistic view of what life is supposed to be. In other words we have it so good that the least imperfect thing can get us griping. We complain because our remote control isn’t working, and yet we have TVs. We gripe because there is crab grass in our plush lawns and yet we have property. We chafe because the rooms in our homes are not large enough and yet seldom thank God for having a roof over our heads. I am convinced that if Americans would of been at the feeding of the 5000 that we would of complained because there was no butter for the bread nor lemon for the fish.

Please understand that the Bible makes it clear where God stands on complainers. Would you read out loud with me the first verse of our text- Phil. 2:14- "Do everything without complaining or arguing.."(Repeat) Now, if you immediately are saying in your spirit, “I hate it when he does that.. Repeat after me” then you’re in the right place. God gives it to us in a cut and dry imperative... "Do everything..." Why? Well, once again God knows what is best for us. You see, He knows that a critical spirit is a kill joy. It erodes our peace, it insults the goodness of God and harms our influence for Christ. So, as we continue our series on Freedom! let’s get personal and practical and talk together about how to be “Positively free!”, let’s attack the problem of negativity. And while we talk about this please do yourself and your loved ones a favor. Don’t listen and say, "Oh, I hope my husband/wife is listening to this!" -OR- "I hope so and so is getting this!" Look deep within yourself, because I believe we all, to some degree, have a problem with this. And I promise that If you will heed the advice that the Holy Spirit gives through the Bible today, then your life will be better and most importantly, our God will be honored.

I. CLASSIFYING COMPLAINERS:

Now, before we get into the main part of the message I want to go down one side road. It is important to understand the difference between a legitimate complaint and chronic complaining. There are times when it is not wrong to speak out. If we pay good money for something and it doesn’t fit or we invest hard earned dollars in a car and it doesn’t run properly, or there is a legitimate problem at work we need some avenue to seek correction. And I think we ought to be thankful for organizations like M.A.D.D., Focus on the Family, the A.F.A. and other organizations who voice legitimate complaints and thus make improvements in our society. But our problem is that a lot of our complaining is not about a problem we can correct, but about circumstances we don’t like.

Let’s begin by seeing four attitudes that bring on a critical spirit. Identification can be instrumental in solving a problem. I’ve listed a little catch phrase with each, to make it easier to identify the particuar kind of complainer. So, as you listen to each phrase ask yourself, "Is this me?”Remember this phrase: “Introspection can bring revelation.” If you will look deep within while we talk I believe God’s spirit can speak to your soul. In fact, I’ve had a slide made to remind us.. No elbows during this portion of the message. .. 4 types of complainers.

(1) The first attitude that brings on a critical spirit is the "whiner." This is the person that wakes up negative. They "rise and whine." The tell tale catch phrase for this person is: "It’s not fair!" This person never feels like he gets what he derserves and never deserves what he gets. Jesus told a parable that had some whiners in it. Matt. 20 is the story of the vineyard owner who hired some workers at 6am and promised them a days wage for their labor. Now, the owner also hired some workers at 9am, noon, 3pm and 5pm. When 6:oo pm rolled around and everyone quit for the day the owner called in the workers by who was hired last. The 5pm guys came and to their surprise the owner paid them an entire days wage for just one hour! Good deal. He paid the same amount to the guys hired at 3pm, 12pm and 9am. So when the guys who were hired at 6am came to be paid they thought they would be paid more than what they agreed to. But the owner paid them the same. Listen what the Bible says, " “But when they were given the same they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12They said, “The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!”13The owner answered one of them, “Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you complain, if I want to be generous?”’ (Mt. 20:10-15 CEV)

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