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Summary: Paul tells the Christians at Philippi that they are "shining as stars." This lesson looks at why Paul said this about this group, and how we can also "shine as stars."

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SHINING AS STARS

Philippians 2:12-16

READING THE STARS

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Long before our culture had such things as a map, an atlas, or GPS, people used to look to the sky for directions. Not because they were praying to God to help them find their way after they got lost, but to look at the stars. For many centuries the stars in the sky have been used for navigation.

Sailors out at sea would look up at the stars, find a constellation, a group of stars, and by knowing what day it was, they could look at a chart and see what part of the sky that particular constellation should be in. By using this information sailors would know which direction they needed to point the ship.

Even farmers had a use for reading the stars. In some parts of the world there is not much difference between the seasons, and long before calendars became so prevalent, farmers needed a way to tell which season was which, so they knew when to plant their crops.

There is a danger in putting too much importance on the stars, though. Many of the constellations were named after the mythical Greek gods or the signs of the zodiac calendar. This is a problem for some people today, and it has been a problem for centuries.

DEUTERONOMY 4:19

19) And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.

When Moses wrote this book people were having a problem putting too much importance on the stars. People were beginning to worship the stars as if they were gods.

But, even though some of the images these constellations represent are not scriptural, God did put the stars in the sky. He did create them. And after doing so, He said that they were good. They were good for man. They were good for our use.

GENESIS 1:14-19

14) Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;

15) and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.

16) Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

17) God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth,

18) and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

19) So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

We need to put stars in their proper place, as a creation of God, and a tool that could be used, but not worshipped.

SHINE AS STARS

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This morning I’ll be reading from Philippians chapter two. I’ll be reading verses twelve through sixteen. Here, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, who he calls “saints” in chapter one. Paul is writing to the whole congregation in this letter, but I think what he has to say can also refer to each individual, and us as well.


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