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."


Philippians 2:12-16



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.


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.



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.

To start, I’m actually going to begin with verses fourteen and fifteen, and I’ll be reading from the New International version.


14) Do all things without complaining and disputing,

15) that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Paul is telling the people of the church at Philippi how they could shine like stars. When I saw this verse, on the first Sunday of the Two-Week Meeting, I really liked the wording. and I was intrigued by it and I wanted to find out what it meant to “shine like a star.”

The verses on either side of verse fifteen tell us what Paul told the Philippians how they could do it, and also how we can do it.



Sometimes we may look into the sky and see a really bright shining object. Our first thought is that it is a star, an extra bright star. But then the star flickers off, and then comes back on, then flickers off again. And then we realize that we were not really looking a star, but an airplane.

Or, from time to time we can actually see some of the other planets in our solar system, without the use of a telescope. When this happens usually the newspaper or the TV news will be sure to tell people that Mars will be visible on certain night. Or it could be Venus, or Saturn, or one of the other planets.

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