Summary: Sermon on witnessing
There was once an artist who sought to depict on canvas the meaning of evangelism. He began by painting a storm at sea. He had painted black clouds filling sky with a flash of lighting coming down from the heavens. In the raging sea he had painted a boat that seemed to be being destroyed by the pounding sea. He also painted men, some struggling in the swirling waters, some clinging desperately on the sides of the sinking boat, all with looks of terror on their faces. The only hope appeared in the foreground of the painting, where a huge rock protruded out of the water. There, clutching desperately to the rock with both hands, was one lone seamen.
It was a very beautiful and moving painting. From looking at it one could see that the tempest was a symbol of the hopeless situation of mankind. And true to the gospel, that only hope of salvation was "the Rock of Ages", the only hope amidst the storm.
But as the artist looked at the painting he realized that something was wrong. In order to correct his error he discarded the painting and went to work on another. It was very similar to the first. It had the black clouds, the flashing lighting, the angry waters, the little boat being crushed by the pounding waves, the crew struggling vainly against the waters. In the foreground the seamen was still clutching the large rock for salvation. But the artist had made one change: the seaman was only holding on with one hand, and with the other he was reaching down to pull up a drowning friend.
That is how it should be with all Christians. We should be reaching out to the world with Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be as Paul states in our passage for today, "shinning lights" or as the NIV puts it "shinning stars". "holding out the word of life."
Let us turn to our passage for today, which is Philippians 2:14-16. I will be reading from the NIV, you may follow along on page 1017 of your pew Bibles. We are going to be spending the next couple weeks on this passage of scripture of Scripture as we look at some things concerning being "shinning stars".
Beginning with verse 14, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not ran labor for nothing"
As I stated we will be looking at this passage over the next couple weeks as look at the importance of shinning like stars in the perverse and depraved generation. We will begin today by looking at what Paul is telling us in verse 14 in regards to be shinning stars.
We noted last week that we are to work out our own salvation, this is the beginning of our shinning as stars. We also noted that we have the hope or assurance of being successful because it is God who works in us.
In verse 14 Paul notes two things that will hinder us for shinning like stars. Paul states first of all that we are to do "all things without complaining", Or as the NKJ puts it "murmuring". In other words as we serve the Lord we should do it with out whining about it.
It is interesting to note that the word Paul uses hear is the same word used in the Septuagint, which the Greek translation of the Bible, which Jesus and Paul would have been very familiar with. But this word is the same word the Septuagint uses for the what the Israelites where doing when they were in the wilderness. Now I am quite sure that Paul had this in mind when he uses this word. He is thinking that we should not be like those Israelite people were in the desert. Always complaining, always murmuring against God.
If you look at the Israelite people and us as Christians us can’t help but notice some similarities.
1. We both began in bondage
a. They in Egypt
b. Us under the bondage of sin
2. Freed for the bondage by an divine act of God, both interestingly enough through the death of a first born Son.
a. Israelite wandered through the desert for forty years. MURMUR
b. Christian wander through life going through struggles, temptations, etc. MURMUR.
4. Promised land
So we see the Israelites kind of symbolized that walk of the Christian. So Paul tells don’t murmur and complain as they did, but be cheerful servants of the Lord your God.