Summary: We need to stop complaining and making excuses and get to the work of God.
In the society we live in today people are in a general state of discontent. People are just complaining it seems, just to have something to do. Discontent, is not something new though, we can look all the way back to the time of Adam and see how discontent has affected people. Adam immediately blamed Eve for the sin committed and then complained to the Lord that the woman He gave him was the one to blame for taking the fruit from the tree. We also see discontent with Moses and the exodus. Moses complained to the Lord, because He did not deliver Israel from Pharaoh quickly enough. God delivered the people from Pharaoh and just three days later into their journey into the wilderness they started to complain that the water they had to drink at Marah was unfit. There are plenty of other times in throughout the Bible that we can find other accounts of people complaining.
In reality, every complaint a believer makes is against the Lord and is one of the ugliest of sins. And complaining against other believers is especially serious, because those believers are God’s children.
Believers’ failure to willingly, even joyfully, submit to God’s providential will is a deep seated and serious sin. Discontentment and complaining are attitudes that can become so habitual that they are hardly noticed. But when we are discontent and complain we are demonstrating a lack of trust in God’s providential will, boundless grace, and infinite wisdom, and love.
To deal with the complainers in the church of Philippi and today, Paul first commands them to stop complaining, then gives them reasons for obeying that command.
I. The Command (2:14)
- The phrase all things refer back to verses 13-13, and sets forth the attitude with which believers are to work out their salvation.
i. As we work out our salvation, we should do it with grumbling or disputing
- Grumbling, is that muttering sound we all make when we are unpleased, inconvienced, or disappointed.
i. This all arises from the self-centered notion that what is happening is undeserved.
ii. We can see an example of this when the Pharisees and scribes, grumbled to Jesus, asking why did He eat and drink with sinners.
- Disputing, from its Greek translation, means to doubt or dispute the truth.
i. Grumbling is essentially emotional and disputing is intellectual.
ii. A person who continues to grumble against God will eventually argue and dispute God.
iii. We must see the reality behind this sin that we all are citizens of heaven, but we live in a fallen world and in unredeemed bodies.
- The Lord often leads believers through times of trial and testing and warns they can expect to be persecuted because of their faithfulness.
- It is therefore inevitable that circumstances will not always be favorable or pleasant. Look at Paul’s live as an example.
II. Reasons to Stop Complaining (2:15-16)
1. For the Believer’s own Sakes (v. 15a)
so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God