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.
READ: Philippians 2:14-16
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
- We are to stop complaining as believer’s for one simple reason, we are God’s children by faith, by adoption, and by spiritual birth.
- As we grow and go along the process of sanctification as God’s children we are drawn to become more like Him, blameless and innocent.
- An essential part of this growth is for us to stop grumbling and complaining.
- The word blameless, means to be with defect or blemish
o As believers we are to seek to be without moral or spiritual blemish
o What does your record look like to the people that are around you on a daily basis: is it without blemish or is it tarnished.
- The word innocent, means to be unmixed or unadulterated.
o We are to be pure.
o We cannot mix our spiritual life with the life of the world
- As children of God, we are to be above reproach
o We all should be holy and blameless before God
o The good news is that we don’t have to try to do this alone.
§ It is impossible for us in our own power to be without blemish
2. For the Sakes of the Unsaved (vv. 15b-16a)
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life,
- When we grumble and complain, we have a negative impact on the unsaved around us.
- The world that we live in today is already crooked and perverse as Paul mentions, if we cannot offer anything refreshing through our daily walk to them, then we are closing a door on them coming to know God.