Read Philippians 2:12-18
Yesterday we saw how God works in us while we work out our salvation. This is the outworking of practical Christianity.
Now secondly, Paul addresses positive steadfastness. In verse 14, he tells us to do ALL THINGS without grumbling or questioning. The word “questioning” can also mean “disputing or arguing”! We can just pack up our Bibles now in major repentance and go hide in a corner! That’s a tall order!
Paul’s reason for this very radical command to not grumble or complain or argue is so that it will not distort our witness to a world that is entrenched with grumbling, complaining and arguing.
Paul says that we live in a twisted and crooked generation. Paul has been setting up a huge dichotomy between the obedient, humble, service-oriented life of a Christian over against this corrupt world in which we live?
If Christians truly lived like Philippians 2:1-14, how would our world be different? How would this affect our evangelism?
Paul uses a metaphor to describe what we are in the midst of this crooked generation—we shine like lights.
Think about the darkness of the night sky and the brilliant illumination of the stars. Do you know what the brightest star in our galaxy is? Sirius!! It is twice the size of the sun and twice as bright. I can be seen anywhere on the planet. It overpowers the night sky.
Notice what Paul says is our primary task as we shine like stars—to hold fast to the word of life. Most scholars believe that to mean the gospel. One of the most important ways we can shine like stars is to clearly live, breath, grasp, embrace, and proclaim the gospel. To advance the gospel!
Now, thirdly in verses 17-18, Paul focuses on the Philippian’s participation in his ministry.
Notice at the end of verse 16, he has a stake in their shining like stars by holding fast to the gospel. He has trained them, encouraged them and equipped them, but now he is suffering in prison. At the final judgment, he wants to see the fruit of his labor in investing in the Philippians.
Question: Is there someone that you have poured your life into that at the day of Christ, you strongly hope that they will be standing strong for Christ. If not, whom can you pour your life into like Paul?
Paul references the possibility that he may die in prison, as he would be poured out like a drink offering. He knows that death could be coming at his doorstep very quickly.
Yet Paul faces this with JOY and GLADNESS!! Now that is counter-cultural! And he turns around and commands the Philippians to be glad and rejoice along with him.
As you think about Paul’s powerful confession back in 1:21, you can see how he can have joy in the midst of extreme suffering.
Whatever you may be suffering right now or whatever comes around the bend, are you empowered through the gospel to suffer well in joy and gladness? Only by looking at the majesty of Jesus in His death and resurrection can we do this. Only by God working in us to will and to work for His good pleasure will enable us to do this.
Are you a light shining in a corrupt world? Are you doing everything without grumbling? Are you facing your suffering with joy?
Spend some time asking God to give you strength through His grace to do this.
I am so quick to grumble and complain and to belly ache about my situations. The last thing I want to think about is JOY!! I desperately need You to work in me to produce this joy. Help me to be humble, and thankful, and joyful so that others will look at me and see the difference You’ve made in my life. Let me shine like a star for Your glory.
In Jesus Name,