Philippians 2:14-18 ESV
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”
Grumblers and Complainers
We are not to grumble against God, nor are we to dispute with God, nor should we fight against those who are serving the Lord in teaching the truth of God’s word out of a selfish desire to reject the truths of Scripture in favor of our own fleshly interpretations of God’s word.
For, many people oppose the truths of some Scriptures not to their liking because the Scriptures don’t fit with the lifestyle they want to live. So, they try to find ways to argue against them or to find ways around them so that they don’t have to obey them.
But this is not an indictment against exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness or against calling out false teachers and false teaching. This is not saying that we shouldn’t confront sin, or that we shouldn’t speak out against injustice, or that we shouldn’t challenge lies opposed to God.
This is talking mainly about being grumblers and complainers who are not happy with how God is managing their lives, and who are actually fighting against what God is trying to do in their lives, because they are thinking from the flesh and not from the Spirit.
Not one of us is perfect. Jesus was the only perfect person who walked this earth. But, lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued, willful, habitual, and often premeditated sin against God. For, Jesus set us free from our bondage to sin.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, if our faith is genuine faith, which is God-given, we die with Christ to sin and we now live with Christ to his righteousness, by his grace, and in his wisdom and strength. The old is gone. The new has come. Once dead in sin. Now alive in Christ Jesus.
Now we walk (in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God and we no longer walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh. It doesn’t mean we never sin again, but that sin is no longer what controls our lives and our decisions. Sin is no longer our master (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
By the grace of God, we now walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands (under the New Covenant). We are not only hearers of the Word, but we are doers of the Word. Daily we are dying to sin and to self and we are following the Lord Jesus in doing what he says (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
Shine as Lights
In 2020, I believe we, as Christians, are becoming more and more aware that we live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. We see evil now every day being shown to us in the news and on social media sites. And, it is heartbreaking.
But part of that evil is not what is seen, or what we think we are seeing, but it is what is being projected to us as happening, but it is really fake. Deception is evil, and deception abounds! So, what we think is real may not be really happening, or not like we are being told.
So now, more than perhaps ever before, we need to be shining the light of the truth of the gospel wherever we have the freedom to still share the truth, for that freedom is not going to last forever, and many people need to hear the truth which will set them free.
And, that truth in Jesus is that we must forsake our old lives of living for sin and self, be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we must now walk in obedience to our Lord, living to please him in every way (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Lu 9:23-26).
Suffering for Righteousness
When we shine those lights, though, in a dark place, we are going to have people fight against us, who will oppose us strongly, and who may even lie about us to try to discredit us in order to shut us up.
Jesus said that if we are his followers, meaning we are obeying him in doing what he says, and we are following his lead and his example in how we are to live our lives, that we will be hated and persecuted like he was hated and persecuted, so it should not surprise us when it happens.
But we should be glad that we are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of his gospel, and for the sake of righteousness. For God is doing a work in our lives in making us holy, in maturing us in our walks of faith, and in making us strong in him.
So, we should not let it take us out or keep us from speaking boldly for the name of Jesus the truth of his gospel message. For, we are not to fear humans and what they might do to us or say about us, but we are to walk in the fear of the Lord, pleasing him in every way.
O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth
Author: Samuel Medley (1789)
O could I speak the matchless worth,
O could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Savior shine,
I’d soar, and touch the heav’nly strings,
and vie with Gabriel while he sings
in notes almost divine,
in notes almost divine.
I’d sing the precious blood he spilt,
my ransom from the dreadful guilt
of sin, and wrath divine:
I’d sing his glorious righteousness,
in which all perfect, heav’nly dress
my soul shall ever shine,
my soul shall ever shine.
I’d sing the characters he bears,
and all the forms of love he wears,
exalted on his throne:
in loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
make all his glories known,
make all his glories known.
Well, the delightful day will come
when my dear Lord will bring me home,
and I shall see his face;
then with my Savior, Brother, Friend,
a blest eternity I’ll spend,
triumphant in his grace,
triumphant in his grace.
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