Philippians 2:14-16, "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."
A key verse for us to learn and live today is verse 16a, “...holding fast to the word of life.” This is the key to being blameless and innocent children without blemish in the midst of the crooked and twisted (perverse) generation we live in. This is a key verse if we are going to shine as lights in the world to help people see and believe in Jesus. When we live as lights we live an abundant life in a world characterized by evil.
How do we hold fast to the word of life?
We hold fast by learning God’s word. This happens over a life time. If we spend some time each day systematically reading the Bible we will know God’s word. Systematic means we read through the Bible in an ordered way. For example: Start at the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew and read straight through Revelation over a period of time. Another way is to read through the Bible chronologically. If you struggle on how to read systematically just post it in the comments below and we can help you.
We hold fast to God’s word by practicing what it says. Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We test God’s word by practicing it. As we practice it we find it IS good, acceptable, and perfect.
Philippians 4:9, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Three questions help us to hold fast to God’s word:
1. How does the Bible say I am to daily live?
2. How am I daily living?
(After reflecting on your answers to the first two questions then ask the third question)
3. What changes or growth do I need to make?
(When we know what changes or growth we need to make, we attempt to make them expecting the Lord to help us – that is living by faith in Jesus. I like this quote, "To believe is to trust and to trust is to obey. This is active faith.")
We live a purposeful and abundant life as we hold fast to the word of life.
Philippians 2:14-16a, "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, 16 holding fast to the word of life..."
Verses 15-16a inform us why we are to do all things without grumbling or disputing. We are to be lights leading people out of darkness. Paul describes the condition of the world because of sin. He refers to it as crooked and twisted. We see Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 calling the condition of the world crooked, twisted and perverse. Jesus called the condition of the world faithless and twisted in Matthew 17:17.
Crooked means to be morally bent or twisted, unscrupulous, dishonest. Twisted or perverse means to cause to depart from an accepted standard of oral or spiritual values, to make crooked, to pervert. Faithless means a person has no faith, that is, does not have the truth and live by it.
Think about the condition of the world today. The world is twisted by sin to do the very things that destroy. The world's condition is described by darkness in Proverbs 4:19, "The way of the wicked (faithless) is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble." The way of the righteous (believers) is ever increasing light as described in Proverbs 4:18, "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day."
Grumbling and disputing occur on the path of the faithless, crooked and twisted which leads to ruin, destruction and death.
The path of the faithful contains no grumbling or disputing and leads to life; a life that is lived to the full, the abundant life in increasing measure.
Here is the question: What path are you on?
You can tell. Is there grumbling and disputing in your life? Is there constant arguing? Do you use these methods to get your own way? If so, you are on the path of the faithless, twisted, crooked and perverse.
There is good news. You can get off the destructive path by repenting of the sins of grumbling and disputing. By confessing your sins to God and receiving forgiveness you will be cleansed from all unrighteousness. You will be set free to start on the better life giving path.
If you are not grumbling and disputing, then wonderful, you are on the path of righteousness lighting up a dark world and showing people the way to eternal and abundant life. Keep it up.
Tomorrow we will discover how to stay on the abundant and life giving path.
Questions to reflect on:
1. What is God saying to you?
2. What are you going to do about it?
Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning."
"Do all things” This command from the Lord concerns everything we do in our family, work, play and school. There is nothing we do that is not covered in this command.
"Do all things without grumbling..." Grumbling is "utterance made in a low tone of voice" that is a complaint or expression of displeasure. This is not to be occurring in anything we do. Can you remember the last time you grumbled - it was a sin. It needs to be repented of and confessed to the Lord (1 John 1:9).
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning..." Questioning is a “verbal exchange that takes place when conflicting ideas are expressed." The exchange is a negative complaint style of exchange that could be translated a dispute or argument. The purpose is not to resolve, but to merely get one's own way, not to get the truth acted on.
The Lord has a good reason for us not to live a lifestyle of grumbling and complaining or disputing. We will cover that tomorrow.
Today we need to ask the questions, "How does God's Word say I am to daily live? How am daily living?" As we compare the answers to these two questions, then we need to ask a third question, "What changes or growth do I need to make?" When we know what we need to do to grow or change, then we attempt to grow or change expecting the Lord to help us. We make the changes in our life by exercising faith in Jesus.
What is God saying to you? What are you going to do about it?
Philippians 2:12-13, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Questions to reflect on what God is saying:
Philippians 2:5-11, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Reflect on what God is saying to you:
Philippians 2:1-4, "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
The "if" should be translate "since" to give us the correct meaning. “Since we have…” Jesus first gives us everything we need to "be" and "do" and then He commands us to "be" and "do".
Questions to reflect on what God is saying to you:
Philippians 1:18-30, "Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have."
Paul rejoices that Christ is proclaimed. This is how we should be living our life.
Questions to reflect on as you ask, "What is God saying to you?"
The Philippian Christians were praying for Paul to be set free from prison. He was in prison for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
Paul knew if he lived it would mean fruitful labor for him.
Philippians 1:12, "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much bolder to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice."
Sinful things happen to us as they did to Paul. Paul lived totally for Christ and knew that whatever happened to him would serve to advance the gospel.
Questions to ask as you reflect on what God is saying to you:
Are we living totally for Christ so the gospel will be advanced by anything that happens to us? (Vs 12-13)
Do we know that whatever happens to us the gospel will be advanced? (Vs 12-13)
People are encouraged to speak the gospel without fear when we don’t compromise our faith during hard times, but keep living and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. (Vs 14)
No matter the motivation people have for proclaiming the gospel, it benefits all who hear if it is proclaimed. (Vs 15-18a)
We are to rejoice when the gospel is proclaimed.
Are we rejoicing when the gospel is proclaimed? (Vs 18b)
Philippians 1:12-18 instructs us on how we are to be living our lives. We are to compare our life with how the Bible says to live. If we differ from the Bible, then we need to by faith change the way we are living and thinking to how the Lord Jesus Christ says to live and think.
Philippians 1:1-11, "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
Ask if each of the following points describes you. (Ask God to help it begin to describe you if it doesn’t.)