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Philippians: Shining Like Stars in the Universe

PHILIPPIANS

"Shinning Like Stars In The Universe"

Matthew 5.14-16 & Philippians 2.12-16a

Stars are fascinating objects… 

Science tells us that there may be hundreds of billions of them… In our own Milky Way… And in galaxies far far away.

Stars are mostly Hydrogen and Helium gases.

They are born when a cloud of particles begin to gather together forming their own gravity.

These spinning gasses become so dense that the particles begin to heat up to near two billion degrees Fahrenheit starting a continuing Nuclear Fusion… A continuing atomic explosion... Generating extraordinary amounts of heat and light.

This morning... Our study is about stars... About the light provided by stars... And how we might become one… A star… A shining light in god's Kingdom.

The Bible has a lot to say about stars and light...

Genesis 1.2 & 3… Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface 

of the deep... And God said... Let there be light and there was light.

First John 1.5 tells us that... God is light... And in Him there is no darkness at all.

John 8.12 has Jesus saying... I am the light of the world... Whoever follows Me 

will never walk in darkness... 

Our reading from Matthew 5.14-16... You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Ephesians 6.8-9... We were once darkness... But now we are light in the Lord... 

So live as children of light.

1 Peter 2.9... You are a chosen people... A royal priesthood... A holy nation... A people 

belonging to God... That you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of 

darkness into His wonderful light.

1 John 1.7... Walk in the light as He is in the light... There's fellowship in the light… 

 And the blood of Jesus His Son continues to… Purify us... Cleanse us... From all sin.

Let's set these Scriptures aside… Let them soak as we read our text for the lesson…

Therefore... My dear friends... As you have always obeyed--not only in my presence... But now much more in my absence… Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling... For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing... So that you may become... Blameless... Pure... Children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation... In which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life... 

Here in Philippians... Paul picks up Jesus' thoughts... Saying that... We are to be a light... 

• Like a city set on a hill... 

• Like stars in the universe... 

We are to illuminate Jesus and the way to Jesus... By holding out the Word of life.

Come... Let's see what we can learn about becoming spiritual stars...

First... We must become a people and person of Integrity... 

As you have always obeyed... Not only in my presence... But now much more in my absence.

I think… It's easy to do right in the church… It's easy to do what's right when we know other Christians are… 

• Watching us… 

• Supporting us… 

• Encouraging us… 

• Maybe even pushing us into doing good… Compelling us.

But integrity... Genuine Biblical integrity... Is what we are… in the dark… when we're alone... When no one is watching!

Church... Understand this... We are not hiding anything... God sees all... We must live a life of obedience… 

• In these assemblies... 

• Out of these assemblies... 

• When others are watching…

• When only God is watching. 

Integrity is when what happens on the outside is a direct result of what is happening on the inside... Integrity occurs when attitude & behavior become the same.

We become lights shinning in our world when our religion is through-and-through... When those around us see an inside and outside that's the same... It's called integrity!

Adrian Rogers tells of three gold prospectors who discovered an exceptionally rich mine. One of them said... Hay... We'll have it made as long as we don't tell anybody... So each vowed to keep the secret.

Because they needed food and additional materials... They headed to town. After buying their supplies... They hurried back to the mine. But they were not alone... A crowd of people followed them... Because discovery was written all over their faces.

It was Paul who said… It is no longer I… But Jesus living in me.

Listen!...  Is Jesus written on our faces?... REALLY??

To be a light in our world... We must work out our salvation.

Well… Which is it?... Salvation by grace through faith?… Or salvation by works?

Indeed… Salvation is a complex issue and the New Testament uses a number of words and concepts to explain it... Concepts such as...

• Grace & Faith... 

• Repentance... 

• Being born again... 

• Adoption... 

• Forgiveness of sin... 

• Reconciliation... 

• Redemption... 

• Sanctification…

• Holiness...

• Perseverance…

Each of these concepts is important... But to simplify... We'll focus on two... Reconciliation and sanctification.

Reconciliation is the process of restoring our estranged relationship with God.

Scripture tells us that our sins have separated us from God... 

But... When we… in faith… Surrender to Him... God reconciles us...

Reconciliation is a God work... Listen to these verses...

John 3.16-17 & 3.5... God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever 

believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the 

world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him... I tell you the truth, no-one 

can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Here we see... Reconciliation is a God work... He sent his son... But we must respond to this grace gift in faith and the new birth.

Acts 2.38... Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the 

forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit... God forgives 

and gives us his spirit... IT'S CALLED RECONCILIATION!!

INDEED!!... Forgiveness and the gift of the Spirit is a God work... But we must be willing to change our life and submit to the new birth of baptism.

Galatians 3.26-27... So in Christ Jesus... You are all sons of God through faith for all of 

you who were baptized into Christ… Have put on Christ... Have been clothed with Christ.

Do we see... This is A God work... He makes us his child… Adopts us... But this sonship occurs at our obedience of faith and baptism.

Let's consider sanctification.... 

Sanctification is a God work that brings us into the image of Jesus.

We're... Reconciled... Redeemed... Forgiven... Adopted... Saved... At the point of our acceptance and obedience in being born again.

Now that we are children of God by faith and baptism... We... With God's help... Begin the process of cultivating a Jesus... Heart... Mind... Attitude... Disposition... Behavior.

We begin the process of asking... What would Jesus do?... What did Jesus do?

Indeed!!... Sanctification is a process... It's a life-long process... We will never reach His perfection... Again this is a God thing... It is God who is working in you... US.

Sanctification is GOD WORKING IN US THROUGH THE SPIRIT HE GAVE US... Helping us to conform to the image of Jesus.

Second Thessalonians testifies of this fact... God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through your belief in the truth.

Look at it this way... Let's say the Holy Spirit is the Light in us... A light that God placed there at our conversion... And we are to allow His light to shine by our becoming more and more and more like Jesus... That's the work of the Holy Spirit in our life.

No wonder we are told...

• To be filled with the Spirit... 

• Led by the spirit... 

• Live by the Spirit...

• To not quench the Spirit... 

• To keep in step with the Spirit.

Allow me to give you a couple of examples of those...

1)... Who failed to gave in to the Holy Spirits prompting... Who quenched the Spirit... 

2)... And... One who allowed himself to be Spirit led.

He received instructions from God... Familiar... Easy to understand... Instructions.

However... He disagreed with God's commands... Instructions he'd rather not follow.

As you can imagine... This brought on grumbling and disputing with God.

So... He decided he would go in the opposite direction to God's command.

Well... You recall he ended up in the belly of a fish.

Have we ever been there... Knew and understood God's will and did the opposite anyway?

Put out the spirits fire... And how did that work out for us?

The second person grew up in a town were the moon god was worshiped... His generation was warped and crooked... A crooked and depraved culture... But Jehovah God called him...

• Called him to go to a place he had never been... 

• A place God would show him... 

• A place God would give him as an inheritance.

Sound familiar?... He is the father of the faithful... Our father… If we're faithful.

Abraham responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit... Gave in to His prompting.

We too have been called to a place we've never been... A place God will show us... A place He will give us as an inheritance... If we will... live by the Spirit... Walk in step with the Spirit. 

Stars must live in... Awe… Reverence… and respect.... 

Most translations render this phrase fear and trembling... 

Perhaps the most lamentable characteristics of modern Christianity is...

• Our lack of awe... Reverence... respect... wonder... That we have for God... 

• We fail to see His absolute TRANSCENDENT... SOVEREIGN... AWESOME... Nature.

Scripture has several examples of those who came into the presence of God and were terrified by His nature....

• Israel and Moses at Mount Sinai...

• Isaiah in the Temple...

• The shepherds in the field at Jesus' birth...

• Peter... James... John... On the Mount of Transfiguration...

• Paul on the Damascus Road...

• John on the Isle of Patmos in Revelation.

While it's impossible for us to have an accurate understanding and appreciation of our Absolute… Awesome… Transcendent… Sovereign… God... We must not be too casual and complacent in our conversation and relationship with Him.

Shinning stars don't grumble and complain.

When we think of grumbling and murmuring... We naturally think of Israel in the Wilderness... Although God provided everything they needed... They were... dissatisfied... Grumbled... Murmured... Complained.

And as a result God destroyed the grumblers… Paul says… Do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel. 

There's something wrong... With a child of God…

• Who is always arguing and complaining...

• Who are never SATISFIED..

• Who always seems to have a pessimistic outlook on life... 

• Those who display a... Contentious... Restless... Discontent.

Sometimes people come into the study complaining... This is not fair!... God is unfair!!!... Oh really??... And who are we to decide that?

Listen… You don't want God to be fair with you... NO!!... We want His... 

• Generosity... 

• His Patience... 

• Prevision... 

• Protection... 

• His Mercy & Grace... 

• His forgiveness...

• Loving kindness. 

Grumbling... Murmuring... A spirit of discontent... Destroyed Israel's witness... And will continue to make us a poor testimony today... AMEN?

Shinning lights... Must be different... 

We are to be… Blameless... Pure... Children of God without fault.

• We are to stand out from the world... 

• Be… Peculiar… Holy… Set apart… People...

• We're not to allow the world to squeeze us into its mold.

• We are not to love the things of the world.

Then finally... We note that sometimes a lamp needs special attention.

This final point doesn't come form the text... But the context...

Paul is not demanding perfection… He is simply issuing a warning... 

Sometimes... 

• The wick needs attention... 

• Perhaps the glass has become smoky... 

• Maybe the filament is burned out... 

• Or the diode refuses to light... 

Something needs to be done to restore our light.

Well… I hope we've learned how to better ILLUMINE our world for Jesus in this lesson.

If you are here this morning and not a child of God... 

The challenge is for you to become one by... Faith... Repentance... And the new birth of baptism.

Maybe we just need God's forgiveness for not being the light we ought to be.

If the lesson has spoken to you... Respond as we stand and sing together.








Written By

Parker Willis

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