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Glow in the Dark! - Philippians 2:14-18

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To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.

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8/27/2017
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Glow in the Dark!
Philippians 2:14-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Outline

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  1. Analyze the Condition of the World (v. 15)

  2. Recognize Your Position in the World (v. 15)

  3. Advertise Your Vocation to the World (vv. 14, 16)

  4. Maximize Your Action for the World (vv. 17-18)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: August 27, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Glow in the Dark!"
Text: Philippians 2:14-18

Path

To make an object glow in the dark, we must apply a phosphor (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) that energizes by ambient light and has a lengthy, persistent radiance. For a Christian to glow—to shine the light of truth and salvation—in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Pastor Skip showed us how we can shine the light of Christ to penetrate a murky world:
  • Analyze the Condition of the World (v. 15)
  • Recognize Your Position in the World (v. 15)
  • Advertise Your Vocation to the World (vv. 14, 16)
  • Maximize Your Action for the World (vv. 17-18)
Points

Analyze the Condition of the World
  • The world is watching Christians; we shouldn't blend in but stand out and shine a light.
  • Christians shine in a number of ways:
    • Some are like candles, with a quiet glow that draws people.
    • Some are spotlights, shining in faces.
    • Some are like flashlights, helping others out of darkness.
  • The world is crooked—morally and spiritually bent and deformed.
  • The world is perverse—contorted and twisted.
  • We should look at the world in the following ways:
    • Plainly: the world is not getting any better.
    • Spiritually: we must see people not as clients, but as eternal souls.
    • Ultimately: there are ultimate, eternal ends: either heaven or hell.
  • Probe: Discuss the type of light you are (candle, flashlight, or spotlight). Talk about some of the positive and negative traits of being that kind of light.
Recognize Your Position in the World
  • The word for light is the same for star: objects that shine in dark places.
  • When the world gets darker, shine brighter. Be a glow-in-the dark Christian.
  • Light must be seen to be useful. There is no such thing as a secret disciple; secrecy will destroy discipleship, and discipleship will destroy secrecy.
  • Light reveals what darkness hides, showing the dirt and dust. The gospel is revealing, not concealing.
  • Light shows the way out of darkness. It doesn't just expose; it directs and rescues.
  • Christians should not block the sun, but reflect the Son.
  • Persistence is proportional to radiance; for us to glow we must go to Him.
  • Probe: Unpack the statement, "Persistence is proportional to radiance." What are some of the characteristics of staying close to the light source, Christ (love, mercy, etc.)? How does staying close to the light help you reflect the light better?
Advertise Your Vocation to the World
  • Notice the words blameless and harmless. Our light is to be attractive, not attacking.
    • By having the right attitude: "do all things without complaining or disputing" (v. 14).
    • By doing the right action: "holding fast the word of life" (v. 16).
      • We glow in the dark by living life differently and speaking truth accurately.
      • What you exemplify by your life, you must amplify with your lips.
  • Probe: Give some practical examples of living life differently and speaking truth accurately. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Living life differently: smile, love people, don't lie, help the helpless, and be kind and compassionate.
    • Speak truth accurately: don't exaggerate, mean what you say and say what you mean, point people to Scripture not opinions, and be accurate with facts and figures.
Maximize Your Action for the World
  • Paul linked his own suffering and the Philippian church's sacrifice to worshiping God.
  • Notice the phrase "poured out" (v. 17). It's a picture of a worshipper pouring libation on an altar or providing animal sacrifice. Paul used a similar phrase in 2 Timothy 4:6 to describe his life as a sacrifice to God.
  • Paul added his suffering to the Philippians' sacrifice—both were acts of worship.
  • The word for service means liturgy, a type of worship service. Paul saw suffering as an act of devotion—not to be sought out, but endured in God-honoring ways.
  • Our action in the world should be an attitude of worship, letting our life and lips represent Christ.
  • Do you see people living in darkness, needing the light? Do you shine brightly, standing out with Christ's good news? Do you live carefully, watching your attitude around unbelievers? Do you speak the gospel message accurately?
  • Let's glow in the dark lest the darkness overshadow our glow.
  • Probe: Share a time when your suffering was an act of worship. How did your suffering bring Christ glory?
Practice

Connect Up: In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." In Matthew 5:14, Jesus said Christians are the light of the world. How are both lights similar, and how are they different? For example, as God, Jesus is pure light, but Christians only reflect His light. So how do we reflect God's light? Furthermore, how do non-Christians reflect God (imago Dei, made in the image of God)?

Connect In: Just as individual Christians are to glow in the dark, so, too, is the universal church. List the things the church has done that reflect the light of Christ. Then list the things the church has done that do not reflect the light of Christ (i.e., the Inquisition). What can you learn from these two lists?

Connect Out: The noted Bible translator Desiderius Erasmus said, "Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself." Or consider D. L. Moody's words: "We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining, they just shine." Light penetrates darkness. How can living in the light of Jesus be a witness to a watching world? Share an example of a time when someone saw your actions and made a positive comment.

Transcript

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

Hello, and welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses this message to strengthen your faith. If He does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at MyStory@CalvaryABQ.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at CalvaryABQ.org/Give. To make an object glow in the dark, you must add a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence. In the message, "Glow in the Dark," Skip considers four things that will help us shine bright in a murky world. Now, please turn your Bible to Philippians Chapter 2 as he begins.

Light is essential to our existence on the Earth, most of us know that. Light is needed for the process of photosynthesis for plants. We need it to navigate through our lives. There are objects in front of us. And we need to know what to do with them, make decisions to go around them or to engage with them. But also, light is important to our emotional makeup. Experts tell us that every year when it gets to be winter time that a significant base of the population gets SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. That is, when the days become shorter, there's less light. It affects their mood. They become depressed sometimes.

Now, for most of human history, whenever the sun went down, the world got dark. Cities would shut down. There were no lights to speak of. People would light candles in homes. Armies would stop marching. They would set up camp fires. And they would pause for the night. Ships could not navigate into harbors. Unless, of course, there was a torch that was lit in a lighthouse. But we live in a modern era, where those days are gone. We have artificial lighting. So you can go into a room, flip a switch and light it up, or light a stadium up, for that matter.

And you know what it's like when you fly at night, and you look down at our country, and you see those islands of lights that represent cities. And some of you right now are even following along in your Bibles on a screen that is lit up, backlit. And so you are reading the scriptures. But you are depending on the light that is emitted from those diodes for you to be able to engage and read. So we have lights all around us. And we need them, frankly, for life.

When I was a kid, I loved lights. My dad was a builder. And he showed me how lighting a building can affect the mood and even the way you enjoy a facility. But I always remember Christmas time in our house. And I loved it when my mom and dad would put lights on the tree, turn off all the lights at night, and that warm glow, multi-colored glow of those lights. I still love that. My other favorite lighting event is the 4th of July fireworks. I always love seeing them go off, streak across the sky. How cool was our stadium event this year, when 1,500 people gave their lives to Christ and we got to celebrate with fireworks afterwards?

[APPLAUSE]

There's something enlivening about them, something patriotic about them. But let me just say that next time you're at a fireworks show and you're looking up at the sky, keep your head in that direction and keep looking when the fireworks subside. When they burn out, keep looking, and you'll notice something else up there that is glowing, the stars. They've been there long before the fireworks went off. And they're going to be there a long time glowing in the future. Those stars just steadily shine their light, emit their light. And when you go out in the country and you lose the light pollution of the city, it's even better. With that in mind, listen to the words of Daniel. It sets us up perfectly for this text.

Daniel Chapter 12 says, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens. And those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars, forever and ever." I want to talk to you today about shining your light. You and I are called to be light bearers, to shine our light. That's going to be in our text. So I want to talk about how to glow in the dark. As Christians, there's a number of ways we can shine our lights. Now, let me just show you a little demonstration here. I hope I don't get in trouble. I hope there's no fire marshal here.

OK, so this is a cool little candle lantern, right? So that's kind of nice. And it's fun. And the candle's about out. So it's good. If you're in a tent and you need a single source of light and you don't have any electricity, this will work. And it's warm. It's attractive. If it was really dark, it would really look cool. But there are some Christians, and this is how they shine their light. They just have a nice little warm glow off over here to themselves, just glowing. And I'm enjoying what's going on, period.

So that's one way you can do it. And that's OK. But it's not the best way. Here's another way that you can shine your light. Here's a little flashlight. Now, watch what happens. Is that pleasant? Is that nice? Does that feel good? That's horrible, isn't it? So some of us are like this, oof, unfortunately. You just walk up to people and go, hey, sinner.

[LAUGHTER]

Listen. So it works, but not very well. So a better way than just glowing on your own in a little warm environment for yourself or doing this in somebody's face is to actually to take a light source and be a flashlight believer that shines the way out of darkness, helps them get out of the darkness that they're in. That's a better approach.

And so with that in mind, let's look at our text-- hold on, blow that out, so I really don't get in trouble-- and look at Philippians Chapter 2, beginning in verse 14. You'll see how Paul has a theme with this. "Do all things without complaining and disputing--" Some of you already feel convicted right there. "that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me."

Now, let me catch you up to speed a little bit on this epistle and put it together. So Paul writes a letter to the Philippian church. And they're worried. Christians and Philippi are worried about Paul. Paul's in prison. He's been arrested. He's in jail. So our biggest stalwart example of Christian leadership is gone. He's in jail. We don't know what's going to happen to him. And they're confused by these circumstances.

So Paul writes them a letter. And he says, first of all, we're partners in the gospel. So I'm in jail. But you're not. And I want you to know that my incarceration, my circumstances, what has happened to me, has actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. I am incarcerated. The gospel is not. It's being furthered. Roman guards, Praetorian guards, members of Caesar's household are hearing the truth.

So there's people who could never hear the truth in any other way than this are hearing it. And then, he says, I'm in jail. But you're there. And while you're there, here's how I want you to act. I want you to be humble. I want you to be loving. I want you to serve each other. And the greatest example of that is Jesus himself, who left heaven, came to Earth, took on a human body. And he humbled himself to the point of death. And God exalted him. So do that, be like that, that's where we have come through so far.

Now, Paul tells us why. Now, he tells us why we ought to live that way. And here it is in a nutshell. Because the world is watching. And the world, as they're watching our lives, we must therefore not blend into them, but stand out from them, be different enough that they appreciate that difference, that it does something for them, it leads them out of darkness, you shine as light.

There was a man driving his car. A woman was driving behind him in another vehicle. They were at a stoplight. When the light turned green, the man in the lead car did not look up. He was looking down, maybe at his phone. But he didn't go. It's green. But his car didn't go. The lady in the car behind him did see it. And she let him know that she saw by honking the horn. She honked her horn. But the guy in the lead car didn't budge, didn't move, didn't look up. So she honked it again.

She's getting a little mad at this time, rolled down her window and yelled. Nothing happened. But just when the light turned yellow, right before it turned red, he looked up, noticed it, and zoomed through the intersection, leaving the woman to go through a whole nother light cycle. Well now, she's fuming. And she rolls her window down, puts her arm out, and gives a certain gesture. I don't need to go any further than that. She yells some very choice words, ranting, raving, pounding the steering wheel. And just then, she noticed a police officer with a gun pointed saying, ma'am, I want to see both hands. I'm going to open the car door with your hands up. I want you to get out of the vehicle.

So she gets out of the vehicle. The police puts her arms behind her, puts her in handcuffs, and takes her to jail. She's in a cell for two hours. After two hours, that same police officer lets her out and says, ma'am, I'm very sorry for the misunderstanding. But you just have to know that, as I was listening to the words you were saying and I was watching the gesture you were making, and I was watching you ranting, and raving, and going through those contortions, and I had also noticed on the back of your vehicle the What Would Jesus Do? Bumper sticker, and the little Chrome fish that's on your trunk, and the Follow Me to Sunday School license plate holder. Naturally, I assumed that you had stolen the car.

[LAUGHTER]

Fair enough, right? The message on the back of the car was very different from the message coming from inside the car. So as the world is watching us, what are they naturally assuming? So I want to share about how to glow in the dark. And what I'd like to do, in looking at the text that we just read, is it give you a four-fold strategy. And first, you have to understand what kind of world we live in. What is the condition of our world?

I want you to notice in verse 15 that Paul describes it as "a crooked and perverse generation." Do you think those words describe the world that you live in? As you look around your world, would you say this is a crooked-- now, this is 2,000 years ago. Do you think that we have gotten better or worse than that? Are we still in "a crooked and perverse" generation? I would say so. In fact, look at the word crooked, it's a word that some of you will be familiar with. It's the word scolios. We get the word scoliosis from that a medical condition of the bending of the spine. So that person can't support the weight that you were designed to support.

So by using the word, what Paul is saying is the world we live in is morally bent, spiritually deformed, and unable to support the weight of life, very strong word, a crooked world. Then, notice the second word, perverse. That's sort of the same thing but a little bit different. It means to twist and to turn. We live in a twisted, morally contorted world, perverse.

If that language surprises you, it shouldn't. Because the Lord Jesus even said, "Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?" So as Christian people, we need to view our world plainly. We need to view our world spiritually. And we need to view our world ultimately. Now, let me explain that statement. There's something about just a plain, honest look at the condition of the world.

When you turn on the news, or you read a newspaper, or you get it on your pad and you see the cover stories, I know it gets old. I mean, how many of us love to be informed on the latest terror attack in the world? It gets pretty bad. And some of us get so tired of looking at the news. Some of us want to fast from any information. But we need to see what kind of a world we live in. We're not getting brighter. The world is getting less bent. It's getting darker.

Consider this, in the past century, the last 100 years, 123 million people been killed in wars in just the last century. That's more than any and all of the centuries that preceded the last century. According to the FBI, there is a murder every 35 minutes in our country, a rape every six minutes, and a burglary every 14 seconds. That's the plain look at your world. That's the world we live in.

However, we need to see it not just plainly but spiritually. When Jesus looked at a crowd, he looked at a crowd very differently than Skip Heitzig looks at a crowd. I don't like crowds. I don't like lines. I don't like traffic. I've told you this before. And I bet I'm echoing your sentiments. Now, we really don't have traffic to speak of. I'm sorry but you're talking to an LA boy here. It's like, this is good. But I don't like lines. I don't like traffic. And I just get agitated. Somebody is actually in front of me on the freeway, how dare they. That's just human nature. Sorry, that's how I feel.

But Jesus, when he looked at crowds, he looked at them differently. It says that he saw the crowd, the multitude, and he was moved with compassion for them. Because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. And I think, boy, if I could learn to see people like that. And here's the challenge. Let's start viewing people not as clients, not as potential business, but as eternal souls, eternally spiritually. So we've got to view them plainly, spiritually. And that does lead to the third eternally.

Because the truth is, those who are in that moral and spiritual darkness, if that is unchecked and unchanged, they have eternal consequences, which should drive me to be compassionate for them. Our Lord Jesus talked about outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That's how we need to start viewing our world.

So we need to begin with, if we're going to glow, we need to understand the kind of world we're in. Second, we need to understand our position in this world. You'll notice with me verse 15, "that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." Now, look at this phrase, zero in on it, "among whom you shine as lights in the world."

That word here, lights, is typically in scripture reserved for starlight. Think of looking past the fireworks and seeing the star light, the continual shine of starlight. Now, here's how I look at it. The world is bent, dark, contorted, all that Paul described it as, which means the conditions for us to shine have never been better than they are now. Because the darker it gets, the brighter our light can shine. And so we complain, man, the world's getting dark. Yep, so shine brighter. You've heard the saying, don't curse the darkness, turn on the light. So it's getting darker, so shine brighter.

Now, we know some things about light. I don't know much about light. But there's a few things I do retain from my education. I know that light is electromagnetic energy. I studied the electromagnetic spectrum. I understand that light travels at 186,000 miles a second. When it's not in a vacuum, that's how fast it goes. 186,000 miles a second means that sunlight takes eight minutes to get from the sun to the Earth. Because it's 93 million miles away from the Earth. So the light that you enjoy left the sun eight minutes ago.

But something happened this week, if you saw it on Monday, called an eclipse, where we could even see it. We could see that an object much, much, much smaller than the sun could actually block the Earth from the rays of the sun. So it passed between the Earth and the sun blocking the rays. And in some places, it was a total eclipse. Would have been marvelous to see that. Now, what happened on Monday, that eclipse, must never happen with us. We must never block the glory of the son, S-O-N, the Son of God. In all of his radiance and glory, we by our lives must never diminish that glow. But we should reflect that glow.

Something else about light, light, to be effective, has to be seen. Light has to be seen. Please notice that Paul says, "among whom you shine as lights in the world." For you and I to be effective, we have to be around people who are in darkness, for the light to be noticeable and for it to work. If all we do is shine among other people who are shining, we're not doing a lot of good. So here we are, Sunday morning, it's great. We're worshipping God. We need to do that. We understand what the Bible says about getting together.

However, if this is the only place we're shining, we're not doing the world any good. Here I am, I'm in church. I'm shining. This little light of mine, I'm letting it shine. That's cool. But we have to leave this place and go out. You know what it's like? It's like this. So here's my flashlight, remember? OK, so what would it be like if I walked out in the sun right now with my flashlight so I could see where I was going? If you saw that you'd say, really lame. You don't need the flashlight to see where you're going. The sun's brighter than your flashlight. So you don't need to do that. So that's what it's like when Christians only shine around other Christians.

We need to be in the darkness for the light to really be of value and for it to work. That's why Jesus said, "So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." You see, there's no such thing as secret discipleship. Because the discipleship will destroy the secrecy. Or the secrecy will destroy the discipleship. So among whom you shine, the light has to be seen.

Something else about light, have you noticed that light reveals what darkness hides? And there's something about turning on a light that is very revelatory, or taking an object out into the sun and examining it. Its very, very amazing the difference. I have a rug-- I had a rug until this week in my study. It's out for cleaning. It's an old thing that we got at a pawnshop. And it's a nice rug. But it was pretty dirty. So we took it out to get it cleaned. And when we lifted it off, it's a dark floor. And when I exposed it to the bright light, I was amazed how much dirt was under that rug.

Now, it's not like we're slobs. I mean, we vacuum, and clean, and stuff. But it concealed a lot. And it really showed it when the lights were turned on. The bright light revealed what the darkness was hiding, which is why we need to be careful when we share our faith with unbelievers. Because when you share truth, which is revealing, and people who are living in darkness hear those things, certain things in their lives get exposed.

And it hurts. And they'll wince. They don't like that. And you don't have to be obnoxious. You don't have to like shine the flashlight and go, hey, do you like Hell? Because you're going there. You don't have to be obnoxious. You can be winsome, and warm, and lovely, and deferential, and sweet. And at the same time, just speaking truth will be enough to convict people who don't want to budge from their darkness that they will flee. Jesus said it this way. "This is the verdict. Light has come into the world. But men loved darkness instead of light. Because their deeds were evil, for everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."

And something else about light, as I mentioned previously, it shows people the way out of darkness. It doesn't just expose the darkness. It's really helpful when it leads or directs somebody out. So we all know that Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." That's what he said about himself. We know that. But listen to the context of it. Here's what he said, here's the full sentence. "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Now Jesus, last time I checked, left this world. He ascended into Heaven. He was here. He left. And he gave His Holy Spirit to us.

So he said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." But he turned to his disciples and he said, "You are the light of the world." So think of it as the sun and the moon. The moon reflects the sun. It shouldn't obscure the sun. It should reflect the sun. So as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. But now to you, and you are the light of the world. So don't block the sun, don't eclipse it, reflect the sun.

Now, how do we do that? Well, the short answer is we have to get close to the one who is shining. So when we talk about glow in the dark products, if you have a watch that has a dial that glows like I do or you have those little rubber necklaces they pass out at games you put around your neck or your wrist, so those phosphorescent toys or objects, they have a phosphor embedded into them. And a phosphor reacts to a light source.

So you hold it up to a light, like the sun or a light bulb. And it charges. That's what they call it. There's a charge that takes place. The phosphor gets excited by the light source. And then, it continues to shine. And that's called persistence. Now, the persistence of the object that is glowing is directly relational to the radiance at the source. So the longer or more intense the source, the more persistence it's going to have.

And so it is with us. For us to glow, we need to go close to Jesus, grow in Him. And in fellowship with Him, in proximity to Him, getting all of that warmth and glow, then our persistence will be more impactful. And I want to show you that and show you exactly how. And this takes us to verse 14 through 16. I want you to look at it. Because I'm going to show you how to glow. And this is what we're called to do. This is our vocation to the world.

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."

I'm going to sum that up. There's two ways to glow, attitude and action. You need the right attitude. You need the right action. The right attitude is verse 14. "Do all things without complaining." Uh oh, guess what? This isn't going to help, perhaps. But it says, "Do all things." I made a discovery. All things actually means all things. I'd love to say, yeah, but in the Greek, all things really means some things. No, actually, it means all things. It's like Romans 8:28. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Here's another all things. "Do all things without complaining and disputing." You know what it means to complain? Who doesn't? Let me tell you what this word means. The word here for complaining literally means to mutter in a low voice, a low tone, an undertone. The word means under your breath. It's this, oh man, [MUMBLING] You're not really vocalizing it to somebody else. You're just ticked off at something. And you've just got a bad attitude. It's a bad attitude.

OK, so what's the context here? You're shining as a light in a crooked world. The world is watching you. How attractive is a Christian who does this all the time? [MUMBLING] Is that effective in winning people? Is a complaining, grumbling, disputing, believer going to bring people out of darkness into the light? No it won't. So to be a complaining believer is bad advertising for the kingdom. Would you agree with that? It's bad advertising.

Because why would an unbeliever listening to you grumble and complain want to do what you're doing and follow Christ? Because you're saying, you need to come to Christ, peace, and joy, and love, and greatness, and awesomeness, and [MUMBLING] They're going, really? You're always grumbling. So your God doesn't treat you very well. So why should I follow Him? So do all things without complaining and disputing.

It's like a family at breakfast. And father began the breakfast by a very pious prayer, "Oh Heavenly Father, we thank you this day for all the food and all the goodness that you provide," and then afterwards started complaining about the coffee being too weak, and his wife making the eggs run, and being late for this and that. And so little daughter is listening at the table and says, "Hey daddy, did God hear you thank him in your prayer?" "Well, of course, God always hears our prayers." "And daddy, did God hear you complain against mom, and the eggs, and the coffee?" And he got nervous now. "Yeah, I guess God did hear me say that." And so she innocently said, "Well, then daddy, which one does God believe?"

Which one does God believe? Now, an unbeliever looking at us, which one are they to believe, the complaining you, or the you ought to follow God because he's awesome you? That's the attitude. That's how you glow. The more you complain, the more you diminish the glow. So that's the first part. Now, look at the next word, "Do all things without complaining and disputing." Different word.

Disputing is when you take it from under your breath and it's in a dialogue. Now, you're telling everybody what's wrong with everything. OK, that's different than complaining. Now, you're disputing. Think of the woman in the car. When she rolls her window down, and shares those choice words, and gives that gesture, so that's the disputing part. And it's disputing what her bumper actually says she believed in. You remember that Jesus said "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves?" A dove is pretty harmless. And a serpent was considered shrewd. Why is it that we as Christians think that we should reverse that and be about as wise as a dove and about as harmless as a serpent? It does no one any good, does it?

Hey, what animal in the Bible does Jesus say we're most like? Sheep. Ever been scared by a sheep? Ever seen a sign, Beware of Lamb? Lamb-o is here, watch out. This is my guard sheep. Jesus said, "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves." Not wolves in the midst of sheep, you are sheep. That's your temperament in the midst of wolves.

So first is the attitude. All important is attitude. "Do all things without complaining and disputing." Second is the action. Here's how you glow, not only your attitude but your action. Verse 16. "Holding fast to the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain." Now, when you think of holding something fast, what do you think of? Gripping it, holding it firmly. So I'm holding my Bible fast. I have a good grip on it.

So Paul could mean, you need to have a good grip on the truth of the gospel. Because that's what he means when he says holding the word of life. That's a synonym for the gospel message. So it could simply mean, get a firm grasp on the message that brings eternal life. However, this word is a little ambiguous. And some translations put it this way, not holding fast, but holding forth the word of life.

And I think that's a better idea. Don't just hold it fast, so you know stuff, hold it forth, so that you show stuff, so that you are telling others the message. He is speaking here of sharing your faith with people, preaching the gospel, not just knowing it, but showing it, sharing it, speaking it evangelizing with it. So we glow in the dark by living our lives differently. We glow in the dark by speaking the truth accurately. What we exemplify with our life must be amplified by our lips.

So if you're one of those believers who say, well, I'd like to live a silent witness. I'd like to live my witness. Well, that's OK that you are living your witness. But that's sort of like this little guy. So I'm going to light it. And I'm going to put it over here. And it's got a nice warm glow. And isn't it awesome? It is. It is. But if you never actually tell people why you are so awesome, and why you are so warm, and why you've got this cool little glow going on in your life, if they never know how that happened, they're not going to know how to get out of darkness themselves.

So at some point, we actually need to put words to our life, and tell people how we got out of darkness and came to the light, and how they can, too. We have to share the gospel with our lips. Romans 10:14. Paul says, "How can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without somebody preaching to them?" So listen, if you think you can be a secret agent Christian, I'm encouraging you this morning, blow your cover. Let the state secret out. Let the kingdom secret be known. Tell them what really the skinny is. And tell them what Heaven's all about. And tell them how you got changed.

So how do we glow? Right attitude, right action. Now, I want to close with the last two verses. And there's something here I never really noticed until this reading of Philippians. In verse 17 and 18, he says, "Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason, you also be glad and rejoice with me."

Now, I didn't see this before. But Paul here is linking his suffering and their sacrifice. He's putting them together and saying, I want you guys to start seeing this as worship. It's part of your worship to God. So see where Paul says, "If I'm being poured out as a drink offering," now, that's a picture they would be familiar with. You and I aren't. But in ancient times, pagan cultures had a thing called a libation, where they would take a vessel, a glass, maybe with wine in it. And they would pour it on top of a sacrifice that was being made. And it was symbolic of going all in. I'm pouring everything into this. I'm withholding it for myself. And I'm pouring it out.

Even in Judaism, in the Old Testament, there was something called a drink offering. It was poured out. Paul sees his life that way. He's in jail. He's suffering. And he says, I may not make it out of here alive. I'm incarcerated. But I might have to pour my whole life out and be killed. By the way, that's how Paul used it. In the very last letter he ever row, 2nd Timothy, he said in his writing, "I am already being poured out as a drink offering. And the time of my death is at hand."

So here's what he's saying. Even if this means I'm being poured out on-- did you notice it, on?-- the sacrifice and the service of your faith. So it's their sacrifice and his offering poured on top of it. That's the word picture. Do you see the word service? It literally means worship service. It's liturgia we get the term liturgy from that, a ceremony, a liturgical ceremony, a service of worship.

So listen, let me tie it all together for you as we close. Paul is saying, all of our glowing, all of our light bearing, all of our gospel preaching, all of our attitude adjusting, you need to see that as part of your worship to God. Because that takes it to a whole new level. See, that gives us a whole new reason to adjust our attitude. It gives us a whole new reason to share the gospel. It gives us a whole new reason to let our light be seen. Because it's part of our worship to God.

Romans 12:1 "I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is" NIV says, "your spiritual act of worship." Your spiritual act of worship. So let's glow in the dark. Let's leave the place where we're all shining so brightly and go out into the dark, crooked, and perverse world, and glow in the dark, lest the darkness overshadow our glow.

I want to close with a crazy question. But I want an honest answer. How many of you drink Coke products? You're Coke people. Wait a minute, let me rephrase that. Coca-Cola, not coke. OK, if you're Coca-Cola people, raise your hand. I won't ask the other question. Because I might be surprised by the answer. OK, so these are Coca-Cola people. How many Pepsi people? Raise your hand. OK, once more, Coca-Cola people, raise your hand. OK, so I've got to tell you, Coke wins.

And I think I know why. Want to know why Coke wins? Because a few years back, years ago, they had a stated goal of Coca-Cola Corporation. They said, "Our goal is we want every person on Earth to at least taste Coca-Cola." Every person, that's our goal. That's a pretty lofty goal to say, I want everybody in the world to taste Coca-Cola.

This is how they've done. As of today, 97% of the world has heard of Coke. 72% of the world has seen a Coke product. 51% of the world has tasted Coca-Cola, over half. You say, well, that's only over half. That's not 100%. Yeah, but you know how long Coca-Cola has been around? Only 100 years. In 100 years they've been around, over half the world's population has tasted Coke.

Now, you know how long we've been around, the Christian community has been around? 2,000 years the gospel message has been around. I know things go better with Coke. But things go way better with Jesus.

[APPLAUSE]

So we can't boast of those numbers. We can't boast of the same numbers of the Coca-Cola Corporation. So I think you would agree, it's time for us to glow, to get in the game. So to glow, we have to go to Jesus and grow in Him, so that persistent glow comes forth from our lives. So Father, we want to draw near to you, Lord. And we need to be serious about seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and so that, Lord, our lives that we enjoy you. Because the closer we are to you, the more joy we will have.

A case in point, we know, is Paul the Apostle, who is in prison. But he was so close to you and close to your plan, and purpose, and your heart, that he could say, even in the words, we read I'm rejoicing. And you need to rejoice, too. Even if that means I'm going to lose my life in the process, this is for a good reason, as I pour it out on the sacrifice and service of your faith.

So Lord, I pray that you'd help us to shine in a dark world and not be overcome by it. Strengthen your people, Lord. Thank you for the time that we could get together and understand the meaning of these rich texts. In Jesus's name, amen.

As believers, we're called to shine the light of truth and salvation in a dark culture. So how will you glow in your daily life? Let us know. Email us at MyStory@CalvaryABQ.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at CalvaryABQ.org/Give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
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Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/7/2017
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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
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No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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5/14/2017
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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
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Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
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What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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6/11/2017
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Pest Control
Philippians 1:15-18
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Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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6/25/2017
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Can You Predict Your Future?
Philippians 1:18-21
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If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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7/9/2017
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Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
Philippians 1:22-26
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Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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7/16/2017
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How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
Philippians 1:27-30
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The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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7/30/2017
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Being Around People--While Still Being Sane!
Philippians 2:1-4
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Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.
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8/6/2017
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What Would Jesus Do?
Philippians 2:5-8
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The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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8/13/2017
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Be Humble or You'll Stumble
Philippians 2:8-11
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Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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8/20/2017
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How to Have a Great Workout
Philippians 2:12-13
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Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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9/17/2017
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A Little Help from My Friends (Part 1)
Philippians 2:19-24
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Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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There are 14 additional messages in this series.