Sunday, October 23, 2005

Effecting Lives

Intro: I do not like today's passage.

  1. Complaining is such a major part of my life.

  2. I mean, if my computer is not working, someone will find out about it.

  3. Or, earlier this week, I went up to our computer classroom and discovered that the teacher's station was not working.

  4. I call ITS – and they can do nothing because Mike does not come in for another ½ hour.

  5. It would be like coming to church hoping for a good sermon and the pastor does not show up.

  6. Except for me this is bad news and I want to complain.

  7. And then I turn to this weeks passage and I am deflated.

Read Philippians 2:14-18


Tran. In Philippians 2:14-18, Paul provides us the motivations for changing our attitudes.

  1. The passage starts by telling us to do everything without “complaining or arguing.”

  2. He ends by telling his listeners “so you tool should be glad and rejoice.”

  3. The contrast was so obvious, I almost yelled out my excitement as I told Sandra what I had discovered.

T.S. As we look at Philippians 2:14-18, we will see that Paul presents to motivators for our taking time to change our attitudes.

  1. Effect on our own lives

      1. Three terms describe what Paul suggest will happen to those who this change from complainer to rejoicing.

        1. Blameless -

        2. Pure -

        3. Faultless -

      2. These three words are very close in meaning, but they make clear that this change takes place on two levels.

      3. I call these two levels the doing of sin and the want to of sin.

      4. The one is what people see – the other is what is going on in your heart.

(Ill.) Dr. Kenneth Kantzer was my theology prof in seminary. He told us that often when the the Bible used the plural “sins', it was referring to the doing of sin. A wonderful example of this is found in I John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Similarly, when scripture used the singular “sin”, it is referring the “want to” that we all seem to fight against - that park of brokenness that has infected all of mankind. Romans 5:12 reads “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men.” Sin, the disease that is part of all of our lives, began with Adam. But it is part of all of our lives.

(Ill.) John Maynard was a student in an old-time country schoolhouse. Most of the year he had drifted carelessly along, but in midwinter some kind words from his teacher encouraged him to take a new start, and he became a distinctly different boy and made up for his earlier faults. At the closing examination he performed well, to the great joy of his father and mother, who were present. But the copy-books used through the year were all laid on a table for the visitors to look at; and John remembered that his copy-book, fair enough in its latter pages, had been a dreary mass of blots and bad work before. He watched his mother looking over those books, and his heart was sick. But she seemed, to his surprise, quite pleased with what she saw, and called his father to look with her; and afterward John found that his kind teacher had thoughtfully torn out all those bad, blotted leaves, and made his copy-book begin where he started to do better. To all who would forsake sin God offers a new chance and promise to blot out all old sin and make the record begin with the new start.i

      1. What started with one man, God wants to take and make us, to use the words of Philippians 2:

        1. Blameless

        2. Pure

        3. Faultless

  1. Effect on the lives of others

    1. Moving from one who complains and argues to one who is glad and rejoices will change us in many ways.

    2. It will also effect those around us.

    3. Paul uses himself as an example. As the Philippians live out the Christian life, he will have a reason to rejoice.

    4. But Paul is not alone – he is but one member of the church. He serves to illustrate that the church is a body – when one part celebrates, we will all celebrate. When one succeeds in the Christian life – whether big or small – we all need to celebrate.

    5. The church is one audience – but there is another. Listen to what Paul says in verse 15 again, “so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.” The world is watching us.

    6. Those who live around you, those who work around you, those whose paths you cross will see God at work in your life. You will, as Paul continues, “... shine like stars in the universe.

(Ill.) I am reminded of that little ditty that many of us sang in Sunday School:

This little light of mine,
I'm goin'a let it shine,
this little light of mine,
I'm goin'a let it shine;
this little light of mine,
I'm goin'a let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

(Appl.) As I live out my Christian life, I do not want you, as my brothers and sisters in Christ, I do not the world, to see a perfect person. That person does not exist.

What I do want is for those around me, whether believers or not, to see a person that is changing. I want the church and the world to see a man who is becoming more like Christ each day, each week, each month, each year. Sometimes the changes are small, sometimes the changes may be in bigger steps.

But if we are people who are changing, then we will be an encouragement to the church and be shining like stars in the universe. And that is what God asks for.

iAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

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