"SHINING AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD" Doing All Things Without Murmuring And Disputing (Ph 2:14 ) INTRODUCTION 1. So far in this series on "Shining As Lights In The World", we have been given both direction and hope a. "Direction" in the form of the admonition: "Work out your own salvation..." b. "Hope" in the assurance that "it is God who works in you..." 2. But now we have a "warning," and found in Ph 2:14 , it is that we "Do all things without murmuring and disputing." 3. The need for this warning should become more apparent as we proceed in this lesson [First, let's consider...] I. MURMURING A. THE DANGER OF "MURMURING"... 1. Murmuring is defined as: "To complain in low mumbling tones; grumble." 2. The people of Israel "murmured" frequently throughout their wilderness wanderings, and many were destroyed because of it! - cf. 1 Co 10:10-11 3. In describing those who would be apostates, "murmurers" are included in the description! - Jude 3-4, 16-19 4. Not only are our souls at stake, but when did anyone ever go about a task seriously all the while "complaining in low mumbling tones"? a. E.g., an employee at work b. E.g., a student with his or her homework c. Or a Christian who is to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"! 5. How can we then "shine as lights" if we are seen to be a group of complainers? B. REPLACE "MURMURING" WITH "THANKSGIVING"! 1. When a person is murmuring, it is an indication of dissatisfaction 2. But a Christian has so much to be thankful for, including: a. Salvation in Christ Jesus, which includes every spiritual blessing - Ep 1:3 b. Assurance of a Heavenly Father who understands and will provide our needs - Mt 6:31-33 ; He 13:5-6 c. Indeed, the help of God, who "works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" - Ph 2:13 3. Yes, if anything, the people of God should be known as filled with "thanksgiving", not "murmuring"! Consider what Paul wrote to the Colossians: a. We should thank God for our inheritance - Co 1:12 b. We should abound with thanksgiving - Co 2:6-7 c. Be thankful for the peace of God ruling in our hearts - Co 3:15 d. Give thanks to God the Father through Jesus Christ - Co 3:17 e. Be vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving - Co 4:2 4. Surely an "attitude of gratitude" will help us "shine as lights in the world" much better than murmuring, grumbling and complaining! [How do people see us? As "murmurers" who complain about the economy, the government, everything? Or as people, who though we see much evil in the world, also see much good, and are known for being thankful? Another potential for hindering our ability to "shine as lights in the world" pertains to...] II. DISPUTING A. THE DANGER OF "DISPUTING"... 1. The word "disputing" simply means: "arguing; disputing" a. It is not describing the discussions of differences between individuals who seek to find common ground b. But rather the sort of divisive "wrangling" condemned in 1 Ti 6:3-5 ; 2 Ti 2:14-16 ; Tit 3:9 2. Such disputing can devour those in the body of Christ, against which Paul warned - Ga 5:15 3. It can also destroy our ability to convince the world concerning Jesus! - Jn 17:20-23 B. BEING DIFFERENT IN HOW WE HANDLE OUR "DIFFERENCES"... 1. There will always be difference among brethren... a. We come into the kingdom with many different backgrounds and perspectives b. It will take a while until we all develop the "mind of Christ" and the "oneness of mind" for which Paul pleaded in Ph 2:2 2. Until then, we can still "shine as lights in the world" in the way we handle our differences! a. With the attitudes of gentleness, patience, and humility prescribed in 2 Ti 2:23-26 b. With the qualities of longsuffering, forbearance, and forgiveness described in Co 3:12-13 c. With the willingness to forego personal liberties as exemplified by Paul in 1 Co 8:13 3. We can truly "shine as lights" and make a positive impact on the world for Jesus, if we can: a. Disagree, without being disagreeable! b. Be different in the way we handle our differences! CONCLUSION 1. Too much harm has been done in the past by the way we have dealt with differences, and the tendency to complain 2. If we can only take to heart the warning of Paul and other scriptures against "murmuring" and "disputing"... a. Perhaps the harm can be undone b. And those who wear the name of Christ can truly "shine as lights in the world" 3. If we will only let God truly work in us... a. Helping us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling b. Then perhaps we will be more successful in developing Christ-like characters that will really "shine as lights in the world"!