Light in a Dark World

Light in a Dark World

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 7/23/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,”

                                                                      Philippians 2:14–15 (NASB95)

It seems we live in a time when everyone has something to be grumbling about or is disputing something. No one ever seems to be happy anymore. Granted, there are times when the grumbling and disputing are justified, but those seem to be the exception now instead of the rule. It seems everyone wants to “have their cake and eat it too.” We want high wages with a light workload. We want nice cars with no payment plan. We want nice clothes at cheap prices. But the biggest thing we want is for everyone to agree with our point of view and not argue with us because we won’t see their perspective.

Paul addresses the conflict in the church at Philippi where the body of Christ seems to be at odds with each other. There is grumbling and disputing within the body, just as there is in the world around the church. Paul calls the church to humility and unity so they might be Light in a Dark World, living as innocent and blameless children of God, so they might combat the evil found in this world.

Paul urges the church at Philippi to do all things without grumbling and disputing. By doing this they are Light in a Dark World, blameless and innocent children of God, living in contrast to a crooked and perverse world.

As Christ followers, we do what has to be done without complaining. We are Light in a Dark World, contrasting the evil in this world with the goodness of God the Father.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How is the Christ follower to be Light in a Dark World?”

The Christ follower is Light in a Dark world, contrasting the evil of this world with the goodness of God then Father.

1). The Christ follower is Light in a Dark World when they do what needs to be done without complaining.

The world is full of those who are grumbling and disputing, while the body of Christ is to be filled with peace and unity.

The church at Philippi has become a fractured body, living at odds with fellow members of the body. The conduct in this church is not up to par with what Christ wants from His body, and Paul is reminding them they are a witness to the world around them. Their conduct, then, must be worthy of the gospel of Christ and this calls for humility and unity. The call is to do all things without grumbling or disputing. “Grumbling” comes from a Greek word that means muttering, murmuring, or complaining. It is a secret debate among people of displeasure or complaining. This is against those in the body of Christ that arises out of selfishness.

“Disputing” in the Greek means an inward reasoning, an opinion, or an argument. However, this Greek word suggests separation from other reasoning, opinions, and arguments. The end result is separation within the body of Christ, not the unity that Christ seeks. Finally, the Greek word used for “without” means apart from. In other words, Paul says to do all things apart from the complaining and arguments you find in the world. The body of Christ is to be unity and at peace, an exact contrast to the world around them filled with grumbling and disputing.

It is interesting to note here, that Paul as a Pharisee, is well versed in the Scriptures. He uses the Greek language very well to bring to mind the grumbling of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. In fact, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Greek word used by Paul is the same word used for the grumbling of the Israelites. Paul has two things in mind here. First, the church at Philippi, though Gentiles, are now members of the family of God. As such, they are to be mindful of their relationship with God the Father. This will lead to Paul’s comment about working out their own salvation. Secondly, Paul reminds the church that in grumbling against one another, they are, in essence, grumbling against God. Paul believes that the believing community found in Philippi is part of the new people of God, and they now stand in continuity with Israel of the Scriptures and should learn from the example found in Scripture.

As Christ followers today we have an excellent opportunity to reflect the mercy, grace, and love of God found in Christ Jesus. We have been called, by the Father, into fellowship with His Son. We belong to the body of Christ where each member plays an important role. Each Christ follower must live, work, and serve within their respective roles. But what is most important about serving in our roles is that we do it without grumbling and without disputing. We serve because our love for Christ, and those in the body of Christ, overrides any sense of entitlement we might have. We love because He first loved us, but we also serve because He came to serve others and has left us the example of servant leadership.

We do what has to be done with a unity and peace that is not seen in the world. We do not argue amongst the body, we have open and honest conversations. Complaining, arguing, and creating an atmosphere of separation should not be found in the Christ follower, and certainly not within the body of Christ. While it is true that there will always be “troublemakers” within the body, it is also true that the body does not have to simply accept the “troublemaker.” Far too many Christ followers have simply adopted the slogan, “Oh, that’s just so and so. We have learned to ignore him or her.”

This is a major problem in the church in this country. We do not know how to gently correct a Christ follower in love, so we simply do not do it, we “simply ignore them.” We do an injustice to anyone who claims the name of Christ and does not act like they are a new creation in Christ, and then do not hold them accountable. Is it any wonder the world thinks the church is filled with hypocrites? As a new creation the old person has gone away, ceases to exist, and the new person, the new creation in Christ has come. This includes humility and peace with others.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What are you grumbling and disputing about within the body of Christ? If you are not, what are you doing to keep within the body?

How are you helping promote humility and peace within the body of Christ? If not, why?

Are you living to your full potential as a new creation in Christ? If not, what steps can you take to change this?

The Christ follower is Light in a Dark world, contrasting the evil of this world with the goodness of God then Father.

2). The Christ follower is Light in a Dark World when they are above reproach.

We live among a crooked and perverse generation as blameless and innocent children of God.

After the call to humility and peace within the body, Paul tells us why we are to be living as Light in a Dark World – to prove ourselves as blameless and innocent children of God. To be blameless is to be without blame from any source. The world cannot point their finger at the Christ follower who is blameless and accuse them of practicing evil as the world does. To be innocent is to be unmixed, that is, the absence of foreign material. In the case of the Christ follower, this foreign material is the evil so prevalent in the world. Specifically, grumbling and disputing as those in the world complain and argue amongst themselves.

The witness of the Christ follower is to be so powerful no one is able to say they are to blame or have been corrupted by the world system. This means the Christ follower must not think or act as those in the world. Our thinking is to be like the mind of Christ, fixed on the things of heaven and the Kingdom of God. Our action as to be loving and serving other, putting their needs above our own. We are to be wholly different than what is seen in the world. The Greek word for “prove” means to come into being, to happen, or to become. At one time, the Christ follower lived as the world, having the same mindset as the world. To prove we are innocent children of God is to become something we were not, we are coming into being an innocent child of God, by our thinking and actions make this come into being.

We prove we are innocent children of God so that the Christ follower will be above reproach. To be above reproach is to be without blemish and without blame. Once again, the Christ follower’s way of thinking and way of acting are to be a contrast to the dark world in which we live. We are to be innocent and blameless as a contrast to the crooked and perverse world in which we live. The Greek word for “crooked” is the same word where we get our word scoliosis, meaning curved or winding. In our context within the passage, it means morally crooked and perverse.

Perverse is understood as to distort, mis-interrupt, corrupt or twist. The worlds way of thinking and acting are morally crooked, distorted, corrupt and twisted. This is the generation in which we live, the world in which we are called to be light, the world where Christ once came, lived among, and died to save. And yet nothing surprises the Father or the Son. This is the very reason the Holy Spirit was sent to be a guide for those who call on the name of Christ. Left on our own, we too would likely fall prey to the enemy and fall into the ways of thinking and acting like the world.

As Christ followers we are to be a contrast to the world – a very visible contrast to the world. Our way of thinking and acting is to be so different they shine as light in this dark world. Like the moth drawn to your porch light, those in the world should be drawn to you – to your way of thinking and acting – because they are so vastly different from the everyday norm of the world. Obviously, this will not be easy, but it is what we are called to do and to be. We are called to be different – set apart – from the rest of the world. We are called to be light – innocent, blameless, pure, and holy – in a world running after sinful thinking and ways of acting.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Can you stand before the world as a blameless and innocent child of God? If not, what steps must you take to correct this?

How are you struggling against falling into the worlds way of thinking and acting? If you are not, what steps have you taken to fight this?

How are you a light shining in this dark world? If you are not, what steps must you take to become light to the world?

The Christ follower is Light in a Dark world, contrasting the evil of this world with the goodness of God then Father.

As a Christ follower, we must all be willing to step out in faith, even though the challenge may seem overwhelming, and shine as light in a world growing ever darker. Now is the time to fully trust in Christ for the right words to speak at the right time. Trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you in gentleness any time you must rebuke someone for the sin in their life. Trust that God has started a good work in you that is not yet finished but grows stronger each day – a work to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ. This is our challenge; this is our calling. Difficult to say the least, but we do not face it alone or in our own strength – we have the power of God at our disposal.

We do all thing to the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: 1 John 4:1-3

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