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                    "SHINING AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD"

        Doing All Things Without Murmuring And Disputing (Php 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 Php 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. 1Co 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" - Php 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 - Col 1:12
         b. We should abound with thanksgiving - Col 2:6-7
         c. Be thankful for the peace of God ruling in our hearts - Col 
            3:15
         d. Give thanks to God the Father through Jesus Christ - Co
            3:17
         e. Be vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving - Col 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 
            1Ti 6:3-5; 2Ti 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
            Php 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 2Ti 2:23-26
         b. With the qualities of longsuffering, forbearance, and
            forgiveness described in Col 3:12-13
         c. With the willingness to forego personal liberties as
            exemplified by Paul in 1Co 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"!
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