The world grows darker as each day passes. We, like the Philippian brethren of old, live in, “the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (2:15). While the world sinks deeper into the dark abyss of depravity and perversity, we must uphold the light of Christ at all costs. How do we keep the flame of Jesus burning bright when so many seek to extinguish it? Paul answers this question in the verses surrounding Philippians 2:15.
He first commands us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). This work depends upon each individual member. We work out our salvation by casting aside our old life with its recesses of darkness and fill our resurrected life with the light of Christ. Jesus, “called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9) and expects us to, “walk as children of light,” having, “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:8, 11). In other words, a child of light will “put off…the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and, “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). For the church to effectively broadcast the light of Christ, individual members must drive out their own hindering works of darkness.
Paul’s next command is, “Do all things without complaining and disputing”(Philippians 2:14-15). Complaints and disputes destroy congregations. They reflect ingratitude and selfishness and sow discord. A divided congregation cannot manifest Christ’s spirit. In contrast to this attitude, consider verses 3-5,
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”
A congregation’s selfless spirit of service promotes the light of Christ. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”(John 13:35).
Finally, Paul exhorts us to, “[hold] fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:16). One major contributor to the world’s growing darkness is the presence of deceiving doctrines. Pantheism, paganism, atheism, and corruptions of Jesus Christ’s gospel swirl about us. To navigate the storm, we must hold firm to the doctrine revealed in the New Testament. Instability appears when we surrender to the storms of false teaching: Paul says we, “should no longer be children, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Instead, we must hold fast to the gospel, ignore the confusion around us, and uphold the light of truth. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
My brethren, as the darkness deepens around us we should not despair! Rather, let us labor to uphold the light of Christ until our death or His return. Prepare your soul for eternity, maintain an environment of goodwill and peace, and hold fast to the word of God. One thing is certain: the darker this world grows, the brighter Christ’s light will shine!
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