Rev. & Mrs. Kenneth Fellenbaum

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Milford, Connecticut, United States

Bible Verse of the Day

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be a Star

The Apostle Paul wrote these exhortations to the Christians at Philippi: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:12-18).

There are four things that I would like to draw from this passage to elaborate upon. First was Paul's instruction to "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (v. 12). The Apostle was not suggesting that they needed to work for their salvation but that they should work at their spiritual growth and development. Paul addressed them as his "dear friends" and commended them for "having always obeyed - not only in his presence but much more in his absence" (v. 12). This was a very fine group of believers in comparison to other New Testament churches like Corinth. The Apostle John wrote that the way we show our love for God as his children is by carrying out his commands, (see 1 John 5:2-3), which in turn produces spiritual growth and maturation.

Secondly, Paul told them, "Do everything without complaining or arguing..." (v. 14). If Christians are to be "blameless and pure, children of God," they cannot act the same way as others who are part of the "crooked and depraved generation" (v. 15). [If this is how Paul thought about the people living then, what would be his comments on the world today?!!.] Christians are supposed to act differently. In fact they are to be "new creations in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:17). The world has little respect for those who profess to be "Christians" but do not behave accordingly.

Third, Paul wrote and told them his desire that they "shine like stars in a universe as they hold out the word of life" (v. 15-16). Christians are to be "stars" - not in the sense of movie stars or sports superstars. The kind of "star" that Paul had in mind for Christians to be is like a "light" shining in a dark world. A light illuminates and indicates the way. This is what Jesus had in mind when he said, "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14).

Paul concluded this passage by sharing some personal remarks why he wrote what he did. He wanted the Philippians to conduct themselves in this manner: "in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing" (v. 16). In other words at the judgment, Paul wanted something to show for his life of sacrifice and service. As a pastor, like Paul, I want to encourage you to conduct yourself in a manner fitting a Christian and to be "bright, shining lights," joining our witness to community and state.

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