Christ’s example of sacrificial and costly obedience, Paul picks up for these instructions as ones who shine like stars in the world.
The Philippian church, as disciples of Jesus Christ, are described as shining lights in a spiritually dark world.
Continued Obedience Philippians 2:12-13
What is the nature of this obedience?
Not calling them to start obeying, “as you have always obeyed… continue” Paul is quite clear that this is an obedient church. Don’t bank on your past …keep going never stop, don’t let anything stop your progress in obedience, and, PROGRESS.
Not hindered by circumstances- suffering and opposition, specifically Paul’s absence. Only doing well, being conscientious when in someone’s presence, their encouragement cf eye is off you. Deflated when they are not there with you.
Not working for their salvation- they are already saints in Christ, children of God, citizens of heaven…because “united with Christ.” This obedience is working out their salvation- not a puzzle- work out the answer, but living it out- living the life of a saint, of a child of God. Following the example of Christ. Cf Prince Harry- he is royal, out-work the royal duties in life.
This can be seen as a very burdensome task. Often feel I can’t do this, in fact may often think I don’t want to do this… if we left this important call to continued obedience at vs 12, we be left despairing, but vs 13
This obedience is God-enabled notice how comprehensive we work out our salvation but it only happens because God is at work in us- both to will, to desire (counter the I don’t want to do this) and to act (counters the I can’t do this).
Obedience for God’s good pleasure- contra to “me-focused”world. Christ doing Father’s will.
Obedience to be taken seriously- with fear and trembling- God at work in us, for Him.
Same attitude of Christ- his obedience to the point of death.
This is a general call to continued obedience- next verses Paul gets very specific
Nike used to have a slogan “Just do it” But any parent knows that what they require from their children in following instructions is also the manner in which they do it. Ask Tom to tidy his room and met with all sorts of resistance, not best time to tidy his room, not present priority for Tom, but eventually Tom concedes and goes about tidying his room but with great stompings and excessive unnecessary noisy closing of drawers and doors, and moaning and grumpiness- making quite a racket. When he’s finished he is rebuked for his poor behaviour but responds well I did it, I tidied my room. Is that not enough.
“Just doing it” is not biblical teaching. Paul calls the Philippians in their suffering and opposition to continue their obedience with an exemplary manner; “do it” without grumbling; do all things without complaining. He wants them to shine bright, beautifully not disturbing unpleasant manner. The grumbling and stomping is a sign of defiance and unwilling to accept his parents request; grumbling against God in the hardship being faced …need to be wary of this, when the heat comes on , God gets it in the neck from us. OT-go back to Egypt. Complain about the leaders, complain and grumble. It takes the shine off.
Very easy for us to do things, do things for others, serve in the church, involved in ministry, helping others; showing hospitality but are we grumbling and muttering as we do it, grumbling at others- their lack of appreciation etc. Complaining when it involves taking us out of our comfort zone. Are we submitted to God’s rule and God’s way. Can start small, but it canbuild to unpleasant tculture in a church. Reputation? Grumpy bunch, complainers, whingers.
You could imagine Paul like writing a report card: Philippian church work hard , do good stuff but grumpy and complaining bunch- or is it going to be “despite under great pressure from outsiders, in serving God they do so with cheerfulness and pleasantness that only God could effect in his children.” Blameless Tick, without fault tick, innocent tick…they do all things with an exemplary manner. They shine bright!! Supernova
One negative influence and one critical positive influence. The world in which we shine- crooked and depraved- spiritually devoid of life- not promoting godly living- Sheep and wolves
Shining in this world so that this crooked world can see Christ who is the light of the world.
On the other hand the word of life- shine holding on firmly, fixed grip of the word which is.
How much we need the word for ourselves to endure to shine bright on stage of dark world, but also the word which will change it- the power of the gospel bring spiritual life.
No wonder Paul includes these words – holding fast to the word of life- how God works in us by His Spirit, that we will and act for his good pleasure.
Joyful Costly Service (with shining examples) Philippians 2:17-30
Shining as lights in the world, this continued obedience with an exemplary manner is more brilliant when Christians remain committed to joyfully serve their God even when its risky, and costly. Shining is brighter when the night is darker- Paul knew dark days- writing on potentially death row.
Paul speaks of his own example- being poured out like a drink offering- possibly referring to his own death, or at least the hardship he endures in serving God.
Timothy- focused on the interests of Christs, when many other focus on their own…comes at a cost when focused on others welfare. Note almost in same breath Paul says Timothy is focused vs 20 on welfare of the Philippians and then by in vs 21 inferring that Timothy looks out for the interests of Christ- they go hand in hand. Serving the church, serving one another with gifts and opportunities is focus on interest of Jesus Christ.
Epaphroditus- highly commended in his service – vs 30 risking his life to support and help Paul in prison. No coincidence that when Paul rights o Epaphroditus- he came to the point of death echoing vs 8 Jesus was obedient to the point of death” Epahproditus shared the same attitude of costly obediecne in serving- Christ at the cross, epaphroditus in helping Paul. Risk, cost, sacrifice. It’s not safe!!
A call to continued obedience with an exemplary manner (how we do it ) in joyful costly service to God.
What motivates is not guilt but grace. What strengthens us is not form within but from God. Grace that God worked these things in us- to will and to act. But what Christ did so that we might receive new life.
His attitude of obedience… to the point of death on our behalf fulfilling the Father will…needs to be ringing in our ears as it was for the Philippians as they read these verses about not grumbling and complaining and joyful service.
His obedience was throughout and continued right to the cross, he did not grumble or complain- living in very simple circumstances taunted ridiculed misunderstood- he lived in an exemplary manner. Closest he came to complaint was crying out my God why have you forsaken me- abandoned at the cross. The light of Jesus shines dazzlingly bright in those verse- his humility his service to God no matter the cost, the sacrifice with joy.