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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are We Shining for Christ?

This is Pastor Shim's sermon from February 13.
Numbers 12:1-13; Philippians 2:12-18
“There are two kinds of Christians, those who whine and those who shine." -Unknown
What do our attitudes and actions say about Jesus?
In Philippians 2:1-4, last week we learned that Paul wrote to the Philippians to follow Christ’s example by practicing loving actions, such as mutual encouragement, mutual fellowship, unity of purpose, mutual respect for each other, and consideration for the needs of others. Paul pointed out to his beloved friends in Philippians 2:5-11 how Jesus Christ chose to become a man and die to save humanity from Hell. Thank God, Jesus was raised from death and restored to his glory and honor. One day every knee on earth, under the earth, and in heaven will bow to Him for the Glory of God.
If this glorious Jesus has transformed our lives, then Paul says the light of Christ ought to shine out from us to our world – that is today’s lesson in Philippians 2:12-18.
Paul tells us to shine out the light of Christ within us. This has nothing to do with Hollywood type of stardom. Paul's concern is how we ought to live before the world. Jesus said, speaking to his disciples and the people who came to hear him, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life" (John 8:12).
Jesus also said to his disciples, ''You are the light of the world, like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket. Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:14-16).
Shine your light for Christ? How do we shine for Christ?
First, we have to have the light of Christ in our lives. Second, we have to let Christ's light through us like a bulb does.
Constant complaining, instead of bringing the light, adds to the darkness. So how do we shine our light for Christ? Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12-18 three ways to shine our lights or good deeds for Christ.
1. Let our daily conduct give evidence of our salvation. We know we are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-10); we know we are told to be witnesses (Acts. 1:8); we know we are Christ's visible body to shine his light (Philippians 2:15); we are told to walk before God in awe and reverence (Philippians 2:12).
2. Let our life show joy in everything we do. We are told to do everything without complaining or arguing. When we complain it makes us forget all the good things God is doing! Shining is better than whining.
For example: Miriam, Moses' sister, got leprosy for complaining because her brother married an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1-13).
When we complain we are telling God, “You do not know what You are doing. We can come up with a better solution.”
3. Let us concentrate on the one business of the church.
“... Hold out the word of life, which is Jesus Christ." We are called to shine the light of Christ, so that those who are lost might find abundant life. Jesus called us to be light bearers and the Holy Spirit comes into us to light God's fire so that we are enabled to shine for Christ in words and in deeds.
Thomas Coke, a short, stocky Welshman, was a high churchman strongly opposed to dissenters until he read the sermons and journals of John Wesley. He was so moved that he traveled to London and was led to Christ by one of Wesley's lay preachers. When he returned to his church in Somersetshire parish with the message of new life, his congregation drowned out his voice by ringing the church bells while he spoke, and he was soon dismissed. He went on to become one of Wesley's greatest leaders, crossing the Atlantic 18 times in the advance of Methodist missions. On May 5, 1814, on a missionary voyage to Ceylon he was found dead in his cabin "with a placid smile on his face." He was buried in the Indian Ocean. -Nelson's Annual
4. Application: So how do we shine Christ's light to those around us?
By doing everything without complaining or arguing.
By holding out the word of life - "gossip the Gospel."
By loving God and people. This is the highest good.
The best way to dispel darkness isn't to complain but to turn on the light of Christ.
Willows United Methodist Church
544 N. Shasta Street
Willows, CA 95988
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