Philippians 2:14-16

Dr. Steve Viars August 26, 1995 Philippians 2:14-16

- this morning we'd like to study verse 14-16 of Philippians 2 and see
some practical areas in which we can work out our own salvation in
fear and trembling.

- READ 14-16.

- Homer Kent summarized the thrust of these verses by saying:

"The purpose of the exhortation to work out their salvation was that
the readers might be a pure and uncontaminated light in the world."

- Those of us who grew up in a church probably remember the children's
song "This little light of mine."

- that song has a good message and fits well with what these verses
are stressing.
(the verse "don't let Satan blow it out" needs some work!, but
otherwise that’s what this passage is talking about---being a
pure and uncontaminated light in the world.)

- let's begin with:

I. What God's Children Must Not Do

- Paul makes it clear that he wants these brothers and sisters to
avoid two very common sins:

A. Don't complain.

- let all things be done without complaining.

- in other words, "stop grumbling"---or, "Don't simply fulfill
what the previous verses have said IN A GRUDGING WAY."

- that’s surely a temptation.
- someone might read what Paul has said in verses 3-13, and
- "Well, I'll do it...
- considering others better than myself
- looking on the things of others
- being a servant
- being obedient...
- I'll do it, but I'm not going to like it.
- I'm going to do it in a grudging way, with lips
filled with complaining and fussing.

- a good parallel to what Paul is saying here is I Peter 4:9 -
Use hospitality to one another without grudging.
- let me stop and ask you -- how are you doing when it comes to the
matter of complaining?

- Are you the kind of person who might do some right things, but
who does them with a grudging, complaining spirit?

- I talked to someone from another church recently who was going on
about all the ways he and his wife served in their church...
- but it wasn't the spirit of:
1) thank the Lord I'm healthy enough to serve
2) thank the Lord I have a place where I can serve
3) thank the Lord that I have the Holy Spirit and the
Spirit's sword so I'm not out serving in my own strength

- none of those things -- instead, he was griping about
the fact that others weren't serving like he and his
wife were.

- his life did not pass the test of this verse: "Do all
things without murmuring//complaining."

- INPUT - let's think about ways this could be violated?

1) Things people tend to complain about at work?
2) Things people tend to complain about at home?
3) Things people tend to complain about around a church?

- INPUT - How does this idea fit into the overall context of unity?

- Can I ask you -- how does your life stack up to the test given in the
first half of this verse?
- Are you a complainer?

- Are you raising children who are complainers?

- INPUT - How do you stop complaining/grumbling? If you put that off,
what do you have to replace it with?


- so Paul says, do all things without complaining.

- in the second half of verse 14, he says:

B. Don't argue.

- People who are working out their own salvation with fear and
trembling, who are allowing God to work in them both to will
and to do of His good pleasure...are not argumentative.

- now we have to be careful how we define argumentative.

- this passage can't be saying -- we always agree with everyone.
- that interpretation would violate others passages of

- but what Paul is talking about here is surely a potential
sin for you and me.

- let's work on this together on the white board: (line drawn down the


Disagreeing in a Right Way Arguing In A Sinful Way


- so Paul says -- here's some things God's children must not do:
- Don't complain -- and don't argue.

- we need to ask ourselves - how are we doing at that?

- now, in the next verse, Paul tells us:

II. Why God's Children Should Avoid These Sins

- read verse 15-first part of 16

- for many of us, we'd say -- "Putting off complaining and arguing is
a tall order"
- that’s true -- but Paul gives us four reasons why we must.

A. So you will be blameless and pure.

- the word "blameless" emphasizes our actions

- the word "pure" (harmless" emphasizes the condition of our

- but the Lord wants us to be growing in holiness.
- of course we're not talking about perfection, but we're
talking about putting off habits that would mar our witness
for Christ.

- it's like Peter said in I Peter 3:16 - "Having a good
conscience, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers,
they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good manner of
life in Christ.

- Paul goes on in verse 15 to give other reasons why we need to be
putting off complaining and arguing.

B. So that you will be a child of God above reproach

- this goes along with what we just studied...the idea of being
"above reproach."

- even though you live in the middle of a crooked and perverse

- when you think about the world in which we live, complaining
and arguing are the order of the day.
- we live in such a negative, cynical day.
- Paul says that, as we work on putting off these sinful habits,
we can be people who stand out...who are above reproach.
- he develops this further by saying:

C. So you will be a light in this world

- let's think about some other verses that speak about this:

1) John 8:12 - Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, "I am
the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life."

- so those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
possess the light.

2) That’s why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount - "Ye are the
light of the world, A city that is set on a hill cannot be

- the point is -- men and women who choose to put off complaining
and arguing are going to be a bright testimony in this
crooked and perverse world.

- some good questions to ask would be:

a. How bright is the light of your testimony?

b. How consistent is the light of your testimony?

- one writer said, "Against this moral blackness, God's
children should stand out like stars at midnight."
- Is that true of you?

- Have you ever been in a situation where you needed good
light to complete the task--but the light you had just
wasn't cutting it?
- it can be a very frustrating (and sometimes dangerous)
thing when the job you're trying to do requires a
certain level of light but the light you have
available just isn't enough.

- I wonder how close that image would be to you and I at
- the situation around is very dark.
- but the light given off by the way we handle the
matters of complaining and arguing isn't near as
bright as it could/should be.

- Paul develops that thought one more step in verse 15:

D. So you will hold forth the word of life.

- people who live like verse 14 commands often have the
opportunity to speak.
- and when those opportunities arise, believers have the
privilege of speaking
- not just any words, but the words of life--the gospel.

III. How Their Obedience Would Affect Paul

- by observing the Philippians grow in these areas, Paul could rejoice
at the return of the Lord, because:

1) He hadn't run in vain

2) He hadn't labored in vain

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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