Work and Shine

Written by Frank Jamerson.

Work and Shine

Phil. 2:12-16


A. Christ demonstrated the selflessness commended to Christians (Phil. 2:4 “each look out...for the interests of others”; 5-11 the mind of Christ).

B. Christ left heaven - came to earth - suffered, death of the cross - highly exalted.

1. May 5, 1961 Alan Shepherd went into space (117 miles - not in orbit) - for 15 minutes; nation watched in amazement.

2. Feb. 20, 1962 John Glenn orbited the earth 3 times (about 3 hours; reached 5,180 mph).

3. July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Edward Aldrin set foot on the moon (Armstrong: “one small step for man; one giant step for mankind.”)

a. Some do not believe that man circled the earth - it is flat!

b. Some do not believe that man set foot on the moon - it was a hoax.

c. Fact that man left the earth, set foot on the moon and returned is amazing.

d. Even more amazing is fact that one left heaven, set foot on earth and returned!

e. The same kind of mind that rejects the former is kind that rejects evidence of latter.

C. “Therefore” (v. 12) - conclusion from vs. 8-11.

D. How we should work and how we should look (2:12-16).



A. Follow Christ’s example of work (obedience) (2:8,12).

1. “Work” (present imperative) - “means a command to do something in the future which

involves continuous or repeated action” (Zodhiates Key Study Bible).

2. Salvation - three senses (1 Pet. 1:3-9):

a. Past - “has begotten” (v. 3; 3:20,21; Acts 22:16).

b. Present - “are kept...through faith” (v. 5; 1 Jn. 1:7),

c. Future - “the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls” (v. 9,4,5).

3. “Your own” - cannot be saved by proxy (others for you). Others may concerned and contribute encouragement, but each is responsible for self (Rom. 14:12).

a. God doesn’t do it all (He has done His part); cannot blame him if I’m lost.

b. Parents cannot do it for me; husband/wife cannot take my place.

c. Others can “throw out the life-line” but I have to take hold.

d. It is not selfish to work for my own salvation (Phil. 2:4,12). Cannot help others - if not looking out for self (Lk. 13:23-26).  (Some spend so much time worrying about others that they do not strive to enter; that adds to the number being lost!)

4. “With fear and trembling” - realize something valuable is at stake.

a. Fear: terror, alarm, fright - or awe, respect, reverence.

b. If you love a person, you fear hurting him. We should fear hurting Christ (Heb. 6:6 - many are soft-hearted about physical or emotional hurt; not spiritual hurting God.)

c. A juggler demonstrating his art on deck of ship - used apples, crowd loved it; took some diamonds, began juggling them - not funny, too much involved.

d. We pass this way only once (Mt. 16:26).

e. Paul’s attitude (1 Cor. 2:1-5; Is. 66:2 “...But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”)


5. God works in us (v. 13).

a. God is “working in” when we are “working out.”

b. How? (1 Thess. 2:13) Divine side - revealed; human side - believes and obeys.

c. The gospel is God’s power (Rom. 1:16), but must be applied (Heb. 3:7-12; 4:2).

6. The spirit of the work (2:14,15).

a. Without murmuring - complaints, outward expression of displeasure (Ex. 16:2,12; 17:3;

1 Cor. 10:8-12).

b. Without disputing - inward questioning (Lk. 5:22 “But when Jesus perceive their thoughts, He answered and said to them, Why are you reasoning in your hearts?”)

May be toward others, but especially toward God’s doings.


B. Shine as lights (2:15,16).

1. We are to be blameless (by others) and harmless (inner purity) and without fault (rebuke, blemish; priests were to “take one young bull and two rams without blemish, Ex. 29:1).

2. When God brought order out of chaos - in creation, He first created light (Gen. 1:3,4). Physical life, as we know it, is impossible without light.

3. Spiritual life is only possible through light (Jn. 1:4-9).

4. We are reflectors of that light (v. 15; Mt. 5:14-16; 2 Cor. 4:3-6).

5. “Holding fast” (forth, KJV; out to them, Living Bible; offering it, Jerusalem Bible) the word (v. 16). Literally - epi - forth, echo - to have or hold. We must hold it fast (when God’s white sheep become dirty grey, all black sheep feel more comfortable); but holding it forth - idea is presenting it “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (v. 15).

6. How do we do that?

a. In words - teach, don’t argue; convince, don’t consign (Acts 2:40; 2 Tim. 2:2)

(Cannot teach what you do not know, and don’t know that you can’t until you try!)

b. In actions (Phil. 2:5,14,15; 4:4)



When we follow the example of Christ - have right attitude, work out our own salvation, not murmur and complain (enjoy serving God) - we will hold forth the light that makes life possible.

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