Being Christ’s Presence In the World – October 9, 2005
12Therefore, 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, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so 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 16as you hold out[a] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But 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. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Good morning boys and girls. We’re glad that you’re in God’s house today.
Today we’re talking about being Christ’s presence in the world.
I’ve brought a flashlight with me. Do you like flashlights? (Expect some response . . . .)
There are a lot of things you can do with a flashlight.
As I was reading the scripture lesson today I was sent thinking about a flashlight. Paul compares us, his listeners, to stars and tell us that we’re to shine like stars in the universe. Now the purpose of shining is so that we would bring glory to God, that we’d make God pleased. We’re also supposed to shine so that others would be encouraged, and to tell of God’s goodness to people who don’t know God, to folks who live in darkness.
Before he says we’re to shine like the stars he tells us that we need to live without complaining or arguing. Complaining and arguing are like dead batteries or putting batteries in backwards in a flashlight – they don’t do anything, they don’t show other people the way to God, nor do they bring God glory.
But faith, hope, joy, obedience – these are the qualities Paul looks for. These things are like good batteries in the right direction.
I want to tell you that we’re surrounded by people who are filled with hope, obedience and joy. Right now you’re in the middle of a whole cluster of stars. . . . They didn’t get that way overnight, they got there by not giving up hope when life was tough, by being joyful, and by obeying the Lord. And their lives point more and more to Jesus. You are really surrounded by a cloud of super stars.
Heavenly Father, bless these girls and boys with grace, joy and hopeful spirits. May they shine to your glory, for your pleasure and as a witness to the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.