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Appear As Lights_ God Is Light (9)

Manmin News   No. 622
December 23, 2018

Dr. Jaerock Lee, Senior Pastor of Manmin Central Church

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world," (Philippians 2:14-15)

"If we become blameless children of God, we can appear as lights in the world, and hold fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ we will have reason to glory."

God is light and He wants His children to shed the light of truth in this dark world. If we become blameless children of God, we can appear as lights in the world, and hold fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ we will have reason to give glory.

1. In order to do all things without grumbling or disputing

It is very important to have peace with everybody, having no grumbling or disputing. Only then can we shine our light on the people of the world. Now, what do we have to do in order to do all things without grumbling or disputing?

1) We must be blameless and pure.

To be blameless is to have nothing that we can be accused of in all things. Of course, it is not something easy to have no blame at all in our lives or personalities. However, even if we have shortcomings, we can improve ourselves through the word of God who is almighty.

One of the best biblical examples of being blameless is Daniel. He was blameless not just before men but also God. He was of a Jewish royal family, but he was taken captive along with other Jews when Judah was conquered by Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar ordered selected young men who were endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge and who had ability to serve in the king's court (Daniel 1:4). Daniel was among those whom were chosen. The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king's choice food and from the wine which he drank. He also directed that they should be educated for three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king's personal service.

However, Daniel knew there could be meat of the abominable animals which was prohibited by God and he determined to not defile himself. He took only vegetables and water. His acts were completely blameless before God starting from a young age.

God showed grace on him and lifted him up above all people. When he managed the country as a minister, he did so with understanding and wisdom. He possessed an extraordinary spirit and the king appointed him over the entire kingdom. Some of the people were jealous and tried to find grounds to bring accusation against him, and yet, they could find none. We can understand how blameless he was (Daniel 6:4).

Next, we must have pure hearts. To be pure is having no moral failing or guilt. In spiritual sense it is to show the meekness in outward action, and to act perfectly as regard to righteousness, being blameless.

If one has clean heart having no evil, and if his behaviors, characters, and his way of life are perfect, God says he is pure. Those who are pure are edifying in all their deeds. Their personality is clean and pure, and their lives are dignified and unblemished.

When they encounter damage, they don't pay it back with evil but consider the situation only in goodness. They accept all things and exercise self-control in all respects. They don't want to talk about anything inappropriate or unbecoming. Moreover, they don't even want to harbor any evil thoughts but only live in the Light.

Job 1:1 says, "There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil." He had ten children and he was the richest man in the east. He did many charitable works, and he enlightened many people with his wisdom and knowledge.

God could acknowledge Job's blameless deeds, but He still allowed him tests in order to purify even his deep heart. Job lost all his possessions and children in an instant, yet he held fast to his faithfulness. And now, he had sores and boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

Nevertheless, Job did not sin before God with his lips. However, as his dire situation continued, the evil hidden deep inside his heart began to surface. God refined him and made him complete.

If we are pure in our words and deeds, naturally there won't be any grumbling or disputing, and we will appear as lights. This is what God wants us to do.

2) We must not be crooked or perverse.

To be crooked is to go outside the basic framework of men that God has established. If one is extremely arrogant, quarrels, brags, or throws temper tantrums, we can say he is out of the basic framework of men that God has established, and thus, he is 'crooked'.

As the days go by, more people are increasingly turning their bodies to lasciviousness and speaking obscene things; they very easily reveal their hard-feelings, and even commit murder. The direction of their thinking is always set toward enjoying themselves more through the pleasures of the world.

Their clothing becomes increasingly more flashy and untidy. Their make-up becomes darker and they say it is more 'sophisticated'. These things are just some examples of crookedness, and there are so many more things that are beyond the basic frameworks that God has set.

Next, to be perverse is to venture from one's position and place. For example, if the subordinate disobeys the senior or the children disobey and defy their parents, this is perverseness. If anyone does not do his duty in his position, it is to forsake his duties, and it is perverseness.

Genesis 6:5-7 says, "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.'" This generation is so perverse that we can almost understand God's heart expressed in this above passage.

Therefore, God is advising us to have no grumbling or disputing, thereby becoming God's blameless children in this crooked and perverse generation. In doing so, He wants us to appear as lights in this world.

2. Hold Fast the Word of Life So that in the Day of Christ We Will Have Reason to Glory

It is explained that when you become blameless and innocent, and do not become crooked and perverse, you can do everything without grumbling and disputing, thereby appearing as lights to the world. After having appeared as lights, what is there for us to do now?

Philippians 2:16 says, "holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Here, 'holding fast the word of life' is to shine the light of God's word to the people in darkness, so that they can come out to the light.

For instance, you need to expend a lot of effort to preach the gospel to someone and to bring that person to church. But if that person abandons God after facing some problem, wouldn't all your effort have been in vain? And that's why you have to hold fast the Word of life.

For example, by reminding people of God's Word "Rejoice always," you have to urge them to rejoice always no matter what problems they may face. By illuminating God's Word, "Pray without ceasing," you have to urge people to pray earnestly to receive answers to their problems, so that they will believe in the Lord joyfully and never abandon their faith in God. And when you illuminate God's Word on love, you will have reminded them to understand and tolerate everything victoriously until they reach heaven. Then, none of your effort will have been in vain.

How can you hold fast the Word of life at home? Even in a believing family, when one of the family members becomes sick, perhaps they don't rely on God but seek medical help first. In this situation, if another member of the family testifies of the works of the living God and tries to plant faith in the family, this one is holding fast the word of life.

And if the whole family makes a decision to commit everything to God with faith, and begins imploring in love, then God will begin to work in that family. When that sick person receives healing by God's power, the faith of the whole family will grow. Unbelieving family members or relatives will also be led to believe in God when they hear such news.

I hope you will hold fast the word of God at every moment of your life, so that all your effort in the Lord will not be in vain but be stored up as beautiful rewards.

3. You Should Rejoice Even If You are Poured Out as a Drink Offering

In Philippians 2:17-18, Paul says, "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me." A drink offering is the wine that is poured onto the offering of the sacrifice. The wine that is poured out will disappear completely but it adds good fragrance, making it pleasing aroma before God.

This is the confession of the highest devotion, going beyond the level of saying, "so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

The apostle Paul worked very hard in great toil and pain for God's kingdom and His righteousness. 2 Corinthians 11:23 onward explains that he was imprisoned more than anyone else; he was flogged and beaten countless times; and he faced death so many times. But Paul did not concern himself with all the afflictions he faced. He only worried about the church.

And while Paul was talented in many ways, he humbled himself and said he was "the least of the apostles" and that he was "not fit to be called an apostle." Even though he worked so hard, Paul did not regret his work and toil, and did not expect any compensation. His way was a way of harsh thorns and at the end was awaiting his beheading, and yet he said, "I rejoice and share my joy with you all."

After meeting the Lord, Paul's life was a life of holding fast the Word of life, and a life of running the race of faith continually. And to this Paul, who exerted overflowing efforts in evangelism, God showed him the kingdom of heaven clearly through visions and revelations (2 Corinthians 12:1). And he professed in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Are you doing all things without grumbling or disputing? I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become blameless children of God like the apostle Paul, appear as lights in the world, and hold fast the word of life, so that your life will be filled with God's glory and you will receive great rewards in the kingdom of heaven.




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