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Citizens: A Study on Philippians (Part 10)
August 16, 2020

Citizens: A Study on Philippians (Part 10)

August 16, 2020

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Catch up on the series HERE


Citizens: A Study on Philippians

(Part 10)

We are entering the double digits on our study of Philippians

  • I encourage if you have missed or are just jumping in
    • Listen to the beginning of the series (Link at the top of the page) 
    • We lay down frame work for the letter: Context – Significance
  • Last week Paul addressed the idea of
    • That “good works” isn’t a bad thing… something to ignore
    • “Good works” is something God has made us to do
    • That you and I have a job to do… and in so we’re obeying Jesus
  • And we work out that obedience thru the power of the H.S.
    • That power (Ener-jon) enables u to be a tool in the hand of God
    • Not to make it happen on your own… with no power
    • But plugged into the Spirit & effectively equipped 4 good works

This week we are going to be in Phil 2:14-18

Phil 2:14-18


Story – Anyone notice how crazy housing market is?

It was just over a year ago that my family moved into our new house

  • But when we moved in we decided to gut the place
    • Because… how hard can it be right???
    • I’ve watched HGTV… I can do this…
    • And we had seen this specific floor plan before (tried to buy)
  • But Moment we saw it… knew exactly what we wanted to do
    • Rip out some walls….
    • Completely gut the kitchen and start from scratch
    • Basically make it into a whole new house… just had to wait
  • So finally the house model we wanted came on the market
    • Put an offer in the first day… circumstances worked well for us
    • And we got the house – Now all we had to do was the work…
    • And…well – it was worth it… maybe not jack hammering tile

But what I love is that we got to make it exactly how we wanted it

  • Michelle and I were basically the architects for our house
    • Which is awesome b/c I know everything about our house now
    • I know the value of light/flow/open space of the house
  • I just know how the house is supposed to work
    • How it’s supposed to feel and look
    • The way even technology works throughout the house
    • Because I was there on the inside

And the same is true with Philippians

Think of Paul as an and a builder – not with wood but words

  • And he isn’t building a house… he’s building a letter to this church
    • And like an architect works with building blocks to create space
    • Wood/glass/metal all fit together to create something amazing
  • In the same way PAUL works with building blocks…
    • Not word/glass/metal – But passages from the OT scriptures
      • Which means this paragraph is full of “Intertextuality”
      • Which is when an author picks up texts from all over (OT)
      • And puts those text together to create a work of genius
    • Paul quotes 3 direct passages from the OT (Ex/Deut/Dan)
      • And then he references even more passages
      • So all over scripture Paul is pulling blocks to build a point
  • So for today we are gonna take apart the house…
    • Look at each of the building blocks that Paul uses
      • And then we’ll put it all back together…
      • Make sense of what Paul is building – how it works
    • Sound good??? And forewarning… some of this is nerd talk
      • But that is only (hopefully) half of the sermon
      • The 2nd half will be payoff for what we learn in the 1st half

3 building blocks Paul quotes

Building Block 1 –

The Story of Exodus is about Israel – OR – The people of God

  • And we know in Genesis God designates a family (Abraham)
    • Gods desire: They’d be a picture of what God sees as family
    • And their job is to be a blessing to the world
    • To spread the God’s light to every square inch of creation
  • And Exodus is about the journey of Israel out of slavery in Egypt
    • Thru the desert – All the way to what is called: Promised Land
    • So where we pick up the story is right in the middle
  • This is just after the RED SEA is split in two
    • All of Israel is saved from certain death at the hands of Pharaoh
    • And that’s where we are starting

Ex. 16:1-4

Now is that true of God? – No… but in spite of that God says

Ex. 16:6-10

  • Point: Israel right from beginning is marked by 1 word… Grumbling
    • But the story goes on… turn the page to Ex. 17
  • Fast forward – out of desert of sin… traveling and then set up camp
    • But no water… so they start to quarrel with Moses & each other

Ex. 17:2-4

  • Block 1 – God’s people (job to spread God) marked by 2 words
    • 1: Grumbling – 2: Arguing

Building Block 2 –

Israel years later still wandering in desert – Keeps grumbling/arguing

  • Long story short – God says they not ready for the Promised Land
    • Shuts the door to that future… closes the way to their land
    • An entire generation (3 million) dies off in the desert
    • All because of grumbling & arguing with God
  • Duet 32: Moses at end of his life… speaks over the next generation
    • And they are right on the edge of the promised land
    • Moses speaks – Sorta cool… its done in song (Song of Moses)
      • Which is why we put so much value on song and music
      • When God speaks thru song… there is something powerful

Duet 32:1-2

Duet 32:3-4 (And first Moses speaks about creator God)

Duet 32:5-7 (Then Moses speaks about Israel: THEY – past generation)

  • Moses goes on to tell the story of Israel – It’s a story of failure
    • Israel failed and sinned against the living God
      • They failed to be a blessing and light to the world
      • To spread the truth of God to the Nations
    • And this isn’t just this generation that grumbled and argued
      • The judges fail… kings fail – keep turning away from God
      • And fail to turn the world to right
  • That is building block 2… Israel failed at her calling

Building Block 3 –

This building block is over 1000 years later in Israel’s story

  • Daniel takes place during a time called “The Exile”
    • Israel is back where she started… in slavery (Babylon)
    • And Daniel/Prophets start to dreams of a day in the future
  • Yom (Day or Period of time) Yahweh (Of the Lord)
    • To Daniel there is a creator who made everything GOOD
    • We allow sin 2 corrupt it… but God will not abandon us…
  • And they believed a day was coming when God would come back
    • Redeem all of creation to himself
    • There will be no more evil/injustice/pain/suffering

Hebrew prophets call it Yom Yahweh

Dan 12: 1-3

  • So while the story of Israel marked by grumbling/arguing/failure
    • It’s also a story with of hope/redemption at its end
    • B/C this story doesn’t end in the failure that Israel created
  • The story: God is coming to save us from our story… to His story
    • And on that day God will resurrect all the dead
    • And the people of God will shine like stars – That is our future

Now back to Phil 2

First: v.14-16 are a long complexed run-on sentence

Phil 2:14-16 (Paul starts with…)

  • Notice: Paul quotes Duet 32 – But tweaks it to make
    • Duet says:
      • Israel IS to blame
      • NOT kids of God
      • People r warped
    • Phil says:
      • Be blameless
      • You are Gods kids
      • You live in a warped world
  • Then he goes on and quotes Daniel

So there are lots of layers to what Paul says…

On 1 level Paul starts with don’t – Straight forward

    • Greek for Grumbling is Gunzimon
    • One scholar defined Gunzimon as follows…

Scholar 1

Whispering and complaints, talking in secret against someone, making negative comments about others behind their backs.

Scholar 2

Grumbling means complaint or displeasure expressed in murmuring, secret talk or whispering about someone. A kind of grumbling action that promotes ill-will instead of harmony and good will.

  • Grumbling is when u talk about your boss behind their back
    • Grumbling is when u roll your eyes at your parents
    • Grumbling is when u go 2 a corner to talk about what u dislike
    • Paul says do everything without that garbage
  • And also do it without arguing
    • Arguing is infighting… just can’t get along… seriously grow up
    • It’s when ur at each others throats
    • When u press send on the mean spirited critical message
  • When u promote negativity… create friction.. rifts in relationships
    • And Paul says – STOP IT
    • You are followers of Jesus… and this is what it says of him
    • Were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.

Could that be said of you? They marvel at your gracious words…

Col 4:4-6

Eph 4:29

  • Which means if it isn’t building someone up – Keep ur mouth shut
    • And he’s not saying to be fake…
    • Paul is never fake on what he is going through
  • The opposite of grumbling isn’t being fake/plastic… its gratefulness
  • Says “DO EVERYTHING” (why not hey don’t grumble & argue)
    • Reason is b/c no matter where you are in life… season… stage
    • Regardless of situation do everything w/o grumbling & arguing
      • But instead filled with gratitude for our very lives

TAG: So that’s what it means on the surface…

But underneath Paul is saying some so powerful

The children of God (hear & now) are called to a specific purpose

  • Jesus did not come to found a church… but to build his brand
    • Jesus came to finish the story of the people of God
    • To do o what Israel was supposed to do all along
    • Which was to spread the love and hope of Jesus to all creation
  • And Jesus succeeds where God’s people failed
    • And if we are followers of Jesus –we are a brand new Israel
    • And now you are called just like Israel to partner with God
    • We get a 2nd chance to succeed where Israel failed
      • To not wander in the desert 40 years grumbling/arguing
  • Paul says God is call us as this new chance as the people of God
    • And then he quotes Daniel… to “Shine like stars”

My uncle has amazing cabin north of strawberry… know where that is

  • We were up there with them a couple years ago
    • Away from the city… traffic… civilization…
    • You know how bright those stars are – who doesn’t love that?!
    • Just stare at the beauty of God’s celestial canvas all night
  • In the same way that those stars stand out in the night sky
    • You are to stand out against a warped and crooked generation
    • And I’m not a pessimist – But we live in a messed up world
    • It’s a beautiful world… but it’s a broken world
  • The world needs the church 2 be the church now more than ever
    • To step up… shine like stars… fulfill the mission God calls us to

Great… But how do we do that… 2 Ways!!!

First: Paul says do everything w/o grumbling & arguing

  • I love how simple that is… not rocket science
    • We think 2 … have 2 do something extraordinary
      • Write a book… Go to Africa… Start a non-profit
      • Those are great but it doesn’t have to be that
  • Its so simple to Paul – Just start by not Grumbling
    • Because if you do stop… you’ll stick out like a star in the sky
    • Why… b/c NOT COMPLAINING – It makes you werid
    • Seriously… next time at the checkout – They ask how things are
      • Tell them you have so much to be grateful for
      • I guarantee you get a surprised reaction… seriously try it!!!

Second: Paul says – As you hold firmly to the Word of Life

  • Now the Word of Life to Paul means the Gospel… not the Bible
    • Paul is talking about the message of Jesus… the story of God
      • Who has come to a warped/crooked/dysfunctional world
      • And in Jesus there is a new reality that is now functional
      • And in it life is spreading through the acceptance of his life
    • And 1 day what is spreading… Jesus is come back and complete
      • He will destroy all the hate/pain/discord/viruses/abuse
      • What a great day… we no longer argue over right v wrong
  • Hold firmly can be translated in two ways
    • Hold tightly not to let go
    • Hold out… as in put on display for all to see (both are right)
  • We are called to hang on tightly to the message of Jesus
    • Not let go… not lose faith
    • But also to hold up 4 all the world to see – the message of Jesus

TAG: Really Fast… that’s the end of sentence – But not paragraph

Phil 2:17-18

Love that Paul is so honest… takes

And Paul is referencing animal sacrifice which is sorta lost on us

  • But anyone in the 1st century: Greek… Roman… Jew… Barbarina
    • They would have all known about animal sacrifice in temples
    • You would offer an animal on the altar…
    • But you would also a drink offering – Poured out on the animal
      • Then light it all on fire as a sacrifice to your god
  • Paul picks up on imagery & says “YOU” are the animal on the altar
    • I am the wine poured out as a drink sacrifice
    • And together we are a living offering for God of the universe

Paul is calling you and me to give our lives away

  • Saying… there is nothing harder than living out the gospel
    • And I love his honesty – B/C there is sacrifice… it will cost you
    • We will soon be starting our Wednesday night program for kids
      • And we will need volunteers
      • And that is absolutely a sacrifice… one we are called to
      • Serving for Jesus is going to COST YOU
  • And it might be really hard… but that’s really good
    • And it might sound crazy – but if u are willing to give life away
    • That’s where you find joy
    • And its upside down.. counter intuitive… but it is true
  • Paul is his own example of this idea of Joy and shining like stars
    • In prison (more right to grumble & argue than anyone)
    • And in prison because of the gospel

2 thoughts as we close

First thought – For us followers of Jesus… time to

  • Are we grumbling/arguing in our daily lives (marked by negativity)
    • Because it is so easy to fall into this… masks/gyms/schools
    • But I don’t want to end up wandering in desert for 40 years
    • Are you bringing unity or discord to the world around you

Second thought –

  • Does everyone around u know you follow Jesus b/c of what u say
    • Does your life shine for Jesus or does it actually hide Jesus
    • Because you hold firmly to and out the message of Jesus


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Catch up on the series HERE


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