Shine Like Bright Lights! A sermon on Phil. 2:1-4, 14-18
† I.H.S. †
May the grace of God our Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ fill your life, as the Holy Spirit turns on all your lights – and may your glow attract many others to Jesus!
- The Lights Coming On
It was different being at the pastor’s conference this year, as I was talking about my first church – just a few desert minutes away. All of a sudden I was back at my computer desk, reading Luther’s Catechisms, realizing the role the Holy Spirit had in my life.
One of those passages comes from the Small Catechism, where it says,
I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith
This word, “enlightened” or “illuminated” or as I prefer to see it, God turns the lights on.
You know that moment, if you were a cartoon there would be a lightbulb come on over your head, and all of a sudden you understood a lot more than you did a second ago? When you make the connections, you didn’t make 20 seconds before.
There is far more to the Holy Spirit turning the lights on, for that light becomes visible to all, as the Holy Spirit shines through us into the darkness caused by crooked and perverse people.
- If there’s any… then why aren’t you
As Paul starts chapter two, one can read a little that at worst he’s mystified, at best he is frustrated more than can be believed. These people, who have come to know Jesus, are struggling with living like Jesus. I want you to hear this passage this way
Haven’t you been encouraged by knowing Jesus has take responsibility for your life? Are you comforted knowing He loves you? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit being there mean anything to you? Hasn’t he changed you, causing you to be gentle with people and want to relieve their burders?
Then why don’t you have one reason for existence as people of the church? Why don’t you love each other, and why don’t you have one mind and purpose? Why are you selfish? Why are you trying to impress others? Why aren’t you humble? Why do you think you are better than….them?
The basic question–with all that God’s done for you—think about it – why aren’t you living more like Jesus?
It’s a good question for each of us to ask ourselves today!!
Okay – it is a hard question to ask but it is good for us to ask it!
Why don’t you act more like Jesus?
Why can’t I act more like Jesus?
- I Want to Share Your Joy!
Paul’s answer to that is simple…
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
There in the middle of the passage you see what it critical to living innocent lives without as the children of God.
It is to hold on to the LOGOS ZOE – the Word and the Life.
This isn’t just about reading the scripture, it is about knowing that Jesus Jesus is the Word, and that Jesus is the Life.
It is His promise that we are justified – that we are declared innocent, this is what we have to hold onto – the fact that Jesus promised that He would always be with His people—we have to hang onto Jesus and His promise…
It’s a good thing that “the Lord is with you!
But it that Word of Life that the Holy Spirit uses to cause that enlightenment – that causes the lights to go on in us.
Which causes what described earlier, as the light is seen in our lives. “Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
The light which comes on in us is Jesus – who is the light of the world. It isn’t some natural light in us that causes people to want to come it is Jesus.
This is what it boils down to – what people see and why they come to trunk or treat, or the women’s tea, or the health fair. You can find all that stuff somewhere else.
But you can’t find Jesus, healing us while we help heal others….
Keep your eyes on Him, remember and rejoice in His promises,
Like the fact He will lift you up.
He will comfort you as you realize He loves you,
The you dwell in communion with the Holy Spirit,
And that the Lord will transform you into His image.
 Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 345.