“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Philippians 2:12-16
God wants Christians to understand the importance of their role in the world. He is working out His Will through us. We are the sons and daughters of God living in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation. God has something to say to this world and He’s saying it through us!
Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi because the light they were shining in their world was not as bright as it could or should be. Unlike some of the other churches Paul wrote, the Philippians were not encumbered with sexual sins or falling into the trap of Judaizers. However, they were experiencing something just as dangerous as any of the sins of that day; they were losing their family unity.
Paul addressed this powerfully when he reminded them that they shined as lights in the world. Paul used the Greek word phainesthe to describe the Philippian Christians. It’s in the passive voice and means “are seen, appear.” Believers living in Philippi (and everywhere else for that matter) appear to unsaved people as “lights in the world.” The word lights is the word phosteres. It means “luminary, star, heavenly light.” Christians appear as “stars” to the unsaved in the world. The Apostles Paul and John each used the word one time in their letters. John used phosteres in Revelation 21:11 to describe the Light that lights the New Jerusalem. John learned that Light is Jesus Christ. The same Light that will light the Holy City of Heaven is the same Light the unsaved see in Christians!
The Philippian Christians were seen as “lights” in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation.” That’s a description of people living in the 1st Century A.D. – crooked and perverse (perverted, distorted, twisted). Are we any better 2,000 years later? I don’t think so. The human heart has been crooked and twisted since Adam plunged the race into sin thousands of years ago. Christians today continue to appear as lights in a crooked and perverse generation.
We wrote a special study to ask and answer four important questions about shining as lights in the world: (1) Why Do We Shine? (2) Who Do We Shine? (3) Where Do We Shine? (4) How Do We Shine? The study is designed for you to print the pages to add to a notebook. You can write your answers to each point and use it as a guide in your life and ministry. I promise you that the right answer to these questions will revolutionize your life and empower the Church in a way the world has not seen for a long time. We also invite you to share this study with Christian friends. Ask God to lead you to lead others to the greatest experience of our life on earth: Shining as Lights in the World!