Elder Vernon Johnson

   
 

Philippians 2:14-18

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 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; 16 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. 17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings…  The word, murmur, means to grumble.  It carries with it the thought of dissatisfaction and grudgingly going along with the rest, but stating our dissatisfaction.  Often it manifests itself in dissatisfaction with the pastors or deacons, or with the decisions of the church.  When the church makes decisions that are not unscriptural, then we should go along with that decision and not grumble about it.  Likewise, we should not murmur against the pastor and deacons simply because they do things different than the way we may want them to.   

Additionally, we should not have disputings in the church.  The word, disputings, carries with it the thought of debate.  While it is true that we may disagree on non-essentials, yet we are not to enter into a confrontational debate over our disagreement.  We should settle any essentials such as doctrine or practice in the church with a thus saith the word of the Lord.  Confrontational debate is not good for the welfare of the church. 

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…

We are living in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation and world.  The ways of the world are quite different from the way of discipleship.  The world generally tends to evil and sinfulness.  We are not to live after the world, but to live after the teaching of God's word.  When we follow the simple teachings set forth by the apostle Paul under the leadership of the Holy Spirit we will be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke.  For this we should be seeking for that we may honor and glorify Him who has saved us and called us into his kingdom and fellowship.   

When we truly walk the road of discipleship, we shine as lights in the world.  Now the unregenerate are not seeing us or desiring to follow us, but those of God's children out in the world with the spiritual eyes of the new or spiritual birth can see our lives and that they are different from the lives of others and be led to desire to know more about the kingdom of God. 

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.

The minister of the gospel desires to see that those he has labored with gospelly are holding forth the word of life in their lives.  He rejoices when he sees those to whom he has labored walking in the highway of holiness.  When he sees the disciples walking in the way of righteousness he has the assurance that his labor has been worthwhile and not been in vain.  In this he gives praise and glory to God who has enabled both him and them. 

Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

  If the preacher's service is measured by the sacrifice and service of the faith of those to whom he labors and their service has been faithful, then both the preacher and the congregation joy and rejoice together. 

 


Philippians 2:19-24 

19 "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. 23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly."

 There are several practical lessons taught in the above passage of scripture: 

1.  The sending or going forth of the ministry is to be done at the direction of the Lord.  Paul certainly desired that Timothy would go to visit the church at Philippi.  However, he was dependent or trusting in the Lord to send Timothy.  Paul did not have the authority to send Timothy, but certainly the Lord does.  Likewise, Paul desired to go visit the church at Philippi, however, he only felt liberty to go if the Lord directed him to go. 

2.  We, as ministers of the gospel, have a desire to know how those to whom we have labored in the past are faring.  Acts 15:36 "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do."  Likewise, Paul desired to know the state of the brethren and sisters at Philippi and desired that Timothy go and report back to him of their state. 

3.  Not everyone is a fit for every congregation.  Paul believed that Timothy would naturally care for the state of the church at Philippi.  Paul knew that Timothy cared for the church at Philippi and for the things of Jesus Christ.  Paul also knew that many that had been with him were selfish, only seeking their own things. 

4.  The relationship of a father with the son in the ministry is clearly stated in the above passage of scripture.  Paul had served as Timothy's father in the ministry.  Paul had taught Timothy many things and answered many of his questions.  This is commonly the practice of true God-called ministers today.  Often, a young minister comes up under the tutelage of a more experienced minister, learning much that they need to know from the experience and knowledge of the older minister.   

Though Paul was Timothy's father in the ministry, he served side by side with Timothy in the ministry as well.  There is no place for one minister lording it over another minister even if the other minister is your father in the ministry.