Friday, April 27, 2018
Philippians 2:16 …as you hold out the word of life…
In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul is describing for us what a Christian’s life should look like when God’s work is being done in it. Such a life will be blameless in its character and conduct, and it will shine brightly with the glory of God.
Another characteristic of a Christ-like life of joy will be boldness to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to a lost world. Paul says that we will shine light stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life.
Notice first that we are not to hold the truth in, but we are to hold it out. When I was young I remember the camping trips we used to take as a family. My favorite part was setting up the fire pit and getting it ready for use. One of the items dad had for night time use was a kerosene lantern. This was in the “good old days” before they sold the little propane tanks that screw onto the bottom of the lantern. This one had a kerosene tank on the bottom and the kerosene had to be pressurized. He taught me how to put my thumb over the hole in the pressure pump and pump it up so that the fuel could reach the mantle and be ignited to provide light.
Then, when it was dark, we would light the lantern and hang it from a tree branch as high as possible. The object was to light up as large an area as possible. We not only wanted everyone in our family to be safe, but we also wanted anyone camping around us who might come over for a visit to be able to find us and be safe getting to us. We boldly placed our light for everyone to see.
In the same way, we are to boldly hold forth the light of the word of life. The Apostle John tells us what that means in 1 John 1:1-2. We are to proclaim Jesus Christ as the word of life. We are not being sufficiently bold when we hold out philosophies that are derived from the teachings of Jesus. We are not yet bold enough when we preach and teach principles that we have discovered from the life and teachings of Jesus. We are not being truly bold when we disguise the truth inside politically correct terminology or socially acceptable language. We are being bold only when we hold forth the truth of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of Life.
In his letter, John tells us there are 5 things that we are to proclaim about Jesus:
- Proclaim His eternal nature – He is God. That which was from the beginning…
- Declare the things we have heard from Jesus. …which we have heard…Not the things we have heard about Him, but the things we have heard from Him. Don’t share the latest trendy information about Jesus that is being promoted by man, but rather get your information about Jesus directly from Him.
- Testify to the things we have seen Jesus do…which we have seen with our eyes…”Aha!” you say. We can’t see Jesus. Yes, we can. We see Him every time we open our Bibles and every time we look at the marvel of our own salvation and transformed life. Jesus lives in us, the hope of glory, and we see Him.
- Express the intimacy of relationship with Jesus… which we have looked at… This is different than seeing. The Greek word means to “view attentively and contemplate with admiration.” There is a depth of intimacy that we have with Jesus that is available to anyone, and that needs to be proclaimed to people boldly.
- Announce boldly the things we have experienced because of Christ’s work in us… our hands have touched…We have been permitted to touch the life and work of Jesus, and we have much to share with others about who He is and what He can do.
The main point of all of this is that we become followers of Jesus who boldly proclaim Jesus to the world. Every opportunity we get to talk with an unsaved person must lead to a discussion of Jesus Christ.
We do not boldly hold forth words of philosophy, social reform, or tolerance, but rather we hold forth the Word of Life. May we be bold enough to proclaim Jesus anywhere we are, without fear, so people can hear the truth and be saved.