Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Serious Griping

Paul in Philippians 2:14 wrote: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings." In modern vernacular, "Don't gripe." Murmuring and disputing are both types of griping. You murmur when you gripe about what you're doing. You dispute when you gripe about having to do it. In both cases, you don't like what you're doing, so you gripe about it.

OK, so that's bad. But it's really bad. Right before v. 14 in the context, comes this in vv. 12-13:
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.
What are we doing? We are obeying, working out our salvation, and doing His good pleasure. That's what your life is about as a Christian. It's big time. While you're going about doing the things that God wants you to do, which is characteristic of a believer, don't gripe about it.

Why? What reason do you have for not griping while you're doing this? Paul gives three reasons in three clauses in vv. 15-16. Each of the clauses focuses on a particular beneficiary of your not griping. Three different recipients will benefit from your thankfulness and contentment. And the benefits to these three are the reasons why not to gripe. What are they?

1. YOUR OWN REPUTATION (Philippians 2:15a)

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke

Don't gripe so that you don't lose your Christian reputation. Complaining is so antithetical to Christian living that you would and should be considered not to be a child of God if it characterized your behavior. The unbelieving are the unthankful (Romans 1:21). Griping results in blame, harm, and reproach ("rebuke") being upon your Christian testimony. You don't want discontent and unthankfulness as your reputation.

2. UNSAVED PEOPLE'S REDEMPTION (Philippians 2:15b-16a)

"in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life"

A thankful attitude, disposition, and behavior will shine brightly a saving testimony to the lost. The world gripes and complains. You aren't any different, nor do you have anything unique, if you don't behave differently with this regards. The fact that you don't gripe will match up with the message of the gospel that the world so badly needs. It will seem like it is worth it to be saved when you behave like it is.


"that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."

This might seem a little odd, but the last reason for not griping is that it will be a cause of rejoicing to your spiritual leadership. Your pastor, whoever has discipled you, and other spiritual leaders most responsible for your life will have cause for rejoicing at the judgment seat of Christ because you weren't a griper. Your behavior will reveal their efforts to have been worthwhile, not a waste. Paul wanted them to live thankful lives. Those would be the kind of lives he'll be able to rejoice in at the judgment of Christ.

So three people benefit from your not griping---yourself, unsaved people, and your spiritual leaders. The benefits each of these could receive for your not griping show how serious griping really is. By not griping, you'll save your reputation, the world around you will get an example of redemption, and your spiritual leadership will have cause for rejoicing.

Yes, you have my permission to use this outline.


Jerry Bouey said...

Good outline. This is the main sin God got upset with the Israelites for in their 40 years of wandering in the desert. That last point ties in with Hebrews 13:17. I had not considered that point before in this context.

Anonymous said...

Oooh ouch. This was very good.