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   Shine like stars    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Php 2:14-18

There are many things that shine. Some of them emit light for themselves like the sun and others like the illuminators give out light only when they are given some energy. And even the illuminators are different among themselves. A street light is good to illuminate a street while a lighthouse is good to guide ships for safe sailing.
Then what kind of light would be better for us if we should shine? The light of the sun over the whole world would be much better than the street light. Likewise, God wants us to illuminate the dark world with the light of truth. Therefore, we should not only live as children of God without fault in the sinful generation, but also shine with the word of life. Now, we will look into what we should do for that.

1. We should do everything without complaining or arguing so as to shine to people.
Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing." In our life, it is very important to make peace with everybody without complaining or arguing. But we can see from time to time that when some people lose their jobs or go bankrupt, they easily lose the peace in their families.
For example, if a wife says to her husband who is discouraged after losing his job, "I’ve suffered as I married you", it will hurt his heart deeply. It just makes the matter worse and can’t help him to solve his problems. But if they don’t complain or argue with each other but try to understand or help each other, they will make a peaceful and happy family.
Therefore when we do something or meet someone, we must not complain or argue. When we do so, we can shine to the people of the world. If we want to do everything without complaining or arguing, we should have the heart like the followings.

1) We should be blameless and pure in our hearts.
We should be blameless and pure as Philippians 2:15 says, "so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." To be blameless here means that we should be blameless in everything.
Most people have a scar in their body. If anyone doesn’t have any scar, he must have taken care of himself well and we can see that he has a gentle character. This can be applied to one’s character. For example, people say, "That man is so good. But he is an irresolute man." Or " He is clear-minded but he has one-track mind." This means something is lacking in his character.
In addition, one mistake could ruin one’s whole life. But the Bible says that there was a blameless man both to people and to God. He is Daniel. Daniel 6:4 says, "At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent."
Being a captive, when he knew that there were offerings of idols in the food, he had only vegetables and water so as not to commit sins. He has done everything without any fault before God since he was a boy. When he grew up and went into the public service, he took care of the national affairs with intelligence and wisdom. After all, he was so distinguished that the king set him as the chief administrator over the whole country.
However, when the news was spread that the king was planning to place him in the highest position, some people became jealous of Daniel. So they tried to sue him if there was any slip of defect in him, but they couldn’t find any.
And now, we will talk about the purity.
In dictionary, purity means to be pure and perfect. But, spiritually it means to reveal one’s gentleness in action and also means to be faultless and do the right things perfectly.
A blameless man does everything with virtue. So although he meets any trouble caused by others, he does not pay back with evil and tried to be good and he controls himself in everything. He does not speak ill of others or act badly and think a wrong thought, but lives a bright life.
Job in the Old Testament is a good example of blameless person.
Job 1:1 says, "In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." He had ten children and was very rich and the greatest man among all the people of the East. He also did good to neighbors(Job 29:12, 31:18). He was called the greatest man in the Bible not just because he was rich but because he knew how to share what he had with all people.
However, he met a big trial one day. God took Job’s integrity for granted, but wanted his deep heart to be perfect. So God left him to be tried. In a moment, he lost all his possession and his children except his body.
How then did he respond that time? He met big trials without any reason, but never put the blame on God. Rather he kept his blamelessness confessing, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
He gave thanks to God even in the situation that he lost everything. But this time his life was in danger. He was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. When Job scraped his body with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes, his wife laughed at him saying, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" However, he even replied to her, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
By the way, it is not written anywhere in the Bible that we receive troubles from God as well as blessing. Job said so because he didn’t know the truth but he never sinned in what he said. But the desperate situation was going on and then the evil things in his deep heart began to be revealed. God disciplined him and made him perfect by this way.
But how many people in this sinful world could keep their integrity and wouldn’t sin in what they say if they meet this kind of trial of Job? If we keep our integrity in words and deeds like Job, we can do everything without complaining or arguing and shine to others. This is the way of the children of light that God wants us to become.

2) We should not be deviated and disobedient.
To be deviated here means to go astray from the fundamental frame of person God wants. For example, if a person gets proud or quarrels or boasts or gets angry, he is away from the fundamental frame and we can say that he is deviated.
Today we can see how people are deviated. Sometimes we hear about some parents who let their daughter seduce a rich man to pluck him of his money or those who sell their daughter to a bar and later take her back out in secret to sell her to another bar.
It can be applied to the language we speak. In old days, people used their language with deep meaning. But today many people are getting vulgar in their language. It does not match God’s purpose who created our language for our decent communication.
Next, to be disobedient means to go away from one’s position.
For example, a servant who doesn’t serve or obey his master or children who don’t obey their parents are all disobedient. It means to disregard one’s duty when parents should do their duty as parents and children should do their duty as children.
Traditionally, we have regarded it very important to support our parents when they get old. But we have once heard this news : two sons were brought to trial on charges of neglecting their duty to support their parents. They were ordered by the judge to support their parents. But these two sons appealed that as they hadn’t received any financial help from their parents, they didn’t want to support their own parents. This is absolutely beyond the limitation of their position.
Genesis 6:5-7 says, "The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ’I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth -- men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air -- for I am grieved that I have made them.’" Likewise, this generation is so sinful that we can understand the heart of the Father God.
Therefore, God wants us to shine in the universe as faultless children of God in this deviated and disobedient generation.

2. The meaning of ’to shine like stars and hold out words of life’ and the way to do so.
Philippians 2:15-16 says, "You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." When we do so, our efforts and labors in the Lord are not meaningless and we can pride ourselves on them on the Lord’s Day. What is to shine with words of life? It is to give out light to people who are in the darkness with words of God and make them come out to the light.
For example, you should make much effort and persevere to bring a soul to God and take care of him until he receives the Holy Spirit. But if the soul leaves God when he faces some trouble, your hard work will be totally in vain. This is why you should give out light to them with words of life. But how?
You should remind him of God’s word, ’Give thanks in all circumstances’ so that he can rejoice in any trouble and overcome the trouble with faith. You also have to remind him of another word of God, ’Pray continually’ so that he can pray to get his problem solved.
By reminding him of God’s word who said, "Love your enemy", you can help him to march forward to the Heaven. And your efforts will not be in vain.
How then can one shine with words of life in his family? When a member of Christian family gets sick, the rest of the family usually seek a way to get him healed. At that time, if anyone in the family testifies about the living God and urges his family to pray to God with faith saying, "we should not depend on medicine but on God’, it is the way to shine with the words of life in one’s family. When he acts with faith, God will work and heal the sick family member and the faith of all family members will grow. And even the non-believing relatives will also come to believe in God. This is how to shine with the words of life.