Turning a Negative into a Positive

Phil 2:14-18

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.


Work out your salvation with fear and trembling!


Assume a difficult life circumstance.

What does that look like? A health crisis. Family troubles. Children not getting along with parents etc. A job crisis: Job turns sour. Job is lost. Economy goes down. Whatever desire that we have that is disappointed. And there are many just desires that go unfulfilled! That’s the reality of our world. And blaming people for a lack of faith is not good enough!


  1. Personal Responses to Troubles

Grumbling, Disputing, Rejoicing


  1. Grumbling and complaining are not healthy


Root of a lot of sin. Trees you can’t eat from, sacrifices not accepted by God etc.

Envy and Jealousy or disappointment.

Exodus 16 Here the word grumble appears for the first time in Scripture. It is the story of the COI going into the wilderness and being hungry.

The accusation is that they would be better off in Egypt. Or, life in the world is better than life from God! And God gives them manna. He gives them something that they are not familiar with every day for their life.

Deuteronomy 8 This passage interprets the Exodus 16 event. God allows us to have hardship in order to show us what is in our hearts and to discipline our desire. To get us to the point where we will obey Him regardless of our circumstances because we trust in His character and power.

John 6 “I am the bread that came down from heaven”

“You must eat my flesh and drink my blood”

His disciples grumbled and Jesus says:

“What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was     before?” Basically, why do you resist, resent or disbelieve anything that God does in your life?

So, grumbling is a faith crisis!


  1. Disputes and Arguing won’t help

        We can fight with God.

We can fight with others.

How may Paul have grumbled? At Philippi thrown into jail. Here    at this point in his life, in jail. In Galatia stoned and left for dead.   Shipwrecked. Beaten. And so on.


  1. Rejoicing and giving thanks bring life

        Rejoice in the Lord always. IN THE LORD!

        Does it say rejoice in circumstances? No. Get your mind set on heavenly things. Focus on what you have to rejoice in. I don’t mean to be morbid, but what happens to someone when they die in the Lord? They are present with Christ. And while living, we can experience the power and presence of God in our present circumstances, but NOT WHILE GRUMBLING!!! We have to move beyond to what God is to us.


  1. Practical Perspective for Corrective Vision


  1. What is the kingdom purpose?

What is really important? Helping people follow Jesus Christ (your faith)

            17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the        sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you    all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.


Poured out like a drink offering: You pour it, it doesn’t last long. It is gone forever. It still has a purpose! The purpose is found in the perspective!

There is suffering attached to every life. We will not be able to avoid it. But, we have the opportunity to have meaning and purpose attached to our suffering. If we suffer with the right perspective!


  1. We can comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted.

I have a friend who had a really rough time with Covid. He suffers currently with anxiety about it, concerned that he could relapse or that his family could go through the same. God is comforting Him. And I sent him to II Cor 1 this week and for the first time he saw the practical truths of these verses:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

We have a common friend who tested positive this week. My first friend reached out in prayer, comforting the one in the current trial. Purpose in suffering is important!!

We can experience the grace of God in the midst of the difficulty (the fellowship of His sufferings)


  1. The last word is Resurrection!

Resurrection is life after death. Jesus resurrects circumstances. Jesus resurrects people. Jesus does not resurrect things that are not dead.


III. Positive Life Result

There is a reason we are to rejoice in the world!

  1. You will shine in a dark world

Have you ever been around someone who was really positive? I grew up with someone like that. Faith is at the root of it. Faith in a God who is good. A God who loves you. A God who is at work in your life. Phil was my mother’s favorite book in the Bible.

Phil 1:6 she repeated all the time. If you ever reflected anything that doubted that God was at work in someone’s life she would quote it. Phil 4:13, Phil 4:19 Phil 4:4, Phil 4:6-7. All of the time she would quote those passages.


The world does not reflect on their difficulties from the perspective that God is at work, that God is good etc. When we do, then we shine in a dark world. Contrast is the issue.


  1. You will avoid bad behavior

Blamelessness innocence. First comes grumbling. Then comes arguing. Then comes rebellion. Then comes judgement.

Ten times they tested God in the wilderness.

Jesus shows us how to act in Matt 4.

  1. Man does not live by bread alone.

(God is the source of my life, not my circumstances)

  1. Worship and serve God only. (God is God, I am not)
  2. Do not put God to the test.

(I don’t require God to do what I want)


  1. You will reflect God

Children of God: The children reflect the parents. What is God      like? Is He like me?


What does God do? Straight in the midst of the crooked