Scripture: Philippians 2:14-18
Idea: There is something irresistible about the winsome witness. It is unshockable and unflappable. It is accepting and gives people breathing space in which to grow. It is expressed with delightfully positive words. It is lived out with impeccable integrity. It is shared in the most attractive manner possible.
Story: The winsome witness always rises out of a positive attitude that expresses itself in positive words. We live in a negative world in which far too many Christians are narrow, tight, stern, and no fun. When one has a limited perspective on who God is and what He is like, when one gets down in the mouth about life and all the rotten things going on in the church – it can really sour their witness for Christ.
When Paul tells us to “do everything without complaining and arguing,” (verse 14) he uses an onomatopoetic word—a word that carries a verbal imitation of the sound it makes. This word expresses the low muttering of an unhappy heart. One look at such a morbid face, one peep from such a glum mouth is enough to scare anyone off. After all, if that is what happens to people who become Christians, who needs it?
The winsome life is also expressed through a positive life. Lee Strobel is right when he says, “If you’re living a boring, lukewarm Christian life of drudgery and rule-keeping, you may be doing more damage to your friends than all the scandals involving the televangelists. You’re sending a message that Christianity is ‘a stiff, uptight, inflexible way of life, colorless and unbending,’ and it was certainly never intended to be that.”
When Paul talks about a quality of life that is “blameless and pure . . . without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,” (verse 15), he is calling us to an authentic life where there is a conspicuous absence of duplicity, deceit, immorality, and scandal. A life that hangs together in a coherent whole. A life where actions and motives are squeaky clean. A life that is 100% for Christ.
The winsome witness is communicated through positive approaches. We are called to “shine like the stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (verse 15). We are called to be twinkling, sparkling, glistening stars that shine out for Jesus. Such a witness is shared in fresh, unexpected ways. It is creative. New every time. An adventuresome journey to the edge. You’ve got to be prepared for anything. You’ve got to be connected to the spur-of-the-moment inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not something that is dull, boring, or insipid. It is full of life and vitality. It is full of Jesus Christ Himself. The gospel of Jesus Christ meets the needs of the bored and the broken, the dejected and defeated. It fills the heart with hope and certainty that there is more to life than a dead-end trip to the grave. That there is an eternity to come with Jesus in heaven at last.
Submitted by Dan Martella. Better Sermons © 2005-2007. Click here for usage guidelines.