Riverside Community Church

Philippians Part 5 - Shining Like Stars

Phil. 2:14-16

 A 2021 study from Lifeway Research, based on data from three-dozen denominations, in the US, found that 4,500 churches closed in 2019. The study found that the median worship attendance for churches in the U.S. dropped from 137 people to 65 people over the past two decades.

 The decline in religious affiliation and attendance is not limited to the United States; it is a global phenomenon and has hit Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated this trend where the average attendance dropped by 30%, many churches have closed, and many pastors have quit the fight to survive.

-here’s an interesting and disquieting statistic:

-53% of women claiming to be Christian don’t attend church regularly.

-46% of men claiming to be Christian don’t attend church regularly.


The reasons for the decline in church attendance are many. You may attribute it to the changing social attitudes, (if you’re not WOKE you’re broke). Or an increased secularization of the Church, (if you don’t ‘inclusion’ you will disillusion). Or a shift away from organized religion to a more self-propelled, self-generated personal religion.

Now, I don’t like being called religious because the Christianity I know is not tied up in religious ceremonies but rather it is a relationship with God, with Christ hence we are Christ followers -Christian.

Of note, younger generations are less likely to identify with a specific religious tradition or attend religious services regularly. This is partly true as some have wandered away and partly untrue as we have seen many university and college students attending Riverside.

Additionally, the negative perception of religious institutions, as in the ‘residential school’ crisis, have also contributed to this decline.

Why has this happened? Well, it is partly true because “in the last days there will be a falling away”. Since I do believe in the imminent return of Christ, I accept that this falling away will affect many churches, but it may not affect all. We are growing at Riverside as God keeps bringing in people, and there are other churches like us growing.

Many other churches have wandered from the gospel, have grown cold in their burning love of Christ, are caught up in religious legalism, that is they make rules sovereign. Churches have been dragged into secular doctrine/thinking such as inclusion and gender identity. Still other churches/Christians will grumble, that is, to be unsatisfied, and complain, that is, to be discontented and to be argumentative, that is, to be quarrelsome, cantankerous and unhappy.

There is a falling away happening across Canada and throughout most of the world because the hearts of many have grown cold and because of the failing luke-warm worldly church.

Listen to Paul’s comment in Philippians 2: 14-16

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.


Let me read this passage to you again from the Amplified version.


14 Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], 16 holding out and offering to everyone the word of life,


God doesn’t like grumbling and arguing amongst His blood bought people.

God doesn’t like grumbling and arguing amongst His precious Church.

[remember God’s Word is always personal, it applies to us]

God doesn’t like grumbling and arguing amongst the people of Riverside.


God DOES like when His people, yes, His people at Riverside, you and I, ‘shine like stars’ in this dark and crooked world.


-by being blameless and innocent of murmuring or complaining, by being uncontaminated and pure amidst a dark world of crooked morals and spiritual perversion.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.


Paul, the Apostle, wrote this book, Philippians, from his jail cell while awaiting the inevitable death sentence and execution. He knew troubles and trials, he knew danger and fears He was under prison duress but also under the powerful inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes this incredible God-breathed book for us and to us.


Philippians’ message to us concerns personal encouragements and ‘body life’ in the church, in Riverside today.

The 1st message to us is “God won’t let go -won’t let go of you” 1:6 -He who began a good work in you will complete it”.

The 2nd message to us (remember that the Bible is personal, -it’s written for you) is in 1:9 -Abounding Love. God’s agape love is abounding to us, and our love is to abound to others, namely abound to each other, between Christians. Look around you and love them, as you are loved.

The 3rd message was ‘Whatever Happens” Whatever happens in your life or to those around you, conduct yourself worthily, worthy of your Christ.

The 4th message was a plea for “Humility and Unity” predicated on 2:5 where it says to have the same mindset of Christ between us -be humble.

The 5th message, today’s message, is in this dark world don’t grumble and argue rather shine, shine like stars. Don’t curse the darkness, -light a candle, -you.


Phil. 2:14-16 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

-Grumbling is a problem. Yes, people grumble, they complain, they moan, they mutter, they bellyache, they carp, they whimper, and they can drone on and on. Grumblers, grumblers -bah humbug.

Jesus heard it too, grumblers, grumbling against the Saviour, Jesus Christ the Lord.

John 6:41

At this the Jews there began to grumble about him (Jesus) because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”


Luke 5:30

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained (grumbled) to his disciples, “Why do you (Jesus and the disciples) eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”


They complained against Jesus because He healed a man on the Sabbath. I can imagine that after Jesus fed the 5000 there were those who complained that there were bones in the fish.

-Grumbling is a problem.


Bluntly stated in:

1 Corinthians 10:10And do not grumble, as some of them did— (reference to the OT the Israelites grumbling in the wilderness)


Now, James has a stiff warning to Christians who grumble against each other, grumble against another brother or sister in the Lord.


James 5:9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!


grum·ble: to complain about something in a bad-tempered way.


Grumbling doesn’t start with the words you say but rather it starts inside you, you’re bad-tempered inside, you’re not happy, you’re not satisfied inside. Some may say “you’re in a bad mood, a foul mood, you’re just being disagreeable.

        -grumbling, being discontent can lead to arguing which Paul includes in the Philippians passage:

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing”.


-when we’re complaining, grumbling or griping our light isn’t shining, we are not helping the situation, we’re hindering and we’re divisive in the body of believers.

Now I know nobody here gets in a grumpy mood or a bad mood. Nobody here ever grumbles or complains, nobody here ever is ever ‘bugged’ and disturbed at an other ‘so called Christian’. Well maybe, just a little!!


Q     How I do handle grumbling in others and how do I handle myself when I grumble?

When others grumble to you:

Say: Thank you for your concern, leave it with me. God is so good. Walk away. If you can. Don’t fuel the fire, but calm the waters. Don’t join in.

When I grumble to others:

-you’re grumbling in a bad-tempered way.    àrecognize it right away.

-put you’re bottom lip to your upper lip tightly àstop it right away

-get a grip of yourself and see this ungentle/unkind grumbling as sin

-tell God 5 things you’re thankful for … repeat as necessary

-if the Holy Spirit convicts you à you may have to go and apologize and ask forgiveness. à do so, drop your pride and obey God.


Q     How do I avoid grumbling? I’m so glad you asked.

Remember this and govern yourself accordingly. Remember you choose.


Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation (words) be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Ask God for strength to govern your tongue/words/attitudes.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.


-submit yourself to God and allow the Holy Spirit to help you develop the peaceable fruit of Gentleness and kindness and a tender heart from being thankful.

Shine as lights in a dark world.

Don’t grumble and argue but light your candle.

Shine on & Shine brightly.


May the light of Christ, our Saviour, Shine from us from day to day, By His love and power controlling All we do and all we say. Amen.

Oct 1, 2023