Philippians 2:16
as you hold forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Christian InfluenceJ. Hanes, D. D.Philippians 2:16
Christians are Light HoldersR. Brewin.Philippians 2:16
Exposure of Light BearersT. Guthrie, D. D.Philippians 2:16
Holding Forth the LightDr. Morison.Philippians 2:16
Holding Forth the Word of LifeD. Ruell.Philippians 2:16
Holding Forth the Word of LifeA. Blackburn, D. D.Philippians 2:16
Holding Forth the Word of LifeDean Vaughan.Philippians 2:16
The BibleJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:16
The Prosperity of the Pastor, the Prosperity of His FlockJ. DaillePhilippians 2:16
The Word of LifeH. Airay, D. D.Philippians 2:16
Divine HelpA. H. Moment, D. D.Philippians 2:12-18
ExhortationsR. Finlayson Philippians 2:12-18
The Obedience of the Christian LifeW. B. Pope, D. D.Philippians 2:12-18
Working Out Our Own SalvationJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 2:12-18
Believers' Lights in the WorldC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 2:14-16
ChristianityT. Page, M. A.Philippians 2:14-16
Church ActivityD. Thomas Philippians 2:14-16
Controversy Hushed in the Presence of HeathenismBishop Patteson.Philippians 2:14-16
Don't Spoil Your PortraitJ. R. Howat.Philippians 2:14-16
Evil of DisputingsC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 2:14-16
Murmuring the Cause of DisputingsH. Airay, D. D.Philippians 2:14-16
Murmurings and DisputingsR. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 2:14-16
Negative and Positive ChristianityJeremy Taylor., J. Lyth, D. D., J. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:14-16
The Christian Life: its Effect Upon the WorldV. Hutton Philippians 2:14-16
The Cultivation of a Christian DeportmentJ. Parsons.Philippians 2:14-16
The Duties of a Church Towards its NeighbourhoodS. Martin.Philippians 2:14-16
The Duties of Church MembersJ. Stoughton, D. D.Philippians 2:14-16
The Folly of Contentions on the Mission FieldJ. L. Nye.Philippians 2:14-16
The Importance of a Contented and Peaceful Habit of SoulT. Croskery Philippians 2:14-16
The Inward Principle and Outward Forth of ChristianityS. T. Coleridge.Philippians 2:14-16
Things Best DroppedJ. R. Howat.Philippians 2:14-16
Inspired to be Blameless SonsR.M. Edgar Philippians 2:14-18

I. CHRISTIANS ARE LIGHTS. Such was their appearance in St. Paul's time. It was a dark age for the world. Old faiths were lost; horrible vices overshadowed society; gloom settled down on the most thoughtful minds. In this spiritual midnight the Christians appear like stars, each with the light of truth and goodness. A similar position always belongs of right to Christian men and women,

1. The light that comes with Christ is not confined to him. He is first of all the Light of the world. But through him his disciples, reflecting his light, become also the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

2. This light is not diffused through the atmosphere as a vague radiance. It is focused and concentrated in Christian men and women. The truth influences the world through the persons who hold it.

3. This light is in individuals. It, is not the general illumination of the Church, but the particular light of each Christian, that enlightens the world. Every Christian is a distinct luminary.

II. CHRISTIANS ARE LIGHTS BECAUSE THEY HOLD FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE. They do not shine in their own goodness, nor merely to spread abroad their own notions. They are the lamps; God's truth is the flame. Christians, then, like the Jews of old, have the custody of "the oracles of God;" but not merely in the literal sense of possessing the Bible. Rather they declare and interpret the truth of revelation by manifesting the character and power of it in their own lives. The truth thus revealed is a word of life. It is a vital truth, the secret of the Christian life, the promise of life to the world.

III. THE CHRISTIAN LIGHTS ARE SEEN BY THE WORLD. "Ye are seen as lights in the world." It is our duty to let our light shine, not to hide it under a bushel. The Church exists for the good of the world. She receives light that she may give it to the people that sit in darkness. This is the most effectual way of commending the Word of life to the world. Moreover, whether we shine well or ill, the eye of the world is upon us.

IV. THE CHARACTER OF CHRISTIANS DETERMINES THEIR EFFECTIVENESS AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD. The Church has made too much of orthodoxy to the neglect of goodness. We may have the best oil, and yet, if the lamp be out of order, the flame will flicker painfully, and if the glass be foul, the light will be dull. Christians may have the pure Word of life within them, but they will only hold it forth clearly to the world when the lamp is trim and the glass clean - when their own life is healthy and no earthly-mindedness checks the outflow of the Divine radiance. Nothing is more fatal to the clear shining of the Christian light than quarrels among Christians (ver. 14). Love in the Church is an essential condition of light in the world. - W.F.A.

Holding forth the word of life
The gospel is here thus called (John 6:68; Acts 5:20), because —


II.It is THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION (2 Corinthians 2:16).



(H. Airay, D. D.)

I. IS THE WORD OF LIFE; it reveals, promises, communicates life.

II. MUST BE HELD FORTH by every believer, by word and example, for his own credit, the world's benefit, God's glory.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL. It is the word of life, because —

1. It unfolds the certainty of a blessed immortality. Reason has nothing to report except speculations and probabilities; as witness the conclusions of Socrates and Cicero. The gospel brings life and immortality to light.

2. It exhibits Christ who is essential life Himself, the Author of life natural, spiritual, and eternal. Hence He is called "The Life;" and "He that hath the Son hath life," implying previous "death in trespasses and sins." By faith the believer "passes from death unto life."

3. It is the instrument of the Spirit in communicating life. "Of His own will begat He us," etc., "born not of corruptible seed," etc. It is also the means of sustaining life and maturing it.

II. THE MANNER OF ITS EXHIBITION. Holding it forth. What the lighthouse is to the mariner the gospel is to a dark world.

1. Ministers are bound to hold it forth to their congregations as the only sure ground of hope, and adequate means of salvation. Can they with this in their hands amuse them with other topics, or inculcate a lifeless morality?

2. Christians are individually and collectively to hold it forth in their lives for the instruction of mankind. Men are unable to judge of any system save by its practical effects, and few will fail to appreciate a holy life.

3. Our country is bound to hold it forth to heathen nations.

(D. Ruell.)

I. BE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE TRUTH. You cannot hold forth what you do not possess. Business to be honest must have actual stock or capital. Our commercial and agricultural circles have been and are now disturbed by gambling in "deals" and "futures." Thousands of barrels of oil that never existed, and millions of bushels of grain that never were harvested, have been made the basis of mere speculation. Mortgage and ruin have overtaken multitudes in this illegitimate traffic. There is a godless spiritualism, a Christless Unitarianism, and a Scriptureless "new theology," which, however curious they may be, have no breath or life in them for a hungry soul. You might as well send a starving man to a bucket shop for bread as to satisfy your soul with such speculations. The wife of Abraham made cakes for the angels. There have been improvements in bread making since Sarah's day, but nobody yet has been able to make bread without flour. You must have the grain to begin with, and so you must have the truth, the bread of life, before you attempt to feed the famine of the soul.

II. BE SURE THAT YOU HAVE IT UNADULTERATED. Commissions have discovered food adulterations. Innutritious if not poisonous matter has been mixed with wholesome flour, cheapening and degrading it. So the truth has been vitiated by a mixture of philosophy, tradition, etc. It fails to nourish starving souls. The best test of purity is its effect on your own life. Daniel tested the wholsomeness of his coarse pulse, and showed a fairer hue than those who fed on royal dainties.

III. BE SURE THAT YOU YOURSELVES ARE LIVING EPISTLES OF WHAT YOU INTELLECTUALLY HOLD. It is not the printed book that does the work, but the truth which has become the vital texture of your soul. We have a revised version of the Bible for which we are thankful, but every Christian should be a new transcript, a walking word of God. A military man sees at a glance whether a soldier has been trained under old or new schools. Men are not slow to detect whether or not you have been trained by Christ.


1. Not as the miser holds his gold, but hold to give. The merchant gets to give. He is ruined if he cannot sell, and his goods are left to spoil. We ought to be as anxious to disperse as to acquire.

2. Lovingly. Tact is needed in business. Anybody can buy, but to sell is another thing. I once asked a salesman why he was so talkative to one customer and so taciturn to another, and he said that he had always studied character, and knew very quickly how to handle men.

3. Constantly. Notice the present participle in the text, and the continuous action implied. You cannot cover up the Christian character and live. It must have breath. In descending into deep wells, men first lower a candle. If it goes out, they know that death damps are there. No sane person would risk asphyxia. There are places in which no Christian ought to risk himself, because death is there. He will not go to drinking saloons, and other places I need not mention. It is not the darkness there that harms, any more than in the deep well, but it is the death damps!

4. Have confidence in the Word as God's own message. It is His Word. He will give it success. He ordered the serpent of brass. It mattered not about the pole, whether it were rough or smooth, crooked or straight, large or small, low or high, so that the people could see it. All men had to do was just to look and live. A man once kept on his parlour mantel an ugly oyster shell. When asked why that incongruous thing was there, he told the story of his earlier years. He was a diver. Once he saw a shell in which was held a bit of paper. He took it to the surface, carried it home, deciphered it, and found it a part of a gospel tract. It was blessed to his salvation. The shell was reverently preserved, because it had silently "held forth the word of life" to him who had long neglected the appeals from human lips.

(A. Blackburn, D. D.)

I. IT IS YOUR BUSINESS TO HOLD FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE. Your work on earth is not done when you have saved yourself from an untoward generation. You have to hold your lamps as far in as you can into the dark mass around. God does not call you to a timid, fugitive, skulking piety; a religion which has to lock its doors and bar its windows. There is a part of it which has to do with this. Our lamp must be kindled, trimmed, and fed, in secret. But the office of the lamp is to shine.


1. By example. Let men see how you live. No one can set limits to the operation of a consistent example. Men are never too old or too young to be struck by it.

2. By sympathy. There is a dry, cold, harsh, stern, mode of expressing the truth; and there is a repulsive, ungenial, precise, stiff, sort of example which never leads men, seeing its good works, to glorify God. Let a man, a child, see that you feel for him and with him in his poverty or sorrow, and not as a superior might do, but as one compared with infirmity.

III. PRACTICAL COUNSELS. Much is lest in spiritual as well as in worldly things, by too vague and discursive an aim. As long as we think generally of shining as lights in the world there will be something of unreality in the conception. Let us make the matter more practical by narrowing the bounds.

1. Begin with the home. Is all right there? Remember that those within your own doors see you as none else can.

2. Let each one have a few poor persons to whom he will steadily set himself to carry the word of life.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY HOLDING FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE. As a standard bearer holds out an ensign to direct the march or animate the attack; as a man who holds forth a clear light in the midst of darkness to illuminate the path and direct the steps of travellers; as the fires which were kept burning at the entrance of harbours to direct ships into port, so are Christians to hold forth the light of life. It is to be held forth in —

1. Its great and distinguishing doctrines. These are the nerves and sinews of the Word. They must be understood intelligently, and defended valiantly. "Be always ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you."

2. In its peculiar spirit. This distinguishes the gospel from every other religious system. It is a spirit of love to God and man (ver. 5).

3. In its practice. The imitation of Christ, obedience, self-denial.

4. Eminently, conspicuously.


1. The nature and design of the gospel demand this.

2. This is the best means of high Christian attainment.

3. This is the most effective means of usefulness.

(J. Hanes, D. D.)

When I was a young student, I breakfasted with Caesar Malan at Dr. John Brown's. When the doctor told him that I was a young student of divinity, he said to me, "Well, my young friend, see that you hold up the lamp of truth to let the people see. Hold it up and trim it well. But remember this: You must not dash the lamp in people's faces, that would not help them to see." How often have I remembered these words! They have often been of use to me.

(Dr. Morison.)

At the head of New York Harbour stands a colossal statue of Liberty, a gift from France to America. At night the outstretched hand of the figure holds forth a magnificent display of the electric light, which guides the ships to a safe anchorage. What that statue is to New York Harbour Christians are to the world. They must hold forth the word of life.

(R. Brewin.)

Some years ago I went to see the lighthouse, which, standing on Dunnet Head — the Cape Orcus of the Romans — guards the mouth of Pentland Firth. On ascending the tower, I observed the thick plate glass windows of the lanthorn cracked — starred in a number of places. I turned to the keeper for an explanation. It appears that it is done by stones flung up by the sea. The wave, on being thrown forward against the cliff, strikes it with such tremendous force as to hurl the loose stones at its base right up to the height of three hundred feet. So are the great light bearers, by the exposure of their position, and, in spite of the elevation of their characters, liable to be cracked and starred by the violence of the world.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

As in the world a fine and fruitful flock is the riches of the shepherd, an honest and well conducted family the joy and honour of the father, a happy and flourishing state the strength and glory of the prince; so also in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, a holy and blessed Church, abounding in the fruits of righteousness, is the crown, the joy, and the triumph of its pastors.

(J. Daille)

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