Summary: Seventh in the Philippians Series dealing with working out our own salvation.

"A Brilliant Workout”


Paul’s letter to the Jesus followers living in a Greek city called Philippi contains the necessary ingredients of a life of “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”. The first ingredient is found in the first chapter where Paul calls us to Adopt the Right axis in life. Make sure our life revolves around the superior life perspective of exalting Christ in everything.

Paul shared his own testimony in chapter 1.

Joy in imprisonment

Joy in spite of fellow preacher’s bad motives and ill will toward Paul

Joy in spite of impending death.

Joy in spite of continuing intense ministry

He then mandated the kind of behavior worthy of a citizen of the eternal kingdom.

Unity against the opposition.

Unity with each other based on humility

This was the clear prayer of Jesus before He went to the cross.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

Doing nothing from rivalry or empty conceit

Humbly esteeming others more important than ourselves

Looking to the interests of others over our own

Paul’s initial prayer and subsequent exhortation was all about living in unity based on humility.

Humble obedience is the second clue to maintaining the joy of the Lord no matter what.


Humble Obedience modeled by Jesus

A. Jesus modeled humble obedience

He offered Jesus as the ultimate model of humble obedience. In order to reconcile man to God, Jesus voluntarily adopted a human nature.

1. What He did not do

• He DID NOT regard the public recognition of His divinity something to be insisted upon.

2. What He DID do

• He willing “emptied” Himself by taking the form of a slave while retaining His divine form.

• He “humbled” Himself by become obedient.

This humbling was evidenced by becoming obedient to death on a cross. This monumental act of the Second Person of the Trinity was critical to our salvation. We listed numerous benefits related to the fact that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

3. God exalted Him for His humble obedience

As a result of this humble obedience, God highly exalted Him.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11

God promises to exalt us for out humble obedience.

B. Application of the call to humble obedience

Paul used the example of Jesus’ humble obedience as the model for us to follow.

Have this mind-set (thinking) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5

The mind-set to which he is referring is one of humble obedience; the willingness to selflessly serve others.

Paul began this section with a “So then my beloved brethren”. Notice the tone of his admonition – dearly loved brethren. The “so then” signals a response to what had been written previously. On the basis of the example of the humble obedience of Jesus…

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Philippians 2:12-16

Jesus clearly defined our purpose on this earth.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Paul alludes to this purpose in this passage – “you appear as lights”. Jesus said it is our “good works” that shine in a dark world. Paul also asserts that our works shine like lights in our dark world. Here is the overall argument of the passage before we break it down into its individual components.

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