Summary: There are some things within the Christian faith we should not fight over, but there are many things within God's Word that are laid out as imperatives for our walk with Christ!
Date Written: January 24, 2001
Date Preached: January 24, 2001
Church: BBC (PM) Wed Night
Series: Great Imperatives for the Christian Walk
Title: The Imperative of Cooperation
Text: Phil 2:12-13
Begin by showing the overheads and reviewing from the past 4 weeks, pass out sheets for notes.
As Christians who live for and serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I believe that we need to give serious attention to the many great imperatives that came from the pen of the Apostle Paul.
You might ask why we need to pay attention to these imperatives? Well we know that Paul was a veteran soldier in the service of Jesus. We know that he was a great missionary leader. We also know that Paul was a warmhearted pastor who sought not only to glorify God, but he also desired to point out the responses that we need for our spiritual growth and effectiveness in sharing the Gospel of Christ.
So in the words of our passage tonight, Paul was encouraging the disciples in the church in Philippi to cooperate with God as he carried on a good work within them.
1. GOD¡¦S GOOD WORK BEGAN AT CONVERSION (PHIL 1:6)
The church at Philippi had heard the good news of God¡¦s love as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They had heard the Gospel and knew the importance and significance of the Gospel message.
They recognized what then needed to do to receive the gift of new life. However, the Apostle Paul told them that their conversion experience was but the beginning of their response to God, and it was but the initiation of God¡¦s great redemptive work on their behalf.
Likewise this applies to today¡¦s Christians as well. Paul¡¦s words reach out to us some 2000 years later and share the same message. In our acceptance of Christ as our Savior, it is but the beginning of God¡¦s work in our lives. It is but the beginning of our response to God. It is simply the initiation of God¡¦s redemptive work on OUR behalf. But not only does God¡¦s work begin at conversion, but¡K
2. GOD¡¦S GOOD WORK IN US CONTINUES AS WE COOPERATE (PHIL 2:12-13)
I want to emphasize here that Paul was not trying to say to the believers at Philippi that they had to work their way to heaven. This was NOT the case whatsoever.
I truly hope that all of us here know that salvation comes from God and cannot come from our own works. The Bible is very clear that the soul is saved as a result of God¡¦s grace and not the result of the good works of even a very sincere and devout person (HAVE SOMEONE READ: EPH 2:8-9; TITUS 3:5)
Paul wrote these two passages as well, so you can see if Paul were telling the Philippians they had to ¡¥work¡¦ for their salvation, he would have been in conflict with himself.
What Paul WAS stressing was that as Christians we do not stop when we are saved because God has SO much more to offer. He desires that we grow in Him and He knows that ultimately we will be WITH Him forever.
Instead, Paul was letting them know that if they wanted to fully experience God¡¦s salvation from the downward pull of their fallen nature, they had to cooperate with God as he worked with them. This cooperation with God in experiencing the fullness of his salvation is what Paul is speaking about in v.12-13 when he says to ¡¥work out your salvation.¡¦
Modern translations can help us to see that for which the Apostle Paul was pleading of these and all saints:
„« The Today¡¦s English Version reads, ¡§¡KSo then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation, because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey His own purpose¡K¡¨
„« The Amplified New Testament reads like this, ¡§¡KTherefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.