Summary: Christian faith is meant to be intensely practical. It is meant to impact the way we live.
Fear and Trembling
Some people think of Christianity as just a personal belief system. People are comfortable with this as long as our personal belief system doesn’t effect how we relate to other people.
Our personal belief system ALWAYS affects what we do. This is especially true of Christianity.
The Christian faith is meant to be intensely practical. It is meant to impact the way we live.
Salvation is extended by a free act of God’s grace. We did not and cannot do anything to earn it. But . . . once we are saved, the new life that Christ plants in us should result in a new way of living.
The unchanged Christian is a contradiction in terms.
1. SALVATION IS NOT
a) Church membership nor is it an affiliation with some certain group of "believers!"
b) Good works!
2. SALVATION IS
a) A personal encounter with Jesus Christ Himself!
b) True repentance!
c) A total commitment to Jesus Christ!
3. SALVATION RESULTS IN
a) A transforming experience..
1. Grow in Wisdom -
2. Grow in Righteousness -
3. Grow in Faith -
4. Grow in Love -
5. Grow in Witness
Phil 2:12-13 NIV
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Examples of not working out salvation
Not all Christians are growing, or maturing
Rev 2:1-4 NIV Church in Ephesus / You have forsaken your first love.
Rev 2:12-15 NIV Church in Pergamum /Held to false teachings
Rev 2:18-20 NIV Church in Thyatira /Sexual Immortality
Rev 3:1-2 NIV Church in Sardis / Wake up! You are dead
Rev 3:14-17 NIV Church in Laodicea /- Lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
1. One must "strive to enter in", "put off the old man", "lay aside every weight," "run with patience", "resist the devil", and "endure unto the end". Salvation is not of works, but it must be worked out. It springs from the mediation of Christ alone, but it is lived out by personal cooperation.
2. Fear and trembling. He must fear to trust his own strength, to withdraw his hand from the hand of Christ, or to attempt to walk the Christian pathway alone. Such fear leads to vigilance against temptation, to humility of mind, to taking heed lest we fall.
It is not the fear and trembling which drives us to hide from God, but rather the fear and trembling which drives us to seek God,
• We are to work at making sure that our hope is truly grounded in Christ and not on our own efforts
• We are to work at taking advantage of the ways that God has given us to help us grow.
• We should read the Bible, pray, worship, serve, give, fast and so forth. We should work to make a break with sin.
• We are not to just sit back passively, but are to work at repentance and renewal.
• We are to work at adopting and applying the positive behaviors that the Bible admonishes. In other words we are to work at love, compassion, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, endurance and others.
• We are to guard against the influence of the world. In other words we will adjust our friendships, our amusements, our use of time in order to combat the real presence of sin in our lives.
Do So with Focus and Determination
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling
It means that as I work out my salvation, I should realize the tremendous seriousness of what I am doing."
First, we are serious because we are in a battle. We know that we are fighting a formidable foe in the Devil. We must be serious, because he is serious. Peter tells us "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Pet 5:8).
Paul told us to "put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:10-11). The Devil is taking this contest seriously and we had better take it seriously too.
Second, we should be serious because we know our own weakness. We know the way we are. We know that we are prone to be hot and cold. One minute we are all excited about serving the Lord and the next we are indifferent.