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Summary: This sermon provides an expository sermon based on Phil. 1.3-11.

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God is the Artist of Salvation

(The Perfection of the Saints)

Text: Phil 1.3-11

Introduction:

1. Note the resemblance that children have to their parents.

2. Antique Road show – The dealers can identify the artist or craftsman from indicators in the artifact.

3. The author of Hebrews (and other documents) must be deduced from the writing itself.

4. Whose work is salvation? Ours? God’s?

5. God is the artist of salvation.

6. Proposition: "Make sure that you are resting on God’s work in your life to save you."

7. What are the indicators that God is the artist of salvation? This passage gives 3: Salvation’s Continuity, Salvation’s Community, and Salvation’s Completion.

I. Salvation’s Continuity – 1.6

A. The Saints’ Conception – 1.3-5 “I thank my God in all

my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my

every prayer for you all in view of [for] your participation

(partnership/fellowship) in the gospel from the first day until

now.”

B. The Apostle’s Confidence – 1.6 “For I am confident (a settled

persuasion) of this very thing”

C. The Savior’s Competence – 1.6 “He who began a good work in you

will perfect it (complete or finish it) until the day of Christ Jesus.”

II. Salvation’s Community: 1.7-8

This Community is expressed as…

A. A Common Kinship – 1.7a “…it is only right (righteous) for me

to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart

(thoughts and feelings), since both in my imprisonment”

Quote: Rudyard Kipling; a family is a place where “all of us are

‘we’ and all of them are ‘they’”.

B. A Christian Mission - 1.7b “and in the defense (apologia) and

confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers (co-partakers) of

grace with me.”

C. A Christ-like Affection – 1.8 “For God is my

witness (martus), how I long (intense craving) for you all with the

affection (lit. intestines “inward affection and mercy”) of Christ

Jesus.

III. Salvation’s Completion – 1.9-11

A. A Maturity of Mind – 1.9-10a “And this I pray,

that your love (agape) may abound (to “superabound” or be

excessive) still more and more in…”

(1) “real knowledge..” (full knowledge gained by experience)

(2) “and all discernment” (sensitive moral perception)

(3) “so that you may approve (test and approve – “final

exam”) the things that are excellent” (the finer points)

Ill. Love/agape” Chuck Swindoll: Maybe you heard about the guy who fell in love with an opera singer. He hardly knew her, since his only view of the singer was through binoculars - from the third balcony. He was convinced he could live “happily ever after” married to a voice like that. He scarcely noticed that she was considerably older than he. Nor did he care that she walked with a limp. Her mezzo-soprano voice would take them through whatever might come. After a whirlwind romance and a hurry-up ceremony, they were off for their honeymoon.

She began to prepare for their first night together. As he watched, his chin dropped to his chest. She plucked out her glass eye and plopped it into a container on the night-stand. She pulled off her wig, ripped off her false eyelashes, yanked out her dentures, unstrapped her artificial leg, and smiled at him as she slipped off her glasses that hid her hearing aid. Stunned and horrified, he gasped, “For goodness sake, woman, sing, sing, SING!”

It was easy for the man to think and say that her voice would take them through whatever might come. But he didn’t realize what he was getting into. It’s easy to say, “I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Words come easy. Any of you who work under a difficult boss, with a spouse, or with children [or with church members] - know how difficult the actions are to follow through on. Agape love doesn’t stop with [words] or an attitude. It CONTINUES with ACTION - sometimes DIFFICULT action.

B. A Maturity of Morals – 1.10b “in order to be sincere (genuine) and

blameless (inoffensive) until the day of Christ having been filled

(full) with the fruit of righteousness (fr. Same root word as in v.

7a) which comes through Jesus Christ”

C. A Maturity of Meaning – 1.11b “to the glory (doxa) and

praise of God.”

Conclusion:

1. Salvation is a work of God. God is the artist of salvation.

2. Just as the artist of a painting can be determined by examining the work. A true Christian bears the marks of the master artist.

3. Ill. The movie “Elf”. Story of a child who stows away. He is raised as an elf. They dress him like an elf and treat him like an elf. They teach him to make toys like an elf. As time passes it becomes clear that he is not an elf. One major clue is that he grows six feet tall. Anther is how slowly he makes toys. Eventually it must be acknowledged to the boy, now a man, that he is not an elf. The true church is made up of Christians, but sometimes there are stowaways in the church. We treat them as if they are Christians. They dress like Christians, they sing like Christians, eventually though it will come out that they are not. No amount of work could make the “elf” an elf. Elves are born as an elf. No amount of work can make a human a Christian. We must be born into the family of God by the power of God.

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