Summary: Sermon four in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
Paul tells us to “work out our salvation.” Notice that he doesn’t tell us to “work for our salvation.” In other words, he is telling us that we need to allow the salvation that is ours to be lived out in our daily lives.
When I was in seminary, I attended a preaching class in which every student took a turn preaching. I will never forget one student from Africa preaching on the subject of “fleshing out the gospel.” Through-out the sermon, he made the point that just like Jesus was the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14), we need to let our salvation be “fleshed out” in our daily lives. I can still hear him saying, “We need to flesh it out!”
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” - Galatians 5:25 (The Message)
That is what Paul is telling us here. And our salvation can be worked out into our daily lives because it is God who is at work in us. God is at work to reveal to His people what He wants to join Him in. God speaks today! The words of Isaiah 30:21 are just as valid today as they were in Isaiah’s day:
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” - Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
1. God speaks to His people.
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.”
- Hebrews 1:1-2a (NLT)
In Hebrews 1:1-2a, we are told how in Old Testament times, God spoke in a variety of ways. In these last days, however, He speaks through His son, Jesus. This was true when Jesus walked the earth; but it is also true now!
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans--I will come to you.” - John 14:16-18 (NLT)
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me. In just a little while I will be gone, and you won’t see me anymore. Then, just a little while after that, you will see me again.” - John 16:13-16
Remember Reality #4: God speaks by His Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal himself, His purposes, and his ways.
God speaks by His Spirit! His spirit speaks through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and his people—the church. We will consider each of these later on in this series. Right now, however, we need to simply understand how we might be sure we are in a position to hear the Spirit of God when He speaks to us.
The key to knowing God’s voice is not a formula of method. The key to knowing god’s voice is our investing time developing an intimate love relationship with Him.
“The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” - John 10:2-4; 27 (The Message)
Donna and I have been married for 30 years. During that time, she and I have spent countless hours and days with each other and as a result, we are intimately acquainted with each other. Consequently, I can pick her voice out from among several others, because we share an intimate love relationship with each other. I can especially recognize her laugh!
If we are daily communing with God, cultivating a deepening love relationship with Him, we will be able to recognize His voice above all others as he speaks by His Spirit through His Word, prayer, circumstances, and his people!