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In and Out
Mark Twain: "Few things are as annoying as a good example."
He meant that it can inspire you but not empower you. Seeing someone as a good example can make you want be like them, but in no way does it give you the ability to do so.
Paul has just told us what a good example Jesus was for us, living for others, serving others, and sacrificing for others. We are inspired! Now, how do we do that?
Good news: Jesus not only inspires us, He enables us, from the inside out. It's why He comes in to take up residence in our hearts. He gives us not only the pattern, but also the power!
v. 13 Christianity is not by imitation. It's by incarnation and impartation.
Jesus doesn't just say follow me, or do as I do. He does it thru us!
ill.--I'm going to box someone far bigger and better than me. I enlist you as my coach. You say we are going to watch film clips of a great boxer like Ali. He can only inspire me. But what if his spirit and ability could fill me?
"Greater is he that is in me..."
All other religions say, Follow our leader and his example.
Christianity says, Come and follow Jesus, who is alive, and will actually do the work thru you so HE gets the glory!
v. 12a "When the cat's away the mice will play." Often true. But this is a mature group of believers he is writing to. They are serving God, not the pastor. We should never let our spirituality rise and fall based upon any other person than Jesus! [no pedastal]
I've disappointed myself, and others. But I've never been disappointed in Christ.
Don't just work when supervised. We perform for the audience of One!
ill.--a man had a job interview. They said, You're hired. "What will I be paid?" They said, Exactly what you're worth. "I could never live on that."
Now, the real message...
1. A Great Possession.
"Own". This word is personal and possessive.
The greatest thing we can ever own cannot be driven/lived in/worn/bought. It's what the Bible calls "so great a salvation."
And I possess it! Me! My name is on it!
It takes care of my past, present and future. I have been saved, I am being saved, and I'm going to be saved!
But before it was mine, it belonged to God...
Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
God the Father planned our salvation in eternity past. God the Son purchased our salvation at Calvary. And God the Holy Spirit presents and preserves our salvation to us today and forevermore!
The Father conceived it, the Son achieved it, the Spirit enables you to believe it...now, will you receive it?
The Father wrought it, the Son bought it, the Spirit taught it, the devil fought it, and praise God, I've got it! [I caught it!]
ill.--Jackie Gleason had it all. But on his deathbed he said, I'd trade it all to know how to get to heaven! Some might wonder how much a guy like that left behind. All of it!
1. A Great Possession.
2. A Great Program.
'work out' ... not work FOR.
This book was written to the saved. If he is saying that salvation is by works then he's writing to the wrong crowd. He needs to find some lost people if he wants to say that.
The Bible never contradicts itself. [Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-6]
So what does 'work out' mean? Salvation is not just meant as eternal fire insurance. Salvation has a present tense! It is meant to give you the abundant life now.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Salvation will turn you inside out, and upside down...it will change you!
Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. It should lead to good works. What is placed on the inside should work its way out!
Faith without works is dead. If nothing happened to you AFTER you walked the aisle then nothing happened to you WHEN you walked the aisle!
ill.--mining for gold.
Someone says, I know every need you have, so I'm giving you this gold mine. You have to go inside and dig them up...work them out.
And when we got saved, we got the gold mine. It was a free gift. We didn't have to work for it. It's all there, at our disposal.
But God is not in the quick fix business. We have to be willing to work at it. We get our lives in a big mess by foolish spending and wrong living and then want a preacher in a white suit to pray over them God's blessing and make it all well in an instant. [Rebuke debt?]