Summary: Fifth in a series on "Restoring the Joy" a study of Philippians. In this message we discover that Joy is found in living a life of balance Balancing Purpose and Power Balancing Attitude and Action Balancing Seriousness and Joy.

Restoring the Joy

Sermon # 5

“Joy Is Found In Keeping Your Balance.”

Philippians 2:12-18

One of the hardest things in life to attain is balance; to balance work and leisure, career with family, faith and day to day life. Yet it is only achieving balance, that we can live lives of purpose. Today in a message I have entitled “Joy Is Found In Keeping Your Balance” we are going to see that joy is maintained by keeping balance in our Christian lives. Balance between Purpose and Power, between Attitude and Action and between Seriousness and Joy. [main points derived from Charles Swindoll. Laugh Again: Experience Outrageous Joy. (Dallas: Word, 1991)]

First, Balancing Purpose and Power (2:12-13)

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

The second phrase of verse twelve, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” is much misunderstood. Paul is not inferring that a Christian must do something to earn salvation. It was Paul who had penned the words found in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Is he now saying that salvation is by works? No, the truth remains that salvation is freely given by God to everyone who believes in His Son Jesus Christ, as the one who shed his blood on the cross as full payment for his sins.

First of all, in order to understand what Paul is saying here, we must keep in mind that he is writing to believers, so obviously his words have nothing to do with how to become a Christian. Therefore, the idea of “working out your salvation” must be referring to living out your faith. The word translated “work out” (katergazesthai) means “work to full completion” and is often used for “working a mine” or “working a field.” Our lives have tremendous potential, like a mine or a field and He wants to help us fulfill that potential.

Being saved initiates the believer into a life of obligation. Acknowledging Jesus Christ as your LORD obligates the believer to obey Him. So “working out our salvation” does not mean working for but rather making salvation operational in our lives. He is not talking about how to become a Christian but the need to live as one.

Charles Swindoll explains it this way, “When we become ill, we go to a physician. He diagnoses our ailment and prescribes the proper treatment. He hands us a small slip of paper upon which he had written the correct prescription, and we take it to the pharmacist who fills the prescription and gives us the medication. So far, everything has been done for us – diagnosis, prescription, medication. It now becomes our responsibility to follow the doctor’s orders exactly as stated. By working out the process we enjoy the benefits of the physician’s and pharmacist’s contributions to our health. We recover.

This is also true spiritually speaking.”

[Charles Swindoll. Laugh Again: Experience Outrageous Joy. (Dallas: Word, 1991) p.97]

When Paul speaks of God “working in you” (v. 14) (Gr. energon) “energizing” is the English equivalent of the Greek word used here. But this working of the Holy Spirit may not be sudden or comfortable. For example, it took God 40 years to prepare Moses for the task of leading the children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt (Acts 7:30). As Moses tended sheep on the backside of the desert (Ex. 3:1) God was working in him so that one day He might work through him.

“Susan Taylor tells of lessons learned from experiencing a California earthquake. She was in bed in the early hours of the morning when an earth-quake struck. As her house shook, she tumbled from her bed. She managed to stand underneath an arched doorway in her hall and watched in horror as her whole home literally tumbled down around her. Where her bed had once stood, she later discovered nothing but a pile of rubble. She lost everything -- every button, every dish, her automobile, every stitch of clothing.

Susan huddled, scared and crying, in the darkness of her house. It was very early in the morning and the sun had not yet risen. She began to call out for help. Crying and calling.

…. That experience, by the way, was to permanently change her…. And this is what she says: "Before the quake I had all the trappings of success, but my life was out of balance. I wasn’t happy because I was clinging to things in my life and always wanting more. My home, my job, my clothes, a relationship -- I thought they were my security. It took an earthquake and losing everything I owned for me to discover that my security had been with me all along."

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