Summary: A sermon on working out our salvation through obedience to God and His words.
It is very common today that people are in the fitness things. First, exercise gyms are on the rise. Both the young and older ones are getting into physical workout, not just to build muscles or to shape their bodies but also to bolster the strength that is already in them. Second, it is only now that we can notice that more and more Filipinos are into reading books. Proof of that is that second-hand bookstores are also sprouting in many malls. So it’s physical workout for physical fitness and books for mental sharpness. But what is for our spiritual fitness?
Proposition: Believer’s spiritual fitness is achieved through the working out of salvation.
Interrogative Sentence: How can we work out our salvation?
Transition Sentence: The following verses from the Philippians 2:12-18 will show us how to work out our salvation.
I. Obey God with reverence and with one mind (12-13)
Let us first consider the phrase “work out your salvation” to clear out our minds of cobwebs. This phrase gives misinterpretation to some by thinking that in order to be saved man needs to perform many good works. The phrase must be read correctly, it is not ”work for” but “work out”. “Work for” implies merit system but “work out” implies that salvation is already in us and must be demonstrated outwardly. The proper understanding of the phrase is very much important to our obedience to God.
A. With all devotions to Him (12b-13)
“… continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his purpose.”
Paul said that Christians must continue to work out their salvation or demonstrate their faith through works not just in the presence of any religious leaders or fear of them but because of their total devotion to God. Keeping mind (also) that it is God who is working in them and not anybody else. This also means that they should not work because of God’s retribution but because of their respect/reverence of God.
B. With all desires
He also wanted for Christians to obey God with one mind or with a total focus on God’s purpose in their lives. God’s desire is to complete His work in every believer (Phil. 1:6). So Paul explained that it is God that moves Christians to will and act according to his purpose and that everyone must submit all his desires to God. This is our act of working together with God in his purpose. To satisfy God’s desire is our utmost desire.
Almost everybody knows Oswald Chambers. He is famous for his book, “My Utmost for His Highest”. Chambers is a right person to write such kind of book. Before he became a pastor, he is a very gifted painter and he loves to paint and desires to become one of the greatest. He could have enjoyed a long and distinguished career like of Vincent Van Goh, Da Vinci and other famous painters of the time. But after hearing a sermon of Charles Spurgeon, he laid down his brushes when he sensed that God is calling him to the ministry. He gave all his desires to God. His utmost desire is to satisfy God’s desire. He preached around the world and directed a Bible College.
II. Obey God with full submission and with one heart (14-16)
A. Without bargaining
A good follower obeys every command. God is our master every command given must be obeyed. In the military, the phrase “Obey first before you complain” is a constant reminder to soldiers. This phrase offers a room for complaints but it is different when you are under the authority of God. We are to obey Him without any complain or arguing. Our right to bargain has been repealed for what is required to us is a total surrender or full submission under His authority. Complaining and arguing is tantamount to questioning his purpose and his perfect will in our lives.
Jonah’s response to God’s direct order was an act that questions God’s perfect will and purpose. God rebuked Jonah and went on to fulfill His plan for the Assyrians. This story tells us that whether we like it or not His words will accomplish his purpose. So, there’s no use of bargaining with God, the best is to obey willingly.
B. With undivided heart
One day, a little boy is being scolded and while being admonished, his father told him o sit down. The boy responded angrily, “Alright, I will sit down but in my heart I am standing!”
Does the boy submitted to his father’s will? Certainly, he did not. In the same way, working out our salvation is to obey God with undivided heart. 100% WILLINGNESS OF THE HEART IS REQUIRED. Divided heart means divided loyalty. Incomplete obedience is 100% disobedience.