Summary: Part of a series in Phil., we’re exhorted to work out our salvation.
(Guy Glass, SC.com) One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotchman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball placidly waited on the tee. Again the Scotchman swung, and again he missed. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, “There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball.”
Those who have seen me play golf could see how much I can relate to this story.
How many here work out/exercise on a regular basis?
(Wade Hughes, SC.com) Too often, “The only exercise we get is jumping to conclusions, running down friends, sidestepping responsibility, pushing our luck.”
1 Tim. 4:8 says, BODILY EXERCISE PROFITS A LITTLE. That’s why I only exercise a little.
The truth is, we all know that physical exercise is very important to our health.
But spiritual exercise is even more crucial to our spiritual health.
•In fact, without it, we could already be dead.
Today, we’re going to learn about not just the benefits of exercise, but the necessity of it.
I’m not talking about physical exercise. Obviously, I’m no expert in that field.
•We’re talking about spiritual exercise and God has a few things to say about that.
Turn with me to Phil. 2:12-18. Review. Paul has just shared the Gospel of Christ.
•Now he reminds the Philippians that bowing the knee is just the beginning.
12THEREFORE (in light of what Christ did for us), MY DEAR FRIENDS (my beloved), AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS OBEYED—NOT ONLY IN MY PRESENCE, BUT NOW MUCH MORE IN MY ABSENCE—
I like how Paul puts this. In fact, this whole passage is about obedience.
Notice that the Philippians had obeyed even more when he wasn’t with them.
Illus. Do we tend to work harder when the boss is around or away?
•Of course, the truth is, our real Boss is always around!
CONTINUE TO WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING,
PAUL’S COMMAND: WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION. v. 12
Before we look at what Paul means, let’s look at what he doesn’t mean.
Paul is not saying work for your salvation. Our good works cannot save us.
Eph. 2:8-9 FOR IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED, THROUGH FAITH—AND THIS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD—9NOT BY WORKS, SO THAT NO ONE CAN BOAST.
Nowhere does Paul advocate working for/earning our salvation. It’s impossible.
•However, he does command us to work out our salvation.
Eph. 2:10 FOR WE ARE GOD’S WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.
Jas. 2:26 AS THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, SO FAITH WITHOUT DEEDS IS DEAD.
What’s the difference between working for our salvation and working out our salvation?
Faith without works is dead. You cannot have real faith if it’s not a working faith.
If you’re not exercising your faith, you have a dead faith.
All throughout Scripture we see this point emphasized.
The difference between the wise man/foolish man (Mt. 7) is which one obeyed.
The difference between the sheep/goats (Mt. 25) is which ones practiced their faith.
The good seed that the farmer sowed (Mt. 13) was the seed that produced fruit.
Saying we believe in Jesus isn’t enough. We must back up our faith by our good works.
•The proof’s in the pudding. Our good works prove (not produce) our good faith.
CONTINUE TO WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION. Keep up the good work.
•Work it out until it’s completed.
Phil. 1:6 HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL CARRY IT ON TO COMPLETION UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS.
By the way, this brings out another point to this verse.
What’s the significance of “WORK OUT” being in the middle voice?
WORK OUT is found in the middle voice, which means we both do it and we’re helped in doing it. It takes two.
•The truth is, like our salvation, we can’t even do good works on our own.
This leads to the next main point. But before we go there, we can’t miss the rest of v. 12.
WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. This isn’t an option. It’s not take it or leave it.
This is serious business. God is a holy God. You can’t play games with Him.
If you really want to know if you’re saved, look at how you’re working it out.
We’re saved by faith. We prove our faith by our works. Faith without works is dead.
And the irony is, we can’t even do good works without God’s help.