Summary: Fear & Trembling? Why would Paul say such a thing? Because the stakes are so high, because Christianity is not a game or a bedtime story! Because there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun!
WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION WITH FEAR & TREMBLING
A. HUMOR: THE PRICE IS RIGHT
1. At a fabric store, a pretty girl spied a silky material that would be perfect for a dress and asked the male clerk, “How much does it cost?”
2. He smiled warmly. “Since it’s for You, I’d sell it to You for the price of ‘one kiss per yard’,” he said, showing dimples. “That’s fine,” said the girl. “I’ll take ten yards.”
3. With expectation and anticipation written all over his face, the clerk quickly measured out the cloth, wrapped it up, and then teasingly held it out.
4. The girl took the bag, stepped up close to him with a coy smile, then turned and pointed to an old man standing by the wall, and said, “Grandpa will pay the bill!”
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Phip. 2:12, 13. NIV
1. Paul says in Vs. 12, "you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence."
2. Our behavior shouldn’t depend on whether a spiritual person is around or not. Are we only Christians on Sunday or are we every day?
3. I once played golf on a 4 man team, a “scramble.” We didn’t know each other. One guy was swearing like a sailor. After a few holes, he asked me what I did for a living.
4. I told him that I was pastor. What a change! The rest of the game he never uttered another cuss word!
5. Are you like that? Do you act differently on Monday than you do on Sunday? We should be Christians every day!
6. The title of this message is “Work Out Your Salvation With Fear & Trembling!”
I. TWO PARTS OF OUR SALVATION
“Work out your own salvation.”
A. THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST
1. There are 2 parts of our salvation; one complete (justification), and the other still needing perfecting (sanctification).
2. The work of justification – Christ’s atonement on the Cross – specifically, the purchasing of our salvation, the blotting out of our sins, and even the imputation of Jesus’ righteousness to the Redeemed – is a finished work, lacking nothing, and guarantees us an inheritance as heirs and children of God.
3. The work of Christ we have no part in; we are never told to work that out, but to receive it by faith.
4. The blessing comes “to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5).” Justification is not at all by human effort, but by the free gift of God.
B. ILLUSTRATION OF NEW LIFE
1. CBS News featured the story of Chet Szuber. Watch this video-clip of his story.
3. [This father had a failing heart. His life was saved by using his daughter’s heart in a heart transplant surgery. She died in a car accident, and the doctor suggested the dead daughter’s heart be used for the heart transplant the father needed.]
4. He didn’t work for his daughter’s heart. He received the heart as an unexpected gift. Now there’s something new inside him, giving him life he otherwise wouldn’t have had.
5. That’s like the new life God gives us – to be “Born Again.” It’s like the heart [spirit] of Jesus is put inside us and gives us new life. A new life pulsates inside us from God!
6. We all MUST have this new life from God!
1. We have two natures co-existing in us; the old sinful nature from Adam & Eve, and the new Creation life from Jesus Christ (Born Again), planted in us.
2. Sanctification – the process of growth that brings about the death of one life and the birth of another. For NEW LIFE to come in, it must displace the old life.
3. Our tempers have to brought under control; our conversation, our desires, our will, our selfishness. We need to begin to think as God does, to love as God loves; to be patient and persevere in difficulties; to work for the Kingdom of God.
4. But what do WE typically do? We try to work out a compromise by which we can indulge the flesh and still try to maintain devotions with Christ. This will never work.
5. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Gal. 5:24. John the Baptist famously said, “I must decrease and He must increase” John 3:30.
6. DEMONSTRATION: Clear water bottle filled with oil. Pour in colored cold water. The oil is lighter & floats. They