Summary: Working it out – sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). I will do my part (vs 12)

(2). I will depend on God (vs 13)

(3). I will not complain (vs 14)

(4). I will be different to make a difference (vs 15-16a)

(5). I will live for others (vs 16b-18)


Quote: Mark Twain (American writer, humourist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer).

“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example”

• Some of you may be wondering,

• Why Mark Twain would make such a tongue in cheek statement.

• After all, don’t good examples help us work harder?

• Don’t good examples help us aim higher in life?

• Don’t good examples help us seek to become better people?

• Well, the answer is yes, but good examples have one major flaw,

• They show us but they cannot empower us to achieve the same aims.

• We need more than an example on the outside,

• We need power on the inside!

• If we are to accomplish the same achievements in our own lives.

• In your previous study (verses 1-11),

• The apostle Paul has shown us Jesus Christ as the perfect example.

• An example in humility and service.

• We read it we agree with it, but how do we go about copying it?

• The answer from a human viewpoint is, We can’t!

• The answer from a Biblical viewpoint is we can, but not in our own strength

• Verse 13 gives us the key:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.”

• Someone has said “It is not by imitation, but by incarnation”

• God works in us and we work out”

• God works in us by his Holy Spirit and we out-work our faith in day to day living.

(1). I Will Do My Part (vs 12)

“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,”

The apostle Paul is talking to Christians.

• (Chapter 1 verse 1):

• “To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi”

• The Bible teaches there are two kinds of people.

• Not rich or poor.

• Not wise and foolish.

• Not even good and bad.

• The Bible speaks of those who are dead and those who are alive!

• If you are NOT a Christian, then you are dead!

• (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1)

• “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,”

• If you ARE a Christian, then you are alive in Christ!

• (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1)

• “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life”

The apostle Paul is talking to Christians.

• These verses are not HOW to become a Christian,

• But how to LIVE as a Christian.

• Notice: The apostle Paul does not say to “WORK FOR” your salvation

• But rather to “WORK OUT” your salvation.

• The Bible is very clear and teaches;

• That we are not saved by our works but by grace through faith in Christ.

• (Ephesians 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— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Quote: The old hymn:

“I cannot save my soul by works,

for that my Lord has done,

But I would work like any slave;

For love of God's dear Son.”

• So, we are not saved by works,

• But we are saved to do, to show good works.

• To “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,”


• In the first century the verb “work out” was used for mining silver.

• Workers would enter the mine and bring out the silver that was already there.

• They did not put that precious metal in the mine,

• Their job was to bring it to the surface for others to see and enjoy.

• TRANSITION: Likewise, God has placed his Holy Spirit in our lives,

• And our responsibility is to bring him to the surface for others to see.


• A four-year old boy and his mum went to visit a friend;

• The friend was heavily pregnant with her first child,

• And noticing the little boy starring at her huge belly;

• She allowed the little boy to place his hand on her belly and feel the baby kick.

• His little face lit up and he said, “How does the baby get out of there?”

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