Summary: How do we "work out" our salvation?
Working on Salvation
April 17, 2005
Center Point Baptist Church
A man was driving with his wife at his side and his mother-in-law in the back seat. The women just wouldn’t leave him alone. His mother-in-law said, “You’re driving too fast!” His wife said, “Stay more to the left.” After ten mixed orders, the man turned to his wife and asked, “Who’s driving this car – you or your mother?”
Isn’t that the way we feel sometimes when we’re driving with “backseat drivers?”
*We have a license – we’re completely capable of driving!
Talk about licenses –
• Many of us possess them – the state has granted us the privilege (and responsibility) for safe driving on our nation’s roads and highways.
• But the decision to drive safely is still up to us – which direction to go, what speed to drive, giving full attention, etc.
*That’s the way it is with the Christian life – God has given us the gift of salvation (for those who believe), but the work of Christianity is still up to us – as believers with free will.
• Many take God for granted, and refuse His work in their lives.
• Those who follow God’s will find that even amidst hardship, they are powerfully blessed – and become a mighty blessing to others!
John 7:38 – Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
Read Philippians 2:12-13.
1.) A Question of Integrity
*Paul speaks of the confidence he has in their integrity – as he had before:
Philippians 1:3-6 – I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:27 – …I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel…
*He points out that they have been obedient to God at all times –
• when he was around to oversee their work and worship
• when he was away on mission trips
This was a church he had confidence in – that they were not turning their eyes toward anything but Christ and His mission for them.
*It was a matter of integrity – the church at Philippi had it – If Paul were writing a letter to Center Point, are those the words he would use?
Psalm 25:21 – May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.
*Jesus spoke of integrity –
Luke 16:10 – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
• There is great power in this kind of faith – for faith in the unseen is what allows Christian integrity!
• The person with this kind of faith does not depend only on a human overseer, but realizes a righteous dependency upon Christ.
2.) Working “Out” Your Salvation
What does our scripture mean “work out your salvation?” – Isn’t salvation a gift of God’s grace?
*The implication of “continue” is that something has already been done – new life has already been given!
• But we must continue to grow!
“What is more beautiful than the fervor and rapture of the first love, when young hearts turn to the Savior as flowers to the light and find in Him their rest and their joy? But this first love may be forsaken. Character having greatly improved may deteriorate, and spiritual health may suffer a relapse. So we are reminded that we must not be merely passive in religion, receiving impressions, drinking in comfort, stimulated from without, but also to be active, cultivating our own powers.” – James Owen
*This instruction to “work out” is given on two levels:
1. In context with the surrounding scripture, it speaks of this “working out” to the corporate body – the church at Philippi, and by extension – to our church.
2. However, just like a sports team, our success in this regard is hindered without full effort from individual participants. Those who will not “work out” their salvation individually do nothing to advance the church – and become the “weak link” on the team.
How, then, may we as a church – and as individuals – “work out” our salvation?
• prayerful exercise of faith
• governance of the heart
• resistance of temptation
• acquisition of spiritual truth through God’s Word
• resolute and disciplined effort
• faith even in the absence of means