Summary: I will work out my salvation by: Being dedicated to the routine Following the instruction to the routine Not griping about the routine
Bart went in for his annual physical last week and under went the complete spread of test to evaluate his current physical condition. After the results were back, Bart met the doctor. As the doctor entered the room, he said, “Well, I have some good news and some bad news.” “What’s the good news,” asked Bart. “The good news is that the tests show that there have been some changes in your condition.” “What’s the bad news?” “Your condition has worsened. Your blood pressure is up. Your triglycerides are up. Your weight is up. Your sugar is up.” “Well doc, I am just an up kind-a guy.” “Yea, but your life expectance is down.” “OH!” “Have you kept to the workout I gave you?” “Well, not regularly.” Waving the test results, the doc said, “It shows. If you want to live a fulfilling life, you must keep to the work out routine.”
Some of us have had such a conversation with our doctor’s and know the struggle to keep to the routine. However, we work at each day knowing that it is for our good. To quit the workout would have adverse affects on our lives. So we plug along.
This is also true to our spiritual lives. We all have been given a workout routine that affects how we live. Paul, in Philippians, gives us some advice about our workout. It is advice that will do us good in 2007 (2004).
Read Philippians 2:12-16.
Paul says that we need to work out our salvation. That is to work out our relationship with God. We need to go through a daily routine of improving, and making stronger our relationship with God. That relationship began when we turned to God for forgiveness and accepted His payment for our sins. Then He puts in us His Spirit that is our salvation, our relationship with Him. Paul says that we are to work out, to improve, that relationship.
It is like a body builder. He lifts weights to bring more strength to his body. He does not add more muscles. He improves, makes stronger the muscles that are already there.
So it is with us. The relationship with God is there and we must make it stronger. Paul says that we are to work out what God has worked in us.
Work out and not work for
Cf. Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Paul’s advice about our workout is simple.
1. Be dedicated to the workout routine. v12-13
Paul uses an Old Testament concept that expresses one’s serious respect and outright awe of God. He uses it to express the seriousness of the task before us. I am to approach my relationship with God with the utmost seriousness and respect. It is a relationship with the Almighty God and not our friend across country. It is with the Creator God not the bag boy at the grocery. The relationship is with the One that keeps me from an eternity in the Lake Of Fire. He is the One that gave me salvation. Because of that, I will approach my relationship with Him with fear and trembling. I will take seriously our relationship and will dedicate myself to whatever it is I am to do make this relationship stronger. I am dedicated to the workout routine.
Cf. 1 Timothy 4:7
Don’t have anything to do with godless myths and fables of old women. Rather, train yourself in godliness (ISV).
Maturity happens automatically
It would be the same to say that stepping in to a fitness center causes our muscles to tone themselves.
Truth: Maturity takes time
Maturity comes from knowing your Bible
It would be the same to say that knowing the meaning of medical terms makes you a physician.
Truth: Maturity is measured by behavior
Maturity is a private matter
It would be the same to say that I do not need anyone else to play football.
Truth: Maturity happens in relationships
2. Not gripe about the routine v14-15
Paul now encourages us to accept this workout routine to spiritual maturity without any arguing, complaining, disputing, or fussing. We are not to gripe over what it takes to accomplish our daily workout routine. We take it knowing that the routine is of great benefit to us.
Griping closes our ears to hear from God
Psalm 106:25 NKJV
But complained in their tents,
And did not heed the voice of the Lord.
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul reminds the Corinthians about the history of Israel and that some took to griping about Moses, about God and what He wanted, about where they were and what they were doing, about the condition of their lives. They found something to gripe about for griping sake. Then Paul warns in verse 10,