"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
Work Out Your Own Salvation (2:12-18)INTRODUCTION
1. One of the things that interests me about Paul's writings is that he
is intensely practical
2. He always relates...
a. Doctrine and duty
b. Creed and character
c. Faith and life
...to him, these are inseparable!
3. So it is now, that having described the example of Christ, he bases
upon that example his exhortation to earnest endeavor towards
spiritual progress (Ph 2:12-18)
4. In this passage, Paul exhorts Christians to "Work Out Your Own
Salvation"; in this lesson, there are several observations I would
like to make concerning what this involves
[First, consider that as you "Work Out Your Own Salvation" that...]
I. THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF OBEDIENCE (12a)A. THAT DONE ONLY IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS...
1. This is a very common form of obedience
a. Done only when others are around
b. Because we fear what others might think if we don't behave a
2. Yet Paul did not want the Philippians' obedience to be of this
a. For then it would only be what he calls elsewhere
"eye-service" - cf. Co 3:22
b. Their faith would then be an "environmental faith" (a faith
which is active only if the environment is conducive to it)
B. THAT DONE IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHERS...
1. This is the proper form of obedience
a. Done to please God, conscience, and no one else!
b. This type of obedience remains faithful no matter what
others do or think
2. It is this type of obedience...
a. That Paul hoped for in the lives of his beloved friends
b. That we should render in our service to the Lord and His
[Secondly, we should also bear in mind that as you "Work Out Your Own
II. IT INVOLVES THE WORKING OF BOTH MAN AND GOD (12b-13)A. MAN HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN HIS SALVATION...
1. He must "work out" his salvation
a. As Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost - Ac 2:40
b. And also wrote later to Christians - 2 Pe 1:10
-- Therefore man is not totally passive (or helpless) when it
comes to his salvation!
2. He must also have "fear and trembling" in working out his
a. There is a place for the right kind of fear in the life of a
1) The "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of knowledge
- Pr 1:7
2) The "fear of the Lord" will cause one to hate evil
- Pr 8:13
3) The "fear of the Lord" will prolong life - Pr 10:27
4) The "fear of the Lord" provides strong confidence and is
a fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27
5) The "fear of the Lord" prompts one to depart from evil
- Pr 16:6
6) The "fear of the Lord" leads to a satisfying life, and
spares one from much evil - Pr 19:23
7) The "fear of the Lord" is the way to riches, honor, and
life! - Pr 22:4
b. Prompted by the "fear of the Lord" to hate evil, depart from
it, and turn to God where they will find wisdom, life and
honor, they will also come to find that love which dispels
any improper kind of "fear" - cf. 1 Jn 4:17-18
c. But many never experienced such love from God because they
have not had the "fear and trembling" in the first place!
B. BUT GOD IS ALSO VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN OUR SALVATION!
1. Notice that Paul writes "for it is God who works in you"
a. We are not alone in our efforts to serve God
b. God is always there to help us along
2. In what way does God "work" in us? Paul identifies two ways:
a. "to will" - God helps us in our desire and motivation to do
b. "to do" - He works right along together with us!
3. This does not deny that man is a free moral agent...
a. Paul has already said to "work out your own salvation"
b. But when we offer ourselves in service to God, He becomes
our partner, our "co-pilot" - cf. He 13:20-21
1) At our conversion, He begins a new work in us, and
intends to complete it - cf. Ph 1:6
2) Through His indwelling Spirit and Son, He gives us
whatever strength we need - Ep 3:16; Ph 4:13
3) So that, whatever we may become in the Lord, it is by His
grace! - 1 Co 15:10
c. Unfortunately, many Christians hinder God's work in them by
their lukewarm attitude (or is it their lack of faith in
d. God can work (and is willing!), but only if we let Him!
4. Knowing that God is at work IN us, this ought to provide
further motivation to work OUT our salvation!
[As we read on, we learn that one is to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"...]
III. DOING SO WITHOUT MURMURING AND DISPUTING (14)A. MURMURING WAS THE DOWNFALL OF ISRAEL...
1. Notice 1 Co 10:10-12
2. This can also be a problem among many Christians today whenever
they face hardships
3. But we are told that God is ever ready to help us (1 Co
10:13), and that He is in us both to "will" and to "work"
(Ph 2:13), so why complain?
4. Rather, rejoice for the opportunity such "tribulations" give us
to develop spiritually! - Ro 5:3-5; Ja 1:2-4B. DISPUTING OFTEN FOLLOWS MURMURING...
1. Those who murmur are likely to be the same ones who begin
disputing with others
2. All it accomplishes is ill will, and in many cases, unnecessary
3. Shall we dare destroy the unity for which Christ died on the
cross to attain?
[We need to heed Paul's exhortation to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"...]
IV. SO YOU CAN SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD (15-16)A. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT FAULT...
1. Which is possible only if we "become blameless and harmless"
2. Which requires doing all things "without murmuring and
3. Which can only happen if we allow God to "work in" us as we
"work out" our own salvation; in other words...
a. Allow God go forgive us in obedience to the gospel
b. Allow God to strengthen us through His Word and prayer
c. Allow God to change us in conformity to His Will
B. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE "IN THE MIDST" OF CROOKED AND
1. Lights are valuable only if they are used to dispel darkness
- cf. Mt 5:14-15
2. Though we are to "be separate" from the world (2 Co 6:14-18),
we must "not isolate" ourselves from it - cf. Jn 17:15,18;
1 Co 5:9-11
3. We must associate with those in the world in order to be a
C. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST "HOLD FAST" THE WORD OF LIFE...
1. Some translations read "hold forth"
2. Certainly we should do both...
a. "hold fast" the Word of life (by our study and obedience to
it) - 2 Ti 2:15
b. "hold forth" the Word of life (by offering it to those in
the world) - Mk 16:15
3. In both ways, we are to be like "The Statue Of Liberty"
a. Showing the way
b. Offering hope to those in need
[Acting as "lights in the world", we bring great joy to those who taught
us the Word of God (16).
Finally, Paul writes that as you "Work Out Your Own Salvation", it
V. REJOICING IN YOUR SACRIFICES (17-18)A. WE MAY BE CALLED UPON TO SACRIFICE OURSELVES...
1. It may be in service to our own faith, or in the service of the
faith of others
2. It may be a sacrifice of time, energy, money, or even life
3. But it is for a good cause, and this is how Paul viewed his
possible execution for the cause of Christ
B. SUCH SACRIFICES CAN BE AN OCCASION FOR GLADNESS AND REJOICING!
1. This is how Paul viewed it
2. For he knew his sacrifices were in the cause of saving others
3. And he knew that their salvation would ultimately bring him
greater joy at Christ's coming - cf. 1 Th 2:19-20
4. Does not the prospect of seeing each other in the presence of
the Lord at His coming...
a. Make any sacrifice for one another worthwhile?
b. Constitute good reason to be glad and rejoice in sacrificial
1. Such are some of the things involved in the salvation God offers
2. Are they included in YOUR efforts to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"?
3. As someone has suggested: "Work as though it all depended upon you,
but pray as though it all depended upon God"
4. Indeed we should, for as we work out our salvation, it is God who is
working in us!
Are you doing YOUR part?