WORKING OUT YOUR SALVATION
Philippians 2:12-16 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
Intro: there are many interpretations of this verse, most are wrong ones. Let’s get one thing clear from the start, this is NOT talking about earning or working for the salvation of our souls by doing personal good works; doing something else to add to or complete the salvation God works in us, or doing something to hold onto it; or holding out faithful unto the end in order to keep it.
It is a well established fact in both old and new testaments that personal good works were never able to save a persons soul. Our WORKS won’t save us at all, either in full or in part. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
This text speaks about developing our in-worked salvation by showing its presence in the practicing of our faith outwardly. It is not only a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts by the grace of God, but if it is there, it is given to us to work at getting it on public display by how we choose to live our lives in this world.
It is what we do to make our profession of new life on the inside work itself to the outside where others may see Christ living through us. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,”Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
James understood what this verse means, see 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
It is written to believers, Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”
It was written to obedient believers, 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed…”
It was written to instruct them in what to do while Paul was away and could not be personally present to guide them from day to day.
It concerns growth in grace and development in Christian behavior. A person can’t “work out” something which has not first been “worked in us.” (text)
The weaknesses of our flesh and the lusts of our hearts are continually working to the outside where other people see them to our embarrassment. Our inward faults display themselves all too frequently to our shame. Jesus told us what evil lurks within our hearts. Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”
We must work at crucifying our fleshly weaknesses after we are saved; but work at bringing out the best which Grace has put in us by the “new man,” the new nature, the new creature (creation) that we are in Christ Jesus. That’s the salvation we are to work out to the surface where it glorifies God and is to the praise of Jesus Christ.
It is “Christ in you the hope of glory” which must be worked out into our behavior. It is the new man put to work. Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Simply stated: Salvation is our deliverance from sin and its consequences by faith in our Substitute Christ Jesus. There are three aspects to it.
condemnation, and punishment for our sin.
dominion of sin in the life which we now life in the flesh.
from sin by our physical death or rapture unto the eternal glories of the heaven where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
Another way of putting it as was once said by old John Newton, "I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be in another world. But still, I am not what I once used to be! By the grace of God, I am what I am!"
Nothing can compare with what we shall be when we awake in His likeness.
Our text deals with the present aspect of our deliverance from sins controlling power over us. Romans 6:11-13 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
TO BELIEVE HAS BEEN WORKED IN US.
It will require a daily subjugation, surrender, and submission to God’s will as understood from the Bible. Much as Jesus prayed, “not my will but thine be done.” It will call for the crucifixion of our fleshly will each day. Paul said, “I die daily.” It will require a striving after greater Christ likeness.
cultivation of an inner acceptance that it is the right thing to do to obey God and to maintain a Christ like attitude towards all things. Here’s help:
2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest…”
Self examination is a private thing which is most difficult to our fleshly mind. The opinion we have of ourselves is usually much higher and better that what is actually in fact true, and the expressed opinions of others about us is usually much lower than what is valid.
Paul’s advice is to prove ourselves before others; in other words “work out your own salvation.”
Find something to do, and do it well for the glory of God. God has saved us for dedicated service to Him. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Use the gifts God has given to us. Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
What one thing do you see in this verse that all of us can do? It is the last thing listed, “show mercy with cheerfulness.”
Again let’s refer to the text: Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
works on our will giving us encouragement to do every good thing. Whatever God wills for us, we can do! Why? Because he gives the strength to do what he commands.
This can be seen in Jesus words to the man with a
whithered hand. Matthew 12:10,13 “And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. …. 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
How could he stretch forth a withered hand? He couldn’t, except at Jesus’ command. That was his enablement.
4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
We are to cease doing evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
We are to learn to do good. Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Especially, treat our brothers and sisters right, amen!
Many years ago we had a man here who took advantage of another man in borrowing money to invest in a business. Later, the business failed, and he couldn’t repay it back to the lender. That brought resentment among those brethren and eventually the whole church was involved in choosing sides about what should be done. Beloved, don’t back yourselves into a corner from which there is no recourse except hurtful ones.
“God worketh in you,” therefore you can work for Him and you must for Him.
We are going to need the “fear and trembling.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom so saith the Scriptures. “Fear” means “reverence.” Serve Him with respect and admiration; and with trembling, but what does that mean? It means what it says, trembling because of His awesomeness; fear at the thought of displeasing him. We should have the anxiety to please Him in everything we do; the things we know to always be acceptable to Him.
We are going to need untiring diligence making the best use of our time in service to him. Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
We need to invest ourselves thoroughly into the Masters business both in developing the saved for dedicated service and in reaching others with the message of the saving gospel. This calls for fortitude and courage to never quit, never give in, never give up.
It will call for the use of our heart, mind and body. Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
In our text:
We have the MOTIVE for work, its commanded that we “work out.” This is our motivation.
We also have the POWER for work, “God worketh in you,” our companion and helper wherever we go.
We also have a REASON for work, the cause we represent is just, Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
We are shown the need of strict standards: blameless, looks like we need some improvement, amen. We cannot be as crooked or perverse as the world around us.
Strong soldiers: without rebuke. Shining Saints: “lights” Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
God wants us to SHINE for him and we can’t do that if we allow the darkness around us to creep into our lives diming our testimony and making us a stumbling block to others. Instead, we must be stepping stones to Christ. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Conclusion: If you desire to be saved by God’s grace, you need to repent of your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. How do you receive Him? Believe and be saved, it’s that simple. In the parable of the sower, it was the devil who snatched the word of God from the hearers hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12)
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” V. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you are saved and desire to let you light shine the brightest, you need to do that in and through a scripturally operated N.T. Baptist church like ours. Perhaps you would like to be a member here where you can be a functioning voting part of all we do for Jesus.
If you are a backslidden believer, today is the time to understand the text and determine to start “working out” and working with the salvation God has worked in you.
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