May 24: AUDIO-VIDEO Philippians Chapter 2 Part 3
At the beginning of our Study of Philippians…I said, As we look around the world today, it is Not Hard to find Reasons for Discouragement.
- Joblessness, homelessness, illness, hunger, marital strife, economic hardship, persecution of believers both publicly and privately.
- The Challenges of Life in a Sin-Ravaged World Can Feel Overwhelming.
- In Chapter One…Verse 6 Makes it Clear that even in the Midst of Adversity…God Will Complete His Purpose in US…
- Completing His Work in Us…Making Us Fully Mature in Christ is His Goal, so that we will be Willing to say with Paul, “For Me to Live Is Christ and to Die is Gain!”
In Philippians Chapter 2 Verses 1-16 God Gives Us the Recipe for Maturity in Christ.
- Vs 1-5 “A Charge” Vs 6-11 “A Pattern to Follow” Vs 12-16 “A Challenge”
Previously we looked at Paul’s Charge to the Church…Vs 1-5 Paul Charged Us… IF in Christ we have any Encouragement from the Spirit, Any Comfort in Christ’s Love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my Joy Complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
- Basically Paul is Saying SINCE You Have These Qualities From Being In Christ…Turn This Challenge Into ACTION in the Body of Christ!
In Verses 6-11 Paul says that the Solution to Accomplishing this Charge is to Look to Jesus Christ, as the Pattern of Our Lives so that we might Serve God Faithfully.
Our Life Point: “Christlikeness is Not Produced by Imitation, but by Inhabitation.”
- As We Surrender Our Lives to Gods Will and Purpose…His Spirit will Inhabit Us… Flow Through Us to the World Around Us and God Will Be Seen & Proclaimed!
Today in Vs 12-16 we will look at the Challenge God has laid before us to Live Our Lives so that Christ will be seen and His Purpose will be accomplished in the Church.
VS 12-16 A CHALLENGE: 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, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation”. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
“Continue to Work Out Your Salvation with Fear and Trembling”…The Phillips Translation says, “Complete the Salvation that God has Given You with a Proper Sense of Awe and Responsibility.”
- KEY>>>When We See Our Responsibility for Salvation God has Provided… …Then We Begin to Mature in Christ!
Vs 12-16: Give Us a Challenge to Become More like Christ. To Mature in Our Faith!
- These verses are a Challenge because like in the previous texts, Paul again uses the word THEREFORE! Based on What Paul Just Said…We Are To Continue On To Maturity in Christ, So that The World Will See Jesus Through Us!
- To Mature in Christ…Always Begins and Ends with Obedience.
In Romans 6: 14 Paul says, Sin shall No Longer Be Your Master…Because You are Not under Law…But Under Grace. And when he writes to the church in Philippi he uses the Word Obedience to Sum up the Practical Application of All he is saying.
- In verse 12 he writes, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now.”
- The word here has quite a different meaning from that of slavish observance of rules.
- It really means an intelligent application of principle, a very different thing. Obedience in this sense is a Key to Liberty.
When Paul writes: “Therefore, as you have always obeyed, so now.” He’s referring back to what he has just said about that marvelous revelation of the mind of Christ.
- How Christ left the realms of Glory, Laid Aside His Rights and Humbled Himself, becoming Immanuel God-Man-and Endured Death on a Cross for You and Me.
- Paul Challenges Us that We have that Mind…Now Just Make Use of It.
KEY: Having Christ Dwelling Within Us…We therefore Possess this Mind, and by Faith We are to Intelligently APPLY This PRINCIPLE.
- Surrender to The Holy Spirit Living Within Us and Let Christ Shine to the World.
In this passage Paul is Restating his Exhortation to Obedience, the Ingredients of True Obedience, and the Effects of True Obedience This is our focus this morning.
Paul’s 1st Exhortation is to what I Call… “Intelligent Obedience”.
VS 12, 13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with “Fear and Trembling”; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Listen…”Work Out Your Own Salvation” Does NOT mean by Your Own Effort
- The apostle is saying, now that I am no longer present with you, You Don’t Need to Rely on My Insights and Counsel.
- Walk Without My Assistance…You have God in You! That’s All You Need.
- IT IS NOT IMITATION…RATHER AS GOD INHABITS YOU HIS CHARACTER AND HIS LOVE WILL FLOW OUT FROM YOU NATURALLY!
As Paul States in the letter to the Galatians: “I Am Crucified With Christ.”
- That is, My “Self-centered Will” which Once Chose Everything in Relationship to Me, as I Tried to Run My Life, Has Been Brought to an End as I have Died to Christ!
- I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live.
- The Key Is…We Don’t Stop Living…We Change the Basis On Which We Live.
You See…”The life We now live in the flesh. We live by faith in the Son of God who loved Us and gave Himself for Us.” We Live by the Manifestation of Christ’s Life in Us.
- V-13 for it is God Who Works in You to Will and to Act in Order to Fulfill His Good Purpose.
- NOW…I Believe that this is the Most Un-Believed Verse in the Bible.
Too Often We say something like this: “Lord, I know you want to work in me, but my own stubborn will is so set on my own ways that You Can’t. Or…I desire to have you express yourself through me, But My Will Prevents It and You Can’t”…This is UNBELIEF!
- God is Constantly at Work to Will and to Do in You Life! (1:6 He Who Began a Good Work in You Will Bring it to Completion) God Asks…Will YOU Believe it!
Paul says the Attitude with which We Are To Face Life is “With Fear and Trembling”.
- All our lives We’ve been taught that the way to face life is with Confidence, Fortitude…and Being Self-Assured.
- Millions of dollars have been made selling books on how to develop that “Assurance-and Positive Thinking”, that grasps life and says, “I Am the Master of My Fate!”
We’ve Been Told that Being the Captains of Our Soul.” is the Formula for Success.
- There is even Popular Pastors who Preach Have Your Best Life Now!
- However, When We Trust in Our Own Resources We become “Self-Confident and Self-Assured”. The Result is Always the Same…Arrogance and Pride.
Working Out our Salvation with Fear and Trembling is to Humble Ourselves and Agree with God that We CAN’T But as We Surrender it to God…HE CAN!!!
- It is To Know that My Old Nature is Bent on Sinning even When I do Not want to Sin.
- Like Paul…We Don’t Do What We Know We Should Do and We Do What We Know We Should Not Do! Praise God for His Grace and Mercy!
Our Fear and Trembling is Designed By God to Keep us Mindful that in Every Moment of Life…We Have the Indwelling Power Of God the Holy Spirit.
- In other words, Our Lives was Designed for God. We Cannot Run it Without Him!
- When we try We are Left to Our Own Feeble Resources, trying to Stimulate Self-Confidence and Self-Courage which Ultimately Breaks Upon the Rough Rocks of Life.
- In Christ…Facing Every Adversity Drives Us Back to Him! [James 1 “Count it All Joy”]
- We Can Face Any Situation with Courage, Calmness and Confidence…Because We Know God is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Rom 8:28
This Intelligent Obedience Transforms the Christians Life…As God Uses Every Adversity You Face…As a Continual Challenge to See God at Work In Your Life!!
- At your office, in your kitchen, your nursing stand at the hospital, your room in the retirement home, your classroom at school…
- You are being continually exposed to situations which are a Challenge to See God in You in Your Circumstances. And the Apostle says this Whole Process is God’s Pleasure!
God Sends Some to Missions in Far-Off Lands…But For The Rest Of Us…He wants Us to live Our life For Him Right Where We Are. Christ Wants to Live Supernaturally in Every Moment of Your Life!
He wants to Transform Empty, Meaningless Lives into A Vibrant Journey’s of Faith as We Trust that God Will Work Through Every Situation of our Lives to Accomplish His Purpose!
VS 14 Gives Us The 2nd Expression of Obedience: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”
- That is Trustful Obedience: When Christians Claim to Believe the Indwelling of God but at the same time Mumble and Complain, They Reveal a Basic Attitude of Unbelief.
- It Shows they Don’t Believe the Trials of their Life are Allowed by the Sovereign Lord, and They Don’t Believe that He is Adequate to Meet Every Situation.
- In Fact…They are Not really Expecting Him to Work…Otherwise they Wouldn’t be Murmuring, Grumbling and Disputing with One Another.
Satan Knows that When a Christian Behaves in Unbelief, Responding like those Without Christ, the World Will Not Understand Why They Need Jesus.
In other words, If what You’re Facing Causes You to React with the Same Murmuring, Discontent and Bitterness they See from Unbelievers…Not Trusting Christ or Making Christ First Place In Your Life… They Will NOT See Why They Need Christ in Their Lives!
This is what Jesus means in Matt 5:15-16 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Only the Obedience of Faith Produces that Quality of Life which Cannot be Explained…So That It Will Draw People to Jesus Christ.
Vs 16 Gives Us the 3rd Expression of Obedience: As you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain”.
There is a Persistent Obedience, in a Life that Holds Fast to the Word of Life.
- This is the “Intelligent Application” of the Principle of the Indwelling Life of Christ The Word of Life is Not a Book…It Is A Person. It’s the Son of God who has come by invitation into the life of a believer.
The Steadfast Continuing of Christ’s Work in You is Holding Fast the Word of Life, Which in Turn Will Result in Praise and Rejoicing Even in Times of Adversity.
- Regardless of the Circumstances or the Praise of men…Or whether there are immediate results…We Are To Continue To Hold Fast…DON’T GIVE UP!
Then…Paul says, when I see the Results of Your Faith My Heart will Swell with Pride Because I’ll Know I’ve Not Helped You in Vain. I’ll Know You Got The Message.
When You Choose NOT to Complain and Argue… You will Shine as Stars in a Depraved World…And People Will See the Difference…They Will SEE CHRIST!
- That is and has Always been God’s Plan for People to See Christ Through YOU/ME!
- To Love GOD…We MUST LOVE PEOPLE
- When we LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE…WE WILL LOVE GOD’S PLAN FOR OUT LIFE!!!
Vs 16: But look at the beginning of Vs 16…Paul concludes with Our Purpose… As YOU Hold Out the Word of Life!!! This is Proclaiming Christ Until He Returns
Today’s Life Point: “MY Purpose is to Be Christ to the World!”
ILLUSTRATION STORY: Watchman Nee, the Chinese evangelist, tells this true story. A poor, Christian, Chinese farmer had rice fields high in the mountain. Every day he spent hours pumping water into the rice paddies; but when he returned to the fields the next morning, he would find that his unbelieving neighbor, who lived down the hill, had opened the dikes and drained the water to fill his own fields.
For a while the Christian Ignored the Injustice, But at last He Became Desperate. His rice would die if this continued and this was his livelihood. So he gathered his church and they prayed and discussed the situation and came up with a plan.
The next day the Christian farmer rose early in the morning and first filled his neighbor’s fields; then he attended his own. He Counted his Neighbor More Significant than Himself; he Looked to his Neighbor’s Interests as well as his own.
Soon the Neighbor wanted to Know the Jesus whom the farmer served as Lord and master. He was Converted by Seeing how the Mind of Christ Radically Reordered the Attitude and Thinking of Another Man…Christ-like Humility Led This Unbeliever to Understand He Needed Jesus Christ.
ALL Our Conflicts and Disagreements, All Our Hurt Feelings and Distrust, Will End Differently if We Follow Christ’s Pattern with His Mind, Heart and Actions!
Today’s Life Point: MY [Your Name] Purpose is to Be Christ to the World!
PD: MARANATHA! (the Lord is Coming) Congregation: And it Could Be Today!