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May 1, 2022 7:00 pm
Walk with the Lord of the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way.
While we do his goodwill he abides with us still and with all who will trust and obey trust and obey.
No other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
That's a song familiar to most of you have sung no doubt sometime, maybe frequently in your lifetime wouldn't say it's the strongest helmet doctrinally that I have ever observed what there is an important truth that is involved there and that is the combining together of faith and works. Trust and obey that mysterious combination that we often have difficulty with which our text this morning is going to help us with. But that's the big question isn't what is the right relationship between faith and works. We know. I think that we must not make works a requirement for salvation, for that's contrary to the Bible, but neither must we omit works from the inevitable results of salvation for that also is contrary to the Bible we must not use one Bible truth to cancel out another Bible teaches us that justification is by faith alone, but it also teaches us that the faith that saves is never alone.
It's always accompanied by works good works. So today we come to a puzzling text least puzzling to many people that combines together the subjects of works and salvation where Paul tells us in Philippians 213 to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling works salvation so close together in the same verse work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, that very language tends to great Pond evangelical leaders work out your own salvation but it's God's word and committed to the word of God. We must therefore endeavor to understand what it means and to apply it to our lives as given. So let's consider for aspects in our chosen text today to help us understand this issue in our text is verses 12 and 13 of Philippians chapter 2, I see number one.
A perfect example. Second, a growing obedience. Third, a human responsibility and forth a divine activity and we began with a perfect example verse 12 opens by saying therefore, my beloved, therefore, my beloved, these tender appeals of the apostle Paul come quite frequently. And here's another one, my beloved, he calls the Philippian church. The members of the church beloved to Paul because they are beloved to God, but beloved Depaul because of the strong ties of personal fellowship, which she enjoys with these people that's difficult to have those ties unless there is regular personal contact below Depaul because of the partnership which they enjoyed together in the gospel, the Philippian church more than any of the other churches supported Paul in his travels as a missionary apostle beloved because of their relationship together. Their common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, in spite of imperfections among them, because per imperfections exist in all of us. And Paul deals with some of the problems and imperfections in the Philippian church. In this epistle, but nevertheless, in spite of all of that they are beloved because because of all the reasons that I just suggested beware of the critical spirit that would drive us apart in the body of Christ. It rises so easily because of the sin that is within us, and because of our clever adversary who knows how to dissuade us how to move us away from truth and how to separate us from the fellowship of the saints, which is so important. Therefore, my beloved, but it is not connecting particle therefore that points us back to the perfect example. Therefore, it comes up often. Therefore, a conclusion based upon what has gone before. Therefore, a connection with the previous context. What is the connection.
Therefore, in the light of Christ's submission and, therefore, in the light of Christ's exaltation, Christ's submission, that wonderful passage that we have examined.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. And there's a very close connection here, we can start by noticing the word obey. We find it in our text in verse 12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, but we read earlier in verse eight that Jesus obeyed and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient even to the point of death in the light of Christ's submission in the light of Christ obedience in the light of Christ works we want to use that word because that's what were talking about here, work out your own salvation and fear and trembling, and therefore, my beloved, you should obey. You should do the works that God has commanded because of the example of Jesus Christ, who himself obeyed his heavenly father.
Mystery of mysteries, but nevertheless true and very importantly so in fact all of Christ's condescension was a series of acts of obedience relinquishing his glory was an act of obedience to the heavenly father who did not consider his equality with God, which was very real, but he didn't consider that something to be held onto it all cost into enjoy the the right results another to enjoy the blessings of it, but rather instead, he gave it up. He gave up the glory of his deity for the work of redemption is an act of obedience to the father is an act of obedience to the father. He became a servant, a bondservant humbling himself serving others, demonstrating that most vividly and visibly the upper room before the crucifixion when he took the servants place took off his outer garment girded himself with a towel like a bondservant, and went around and tenderly washed the disciples feet. A lonely task that only the lowliest of servants would ever perform. And that's exactly what Jesus did apply in obedience to the father he obey. He became obedient and became a bondservant, he became obedient unto death, all the way to death, even the most ignominious and painful death. The death of the cross.
All of these are examples of Christ's submission Christ obedience to the father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obey.
Therefore, because Jesus obeyed you two should follow his example and be obedient, but it's not only the light of Christ submission, but it's also the light of Christ's exaltation after Christ humbled himself all the way to death, even the death of the cross we read another. Therefore, therefore, father has also highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. That's the father's therefore Christ humbled himself, he obey all the way to the ultimate extent of a possible obedience.
Therefore, the father responded to that by exalting him to the highest position of glory and honor. That's the father's. Therefore, in the light of Christ submission. Now what is our. Therefore, in the light of Christ. Submission.
Therefore, we should also obey keeping in mind the example of Christ in his obedience, but also keeping in mind the glorious exaltation which P enjoyed from the father is exaltation to the highest position.
These bestowing upon him, of the highest name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord Jehovah Yahweh the highest name that is assigned to Jesus the incarnate God, the God man mystery of ministry. But what we are told is that Christ's on hindered on on unambiguous complete obedience in every detail earned him great reward and likewise the obedience of Christians will also earn us great rewards of the differences were not Christ were not God not to receive the highest reward that he received and of course we know we don't deserve that and also the difference is Christ didn't deserve his rewards. We don't we deserve hours, but nevertheless their promise to us, and this is a wonderful example. The example of Christ.
Obedience should call forth our obedience. The example of the father's rewarding his sons obedience and promising to reward the obedience of all who obey his word should also call forth our obedience to the father so therefore let us follow the path of obedience of Christ, demonstrated forest let us humble ourselves and lowly services. Christ demonstrated forest. Let us anticipate the promised rewards the Christ demonstrates for us a perfect example. But next in our text we see a growing obedience.
Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 as you have always obeyed the Paul makes reference here to the Philippian believers in regard to initial obedience, continuing obedience and increased obedience initial obedience as you have always obeyed.
They had been a very responsive church work of God's spirit attending the preaching of the gospel by the apostle Paul in Philippi had drawn many sinners to Christ.
We don't know how many we know the names of a few of them in. We know a little bit of the testimony of some of them but there are many more that were drawn to Christ and became members of this church and evidently as Paul taught them the demands the commands the demands of the Christian life. They gladly and obediently obeyed.
This initial response during this energetic period of their newfound salvation. During this exciting time when the apostle of Jesus Christ was ministering God's word powerfully to them. They were obeying the Lord at the beginning of the Christian walk and in the presence of the apostle Paul who served as a father, who served as a mentor to them. Could you have a better pastor than Paul a better teacher than Paul a better mentor, example. The apostle Paul and they responded to that enthusiastically and they showed wonderful obedience. Exemplary obedience which Paul makes reference to hear you always obey. That's initial obedience, but Paul also makes reference to their can send you wing, obedience, and this is even more important your obedience, not as in my presence only, not when I was there I was only therefore, for a few weeks a few short months at most, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence.
Now that I'm gone, you don't have an apostle. You don't have a miracle worker. You don't have an example of incredible zeal for Christ as Paul demonstrated to them and to others. You don't have that in your presence. Now but in the continuing nitty-gritty of the Christian life that goes on and on and on and as the excitement wears off, it begins to waiting. That initial excitement of your newfound salvation.
Some of you can still remember what it was like when you first came to Christ that you are so thrilled so excited so much on fire so filled with zeal why you would have climbed to the moon and back for Jesus Christ.
If you could have. Do you still feel that same way, what's going on are you as obedient are you as fervent are you as committed to Christ. Now in the week said, months and years that have rolled on as you were in the beginning Paul recognizes the tendency that we have, to slack off a bit. It's pull back a little bit.
We've been overdoing it. Perhaps so let's pull back a bit, but Paul says you need to continue to obey any makes reference to the fact that they did sing to be continuing to some degree.
At least how you were obedient in my presence but now much more in my absence. And that's not saying that you are much more obedient to my absence. He say you ought to be so many times is the other way around. The great apostles gone the great leaders gone the great personalities God so now we slack off a bit. Paul says oh no you should be the other way around. Now, as time has gone on.
We should not see less obedience, less zeal, less commitment, there ought to be more, but certainly ought to be increasing though the motivating personality, namely the apostle Paul has been removed. The word of God has not gone anywhere.
The spirit of God has not abandoned you the commands of God have not been withdrawn.
Therefore, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, continuing obedience, and even as the text suggests increased obedience now much more in my absence. There ought to be a growth because this is merely the outgrowth of spiritual development. Spiritual maturity as we mature in the faith as we understand more of God's word.
As we have gained more experience of walking with the Lord in the light of his word. What should be the outcome of that greater faithfulness greater obedience growing in our walk with the Lord and our obedience to his command. You see, our obedience should not be the result of fleshly excitement and carnal motivation and what it is, it soon is snuffed out. It soon wanes. There are certain styles of Christianity did seem to depend upon that come to church and get a booster you been vaccinated, but I need a booster next Sunday will need another booster next Sunday only another booster because it wears off by Monday or Tuesday. So come back will have excitement it'll be all exciting and grand and glorious and will jack you up for another day or two.
But if you miss too many Sundays you'll be back in the doldrums again because that's all blessed based upon fleshly excitement and carnal response that won't get you anywhere that doesn't produce real spiritual maturity and growth.
But Paul is telling us the Christian growth.
Listen to me now.
Christian growth is normal. Christianity not remarkable Christianity, not unusual Christianity is not a there are a few sites that really have achieved. They are super sites that they really seem to have it all together but the greatest body of believers tends to drag in the shadows. Most of the time. Normal Christianity is that the further you walk with the Lord. The more you go on in your Christian life. The more obedient you become, the more effective you become, the more committed you become, the more loving you become toward the Savior much more much more good obedience when I was there continued obedience. Now that I'm God, but much more much more as the days march on, you may ask, where do I find the motivation for that kind of obedience if it's not in the raucous music in the drumbeat in the guitars if it's not in the smoke machine in the in the flashing lights on the platform say what is come from your you so sheltered whatever doesn't come from that.
Where does it come I'm glad you asked. Hold onto that thought will get to it in verse 13 that we move on number three to human responsibility. Verse verse 12.
The last part of verse 12. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, and now here we come to the central thought of these two verses work out your own salvation. This tells us what we must do and how we must do it. What must we do, we must work out our salvation work, not coast. If you coaster your Christian life. You're not going to achieve God has in store for you not listen to me now let go and let God. I recognizes an element in truth and that if you if you shape it and define it carefully enough. But in general terms, that's a very misleading phrase.
It's very commonly proclaimed in certain certain Christian circles. The idea seems to be the problem is you been trying too hard. And if you'll just quit trying and let God do it, then you're gonna really sore in your Christian life.
Nope if you stop working, you're going to flop in your Christian life. The Bible is the sale let go and let God.
The Bible says work wire work at it for the rest of your life. The text does not say work for your salvation, it says work out your salvation.
This is not talking about the way of salvation. This is talking about the results of salvation, we are to work out the salvation that God has put in.
He has by his grace saved us. He has given us a new heart. He has given us his Holy Spirit has given us new desires. We got all the tools we need to now be able to work for him to please him to obey him, and it is now our responsibility to take hold of these things that God has given these things that accompany salvation and work with them. Work with them. Work with them. Work with them. Work them out of our hearts out of our lives out of the inward man were God has made these changes work out to maturity work out the full development the salvation which has come to you all, by the grace of God work it out into every aspect of your life work it out. It's not just for church. It's not just for Sunday morning. It's not just for when you are with Christians. It is for Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday as well as Sunday. Make sure that your salvation is apparent at home in your relationship with your spouse with your children with your relatives. Make sure that the salvation that God has given you is as worked out to full development on your job with your coworkers with those that have have the authority over you. Your attitude toward them in your proper godly submission to them and the way you treat those that you may have responsibility beneath you work out your salvation so that the Jesus Christ is seen in all of these aspects of your life work it out work it out in your in your entertainment work it out in your recreation work it out and in your television viewing work it out in your life, work out your salvation. We actually have another name for what Paul is describing here, and generally we call this progressive sanctification is an aspect of salvation. Salvation is not just the new birth.
That's where it begins. Salvation is you know has a past aspect, the present aspect in the future aspect. It is appropriate and biblical to say I have been saved. I am being saved and I shall be safe.
I have been saved by the work of God's spirit birthing me into the family of God. I have been saved.
I have been justified and that done deal. That's that's settled is nothing to change that. That's a guarantee of of what's to come. That's a guarantee of the results God has done work in my life I have been saved by the grace of God but also by the design of God the way he saves us. I am being saved day by day by day by day I'm being a little bit more conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ in one day I shall be saved.
I shall be completely saved. I shall be completely holy.
I shall be free from sin.
I shall enjoy the presence of my Savior, I shall be able to worship him without hindrance. I shall have no wrong thoughts. I shall have no wrong attitudes. I shall speak no wrong words by shall be signed completely well now.
If you have been saved, you are in stage number two.
You are being saved and that's what Paul is talking about this being saved part requires your work. It requires your cooperation requires your involvement.
You work out your salvation. That's what we must do and how must we do it with fear and trembling with fear and trembling before God we trust in him, not self, when we think we can do it. We have front fleshly confidence we fall and failed member Peter Jesus said you're going to flay you to abandon make Peter Seddon not may all never do that. I'll die with you, Lord. In just a few hours later a young lady said are you one of them. Peters and not me. I don't know fleshly confidence fell flat on his face, but we work out our salvation with fear before God and trembling before him conscious of our weakness conscience of our remaining sinfulness. Recognizing it's there and it will trip us up if we're not vigilant at all times work out euro salvation with fear and trembling, not fear of what God might do to me, but fear of what I may do to failed to please him, and to honor him.
That should cause me great seriousness.
Great, trembling before God. I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, with a sense of reverence, a sense of awe, a sense of trust. A sense of humility before the very throne of God working out daily by salvation with fear and trembling. So that is the human responsibility.
What if we had so far. Number one. A perfect example number two. A growing obedience number three a human responsibility but now we come number four.
Two of the divine activity work it out. For it is God. Verse 13 who works in you both are willing to do for his good pleasure is that a contradiction verse 12 says you work it out.
Verse 13 says God is working it out. Which is it both you work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you I see in enabling power comprehensive power and ennobling power in enabling power for it is God who works in you.
That's the only way you can work it out as if he's working within you, for it is God who works in you who who energizes you more literally. But here's the thing.
God doesn't do the work at our place as our substitute. He works in us. He works through us. He works with us to enable us to do the work which he energizes and enables that's different. You see from regeneration. In that sense God doesn't and we suddenly realize that it was done. What happened God did something he did it go that monetarism, God did he did it. He birthed us to life. Now we see the responses of that we exercise faith in Christ as we begin to walk in holiness and obedience. That's what God did, but you see, our sanctification is synergistic not monitor sticks.
It's a cooperative effort between God and man because God is designed it that way and it's still his role.
That's the most important role. It's his role. That is the indispensable role we Do this we couldn't do this if God was working in us. But God works in such a way that he cooperates our effort, our work, our diligence are concern our prayers. That's the only way it will be done. We've got to work, but we can work and only can work because it is God working in both to will and to do his good pleasure. He energizes us to be able to work and we have the responsibility to work. Therefore, we are dependent upon God to be able to work. We are dependent upon God to be able to do works that are pleasing to him. We are dependent upon God to be able to obey him in a truly God honoring way. It's the only way it can be done by God's work. God's enabling power within us. It's in enabling power.
It is also a comprehensive power.
This is very interesting and very critical.
Don't check out on me yet God works in you listen, both to will and what Christians have that second went down takes God's enabling power in order to do anything for eternity, but have you got the first one down takes God's enabling power to even have the desire to do it to will to do his good pleasure. That's what the Bible says what the Bible teaches us is that sin corrupts both our ability to do right and I will do right.
We don't want to why because we loved darkness rather than light, because our deeds are evil until God deals with that will never will to do what is right, but for those who have been saved. It is God who works within us both to will to two to activate our will and to enable us to do for his good pleasure. Sin corrupts both the ability and the will. Both the ability to choose and the ability to accomplish what God provides both and that answers the question where do I get the desire to work for him.
If it's not worked out by fleshly inducements is where you get it. God provides it. He provides the well. The desire as well is the ability to perform in enabling power comprehensive power and ennobling power. Why does he do this.
It's for his good pleasure. Why does he do this because it pleases him to do it.
That's the only answer we need.
Why does he do it because this is his chosen way of doing it of honoring Christ. It brings glory to him and therefore it when we understand that and we respond to that and we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling because he's working within us, then we are bringing honor and glory to him. It is for his good pleasure. The work which his goodness began the arm of his strength will complete his promises yeah and amen and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now not all things below or above can make him his purpose for go or sever my soul from his love the debtor to mercy alone by Augustus Tarpley quickly some lessons. First of all, and free will. Free will. That's another stumbling point. This text tells us that we are free to choose, but I'm unable to choose a right that's the problem Spurgeon in dealing with man's will's said in a sermon in the title of the sermon. The man's will is a slave yet free.
That's a paradox, but I'll try to explain that paradox. Every man makes choices freely.
Both center and St. but the problem is unsaved people always make unwise and sinful choices they make them freely. They make the choices they want to make. They make the choices they desire.
The problem is they need something within the change of God to help them to desire what is right what is good what is righteous and that they don't have. So do they have a free will.
Yes, do they have a a and enslaved will yes it's trained to sand it strange to their unregenerate heart, it's trained to their sinful desires and therefore though they choose freely and they have a sense that they're making these choices freely. Nevertheless, they need to understand that it takes the power of God to free them so that they can make the right choices. Otherwise, they can't man in his sinful condition chooses freely, but only by God's working within him. Can he choose what is good and right. When God works in the human heart to enable us to will and do of his good pleasure. Our will is not forced. That's the misunderstanding the people have what you Calvinists believe Matt is a robot God just forces you to do what he wants you to do and that's a complete misunderstanding God doesn't force our will. God liberates our will. God enables our will. It was trained before trained to sin. It's trained to darkness. It's trained to our inability and God in his grace liberates it so that now were afraid to make good choices righteous choices which before we could make, which is why we need to be careful of making overstatements. There are some who will insist man's will is absolutely and always free wrong.
Man's will is free to sin, but it's not free to do righteousness it's bound it's enslaved, but then sometimes people go overboard in the other direction. Man does not have a free will. Well yes and no. That's probably not a good statement to make to somebody who doesn't understand this never free will you make a choice. Yes you did but you Making the wrong one. Until God worked in your heart, man is free to choose these free to choose evil. He's free to choose between a lot of different evil options.
They could just look at that smorgasbord of evil, and freely choose what he's going to pick, but he keeps going back to the smorgasbord of evil.
He never seems to find himself at the smorgasbord of righteousness he doesn't have any interest in that no desire for that he keeps going back in the other direction.
He needs to be liberated, he needs to be made truly free. We can consider a lesson about the place of obedience in our lives. Obedience, as we learned of this text is not the cause of salvation. It's the result of it but always the result of it not. It may be not audibly not. We hope it will be like because an infallible omnipotent God is working out his purposes and us is top lady said he'll not be forwarded but this God pleasing obedience requires our determination and our labors. We are dependent upon God's enabling power. But these works of obedience are not an option but a requirement for the redeemed and they are in fact a mark of true salvation. No evidence of obedience, no desire of obedience go back to the beginning you need to be born again because those who have been born again, have been given spiritual desires. God works within us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God works within us.
Are you going to stop the hand of Almighty God.
God works without us. If you're a child of God. This is present. If that's not present, you need to be signed by the grace of God go to Christ and acknowledge you need one final lesson concerning the place of other Christians in our obedience. This text shows us that we must not be overly dependent upon others. The Philippians must be obedient and as obedient even more obedient in Paul's absence than they were in his presence.
They must not be overly dependent upon others but on the other hand taking other Scriptures into account. We must not be too independent either.
The Bible does not command solo Christians, maverick Christians go it alone. Christians you need the fellowship of the saints because the Bible says so. So I don't feel the need II feel perfectly complete without that the Bible says you need that is not a matter of what you feel it's a matter what the Bible says to be true.
Try that justification on an unbeliever, you witnessing to an unbeliever unity Jesus will I don't feel the need of all you don't what you say you don't well I'm sorry and talking to the wrong person. You say you may not know need. You may not feel the need. But the Bible declares the need in the Bible's right unity. Jesus, whether you feel them or not, will Christians the same thing is true for you. You need the fellowship of the saints with you feel that need not in your both disobedient and losing something very important if you neglect that, therefore, my beloved is you've always obeyed God is in my presence only, but now much more. Also, in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.
Let's pray father seal this truth to every heart apply it.
According to the need is you, the omniscient spirit of God knows the need to be.
We pray man