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February 23, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message entitled “How to Grow Spiritually” from Philippians 2:12-13.
I really like the chapel session online brotherly love.
I have not it is really good to be reminded of that and just to be showing Christ live in my day-to-day interactions of people personally have been learning a lot about identity a lot about the citizenship power, not really. From here, so a lot of we are because were so busy constantly, and be reminded that I'm a human being. I am a child of the King and I've got some where I'm going and that's a great reminder for me.
Those were Bob Jones University students who been blessed by the chapel messages in the Philippian series called live worthy of the gospel.
Today's message is titled how to grow spiritually from Philippians 212 through 13 which you take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of Philippians chapter 2 Philippians chapter 2 it is been called the disease of kings and the king of diseases. It is a physical malady that has afflicted some very famous people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Henry VIII, Sir Isaac Newton John Calvin Beethoven and even the famous Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. So what is it that these men all had in common in their suffering and that is they suffered from the physical malady of gout. Have you ever heard of gout have you ever experienced. Get out. What is it well is it is the body's inability to get rid of uric acid and it's an acidic build up in your body and it crystallizes in it floats through the bloodstream and it attaches itself to various joints like your like your wrists, your knees, your ankles, and in particular your big toe because that's sort of the dead end road as far as veins and blood goes that lands in your big toe and it feels like. First of all, that your your toe has a fever and at the same time it feels like it's broken and anybody that touches them. You want to beat them to death with a baseball bat because it is so incredibly painful.
And the reason I speak with such feeling is for years I have struggled with gout and so when you begin to suffer with it you so course asked the question why in basically, it comes back to an imbalance in your diet. You know, like, so what else is new and it's the foods that you eat and when you're out of balance than that's what affects you and that's how the you get get out in the Christian life. It is undeniable that for us to be healthy, thriving, growing Christians, we have to live in balance and I think probably a great illustration is just being a student here Bob Jones University because it is easy for your life to get out of balance. You sleep too much. You don't sleep enough you study all the time and you don't have a break or you do is playing you never study it's it's it's always about balance our founder Dr. Bob Jones Senior when he started Bob Jones University. He built the school on about five different key ideas or pillars in one of those pillars is the is is the idea of being balanced in your Christian faith because he was an evangelist. He traveled all over the all over the place in the Newport people from all kinds of different Christian denominations, and he saw people making emphasis on one thing over another thing, he was always concerned about the-isms of Christianity. Anyone in the students a Bob Duke University to be very balanced in the Christian life. Now, this morning, and Philippians chapter 2 verses 12 and 13, we have what I think if you can almost capsulize it as probably the two key verses in the whole New Testament about how to live a balanced Christian life were not talking so much about how to be saved but were talking about how the Christian life works and how we live it out. Just a reminder, the apostle Paul is commanding us to live worthy of the gospel. That's what he tells us in chapter 1 he wants us to be unified as Christians. He wants us to be humble and he gives us the illustration of the greatest act of humility.
That's the coming of Jesus into the world whose mindset was not just humble on earth. It was humble in heaven because God has a humble mindset. They came into this world and he suffered and died on the cross in obedience to his father's will and what we find out about humility.
God always exalts the humble. He raises them up as we surrender to the Lordship of Christ in our life… Up. Now we come to verse 12 and notice how verse 12 begins. It begins with the phrase wherefore when you see the word wherefore you always asked the question, what's it therefore. And that's what we back up with the whole idea of what Paul is saying, and he brings us up to this point and he says wherefore and now he is urging us to do something in verse 12. In verse 13 we find this balance in the Christian life between human responsibility. What do I do in divine responsibility. What is got.
What does God do so. Let's look at these two verses this morning. Verse 12 and 13 of Philippians 2 wherefore, 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, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. So he says, work out your own salvation. Why, because God is working in you both are willing to do of his good pleasure. One is what I do human responsibility the others what God does. That's divine sovereignty or divine responsibility. But before we look at those two ideas I wanted just notice the way the apostle Paul motivated the church of Philippi, and I believe we have here an outstanding illustration of what it means to be a good leader because Paul could have if I could say this, you wake he could've used a bit as a whipping post and sometimes in preaching that happens where the preacher whips the people now not saying there's not times that people need to have correction they need to be reviewed, but often times the greatest need that we have is not that we don't want to follow God assist. We need to be encouraged were living in a hard world where it's difficult to live for God and we want to be loved and lifted up and so what is called, and he writes in the first thing he does is he connects to them and he says my beloved. What could be more tender than that. To say I love you, and then he says to them as you have always obeyed, he compliments them. He's not criticizing them.
He's not writing to people that don't want to obey he's writing to people who do want to obey in the notice when he does he gives them confidence, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence. In other words, he says to the Philip of Philippians. You guys are not people pleasers. You don't have a fake spirituality. You're not just obeying when the preacher shows up. You were trying to live out your Christian life and he's writing these people. Any motivates them with positive love praise and trust because all of us in leadership responsibility knows that people want to be trusted, and that's what he's doing. He's writing them and exhorting to them any speaking to us today and he says what you need to grow spiritually and here are the two key ideas. So let's notice. First of all, the human responsibility side and then secondly, the divine responsibility says notice what he says in verse 12 he says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling that this is a command and I find it very interesting because the moment you read it it it appears to be a little different work out your own salvation. I mean how many sermons have you ever heard or phrases in sermons that stated, you can't work for your salvation.
Salvation is not something you achieve. It is something you really see the gift of God is eternal life.
You don't pay for a gift you're given a gift in Ephesians 28 for by grace are ye saved through faith that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.
So is he telling us to work for our salvation. That's not what he is saying. He's actually saying. Work out your own salvation, or if I could put it this way.
He's saying, work, work out in your life.
What God is worked in through your faith. You see, the moment you and I believe in Jesus Christ. New life is imparted to us in the moment of our faith, and I believe the new life in the faith, or simultaneous you say when what is the order. What you wanted to put in order. It's one thing but practically we believe in life comes at the exact same moment and at that moment, God implants his life into your soul and you become a new creation, a new person you are born again. Now what Paul is here saying is what God began in your heart. I want you to work it out in your life. I want you do like math where you're assigned a problem and you work that problem down to its conclusion. He's saying, work it out in your life. It is like. If you've ever done a to do list for years and years.
I made a to do list.
What do I need to do today and I would put that list up and then as I would go through. I would check it all.
Fact is, if I did something that wasn't on the list I would write on the list and check it off so I can feel good about myself. I mean, were always working things out or it's like when you get married when I got married. Somebody said to me if you want your marriage to work you have to work at it. Marriages don't work.
Naturally you have to work at it. Someone said you have to pay attention to your honey if you want her to be sweet so like in marriage you have to work at it. So, in the Christian life you have to work at it when I say work out your own salvation. I'm talking about working it out in your life so your salvation should touch your friendships, the kind of friends I have what I do with my friends. It should touch my finances. What will the way I look at money should be through a biblical lands. We call that a biblical worldview. I should put the template of Scripture over my my future and in my job and my gifts in my calling in marriage mean the greatest mistake you can make in dating is not work out your own salvation even in the in the area of dating and marriage and family. In other words, you want your salvation to practically touch every area of your life. So Paul is telling the Philippians he says I want you to step up your game.
I want you to get with it. I want you increase your efforts to live worthy of the gospel. I want you to be moving for me to stop here and say this because for most of you, you have grown up in some kind of a Christian environment. Your parents are Christians.
Went to a Christian school. Perhaps your homeschooled you you you grew up going to church and and and I and I say this with all kindness that growing up in a Christian home is one of life's greatest blessings and is also one of the most dangerous things to your spiritual life because most of you not. I don't say this to be mean I just say that because it's true.
Most of you when it comes to spiritual growth you're really super lazy. Most of you are really lazy.
What I mean by that is, you have never really put out the intense effort to grow. So here you come to Bob Jones University and and you find for the first time in your life you had a really seriously study. I'm not saying that you instead we came here but you went to a new level.
Here and and you you had put out a lot more effort to get where you are today and you did two years ago the same thing is true of sport you could've played high school sports.
But if you're playing at. If you're playing sports at a college level. It's a whole new level. It's a whole new speed is a whole new skill set and you have to step up your game. The thing same thing is true of your spiritual growth and most people have developed in their life.
Basically a very lazy approach to spiritual growth and so what he is saying is work out your own salvation. In other words get to work. Sanctification is never automatic forward progress in the Christian land life is not a permanent state. Yes, sanctification is progressive, but it doesn't happen without putting out the effort. Peterson is giving all diligence, add to your faith. So what does it mean it means you need to take your spiritual growth. Seriously. So what is that mean it means like you need to take reading your Bible seriously. I don't know if this is true I can't throw out a percentage on. I don't know if I can say 90% of our student body.
Don't read their Bible a daily basis which you answer the question yourself if you don't read your Bible a daily basis. You're a lazy Christian you say what offends me will get over it.
Just get honest just say I'm lazy K.
It takes spiritual growth. It takes effort it takes effort for you to pray our minds don't naturally pray.
Well, how many of you have ever prayed in the moment you started praying your mind started wondering about all the other things you have to do and remember them. I'm you've ever commented whomever started praying, and you fell asleep while you're praying. I may have ever done that you know I sent me one day she said I can tell you're praying as if you know Jesus causes a big droll spot where your head will spiritual growth takes effort. Memorizing Scripture prayer, reading your Bible sharing the gospel we don't naturally share the gospel faithfulness to church, not just sitting but serving in the church and investing your time in investing your efforts.
So Paul is writing any says God his work this glorious salvation in you. I want you to work it out and notice what he says the attitude should be, he says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling was he mean by fear.
It's not somebody was over in the corner and there paralyzed and afraid to obey God. It actually is the idea of reverence or respect.
Probably the best personal illustration I could share is my my attitude towards my mother. My mother we we buried our mother a little over two weeks ago and when we did the funeral. You just have to know mom you just had to know my mother IIs my sent me one day acid-base that you're kind of intimidating ascetical you've never met my mother and this is so true we wanted the funeral as the children in our family we want general to be perfect. Everything about it. All the details and you know what my mother never told me how to run her funeral, but we wanted it to be perfect and every body was that way you know why because we so respected my mother. We so revered her. We wanted to please her even though she was practically not there. Work out your own salvation with fear. Was it mean I respect God I live in all of who God is coming, even coming to a service like this, we allow you, for example, we allow you to have your cell phone here because we give you the opportunity to to pull up the Bible and your telephone but if you sit through up if you sit through chapel really day in and day out and all you do is your on your cell phone.
I'm just be honest with you, number one, you are like super disrespectful and secondly there's a lack of reverence in your heart for the word of God me when I come to the Bible.
One of the things that scares me is preaching because when I preach.
I just can't just stand up here and just sort of talk out of my life and out of myself.
I'm preaching the Bible and preaching God's word. It's scary to preach the Bible.
It's a matter of reverence, work out your own salvation. Why because I fear God, and the notice he says trembling in the idea of trembling in this in this idea is it's a sense of your own weakness and vulnerability. In other words, it's the real potential that I could fail. I could fall into sin, that when ever I do well.
Evil is present with me, but I have a sin nature that if I said that sin nature and if I did not feed my new life nature that inevitably I would fall into sin so trembling is the idea of the sense of weakness.
So what Paul is telling us is that there is an attitude that we should have. We should work out our own salvation with reverence and a sense of weakness in my dependence on the now he says that's what you bring to the table, but lest we think that it's all up to us that we really miss the next verse in this next verse is so awesome look at what he says in verse 13 he says.
Why do you work out your own salvation with fear and treatment for it is God which worketh in you both are willing to do of his good pleasure. The word work if there is a very different word than the world than what we find in verse 12 verse 12. It's clear, it's what you do in verse 13.
It's very clear is what got us in the word work here literally means to energize for 29 years my family and I traveled in the ministry of evangelism and we lived in fifth wheel trailers and those fifth wheel trailers had a 50 amp plug that had the plug into a particular socket that would give us enough electricity to run our trailer for an entire week and that includes air conditioning and washing and dryers in a microwave and all the other uses that we had in our trailer and we did get 50 A. We didn't get enough as we would say enough juice for the week and so therefore is always problematic, as we are blowing breakers because were run in this run that run this and in it didn't have enough electricity so we got 50 A know it was wonderful, blessed is the evangelist wife who has 50 A because you will be happy all week and so when we would plug into that 50 amp plug that had a 50 amp breaker I would ask my wife. Do you have juice in the trailer and she says yes, we've got you and we are all happy that here's what Paul is saying when you got saved you got plugged in. If I could say this way you have all the spiritual juice you need to live the Christian life. He says it is God that is energizing you and here's a very important question and that is this, do we obey God and then God works in our life or does God work in our life. First, and we obey God, let me ask you this question.
What is the first calls of your spiritual life. What's what's the foundation of your spiritual life. Think of it this way. We love him because he first was he loved us, whatever.
Love you have for God and then start with you in the now. God loves you is the reverse.
God loves you and so what you doing your responding to that. That's what this person. Paul begins the verse with the word for it's the Greek word means. For this reason, we should work out our own salvation. Why, because God is working in us, God has energized you therefore you need to respond to God energize you at the very moment of your salvation. Fact is in Philippians chapter 1 in verse 29 Paul knew that the Philippians were very well schooled in how they got saved, notice what he says for under you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer when he says it is given unto you, not only to believe the word given means grace means this. If you have believed in Jesus Christ. It didn't start with your faith.
It started with God's grace God worked in you even the faith that you have is a gift from God. God is at work in you. So here's what he is saying he is saying, work out your own salvation.
Because God is working you working in you in a Very Powerful Way, God through his word and through his spirit is working in you and that working is are very powerful, prompting the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and you know that the more the spirit, the more you respond to the voice of God in your life. The more you grow.
It's like this, the more you read your Bible, the more you read your Bible, the more you pray, the more you pray, the more you witness the more you witness. It's a kind of an energy that expands and grows as you respond. God speaks to your heart. For example, if God speaks to your heart about reading your Bible, what should you do say read your Bible, and the more you read your Bible, the more you read your Bible is the way God works in our life. God is working in you and that work according to Ephesians 119 is the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead.
Listen to what he says in verse 19 of Ephesians 1 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his great my lady worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead with me a moment the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. The same power that stirring in your that is like cool, God is working in my life and what is he doing what is that work that he is working.
Look at what he says for God is working in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The word will there means the desire it means something I want you see, God works in the framework of your desires. For example you ever feel the desire to grow spiritually.
I want to grow you know that one of the major reasons people come to Bob Jones University's because they want to grow out of. They want to grow because God's working in them.
Let me ask you question you ever get sick and tired of a personal failure in your life do you think in your own life. II want to be better in praying. I want to understand the Bible more and want to see people get saved I really want to serve the Lord and I want God to get glory and I'm not there yet but I want to get there. You know what, that's a grace from God because spiritual discontentment is a grace from God. Nobody effectively changes without a strong change in your desires. God is working in you both to will and to do in the word do in the word and the word work. It is the same word God is working in you both the desire and the divine enablement the energy God is working and you to do his will. God's at work in your heart and notice what he says God is working in you both are willing to do of his good pleasure that were good pleasure simply means that God is so working in your heart that he's putting with you and you the desire to please him and not to please yourself. If you have any desire to live your life to please God. That's really not from you. That's from the Lord. Years ago I walked in the home of the camp director, the wilds and on his refrigerator. He had a little shelf that was held there by a magnet on the bookshelf. There were two little books in one book said God in the other books itself without any little point. I never forgot. There are two choices on the shelf. Pleasing God, or pleasing self.
I never forgot that. But I want to take that ideal step further and that is within your heart.
If you're Christian God is working in you to please him. So what are you to do. You are to work out your own salvation. In other words, be responsive to the Holy Spirit.
You need to nurture and develop your relationship to the person of the Holy Spirit speaks to you. He convicts you he empowers you key challenges you he comforts you and as you respond to him. That's when you begin to thrive and grow spiritually. There's the balance God's responsibility.
My responsibility and as we grow in the Lord, we grow in disgrace. Father, help us to grow spiritually and help us to live our lives for you in Jesus name, amen.
You've been listening to a sermon from the book of Philippians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled live worthy of the gospel which was written for the series, visit our email@example.com. Join us again tomorrow is we continue the study in Philippians on the daily plan