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Philippians 2:12-18 - Working Out One’s Own Salvation or Deliverance

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Review of last week:

A.       Humbling One’s Self 2:5-11

1.      Christ is the Supreme Example v.5

2.      Christ is the very nature of God v.6

3.      Christ emptied Himself v.7

4.      Christ humbled Himself to the point of utter humiliation v.8

5.      Christ was rewarded – highly exalted by God v.9-11

a.       Given the name above every name v.9

b.      Given supreme power & Authority v.10

c.       Given supreme worship as Lord v.11

Introduction: God’s Gym vs. the Worlds Gym ----you must have a membership card!

A.       The worlds gym focuses on the outward, the flesh

B.       God’s gym focuses on the inward, the spirit

C.       The worlds gym will reap temporal things that will fade away

D.       God’s gym will reap eternal benefits that will never fade away

1.      No pain, no gain—growing muscles vs. growing spirits

2.      Spotter when working out—Jesus is our spotter

3.      Push the wait upward

This week I want to teach you how to Work Out in God’s Gym

There are going to be six steps in our Work Out today, and they are…

I.                   To Work Out One’s Own Salvation With Fear & Trembling v.12

II.                To Work At Obedience—To Work Out the Stirring of God Within the Heart v.13

III.             To Work At Not Murmuring v.14

IV.             To Work At Being Pure v.15

a.       Blameless v.15

b.      Harmless, sincere v.15

c.       Without Fault v.15

V.                To Work At Witnessing v.16

VI.             To Follow the Example of Sacrificial Labor v.17-18


1.      What does 2:12-13 have to do with 2:1-11?  (The word therefore is a clue.)

A.       Since Christ Jesus by means of His unrestricted, voluntary obedience gave you and I an example (verses 5-8); and

B.       Since the reward which he received shows that there are great things in store for those who follow this example (verse 9-11); and finally

C.       Since this highly exalted divine and human mediator imparts strength from heaven to all who trust in Him and yearn so to live as He would have them to live (verse 9-11),

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear & trembling

A.       Paul Was Absent From Them & Was Going To Be For A Long Period of Time

1.      They leaned to heavily on Paul and his presence and going directly to him instead of God for their problems.

2.      They must depend upon God completely on God. Their motivation is Paul not being there, they must work out their salvation apart from Paul presence, striving to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

B.       Application—Matthew 7:24-27 one day you will be out on your own & mark my words “the storms of life” will hit you some day and if you are building you life on Christ & His Word you will stand, if not it will be like the 3 pigs and the big bad wolf.


I.                   To Work Out One’s Own Salvation With Fear & Trembling (v.12)

A.       What does it mean to work out your own salvation?

How is working out your salvation different from working for it?

1.      We are saved by grace not by works. Works are proof of our salvation; we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves”.

2.      Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone, James 2:17-18  -- Only God can see the heart and truly knows if you or I have a saving faith.  But the people around us cannot see into our hearts all they can see is the “works of faith.” 

3.      True faith will “work itself out” 

a.       Definition: To work on to the finish, to completion, to perfection, to complete the effort & the work begun

b.      Working out was used for working a mine getting out of the mine all the valuable ore possible; or working a field, getting the greatest harvest possible

c.       The verb indicates that Paul is saying to “continue to work out.”  Are salvation is a process, that is sanctification, it is a pursuit, a following after, a pressing on, a contest, fight, race (Phil 3:12; Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 1 Tim. 6:12.)

d.      Our enemy: the world, the flesh, and the devil.  It is one thing to pray “as we forgive our debtors” but it is another to carry this out in practice.  It is one thing to shout, “do all things to the glory of God” but another to carry this out in practice.

B.       With Fear & Trembling

1.      Meaning: in the spirit of wholeheartedness, singleness of purpose (Ps. 119:10, 34) reverence and awe being afraid to offend God in any way (Gen. 39:9; Heb. 12:28) trust in God (2 Chron. 20:12), humility Luke 18:13

2.      Why should I Fear & Tremble?

a.       We must “fear our own sins” & weaknesses—let him who thinks he stands take heed…

b.      As a child is afraid of displeasing his father, I don’t want to displease the Lord

c.       I will stand at the judgement seat of Christ

3.      ECCLESIASTIES 12:13 is the conclusion of the matter


II.                To Work At Obedience—To Work Out the Stirring of God Within the Heart v.13

A.       For It Is God Who Works In You Both To Will And To Do For His Good Pleasure.

1.      Meaning: to energize, God stirs, and energizes the heart of the believer—giving us both the will and the power to do what pleases him

2.      If God was not “working in us” we would not be able to “work out”

3.      God promised the day would come when He would no longer write His laws on tables of stone, but on the fleshly tablets of their hearts.

4.      It is God that gives me the desires, and then the capacity to fulfill the desires.

BUT REMEMBER THIS: we are free to reject God’s grace, we can continue to sin without repenting, it is our choice

B.       The Power That Works In Us Is The Power Of The Holy Spirit

1.      Jn 14:16-17, 26; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 6:19-20

2.      Illust.           A toaster, iron – John 15:4—Eph. 3:14-19

C.       The power is here, but how do we use it?  What tools does God use, by His Spirit, to work in our lives?

1.      The Word of God we must appreciate, appropriate and apply the Word

2.      Prayer is the divinely ordained source of spiritual power Acts 1:14; 4:23-31; 12:5, 12; & the Word of God and prayer go together Acts 6:4

3.      Suffering has a way of burning off the dross in our lives

4.      It’s a cycle: Word>prayer>suffering> Word>prayer>suffering> Word>prayer>suffering>


III.             To Work At Not Murmuring v.14

A.       Murmuring: In our minds--To grumble or complain, a quiet-behind-the-back, criticism, faultfinding, gossip

B.       Disputing: arguments, outward and vocal questionings

1.      This should not be in the church

2.      This is not of God

3.      The very sin that brought judgement on the Jews in the wilderness

C.       The result is very damaging

D.       We must obey God

1.      Obedience may be of tow kinds: grudgingly or voluntarily

2.      On the outside I may be sitting down but on the inside I may be standing up, fearing that I might be punished!  In reality this is not obedience.  God tells us to obey from the heart (Eph. 6:6).


IV.             To Work At Being Pure v.15

If there is no murmuring or disputing in our minds or with others then we shall be blameless & pure.

If we are blameless & pure in our minds & spirit, then we shall be blameless & pure in our outward behavior.

Our outward behavior shows us what is truly on the inside

A.       Blameless v.15 

1.      Above reproach & rebuke both in the church & the World

2.      Clean unpolluted & spotless

B.       Harmless, sincere v.15

1.      Unmixed, unadulterated

2.      As flour or grain passes through a sieve to separate the pure from the impure

3.      Our thoughts & lives are to be clean, uncontaminated, & unpolluted

C.       Without Fault v.15

1.      Without blemish, spot or defect

2.      We are to be knowing that our lives are under examination by God day-by-day

D.       In The Midst of a Crooked & Perverse Generation V.15

1.      A world full of crooks & perverts

2.      Society around us is “twisted and distorted,” but the Christian stands straight because he measures his life by God’s Word, the perfect standard

E.        Shine as lights in the world V.15

1.      (Sun Jesus), (moon Christians), (earth lost & dark world) illustration

2.      lighting a cigarrette in a fox hole at night can be seen for miles

a.       the enemy will try and snuff out your light

b.      the children sing “this little light of mine”


V.                To Work At Witnessing V.16

A.       Jesus said “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)

B.       The world has nothing to offer, but the Christian holds out the Word of Life, the message of salvation through faith in Christ.

C.       So many of us don’t do this because we don’t care about the lost

D.       Give the gospel



VI.             To Follow the Example of Sacrificial Labor v.17-18

A.       Paul had taken his body & offered it as a sacrifice & service for people.

B.       He lived for nothing else ecxept to hold forth the Word of life to people.


Obtaining the martyrs crown as a result of labor

The world rejoices for the wrong things we should rejoice in what Christ has done for us

God works in our live through the Word, Prayer, and Suffering and we are to word out in daily living and service.

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