Philippians 2 12-18
12 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 according to his good purpose.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
When Paul says to “work out your salvation”, that scares me because sometimes I feel like we as Calvinists have to bend what Paul is saying here to fit in with our theology. We obviously don’t think that anyone can earn their salvation, but Paul says to work it out. What people will typically say is that you need to expand your thinking as to what “salvation” actually means. To work out your salvation means to actively participate in sanctification. And doing that means to not complain or argue about everything.
How do you become active in your salvation without thinking that you can earn it?
The phrase “shine like stars in the universe” is really jumping out at me the more and more that I read this passage. I love going outside in a place where you can see a lot of stars, and I love looking up at them. Usually I become so overwhelmed that I start reciting Psalm 8: “O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens.” I remember walking out of the house when we lived in mount Dora while taking out the trash and seeing all the stars there. I love it. This past weekend, we were in Nashville at Mom and Bill’s, and they have even more stars since they live out in the boonies. There is just something about seeing a sky full of stars that is awe-inspiring. I love it.
Tell a star story.
The darker it is, the brighter they shine.
Another phrase the jumped out to me was “do everything without complaining or arguing.” I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that was for me when I was growing up and how difficult it still is. When I am asked to do things that I don’t want to do or don’t like to do, I rarely do it without complaining or arguing. Usually it isn’t audible. I am a master at the silent complaining. The conversations that I have with myself are almost comical, but they are just as bad as complaining out loud or arguing out loud. Just because it is on the inside doesn’t mean that is ok. Just because someone doesn’t hear it doesn’t make it ok.
How many of you have ever complained about what your parents have said or argued with them over something?
Come under the authority of the Bible.
The words “crooked and depraved generation” are so powerful and vivid. I know that Paul was talking about the generation in his day, but since the bible speaks to all people in all times, we know that he is speaking to us even today. There has not been one generation since the beginning of time that could not be called “crooked and depraved.” Every single one has been that way, and you could even argue that they are getting worse. It certainly doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Growing up today we can certainly see that our generation is crooked and depraved. Watching TV for a minute or two is all you need. Or just browse any news site on the internet and learn about what people are doing to each other. It is jus brutal. Yet this is our generation.
Do you think that today we live in a “crooked and depraved” world? Do you think it is getting worse?