Today as we continue in Philippians, we are going to see Paul is breaking down even more some of the ideas that he laid out in chapter 1. More specifically, obedience, unity, and rejoicing in our partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For our context, remember that Paul is writing the primarily Gentile church at Philippi from his prison cell. He is writing them a letter filled with joy that is not meant only to bring a correction, but also a great encouragement. In this Paul is going to use some very familiar imagery.
My big Idea for today is that God has a plan and he is working it out in us. My prayer for us today would be that by hearing this message, together we would take seriously the call of obedience to become unified and shine our witness of the gospel to the world. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Philippians chapter, verse
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.Philippians 2:12-18
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.”[a] 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. 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.
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points.
It Is God Who Is At Work In Us…
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.Philippians 2:12-13
Paul begins with pointing to the previous passage, Therefore. That’s because Christ has been exalted to the highest place, that every knee shall bow, and every tongue will acknowledge Christ is Lord. As a result of this Paul commends them and stresses the importance of their continued obedience. He reminds them to continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Then he says something very strange…
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13
If God works in us to provide the will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose, then what are we working for? I’m glad you asked. Paul is not saying that we must work for salvation.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8
Were saved by His grace, through faith worked out in us by God not ourselves. What Paul is saying is,
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospelPhilippians 1:27
Paul has married these 2 ideas together that of obedience and conduct of unity. Working together in unity and standing in one spirit together as one faith for the sake of the gospel.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.2 Peter 1:10-11
One writer puts it like this, “They should work out their salvation with a seriousness appropriate to those who look forward to salvation on that final day, but they should remember at all times that the whole process leading up to their acquittal on that day is theirs neither to initiate nor complete. It is God’s from first to last.” Paul really wants you to believe as if your salvation is already in hand and not future tense, but also to overcome social dysfunction/offense and “save” your relationships by treating one another with love, respect, and humility. This all leads into a grand purpose.
I’ll move on to my next point. (Remember, it is God who is at work in us)
So That We Can Shine For Him
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…Philippians 2:14-16a
Paul is alluding to their spiritual ancestry as the new people of God that is in alignment with biblical Israel (Wanderings). Think about the way that Korah & his buddies grumbled and complained against God. (Numbers 16). They were removed from the covenant. These are the things that are on Paul’s mind. He is thinking about covenant blessings being eradicated by disunity and discord among God’s chosen people. Israel’s purpose was to be God’s shining light to a crooked and warped world, look at the words of the Song of Moses.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.Deuteronomy 32:20
As Christians, Paul was teaching them from the Old Testament to take every opportunity to Squash dissension from their midst. That they would be pure and blameless in the eyes of God and Men.
Paul’s usage of biblical ancestry comparing the Hebrew wanderings with the Philippians is a perfect analogy. We must not get so comfortable that we think this word is not for us. When we talk down to the very ones, we pray that God will save. Or we consider those less spiritual who worship differently than us. I run into people all over the place that claim to love God but refuse to go to their local church because they don’t trust the Christians that go there.
We have become like the grumblers of the exodus. Remember, there are like 30k different denominations that all claim Christ. There is no obedience in the church. We have lost our first love and instead of repenting of our sin/arrogance/hard-heartedness and turning back to God we insist that the problem lies with the other person and we start a new church/denomination. We have deceived ourselves to think that we can be united with Christ, but not with his bride.
This is why this is so important for Paul
And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 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.Philippians 2:16b-18
Paul is faced with his mortality regularly and he views his ministry work as an offering to God.
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.Philippians 2:17
This drink offering is 2 things, it is an offering that goes along with another offering. Its supplemental, in nature and it’s an idea that the Gentiles could relate because it had been part of their previous Pagan worship. What is the first sacrifice? Paul says here in Romans
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Romans 12:1
Paul is seeing the Philippians as an example of his life’s work/fruit of his ministry. The Philippians are the validation of sorts of his “working out his salvation with fear and trembling.” In his mind his life is the supplemental offering that goes along with the Philippians that will be presented to Christ on that day, the day of the Lord. Paul wanted them to rejoice with him in all of this , even in his death.
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.Romans 14:12
Here is the question: what will each of us have to present to God on that Day? Will we have to answer for offense and discord, or will He say well done good and faithful servant? Will there be a demonstration of obedience and humility or will there be those who stumbled because of our own self-righteousness? From the time God evicted Adam and Eve, he has called His people to unity under His banner, this is not a new concept.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will love more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that among each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today. But God has a plan!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?
Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’