Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Work out, Shut up, Hold forth

This week I will be preaching from Phil 2:12-16. Here are some thoughts from my preparation. Here are the verses first:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. (13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (15) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.”

We can not remove these verses from the context in which they have been given. To do so we would lose WHY we need to follow verses 12-16. If we lose the WHY, in a short matter of time you will struggle to obey the verses, not realizing why you need to obey the verses. We see the why is the previous 41 verses. Let me summarize them quickly. We see in Chapter one Christ is our life and that in all that we do we are to magnify Christ. In chapter two, we see we are to do this with humbleness, allowing Christ’s mind to be our mind, understanding that one day ALL will bow before him and confess He is Lord of ALL to the glory of God the Father. In light of this we need to do three things. First, work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Secondly, do all things with out murmuring and complaining. Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life as walk in this world. As we briefly look at these three areas, remember, following these verses is not an option to the Christian, but a responsibility in light of the purpose of our life and what awaits us in our future.

First, we need to work out or our salvation. This verse does not say to work for our salvation as some would have you believe. You can not work for your salvation as Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5 teach us. We are saved by grace through faith. If you are trusting in anything besides or in addition to Jesus Christ you are not saved and need to repent. However, if you are saved, you need to work out what God has worked in. The Lord has given much with our salvation. He has not just saved us from hell and that is all. No sir. He has given us power over the world with our salvation, I John 5:4. He has given us power over sin with our salvation, Romans 6:11-14. He has given us the key to joy with our salvation (I Peter 1:5-8). You have no excuse for living a defeated Christian life. NONE! God has given you everything you need to be successful and glorify Him with your life. You can not blame your pastor, your parents, your husband, or your wife, if you are not serving the Lord as you should. One day you will stand before God, I hope you have not run in vain!

Secondly, we need to serve him without murmuring and complaining. How dare we complain in our service to God as though it is unreasonable! (Romans 12:1,2) Our God has done everything for us and deserves everything we have. People have often told me how they appreciate the sacrifice my family and I are making as missionaries in PNG. I understand what they are saying and appreciate the kindness. However, to say this is a sacrifice is a stretch. No, this is my reasonable service for my Lord and God. How dare I ever complain about what the Lord has asked of me. Dear Christian, do not complain about the circumstances the Lord has you in. He is God and He is in control. Do not complain about the church the Lord has you in. Do not complain about the area of service you have. Maybe you only clean the church, rejoice and be thankful for the area of service God has given you. Then do it with all your might unto the Lord. According to verse 15 we cause great harm by our complaining. I never want a lost person to see me complaining about my Christian life. We need to understand we are to shine as lights in this world! We are to be blameless and harmless. Quit griping about standards you don’t like and love the Lord with all your heart. Trust in Him knowing he does know what is best.

Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life (verse 16). Many Christians are doing many things for the Lord, but it is all for nothing. Yes, that is right, all for nothing! It is not just that we work for the Lord and serve Him, but that we work and serve Him according to His Word. It is not just sincerity that pleases God. It is sincerity with truth. All that we do must be according to God’s Word. I don’t care how great or wonderful people think you are, if your work is not based on God’s Word and done His way, it is for nothing. I do not want to stand before Christ and have all my works burned up in the fire because it was nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble (I Cor 3:11-15). Examine yourself now, are you holding forth the word of life in your work for the Lord, or are you doing what is right in your own eyes?

So here we have our responsibility in light of the truths given. We are to work out our own salvation, do so without murmuring or complaining, and hold forth the word of life in our service to God.


Jerry Bouey said...

Brother Terry, I hope all is well with you and your family. I stopped by to see if anything was new - and read this again. This is one of my favourite phrases in the Bible: Holding forth the word of life.

You may appreciate some new studies I posted this week from 2 Timothy 4:

Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy -

Part One - The Preacher And His Preaching
Part Two - The Preacher And His Living

Lord willing, by Monday I should have Part Three posted: The Preacher And His Reward.

Terry McGovern said...

Hey Jerry,

Good to hear from you! I just arrived in the states for furlough. I am not far from you right now. I am in Alaska.

Thanks for the links. I will check them out.