February 26, 2017   Philippians 2:12 -16Work 


          Andrew Chan shares the following illustration.   There was a certain old recluse who lived deep in the mountains of Colorado.     When he died, distant relatives came from the city to collect his valuables.    Upon arriving, all they saw was an old shack with an outhouse beside it.     Inside the shack, next to the rock fireplace was an old cooking pot and his mining equipment.      A cracked table with a three-legged chair stood guard by a tiny window, and a kerosene lamp served as the centerpiece for the table.     In a dark corner of the little room was a dilapidated cot with a threadbare bedroll on it.   They picked up some of the old relics and started to leave.    As they were driving away, an old friend of the recluse, on his mule, flagged them down.    “Do you mind if I help myself to what’s left in my friend’s cabin?” he asked. “Go right ahead,” they replied.     After all, they thought, what inside that shack could be worth anything?    The old friend entered the shack and walked directly over the table.    He reached under it and lifted one of the floor boards.    He then proceeded to take out all the gold his friend had discovered over the past 53 years – enough to have built a palace.   The recluse died with only his friend knowing his true worth.    As the friend looked out of the little window and watched the cloud of dust behind the relative’s car disappear, he said, “They should have got to know him better.

    What is the greatest treasure in your life?  Is it your job, your home, your family, or maybe a bank account?   I suspect most of us would say it is God.  But we can go day by day and not draw near to him.  We have this great and mighty God in our life.  He is roaring lion.  God is a being of war.  God is mighty and all powerful.  He is also love.  I am reminded of John where Jesus said without me you can do nothing.  At times I think I can handle whatever the task is in front of me.  Sometimes we think we can run our life and that is so not true.    Sometimes we miss the true treasures in our life.  We see the problems in life and do not see how God is using them in our life.  God often tries to speak to us through those difficulties.  With the Lord’s help we can have joy and peace in the midst of difficult times.    

   Paul tells us to work out our salvation in this passage.  The Holy Spirit is in us.  He is our comforter and helper.   Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light.  The Holy spirit is our guide.  We are children of the most high God.  We are royalty though we often forget it.  Our Father has created everything and owns it all.  He is the one who is ever present with us.  God has put a great asset in our lives with the Holy spirit.  We are blessed.  In Ephesians 1 Paul writes that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  Do not feel sorry for your self today.  Do not spend your time wallowing in a self-pity party.  Shake off the world and let your eyes and spirit rest on your savior who loves you and died for you.  Look on this one that is altogether lovely.  Yes, the world is a mess and it is not getting better. 

   God inspired Paul to write work out your salvation.  Work at it.   What does it mean to work?  Some work is very hard.  It requires our attention.  Have you ever sat in a meeting and fell to sleep.   That can be a bad career move.  I have done it.  When we think of work we might also think of labor.  Labor to bring out this salvation that God has put in you.  That means we apply our self.  There is discipline and thought that goes into that.  God has put good things in the Christian and we are told to live it and bring that out. 

     Work out your salvation.   Well how do we do that.  For one thing we must obey God’s holy Spirit in us.  As we grow in God he will ask us to do things that we may not lie.   God may ask us to give money or step out of our comfort zone.  God can speak into your life and ask you to forgive someone and to let the anger and bitterness out of your life.  The Spirit may deal with some of your relationships your spouse or child or a coworker that you are having trouble with.  His commandments are for our good.  Work our your salvation.  Do not lay around.  If we love Jesus we will keep his commandments.  The Christian that loves Jesus invites him to speak not his or her life. 

     How do you work out your salvation?  Well obedience and submission to the Holy Spirt as we just mentioned is important.  How does the bible tell us to live?   We should fill our life with God in this physical world.  We need to see the spiritual and the unseen.   We see in the scripture that we should pray without ceasing.  The Christian that loves Jesus is in communication with Him.   That happens through prayer through worship and through being in God’s word.  .   All of the goodness of God is in the Christian.  All of heavens assists are in us.  Paul tells us in this passage to work out our salvation.  Allow the holy spirit to work through us.  Allow that life out of us and you will turn the world right side up. 

     We are not saved by works but we are to work.  Faith without works is dead.  We want a living faith.  Christians want a living relationship.  We want a vital living growing communion with the Almighty.  That is what excites and fills us.  Paul or the HS is telling us to work out that which is in us.   God is in us.   We are the temple of God.   Love, joy and peace are inside of the Christian but it does not always work itself out.    We have an old sin nature.   Paul tells us to work out what God has put in us.   We have things to do.  We have a responsibility. 

    God tells us work out that life that I have put in you.   Be that servant.   Be that person of prayer.   Be that person of the bible.  How do you work out your salvation, God says in fear and trembling?   That does not mean that you dread God.  It is not a coward type of fear either nor a fear that stops you or a fear that paralyzes you.  Work out your salvation in fear and trembling.   When you are afraid you are very involved with whatever is happening.  I think there is certainly an element of knowing that we can sin and a fear that we will depart from God.  Should we tremble and be afraid because we can leave God?   The song writer said prone to wonder Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love.  When is the last time you trembled?   What did that mean to you?   God is saying pay attention to your salvation.   Spend some time on it.  If we did that we would stay away from a lot of things that are not good for us. 

      How do we work out our salvation we ask Lord what do you want me to do?   Sometimes we get something in our head that is noble and good and we ask God to bless it.   We need to hear from Him.   Lord what is your will for me?     Christians can be guilty of thinking that they would like to do this or that and then we ask God to bless it.   Lord I would like to lead a bible study.   That is a good and worthy goal but is that God’s will for you.   We often make plans and say Lord you bless my plans.   Does God have any responsibility to bless my plans probably not.  We certainly do not need to be afraid to miss God’s plans for us.  He is willing to lead and guide us.  Fear should not stop us from stepping out and doing something for God.  

    There is more great news in this passage.   In Philippians 2 right after Paul writes work out your salvation Paul or the HS tells us that God is working in us to will and act according to his good purpose.    The HS does work in us.   Wow that is great.   I don’t have to do this all by myself.  I am not alone in my walk with God.   He is in me and with me.  I have a helper.   I have a friend.  I have a teacher.  I have someone to comfort me.   The Holy Spirit helps us pray and prays through us to the Father.  The Holy Spirit will teach and guide us.   Jesus said he will help us remember.   The spirit works in us to accomplish his will and purpose for our life.  We need to remember that his ways are not the same as man’s ways.  The interesting point is that the Christian cannot walk the godly walk without the Holy Spirit.  We do not have the power nor the resources to do that.  God works in you.   Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. 

    You cannot force yourself to live the Christian life.   At times we have to let go and let God.   There are times when the sweet HS will lead you to just rest and worship.  There are times when we just enjoy his presence.  There are times just to relax even if we are doing something.      

God is at work in your life and in this world.  We can say as the song writer wrote “God will make a way when there seems to be no way.    He works in ways we cannot see.    He will make a way for me.   He will be my guide, walking close beside my side.   With love and strength for each new day He will make a way for me.”   God is doing some amazing things today.   We can listen to him and hear his voice speak to us.   God desires to communicate with you.   God can open doors and God can shut doors for you.   If God opens and shuts them then no man or anything else can interfere with God’s plans.  We can rest in God.   We can trust God to lead us.   He is working in your life.   Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them and teach them.   The Holy Spirit would comfort them.   God is at work in our life.   That is good news.  God is looking out for your best interests.  

     God changes lives.   God is at work in this world.  God is at work in his church.   God can change a person around in minutes.   Saul who became Paul was changed in minutes from hating Jesus and hating Jesus followers to being a lover of Jesus followers and being a follower of Jesus himself.   That is really neat.   What is God’s plan for your life?   Well one thing is for sure God is making Christians more like Jesus.   We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus.   That is not an easy process so we can expect some challenges along the way.   God wants you to be like Jesus.   God is more interested in what you are and then what you do.   Man looks on the outward part but God looks on the heart.   God sees your heart today and you know something - God is not finished with you yet.    We can rest tin that.   We can be joyful about that.   God is at work in the Christians life to will and to do of his good pleasure.   Do you want to bring pleasure to God today?   Then trust God and be thankful.  Have you submitted those things that you labor over and are trying to change in others to God?     Have you submitted to God and trusting God for the things you want changed in your life?   Have you asked God what he wants in those issues?  

   Then Paul writes do everything without complaining arguing so that you may become blameless and pure.  God is telling us to watch the tongue.  There is so much negativity today.  James tells us that the tongue is like a fire.  We curse and bless and we should not do that.  What we say impacts our witness.  The children of God are to be without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.  It was crooked and depraved in those days also.  The child of God should stand out.  There should be purity and light joy and love that flows from the Christians life.  The world should able to see Jesus in you as you work our your salvation.