I. You can be sure of heaven because salvation is a work of God from first to last.
A. Notice the subject of the sentence in verse 6: He. And the he refers to God. God began the good work of salvation in their lives. And what God begins, He will finish. What happened to Lydia when Paul preached to her the good news about Jesus from Acts 16:14: “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” It was the Lord who opened her heart. The certainty of my salvation does not depend on me and my will and my work.
B. The assurance of my salvation rests on the fact that God has willed my salvation. God has begun the work of my salvation. And God will finish it. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, you are just as sure of heaven today as though you have already been there for 10,000 years. God finishes what He starts. Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, whether your neighbors love you or hate you, it is well with your soul. Your future is certain.
II. You can be sure of heaven because of outward evidence that you are a child of God.
A. When you are a Christian, it will be evident in your life. It’s impossible to hide the fact that you are a Christian. People can see it. The Philippians showed evidence for their Christian faith in their partnership with Paul in the Gospel (vs. 5). They sacrificed their time, their money and their comfort in order to spread the Gospel.
B. But what is the Gospel? It is not about your good works. The Gospel is about Jesus’ work. Jesus did the work we could not do in pleasing God by dying on the cross for our sins. He took our punishment. And he rose from the dead to show us that we who love Jesus will also rise from the dead. A jailer in Philippi had asked Paul about how to be saved. Here is the Gospel that Paul told him in Acts 16:31: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Put your faith in Jesus. It’s your faith in Jesus that will save you. That is the Gospel.
III. You can be sure of heaven because of your love for others.
A. The primary outward evidence that you are a child of God is love. We are sure we are going to heaven because we love other people like Jesus loved. Jesus put it this way in John 13:35: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” What was the evidence that Paul loved the Philippians? In Philippians 1:7 he says, “It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart.” And the Philippians showed their love for Paul and for others by partnering with Paul in spreading the Gospel.
You can be sure of heaven no matter how dark your circumstances. It is God’s work.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by Moises Silva, D.A. Carson, J.A. Motyer and Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) God finishes what He starts. How does this comfort you when you face trials in life, or you are particularly aware of your own sinfulness or weakness?
2) What is some outward evidence that the Bible mentions as signs that someone is a Christian? Can you see such evidence in your life?
3) Do the people who know you best say that you love them? What is the connection between love and sharing the Gospel?