Scripture: Philippians 2:12-18
I. You and God together need to work out your salvation.
A. Which is it, Paul? Is it me who works or is it God who works? And Paul’s answer is yes. It’s both. God works and you work (vs. 12 and 13). We work out. God works in. This means that God is the one who, as always, takes the initiative in our salvation. So, because God works, we work. God works in our salvation in our past, our present and our future – in our justification, in our sanctification, and in our glorification. We see our glorification in 1 John 3:2: “We know that when (Jesus) appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
B. The way that God works in our present sanctification (making us more holy) is spelled out in vs. 13: both to will and to work for his good pleasure. God gives us the will and the power to obey Him. What is your responsibility in living a holy life? Work out (vs. 12). It will take a lot of spiritual sweat to become holy. Why is God working so hard to work holiness in us? Moses said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7:7-8: “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you.” God loves you because He loves you. He will always love you and work in you to make you holy as He is holy.
II. You need to become increasingly holy at a practical level.
A. Do not to grumble or dispute (vs. 14). Watch your mouth! Don’t be complaining about what God is allowing in your life. And don’t divide the church by arguing. You are the light. So be the light (vs. 15). Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
B. We are also practically holy by holding fast the word of life (vs. 16). This not only means that we hold on tight to the Gospel, but we pass it on to other people. The Gospel is the word of life. It both possesses life and it gives life. We need to speak the Gospel truth to others so that they might have life also. We are God’s holy people – set apart for Him with a mission to bring others to salvation. Proclaiming this message cost Jesus his life on the cross. And what was it costing Paul? Paul recognized that his preaching of the Gospel could also cost him his life (vs. 17).
What is next for us as Christians is to follow in the footsteps of our crucified Savior.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by Moises Silva, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson & Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) How much work are you putting into growing spiritually? What are your next steps in becoming more holy?
2) Why does God take such pleasure in seeing us become more holy? Does it encourage you that God is always at work in you to bring you to holiness?
3) When are you most likely to grumble, criticize, and complain? What would it sound like for you to thank God and praise Him in this type of moment instead?