Monthly Archives: September 2016

WORKING OUT YOUR SALVATION


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When light comes in, darkness scurries away. Light and darkness are mortal enemies, they cannot stay together in one place. Just as east is opposite of west, so light and darkness are mutually exclusive.

Darkness is nothingness. Darkness is the absence of light.

You once lived in darkness… maybe you still do. You lived in darkness and feared the light, though it had a strange attraction to you at times. You loved darkness instead of light, because your works were evil. You ran from light because you did not want those evil activities, thoughts, intentions, motives to be revealed to others, but especially you did not want them revealed to God. We were all like cockroaches that scurried madly for the darkness when the light was flipped on.

All of that changed when you were rescued! As you were sinking in the thick slime of sin, lost in absolute darkness, unable to escape, terrified the Rescuer came looking for you! He searched for you in the darkness by shining a light and He found you. He lifted you up, and He set your feet on the rock, and he cleaned you, and he clothed you with His righteousness, and he gave you a new heart instead of the dead one, and he opened your blind eyes! He saved you, rescued you from destruction and suddenly you could see the beauty of your Rescuer!  You had passed from death to life, from darkness to light!

Now what?

Paul is going to answer that question in our text today.

“Therefore”(12) – in light of the exaltation of Christ as LORD to whom every knee will bow and every tongue admit/confess that He is Sovereign Lord… In light of His example of humility and exaltation, there is something that you must do! There is a response that is required from everyone who sees the exalted Christ! What is that response? Obedience!

What Paul is about to share with them is based upon His relationship with them, and their relationship to truth (12).

  • Relationship of love – “Beloved.” (12) Paul’s instructions and exhortation are based upon his genuine care for them. He wants them to experience God’s best!
  • Relationship of obedience – “obeyed.” They had always obeyed when Paul was around, now the call is to continue to obey though Paul is not around!

Application: How often do you obey only when someone is looking? Are you the same Monday as you are Sunday morning? Were you the same this past Friday night at 9pm as you are right now?  Consistent obedience to Christ and the gospel is a mark of spiritual life and spiritual growth.

This is hard! It is a battle everyday against the lusts of my flesh, the lust of my eyes, and the pride of life! Through the power of the Holy Spirit I must put to death the deeds of my sinful nature (Ro.8:13)

THE ABILITY TO WORK OUT OUR SALVATION – REGENERATION

God’s work in you is all grace!

He saves us by grace – For it is by grace that you have been saved by faith… (Eph.2:8) We were slaves of sin, now we are set free to be slaves of Christ. (Ro.6:19-22)

He sanctifies us by grace! Sanctification is the process of making something holy. In the life of a Christian it is the work of the Spirit to make us holy, like Jesus Christ. (Ro.15:16, I Co.6:11, 1Pt.1:2)  The work of the Spirit using the Word of God as a tool to shape us to be like Christ. (2Thes.2;13)

God’s work in you produces three outcomes (13)

  1. To want to do His will – your desire to know and do God’s will is proof that God is working in you!
  2. To have the ability to do His will – desire and ability are not the same thing! It is God who imparts supernatural power in you do actually do it! (1Thes.4:1-7)
  3. To have the right motive and attitude in doing His will – His good pleasure! Our pride wants to do the will of God and get the glory for it! We exist for His will, for His pleasure! Remember the “bow and tongue confess that He is LORD” bit? (Lk.17:7-10)

THE ATTITUDE AS WE WORK OUT OUR SALVATION – REVERENCE

Attitude of fear

Who among us would not be in awe if we met Queen Elizabeth of England? Reverence and awe in the presence of deity. (Rev.1:10-17)

Attitude of trembling

To shake with fear – He is King! He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! Don’t mess with Aslan, he is not a tame lion! We work out our salvation with a healthy understanding of who it is we are obeying! This is a reaction born from deep respect and love.

THE ACTION IN WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION – REJECT

Reject a complaining spirit

Stop it! Whatever you are facing, whatever you are going through, stop complaining! Grumbling dissatisfaction at disappointed expectations. Grumbling about whatever – this is the opposite of thankfulness. ILL: Often those who have the most, grumble the loudest.

Reject disputing

Disputing means to argue,  to have an argumentative spirit. Some of you like a fight! You argue with your husband or you argue with your wife – Stop it!

Application: Some of you have long-standing arguments with others and it continues because you know you are right and the are wrong!… and the fact that you are not humble!

CONCLUSION:

What are the outcomes of this process?

You become like Christ (15a)

  • Blameless children – if others say something about you, it cannot stick to you because there is nothing there for it to adhere to. (1Ti.3:2,10; 5:7; 6:14)
  • Harmless children – no ability to retaliate.
  • Faultless children – without blemish! Without reproach.

You shine as lights (15b)

  • Context – This is taking place in an environment that is darkness, where men who love evil deeds hate light, and you break in as a light shining brightly.
  • Contrast – it is a crooked environment – they don’t do anything straight. It is a perverse environment – morally, ethically.

You experience great joy (16-18)

  • Paul’s joy – the bottom line evaluation of ministry is, are people living out their calling? It is not the profession (lips) it is the living it out (life).
  • Their joy! There is deep lasting abiding joy in being God’s child!

You might be a Christian here this morning asking the question: How does all this happen for me this week?

Hold fast the word of God! (16a) Make God’s word your authority. Determine that you will humble yourself and obey whatever He tells you in His word! In every and any situation that you may face – you will obey Him!

You cannot become like Jesus Christ apart from the Word of God. Cling to the Word as though your life depends upon it… because it does!

This is what it means to work out your salvation!  Working out of salvation is something worth giving your life for! Paul was being “poured out as a drink offering” on the alter of their faith and obedience. (17a) Are you giving your life in this way? Are you living in such a way that you are working out the salvation that God put within you in the context of this body of believers?

You can listen or download free audio of the sermon preached at Kitwe Church here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=918161054141

THINK LIKE JESUS


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The Health guru says, “You are what you eat.” But that is not correct.   “You are what you think!” The attitudes of your inner man is what you really are: “As a man thinks in His heart, so is he!” (Pr.23;7)

Christians are to live with each other in such a way that the reality of our salvation is fleshed out in the forum of human relationships within the body of Christ before a watching world. (Phil. 1:27).

There is an indication in our text that disunity within the congregation at Philippi threatened the effectiveness of their gospel outreach in Philippi.

  • “that I may hear that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the gospel (1:27)
  • “Fulfill my joy by being likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (2:2)
  • “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (2:14)
  • Euodia and Syntche are implored to be of one mind in the Lord (4:1-3)

What follows is a pointed reminder that living worthy of Jesus is to live in unity with one another.  In our text Paul makes it clear to pull that off you have to THINK LIKE JESUS! This passage is about an example of “worthy living” that is down at our level. An example that we can grasp, one we must follow!

We are naturally bent toward self-centeredness and pride. We are so prone to demand rights – to struggle and fight to gain some advantage we believe is rightfully ours. This has caused untold harm to the church and hindered the proclamation of the gospel through the centuries.

The great tragedy of Paul’s day and the great tragedy of our day is that when God’s church is dominated by strife, pride and self-seeking the gospel suffers! We are diverted from issues of critical importance.

Paul points us to Christ as our example of true humility, servanthood and obedience.

THE HUMILITY OF HIS COMING TO EARTH (5-6)

Jesus refused to demand what was rightly His.

Jesus Christ is God (Heb 1:3). He shares the nature, the attributes, the person and the glory of God Himself. He is one with the Father, co-existant, co-equal in every way! This is the mystery of the Trinity – three persons, one God!

Jesus did not hold onto what was rightfully His.  When He came to earth He did not cease being God, rather He laid aside the “form” that is, the outward manifestation of the inner reality.  Jesus  took off the robe of glory and donned a robe of flesh!  What Humility!

He left the place & position that was rightfully His

Jesus Christ did not hold onto His glory as God as something He used for His own advantage. The pre-incarnate Christ was God in all majesty and glory yet he refused to demand what was rightfully His.

Instead Christ set that glory aside in heaven, and came down to take upon Himself flesh and blood. Rather than viewing His position with the Father as something to protect and a right to demand, He saw it as the qualification for Him to be the Savior of His people.

He left the throne of heaven for this wicket planet – imagine what the all-seeing eye of God and the all-knowing mind of God has seen on planet heart in the past 48hrs! (Rom. 1:20-32). The Cesspool of Humanity.

Application:

  1. How often do we hold tightly to our rights, we make demands based upon the perception that we have our own worth, achievements, position, place.
  2. We must live in humble obedient submission to the Father’s will, accepting from the times of disgrace, abuse and trials. It is through this that God prepares us and qualifies us as servants of Christ.

THE HUMILITY OF HIS SERVANTHOOD (7)

The form He took – a Bondservant (7b)

“Taking the form of” term used of button on outside clothing. He takes of His robe of glory and puts on the clothing of a slave!  This form was both in appearance and also in being. He was not identified by his halo and glowing face – he was identified by his servant spirit. (Lk 17:7-10)

His commitment to that form was clearly demonstrated when in the upper room He washed the disciples feet. The disciples right up to the cross argued about positioning in the kingdom. Jesus Christ washed their feet (Jn. 13:14-16).

  • You will serve the least
  • You will serve everyone

The humanness He embraced (7c)

Christ, the King of Glory came to our dirty little planet and made himself human. Born into a world dominated by the filth of unregenerate men, filthy passions, debased motives, filthy agendas. Like dogs gleefully rolling on a rotting carcass man revels in their sin.

It was into this world that Jesus Christ came, bringing Himself willingly and completely into our world – a world that despises the authority of God, rejects the laws of God, throws off all Divine restraint to madly pursue sin and drink it to the fullest.

Into this world Jesus came – what amazing humility!

HUMILITY OF HIS OBEDIENCE (8)

His humility was lived out in obedience to the father (8a)

The agony of obedience – Jesus knew what the cross meant! He was sorrowful unto death! (Mk 14:32-35)

“Jesus was about to be plunged into the raw sewerage of humanity to be defiled and separated from God the Father for the first time in all eternity!” – Chopo Mwanza

The horror of bearing the wrath of God – He would have to face the wrath of Almighty God upon Himself. The agony of bearing God’s displeasure.

His humility embraced obedience all the way to the cross (8b)

In the world of men it meant shame! Jesus Christ died one of the most scandalous deaths known to man. Humanity has not created a more degrading or loathsome experience than a cross. In Roman Society the mention of the cross was considered an obscenity.

If the last thought was not enough to cause us to fall to our knees and worship think of this: His humility was not something being forced upon Him by external forces, but it was His own doing!

As a real man He humbled Himself, he withheld His innate power and submitted in obedience to the will of the Father. This obedience was “even unto death.”

Christ’s self-humiliation brought ultimate obedience (2 Cor. 5:21, I Jn. 2:2)

CONCLUSION (9-11)

Let’s review what we have seen about Christ in this passage:

  • He humbled himself by setting aside His glory with the Father
  • He humbled himself by serving His Father
  • He humbled himself by obeying the Father

What now?  (9-11)

Therefore, God has highly exalted Him:

  • Exalted at the right hand of the Father
  • Exalted to a place of honor
  • Exalted through the worship of all created things
  • Exalted through the submission of all creation to Him as LORD – everyone will bow and everyone will confess!

What is the result? The glory of God the Father! (11c)

God is calling you to love justice, love kindness and to walk humbly before your God. (Micah 6:8). You might be thinking – that will require grace!  “But He gives more grace, Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Jas. 4:6)

When you think like Jesus Christ you will:

  1. Choose Humility: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (3-5)
  2. Obey fully: This is a call to fulfill the command to live a life worthy of the gospel – the path for obedience is clearly spelled out in Christ.
  3. Serve faithfully: The message of Philippians is for all of us who are prone to ambition and vainglory: “in humility count others better than yourself, let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also the interests of others.”

Will you bow before Jesus now and acknowledge Him as your LORD?

You can listen to this sermon, or download it as an mp3  here:  http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=918161121232