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!
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)
- To want to do His will – your desire to know and do God’s will is proof that God is working in you!
- 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)
- 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.
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!
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