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Work It Out!


"12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome! Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
We are so glad to have all of you here.
We would like to welcome our brothers and sisters, who have come to join us from Poland, Oman, Indonesia, Germany and Cyprus.
Please know that you are in our prayers.
As Christians, there is unity in diversity. Meaning we don’t have to agree on everything. We can, in fact, agree to disagree. However, in the essentials, there must be unity. And in the non-essentials, there must be liberty. And in all things, let there be charity or love. We must agree on the principles of our faith, on the essential teachings, like the Trinity or that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But on personal preferences, we can disagree, as long as we disagree agreeably. We need not divide over non-essential issues such as our choices of music, or our preference of contemporary or traditional worship styles, what type of donuts to serve. We must learn to major on the major and minor on the minor. 
I believe on of the greatest expressions of our faith, is our attitudes. We’re children of God, on the other hand, there is often a very clear separation. Beloved, we are to stand united for the truth and it is high time to call for the church to focus on what they have in common in Christ and their relationship bound up together with Him. As Christians, we do not need to "try" to be united. We are already united because of Jesus Christ. And if ever we are to agree on one thing, let it be that we are one because of Christ. The Christian life is to be lived by "Incarnation." What do I mean by living the Christian life by incarnation? It means that the person of Christ lives within us, to give us power to live the life that God expects of us.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank for Your Word for us today. Thank You for the clarity and understanding the Holy Spirits provides us. Bind it tightly to our hearts, let no one leave today, without being transformed by it. 
Lord, we thank You that You have called us together in this wonderful time of worship, what a great honor and privilege we've been blessed with. Thank You for calling us to be as instruments in the world who, by virtue of our humility, our holiness, our faithfulness to proclaim the gospel, our joy and our trust in You. Father, we pray that no matter how difficult it becomes, no matter what challenges we face, we will remain forever, faithful, obedience to You. That our lives would reflect Your glory to the world.
We pray this in Christ's name

Today's Message: Work It Out!

Sometimes we need a refresher course in Christian conduct. The apostle Paul clearly understands that when he writes his letter to the Philippians. Paul wants to give them guidance in their Christian conduct. That is what Paul does and he tells them about living the Christian life. Paul has just finished presenting about the example of Christ. How Jesus went from being clothed in all the Majesty of God then stooping down, taking on humanity, Christ humbled Himself in obedience, obedience even to the point of death on a cross.
Our passage today, is on the obedience of Christ, the great example of Christ is connected to this passage that we are looking at here in Philippians 2:12-16. How then shall we live? I believe that we have the instruction we need here in Philippians chapter II.
Open your Bibles with me if you will to the second chapter in the book of Philippians, verses 12 through 16. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read. Philippians 2:12-16.

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."
In verse 1, Paul exhorts us to 'work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.' "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling." As a footnote, that is not the same as "working for" our salvation. That would be "salvation by works." 
We know that Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast." 
However, working out our salvation complements our faith based upon grace. There are some Christians, who attempt to use this passage as a "proof text" that we must work for our salvation. Lest we forget whom is Paul addressing as he writes this letter?? Those who are already Christians! The believers at the church at Philippi. 
In fact, in Philippians 1:1, he calls those who he is addressing "saints." Does this not clearly signify that they have already received Christ as Lord and Savior? Have they not been already been "set apart," which is the verb form of the word saint: Saints are set apart for something. Contrary to popular belief, saints are not "super Christians" who are persons officially recognized, especially by canonization, as being entitled to public veneration and capable of interceding for people on earth. 
Saints, in the biblical sense are people like you and me. We are "set apart" to be like Jesus Christ. And in our passage, we are "set apart" to be people marked by humility and obedience that leads to our ultimate exaltation and to unity as a body of Christians.

So Paul commands us to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling?" What exactly does Paul mean by that?

The key that unlocks the door to this question can be found in the words "work out." In the original Greek, the word katergazesthe means, "working something to completion." To work out our salvation "with fear and trembling" is to complete that which was already begun by the person and work of Christ on the cross. Since salvation is a gift, we must be good stewards of the gift of salvation that Christ already has given us purchased by His own blood. 

The Bible tells us that our righteousness is credited to us because of our faith, and if we have saving faith we will act upon that faith. James chapter 2 instructs us that faith without works is dead, right? Therefore, if we have received the gift of salvation by faith, as a natural outgrowth of that, we will act upon that faith—faith is not faith unless it is acted upon.

Many may say they have faith in Christ, but when it comes to obeying Him, keeping His commands, they just can’t seem to accomplish it. Beloved, dare I say that, that kind of "faith" is no faith at all. Faith is belief, which is put into action.

Taking this idea of faith a step further, when we set out to perform a certain task, we have its completion in mind. We don’t mow one part of the lawn and let the rest to grow into a prairie. Nor do we go on vacation to Disneyland and stop right in the middle of Oklahoma. Of course, we must drive on until we reach our destination in California.

In Paul’s day there were mines from which the Romans mined iron ore to make swords, chariots, armor, etc. They would work a mine until it was all tapped out. That is, getting every bit possible out of the mine. And the same can also be said of a field to harvest crops.

The is true in the nature of our Christian lives. Our purpose is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The context of our passage specifically talks of conforming ourselves in a humble and obedient manner. We must live out our lives until our task is completed that God has for us. We must have faith then that is put into action. We must carry on our faith to completion. And we must have faith to allow God power to work in our lives.

Here is where a knowledge of the original text comes in handy. The Greek word for "work out" is in the middle voice. When a word is in the middle voice in biblical Greek, the subject both performs and is affected by an action. Let’s put this in simpler terms. It means that God effects an action in us and at the same time we perform the same action. We allow God to work in our lives and simultaneously we must "work out" the Christian life through obedience and humility.

Let’s take another look at verse 12, but in a different light: Paul commands us "to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Although Paul addresses the Philippians church and the word "your" is in the plural, by application this verse places responsibility upon us also as individuals. Your mom, dad, brother or even your pastor cannot work out your salvation. It is up to you to live out the Christian life. The good news is that as you work out your salvation which is living out the Christian life, God is working within you.

Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them."

The point is this, God has a plan for our lives. We are called for a purpose. His purpose. God has created a plan for each person regardless of ability or stature.

Sadly, too many believers live their lives because of outside pressures or expectations of others. You cannot motivate anyone but yourself. You can certainly try to enhance or cause action in another person, however, you must create an atmosphere around them wherein they will want to motivate themselves.

There’s a common misconception among the church today, that we are not to be held accountable for our deeds. But if we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, and these good works were prepared for us to do beforehand, that tells me that God has a purpose for our lives and that means we’ve got work to do! Christianity is not a spectator sport.

There is yet another dynamic at work when we talk about our responsibility to perform good works. Unless we allow God to work in us as we live out the Christian life, we’ll never reach our full potential as believers. 

That’s what Paul means when in verse 13 he tells us that, "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Authentic Christianity is an inside job. Authentic Christianity is an inside job. We are instructed to live our Christian lives under God’s power in us. I don’t know about you, but I used to have a tendency to please people and to obey God when others are watching. I have, long since learned not to do that. The Bible tells us, we are to continually yield, surrender our lives to God’s power even when no one is watching. To work out our own salvation is fruitless and foolish if we do it solely under our own steam. 

That is like someone filling up the lawn mower with, never starting the engine, manually pushing it to mow the lawn. We simply wouldn't do that, because it would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? Yet, as Christians, we do this all the time. Relying upon own strength and resources when God’s unlimited power is readily available to us.

The Greek word from which we get the English word energy is used twice in vs. 13. It is from the root word, "energeó," which means to energize, working in a situation which brings it from one stage to the next, like an electrical current energizing a wire, bringing it to a shining light bulb.

Quite honestly, our own energy is measly and pathetic in comparison to God’s energy. The question then is "How do we tap into that power or energy?"

First, by having an accurate view of God. If I don’t believe God is on my side, I won’t trust Him. If I don’t trust Him, I will not be willing to sacrifice and I will also give in to the temptation to sin because I feel like I am missing out and don’t believe that God can fulfill me.

Next, by realizing that our righteousness comes from God and is invested in our lives when we surrender to Him by faith and trust with our life. Resting our hope and future entirely upon God. If our idea of God is a strict, unforgiving taskmaster, we won’t trust Him. On the other hand, If our idea of God is that He is too weak to work His sovereignty in our life, we also won’t trust Him.

We must completely yield our life to God by faith in Him – understand, our life is not our own. It was bought with a price. When we receive Christ into our lives we want Him to be our Savior but far too often, we do not want Him to be our Lord and Master. We want to be in charge of our own lives, and that simply not how it works!

II Timothy 2:3 "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." If you know anything about the military, no one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs, he wants to please his commanding officer. Whether we know it or not, when we received Christ as Lord and Savior, we enlisted in God’s army. And this enlistment is not for 4 years active duty and 4 years in the inactive reserves. It is a lifetime enlistment. And God is our Chief Commanding Officer.

In verses 14 and 15, Paul gives us an exhortation, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world"

We must be people committed to The Word of God and Prayer on a daily basis. We must continually yield ourselves to God with an attitude of obedience and humility. In less of an individual sense and more in a corporate sense, as in the local church. In other words, we must have a commitment to unity!

He adds in verse 16, "holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

I remember hearing a story about a church, that was so divided, it actually resulted in a split. While I no longer remember all of the gory details, the gist of the story is that the money was being allocated to the youth ministry for a tennis court. There was so much discord, disunity, arguing, fighting and complaining that the church split over the issue. And the news of that split spread like a wildfire.

And people wonder why more people don’t want to come to church. If that’s what is going on in the church, why would anyone want to be a Christian? And I could tell you story after story of similar incidents within the body of Christ, however I digress. We must think of unbelievers as stargazers. They are looking at the heavens with the hope of seeing bright beautiful stars and constellations—I personally stand in awe of God's majesty, when I gaze into the heavens on a clear night. However, when Christians can’t get along with those who are supposed to be in agreement, then the stars of the universe are obscured by the dark cloud cover of disunity and discord. 

Verse 16 complements his exhortation in verses 14 and 15. In the original Greek, the word used, "epechontes," means to hold fast, or hold firmly to. In other words, hold on firmly to the Word of Life.

The context here indicates that the Word of Life is none other than the person of Jesus Christ. We are to cling to Him, hold firmly to Him, to please Him, to follow Him. Because Jesus is the center of our faith and John 15 tells us "apart from Him, we can do nothing." Now, many people have mocked this saying, things like "Oh look! I can do this or that." However, the verse is saying apart from Christ, we can nothing of eternal, of any spiritual value. Jesus is the bonding element that keep Christians together in unity. The last thing Paul wanted was a church with discord. As they old saying goes, "A house divided cannot stand." And he reasons in verse 16 that when he meets God face to face, he wants to take pride in the fact that his people, the Philippians, were one in Christ. If not, then his work among them was literally "for nothing, empty, or in vain." 

In Closing....

As Christians, our objective is extremely clear: We are to live our lives in and under the power of God in us, in order to reach our dying world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be attractive to the lost so that they will want what we have.

Furthermore, the Christian life is to be lived in a spirit of joy, obedience, and humility by means of incarnation, where the person of Christ lives within us to give us power to live the life that God expects of us. Where our lives as believers are attractive to the lost in a spirit of unity. He has given us all the power to accomplish our purpose here on earth. The power comes from God, but the effort comes from you and me. Let us cling to the Word, that is, Jesus Christ so that we might also be glad and have joy. 

If Christ is not in you then it’s impossible to work out your salvation because you have not received the precious gift of salvation. Or, maybe, you have Christ in you but you prefer to work out your salvation in your own strength. 

Either way, you have a decision to make: the former is to receive the gift of salvation. Christ's atonement for your sin. The latter, is to finally completely yield yourself to God’s infinite power. Regardless of where you are at spiritually, God is ready to do a miraculous work in your life. 

All you need do is ask Him to.. I pray that you will do that today.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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