Work Out Your Own Salvation (Phil. 2:12-18)

Introduction

   Our salvation is the most important thing that any of us could obtain.  In the context the Apostle Paul places responsibility upon you and me as individuals.   

   Many denominational preachers claim there is nothing that a person has to do to be saved.  But they contradict the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to “work out your own salvation.”  Also, the Apostle Peter, in preaching to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, declared:  “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). 

   Some one might be prone to say:  “Well if that is so then a person would earn his salvation!”  To which we respond:  No that is not true an obedient believer would be submitting unto the Will of God.  Our Lord emphasized this truth when He said:  “…when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).   

Discussion

I.                   THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS NOT ELIMINATING OR MINIMIZING GOD”S PART IN MAN’S SALVATION.

A.     It is impossible for a man to save himself separate and apart from the Will of God. 

Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” 

John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

B.     Nevertheless, there are commands to obey to be saved by the gospel of Christ.  The Apostle Paul wrote unto the church of Christ at Rome:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).  Just what must one do to become a Christian?

1.      An alien sinner must believe! 

John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins:  for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” 

2.      He must repent. 

Acts 17:30-31, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” 

3.      He must confess Christ. 

Acts 8:35-39, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water:  and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still:  and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more:  and he went on his way rejoicing.” 

4.      And he must be baptized. 

1 Pet. 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” 

C.   

II.                BUT IN THE CONTEXT THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS WRITING TO THOSE WHO HAD ALREADY OBEYED THE GOSPEL.

A.     His emphasis was upon what a child of God must do in order to remain saved. 

Phil. 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” 

B.     He provided a real test of their conviction.  “...not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…

1.      We must obey from the heart, not simply to impress some one. 

Rom. 6:17, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” 

2.      We don’t need an audience to live the Christian life.

a.       However, God is always present. 

Heb. 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:  but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” 

C.     It is an individual responsibility:  “…work out your own salvation …

1.      We cannot obey by proxy.  That is, no one can live the Christian life for us.  Neither can we live the Christian life for others. 

Rom. 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” 

2 Cor. 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

 

2.      We can certainly encourage others and set a good example before them. 

Matt. 5:13-16, “Ye are the salt of the earth:  but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 

D.    …with fear and trembling.

1.      Our soul is worth more than the entire physical universe. 

Matt. 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” 

2.      It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God unprepared for eternity. 

Heb. 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” 

Heb. 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:  but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” 

III.             GOD WILL BLESS US AND ENABLE US TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE.  BUT WE MUST PLACE OUR TRUST IN HIM AND REMAIN FAITHFUL.

1.      By way of His inspired Word we are molded to be and to live according to His Will. 

Phil. 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 

IV.              MAY WE, AS CHILDREN OF GOD, REMAIN FAITHFUL AND HEAVEN WILL BE OUR HOME. 

1 Pet. 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith even the salvation of your souls.” 

Conclusion

   We must individually work out our salvation by submitting unto the commands of the Lord.  Begin now from where you are and continue to be faithful until God calls you home. 

--Dub Mowery

 

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