01/10/2017: WORKING OUT SALVATION
Imitating Christ’s Humility
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
- Sometimes God’s Grace works in ways that can alarm and confuse us (Jonah and the Ninevites) and seem unfair (workers in the vineyard)[i]. God’s Grace is generous and offered to everyone.
- The dilemma: despite this generosity of God, the reality often is that we must learn to live out our faith in a world that is hostile to God, not accepting of him. Learn to live in a world that has very little regard for the message of Jesus, a world that is not willing to embrace “Kingdom values” [love for one another, forgiveness, peace-making, etc!] but instead it promotes negative values fuelled by greed, anger, lies and deception and mistrust! Do you: Agree/Disagree?
- Useful quote: “Don’t start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening for the questions it asks…When you hear the question that is your question, then you have already begun to hear much.”[ii] Do you have a question?”
- How are we to react to, and deal with times of personal – even national – crisis? The answer (vs.5)
- Phil. 1:27 ff.: “stand firm in one spirit, contending as [one] for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you…you will be saved – and that by God…For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
Paul, and the Philippians, were facing deep challenges to their spiritual resolve; they needed each other – and so they encouraged each other to keep going despite the very real dangers they faced. How could they do that in the context of their crisis? How are you and I to keep going spiritually, in the face of personal and faith crisis? Guidelines below:
5.1: Paul urged them to keep the “same ”;
5.2: He encouraged them ! Do you have a song that teaches you lessons for your faith? Write the title down.
Paul told the Philippians the Story of Jesus in a Hymn (vs. 6-11)! Paul presents the story of Jesus in the adaptation of an early Christian hymn to capture and transform the imagination of his readers[iii].
The hymn has two sections:
- (vs. 6-8) – what Jesus did in humble to his Father’s calling in his life;
- (vs. 9-11) – what God did in to Jesus!
The key word that connects the sections together is… “ ” (vs 9).
- The people must “ “– and that in turn will lead to a united mind-set, which will in turn lead to unity of and !
[i] Sermon 24 September: Struggling with Grace: Rev. Tim Rist
[ii] Debi Thomas: A troubling Generosity: posted 17 Sept.2017 – www.journeywithjesus.net
[iii] Elizabeth Shively: http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1593
CONNECTING YOURSELF WITH THE STORY
- The transformed Gospel life style: a Christ Follower lives for , in the humble of others; and does not live . This is a dramatic change of thinking, and one that requires courage to accept and embrace for we live in a modern world that applauds and rewards unbridled self-enrichment.
- “working out our salvation” means – we make our faith obvious by our love worked out practically in Christian action! [James Ch.2]
- “The sacrificial love of God seeks to transform us into people who together as the body of Christ reflect the [image of God] in our world. This means that what we do must come out of who we are. We must firmly find our identity, our very being, in the heart of God and live out of this love in tangible ways in the world.”[i]
[i] Rev. Rob Fringer: March 14, 2016 in: http://www.aplainaccount.org/single-post/2016/03/14/Philippians-2511
REFLECTIONS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
What would happen to our community if we lived our faith in this way?
What would this revolutionary approach to life bring to a marriage and a family? What would change?