Sep 15 2019 - Philippians 2 - Growing in Obedience
15th September 2019
Joan: Brothers and sisters, we have received a letter from Paul and I would like to read it today.
In your relationships with one another... Philippians 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,
6 who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave,
by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature.
8 He humbled himself,
by becoming obedient to the point of death
—even death on a cross!
9 As a result God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
11 and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
We’ve read that many times. I wanted Joan to read it this morning – Some scholars believe that it was one of the first Christian creeds - written almost like a hymn to be sung. For me, it is one of the richest summaries of the gospel in the New Testament – this passage more than any other brings out the fullness of what Jesus did for us
Phil. 2:12 12 So then (therefore – based on our understanding of what Christ has done for us – here is what you need to do – because Jesus became Man and became obedient to death on a cross – as that as the foundation – here is how we live and think: ), 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.
In the middle – work out your salvation – there is a lot of discussion about that. Because of all Jesus has done for you – your focus is on faithfulness and obedience. That is our motivation – to be faithful and to obey – and to do it with fear and trembling. That can come across as being afraid – but not about punishment or judgment – Jesus has already taken our punishment – but rather – remember that you are living in God’s presence. It is like when the teacher is in the room – well, used to be – but when a substitute came in – all you know what broke loose!
But he is saying – all the more – we live in the presence of God – so we should be obedient – like Jesus was obedient – laying his rights down. Now He is enthroned – and in His presence we live and dwell – so our faithfulness and obedience should be of the fear and trembling – you know how when you are with someone who loves you – and yet you are messing up? It is a whole different type of fear.
Faithfulness and obedience can overwhelm us because – sometimes it is hard to be faithful and obedient. We hear verses like that – and we look at all the ways we have not been faithful and obedient and we get down on ourselves.
For each of us – there is usually an area we find ourselves falling in. No matter how hard we try – we blow it and blow it – and we can be overwhelmed by it – and that is where vs. 13 comes in – it is God who works. We cannot even do the smallest obedience without the power of God to help us do it.
We think – I can’t do this! Exactly! You can’t do it without the power of God living inside of you – enabling it to take place.
Back to the ‘work out your salvation’ – I thought if you were saved you were saved – not work for your salvation – but I think something bigger is at work here – The word SALVATION – going back to Genesis 3 – Adam and Eve are living in this wonderful garden – and they are not to eat of the tree – and they do it – but God enters in and provides salvation for them. Then the rest of history is humanity failing and God providing salvation.
As we go back to the Bible Project – the biggest way salvation is used – is in the beginning of Exodus – its biggest meaning – BEING RESCUED FROM SLAVERY. The nation of Israel is enslaved to Egypt – and God’s work begins with rescuing them from slavery – He redeems them. Slaves could buy their way out of slavery – and God purchased for them their freedom.
Now, when we get to the New Testament – (and us) – What we see – slavery is a metaphor for sin and death and evil and darkness. That is humanity’s slavery – and Jesus rescued us from slavery. He purchased our freedom – by emptying Himself – not regarding equality with God something to grasp, but being obedient to death on a cross.
The Theology of Salvation - I have a little book here – and I will give you six things – Take one of them – aspects of salvation – take one and dwell on it this week – whichever one fits best for you.
First – our sin has been paid for – so we are forgiven. Salvation means you are forgiven.
Everything has been forgiven
Second – Salvation – we have been reconciled to God – our relationship has been restored – we live in a right relationship with God. Your relationship has been made right with God. Have you ever been estranged from someone – or there is tension and this break? You feel it – and it is in the air – and you know the feeling when it is restored. That is what happened with us and God.
We have been justified – made right in God’s eyes – We say – oh, no, I’m not – but He says – YOU ARE – because of the cross! You are holy and righteous. Sometimes the last thing we feel is that we are holy – we feel unholy – but God has made us righteous in His eyes – and He would never want you to think of yourself in any other way.
Fourth – Because of our salvation – we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit – He has come to live inside us and to empower us! Maybe that is what you need!
Fifth – our identity has been transferred – darkness to light
Sixth – the image of God has been restored in us – we HAVE been transformed. It will take our lifetime or until He returns – but it has taken place in our lives – the transformation has already happened – we are dead to sin – alive in Christ!
Focus on one of those this week.
Some things to think about in our daily experience and disciplines.
We need to live in His power – to spend our day, taking moments to discover God’s presence working in our lives – He IS present and He IS working – even in your most mundane tasks – and it is a matter of us believing that.
Focus on a growing love relationship with God focus on His love for us! God loves me and wants to have a relationship with me.
Sanctification – the transformation of a person at the heart level. We focus on behavior – but God’s first focus is our heart – we are being transformed day by day
Fourth – to learn how to live in a way as to make His kingdom come and His will to be done. How do I make that part of my activity? How would I do this lousy job - if I was doing this lousy job… in heaven?
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
Well, that’s convicting – without complaining or arguing.
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
Well, that makes it even worse! We need to watch out for all complaining and arguing. But I don’t think Paul’s main concern here is about complaining about the weather or about your job – but rather – there is a specific complaining and arguing going on in this chapter – complaining about others in the church and arguing with others in the church – when he says – so you may be blameless – innocent – HOLY? To be holy – all I have to do is not complain? He is talking about complaining about other followers of Christ – and the world in which we live, complaining is the norm – complaining about the neighbor who doesn’t kill his weeds, or the neighbor who uses bad chemicals to kill his weeds….
When we complain and argue – it is like taking fresh water and throwing dirt in it – but rather – you won’t be like the world, but …
, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
Your witness is preserved – it becomes bright – when there isn’t complaining.
Jesus said it this way – by this shall all men know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.
It is okay to disagree and have differences of opinion – but we live in a world that doesn’t understand that – the ability to have disagreements in a civil way is almost unheard of – so if we learn, we are beaming lights.
There is a destructive power to complaining and arguing. A couple of real destructive ways – when we go to third parties to do the complaining. It is always critical to go to the person who has given offense. The only caveat being – if there is some type of abuse – then you get everyone involved. When it is a personal offense – someone says something that offends you – only one thing is allowed – and that is to talk directly to that person. There is that caveat.
It works out – in church ministry – if someone is leading a ministry and you don’t like something they are doing – you talk to them – in love! How novel! Appear as lights in the world – two themes – gospel partnership p- by doing this, we become gospel partners with Jesus – living without complaining and arguing.
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.
Holding fast – firmly – a broad term – the key is not which term to choose – but the next words – the word of life – the word of the gospel – the word of Jesus – and it is that to which we must hold fast, firmly. Maintaining the truth of the gospel – proclaiming the gospel – and it happens in different ways – Chris shared, Sue shared, Jeff shared – and they all did it in different ways.
17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,
What does that remind you of? What Joan read – Jesus was emptied – we get poured out. Paul will give examples – Jesus was poured out for others -
I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
That doesn’t mean, oh yeah, rejoice with me – he is saying – you need to be poured out for the sake of others. For Cindy and I – the best illustration I can think of – being poured out in the sacrifice and service of our kids – there are times where our kids – because of our love for them – it is like we are being poured out for them – for their well-being. Our lives just pour out.
That experience is one we are to have – not just with our family = but with the family of God.