Philippians (07): Salvation Workouts

Date: 9/2/2012
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Community
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Philippians (07): Salvation Workouts

Philippians 2:12-18 - 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; 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 2:15 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, 2:16 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. 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 2:18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Work Out Your Salvation Independently (vv12-13). After the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation poetically drawn as the reason for the unity, Paul returns to the exhortation. The central exhortation is the “work out your salvation.” This has reference to the congregation and has implications for the individual, rather than primarily being about individual soteriology. He is urging that this fractious congregation show their salvation through unity because God is working among them. Specifically he is enjoining them to do so without his personal presence. They need to take responsibility for themselves rather than be dependent on his own personal ministry to them. Spiritual growth in the congregation should not depend on the preacher but be taken up independently.

Work Out Your Salvation Indivisibly (vv14-16). Just as in the first part of the chapter, now again he returns directly to the habits of personal conflicts which divide them. They are not to grumble against one another or “dispute.” They must put away disputing, bickering, altercating, arguing, debating, and the pettiness which fuels this. They are to show forth their deliverance from this crooked and perverse generation by their love and harmony. In order to “like stars in the universe” (NIV), their temptation to divide from one another must be overcome so that each of them individually, like candles must come closer and closer to show greater light together. An individual candle does not put out much light but a congregation full of them brought together shines brightly.
Work Out Your Salvation in Hilarity (vv17-18). As they walk together and as Paul is being “poured out” (just as Jesus emptied Himself) so they can rejoice as well. The term for “share your joy” in vv17-18 (sugkairo) means “to enjoy a state of happiness or well-being together with someone else” Louw-Nida. Paul says elsewhere “for God loves a cheerful [hilaros] giver.” Paul is just such a hilarious giver of himself and they should share this state of joy with him. This will have the effect of unity and subduing their disharmony.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more