Sermon preached on January 19, 2020, by Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen. Worship series, "Won't you be my neighbor?" Sermon, "Walk the Walk." Scripture, Philippians 2:12-16.
Philippians 2:12-16 New International Version (NIV)
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.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
The phrase “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” in verse 12 may cause some confusion. Paul persistently taught that salvation is through faith and grace alone, and is in no way dependent on performing deeds. Now, he is telling the Philippians to work out their salvation? Verse 13 shows up who is the one at work. God is at work in us! We just need to say, “yes” to allow God to work in our lives. Paul wanted the church at Phillipi to cooperate with God’s work in them to produce a mature community of faith. Individual and communal spiritual maturity is the product of “working out” our salvation. “Fear and trembling” could also be understood as “awe and reverence.” John Wesley emphasized that embracing faith produced inward and outward holiness, also called sanctification. The process of sanctification is God at work in us and this holy work is worthy of our awe and reverence.
When we say, “yes” to the grace that God offers to us and then God works in us to reduce the sin in our life and increase the love in our life. One of the ways that we say “yes” to God at work in our lives is through daily prayer and scripture study.
“Prayer is not only a daily discipline that deepens our relationship with God; it also provides a way for us to be together in our aloneness.” (Hollingsworth, Amy. The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, p. 29. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)
- What are the ways that you say, “yes” to God at work in your life?
- What is one way you can feel God working in your life?
- Do your inner attitudes match your outward actions and vice-versa?
- Do you have different standards of behavior when you are with different people?
- How does your life shines like the stars in the sky?
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