Weds 1st November Philippians 2:12-18
Meditation on Philippians 2:12-18
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 fulfil 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 labour in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with
Paul starts this section with one of his powerful ‘Therefore…’
God also has his ‘therefore’ when, in verse 9, He respond to all that Jesus has done.
We read, ‘therefore God highly exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name which is above every name…’
Remember the Lord Jesus. He…
- released His grasp on what was His by right
- made Himself nothing
- humbled Himself
- became obedient to death
Therefore, God exalted Him.
And Jesus has left us an example that we should follow in His steps.
- THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN Verses 12-13
Paul’s ‘therefore’ is a follow-on to the obedience that Jesus showed in His life and death by challenging us to be obedient in our faith.
Paul refers to this obedience of faith in a couple of his other letters.
Romans 1:5 ‘Through Him and for His name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.’
Romans 15:18: ‘I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done.’
2 Corinthians 10:5: ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’
Paul refers to the demonstration of their obedience when he was with them. This involves obedience and work which will lead to growth as they ‘continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling’.
This does not mean any attempt to earn one’s salvation but rather the expression of our faith in terms of growth and development.
And we recognise that it is God who is working in our lives for His glory – ‘in order to fulfil His good purposes’.
We know that God is at work – as the following verses tell us.
Ezra 1:5: ‘Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.’
1 Corinthians 10:6: ‘There are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them in all men.’
Galatians 2:8: ‘For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.’
God’s work displays…
- activity – God is at work
- individuality – God is at work in you and me
- motivation – ‘to will and to act’ i.e. a combination of thought and action
- divine purpose – ‘His good purpose’
‘God made me for Himself, to serve Him here.’
- THE CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN Verses 14-16a
We are active because God is active in us.
He has done, and is doing, everything for us and in us – therefore we must do all we can in response.
But notice the conditions…
- without complaining
- without arguing
When we open up these two characteristics we see and hear selfish complaining, unbalanced criticism of small matters, impatience towards what is not understood, a grudging unwillingness to be helpful.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 ‘so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’.
When we have put aside these negative aspects, we can then show positive responses, whereby we become…
- children of God, without fault
- holding fast and holding out the word of life
And the place to demonstrate these positive characteristics is…
- in a ‘crooked and depraved generation’
- as we ‘shine like stars’
What a challenge. We cannot ‘become’ by ‘doing’. We ‘do’ because of who and what we have ‘become’.
We will bring light into the dark places as we ‘hold firmly to the word of life’.
- THE MOTIVATION OF THE CHRISTIAN Verses 16b-18
Paul is in prison. He is facing the possibility of imminent death – ‘poured out like a drink offering’.
Whatever he is facing, he is overjoyed at the outcome of his ministry – ‘I did not labour in vain’.
What is his motivation?
It’s the ‘day of Christ’. This is his driving force. This is what motivates him, wherever he is.
Here is our challenge as we think about the ‘day of Christ’.
As I write this, I am listening to the song, ‘When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.’
Two questions for us to think about:
- Am I ready for the ‘day of Christ’?
- Are others ready for the ‘day of Christ’, because of me / of us?