SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Weightier Matters

Part II

Work Out Your Own Salvation.

 

In our introduction, we discussed that in many cases, it is easy to lose sight of the weightier matters concerning true service to God. As an example, we began to look into an issue that plagues many Christians and churches today. Many problems face the Lord's church today; societies declining moral standards, Christian apathy, church decline, just to name a few. In many cases, today's churches have gone outside the box in order to stem the continued slide of the church; further sending them towards a corrupted separation from the original design.

In this series of lessons, it is our intention to prove that instead of a departure from the wisdom delivered by the Holy Spirit through Devine scripture, a whole hearted return to that wisdom is truly necessary in order to survive in a perverse and crooked generation!

This is the very message of our text, as introduced in our opening lesson.

Text:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing , 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life , so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

 

The church at Philippi was surrounded by an overwhelming Roman influence (being a Roman colony, heavily populated with retired military). This church was surrounded by paganism, intellectualism, and immorality (sounds familiar!). Yet, there is not one single rebuke in this letter of Paul. These Christians are presently doing it right! They possessed the Lord's government (elders, deacons, saints – 1:1 ), and were the only church that supported the Apostle Paul financially in his efforts in other places ( 4:15 -16 ). They were succeeding in their individual efforts and the legitimate work of the church ( Ephesians 4: 12 -16 ).

In the charge of Paul to allow the mind of Christ to be theirs ( 2:5 ), the instructions of our text inform these brethren just how to overcome in a perverse and crooked generation, and there is no doubt that these same instructions would be the exact same thing Paul would instruct the churches today!

Within the text are three specific instructions to these Christians that for us become the weightier matters that need to be explored, digested, and ultimately practiced (one thing to do, one thing not to do, and one thing to hold fast). In this lesson we want to look at the first point (the one thing to do).

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling

 

 I. Work Out.

One of the greatest threats to the church today is the detached concept of service among the Christians that make up the body of Christ. There seems to be this overwhelming idea that there must be easier ways or a more corporate approach to service so that the burden does not fall so heavily on the individual.

In this first instruction of Paul, the continued success of the church in Philippi would not be based on their creative exploration of new ideas, but from the idea that salvation was a challenge that each Christian was to work out on their own!

Every member of the body actively working out their own salvation (finding the secrets necessary to accomplish the work God has given each), multiplied by the entire efforts of the body, equals the success of the body (regardless of environment). This is the method God has designed for the success of the church and its work, note:

Ephesians 4:16 “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

 

 II. Your Own.

In this exhortation by Paul is the recognition that these Christians must fulfill these instructions regardless of who is there to remind them ( “not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence” ). This is a premise Paul has already touched on in the previous chapter, note:

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent , I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,”

In this instruction is the idea that Christians are to be Christians 100% of the time, not just when they are surrounded by their peers. This condemns the practice of playing church or Christian! The command is that our conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ always; this includes growth in wisdom, production in service, and benevolence towards our brethren and fellow man!

The accountability is on the individual (regardless of environment), and goes back to the first point in describing where the true success of the church lies!

 

 III. Salvation.

The salvation mentioned in this exhortation is a gift that must not be squandered away! It was never offered with burdening in mind, but as a motivating factor, note:

1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

This also goes back to the illustration of Christ given in verses 5-11 (the mind of service that we are to seek), who humbled Himself in obedience (even to death), and God exalted Him. Likewise, we are to obey God in all that we have been given (even to death), so that we may be exalted as sort of first fruits of His creatures ( James 1:18 ).

 

 IV. Fear and Trembling.

This is often a misunderstood point in the service of the children of the Lord. First, there is weight in the words used just as they are given. The fact of the matter is that the gravity of falling short of the salvation offered by God through Christ Jesus bears severe consequences (see: Hebrews 10:26-31 ).

However, this first point not withstanding, the Christian should only feel the true dread of God's wrath, if they are deserving of it. The true fear of God revolves around a respect for His power, an awe of His wisdom, and a dread of His wrath. If we are truly living with respect of His power and the recognition of His wisdom over our own, we need not tremble for fear of His wrath.

With all this said, the idea of any deterrent is to help direct behavior for the good of those whom it is directed at. This is the case here!

 

 V. Summary.

In this first simple instruction (much like the weightier matters of Matthew 23:23 ; justice, mercy, and faith), we see that the success of the Lord's church falls directly on the practice and service of its own membership and their love for the duty God has given them.

We see that each Christian must not try to diminish their duty in committee or only practice Christian service among peers. Instead, to be successful in a perverse and crooked generation and shine as lights in the world, each Christian must once again seek to serve the Lord in a Christ like manner (as it was among the Philippians).

Only when this is the mindset of each member of the body of Christ, will the church grow in this present environment. Governments, social environments, are never a threat to good works, note:

Romans 13:3 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”

1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.” Amen.

 

For the future of the church, this simple instruction for each Christian becomes a

“Weightier Matter” .

 

Next: “ Without Murmuring and Complaining