THOUGHTS

SHORT, THOUGHT PROVOKING ARTICLES PUBLISHED BI-MONTHLY.

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

Environmentally Controlled!

The Apostle Paul writing to Christians in Macedonia had many wonderful words to share. You see, the Christians in Philippi were truly dedicated to their service of God through Jesus Christ their King. They assisted Paul in his needs, when he could not accept support from any others (4:15). They demonstrated true concern for the sick (2:25-30). They stood only in the things they had received through the Gospel's sound doctrine (elders and deacons – 1:1; fellowship with Paul in the Gospel – 1:5; continued growth in knowledge and discernment – 1:9-11).

 

In all, they were Christians that were well approved in their efforts in the Lord; however, distinct in this letter, there are points of encouragement, edification, and exhortation (a charge to do their duty). Among these are two passages that will serve to cause us to see something very important, note:

Philippians 1:27-28 “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, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.”

Philippians 2:12-13 “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.”

 

In both passages, whether they are striving together for the faith of the Gospel (did you notice that faith in Christ required striving?), or demonstrating to the world that they were servants of Christ; they were in fact told to demonstrate all of this regardless of the environment the found themselves.

Paul exhorts them to demonstrate their conduct as worthy of the Gospel whether they think he is coming or not! Much more so; actually, they must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. This is especially important when they are in environments that do not promote this conduct and even may attack or persecute it.

 

This is an important lesson for all of us today! Our environments are often detrimental to our efforts to remain pure from the influences of this world ( 1 John 2:15-17 ), and more and more children of God through Christ are fence riding Christians (with one leg on the worldly side of the fence and one leg trying to straddle the other side of serving God).

This is a dangerous and sometimes fatal error for the child of God. There is an expectation that we come out from among the world, to stand in contrast from what others demonstrate in rebellion.

Philippians 2:15-16  “ 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.”

 

Remember brethren, continued remission of sins is granted to the repentant (Acts 8:22); the repentant are those who turn away from the world to the righteousness of God through the doctrine of Christ.

Romans 6:16-18 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

 

Brethren, we must become the masters of our environments, and never allow the environments to control us or cause us to deny the Lord (like Peter – Matthew 26:69-75).

One final point in this short note! If we are to come out from the world and its influence, how dare we bring it to where we worship in reverence the God of creation?

Hebrews 10:29 “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

 

My good brethren, hold fast the word of life in every aspect of our lives, not just when we think our brethren may be looking or when we are preparing to assemble with them (remembering that God always sees!). This is the only way we will know joy in the day of Christ and avoid running in vain (Philippians 2:16).

 

Work Out Your Own Salvation!