Working Out the Work of God

I. The “therefore’s” or “wherefore’s” are obviously important in Scripture.

A. There are three different terms used in Philippians.

1. Sun (soon) = consequently

2. Dio (dee o) = on account of

3. Hoste (hos te)  = so that, so there

B. There are a total of 9 references using these 3 words in Philippians

1. Seven (7) of the nine references are in Chapter 2.

2. Three (3) of these references are important to our study.

a. Philippians 2:1 – “If, consequently (sun), there is any . . . .”
1) Consequently -- referring to commands for citizenship in Philippians 1:27.
2) Consequently -- referring to behaviour patterns expected in Philippians 1:28-30.
b. Philippians 2:9 – “On account of” (dio) [what Jesus did], God highly exalted him – [this is the only use of dio in Philippians]
1) On account of Christ’s ownership of deity
2) On account of Christ’s willingness to “empty” himself
3) On account of Christ’s allowing himself to become a servant
4) On account of Christ’s obedience
5) On account of Christ’s death on the cross
c. Philippians 2:12 – “So then (hoste), my beloved . . .”
1) So then – because of who Christ is…
2) So then – because of what God has done for Christ…
3) So then – because every living creature will glorify Christ…

II. The work done by the Lord Jesus Christ enables us to “work out” our salvation.

A. The key Greek word is katergadzomai – work to perform; get results.

1. This is a compound word, used 26 times in the New Testament

a. Kata – a prefix normally meaning “according to; through”
b. Ergon – the common word for “work; labor; deed”
c. --dzomai – the middle voice ending for most verbs
d. “Do work yourself” – “Accomplish something through your work”

2. The direct object is “your own salvation.”

a. This does NOT mean keep or get your salvation.
b. The DOES mean to perform work “according to” salvation.
1) Hebrews 6:9 – But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation.
2) Isaiah 12:3 -- Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

B. The basic use of the word emphasizes “work accomplished.”

1. Romans 15:18 -- For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

2. 2 Corinthians 12:12 -- Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

3. Ephesians 6:13 -- Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

4. James 1:3 -- Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience

5. James 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

C. The difficulty of such “salvation” work is amplified in Romans 7:15-20

1. There are four key words in this passage that help explain the spiritual nature of the warfare.

a. katergadzomai -  used in Philippians 2:12 = “work out”
b. thelo – desire, wish to do
c. prasso – practice, perpetrate, manage
d. poieo – make, cause, execute

2. The comparative use of these terms clarify what Paul is exhorting the Philippians to do when he insists that they “work out [their] own salvation”

a. For what I am doing [katergadzomai – work out] I do not understand.  For what I will to do [thelo – wish to do], that I do not [prasso – practice]; but what I hate. that I do [poieo – execute].
If, then I do [execute] what I will [desire] not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
But now it is no longer I who do it, [work it out] but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will [desire] is present with me, but how to perform [work out] what is good I do not find.
For the good that I will [desire] to do, I do not [executre]; but the evil I will [desire] not  to do, that I practice [perpetrate].
Now if I do [execute] what I will [desire] not to do, it is no longer I who do [work it out], but sin that dwells in me.

3. This complex put clarifying passage ends with three foundational principles.

a. As a Child of God I “delight” after the law of God in my “inward man” (Romans 7:22)
b. My flesh is under “captivity” to the “law of sin” (Romans 7:23)
c. With “the mind I myself serve the law of God” – but “with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)

D. The parables of the Pounds and the Talents help illustrate.

1. Matthew 25:14-30 emphasizes faithfulness.

a. Owner “travels” to a “far country”
b. “Delivers” his (the owners’) “goods” to his servants.
c. Gives to each “according to his “several ability”
1) According to “their own”…
2) According to their own dunamis
d. Each doubled what they had been given – except one
e. After a “long time” the Lord returned and “reckoned” with each
f. Both “doublers” received apportioned responsibility.
1) They were called “good and faithful servants”
2) They entered into “the joy of [the] lord.”
3) They were made “ruler over many things”
g. The “wicked and slothful” servant received condemnation.
1) What was his was taken away and given to the best
2) He was judged “unprofitable” and “cast” into hell

2. Luke 19:13-27 emphasizes profitableness.

a. Nobleman goes into a “far country” to receive a kingdom.
b. “Called” 10 servants and “delivered” to each one a “pound.”
c. The “citizens” hated him and rebelled against the Nobleman.
d. Returning as King, his servants were asked for a report.
1) The judgment was “how much every man had gained by trading.”
2) One came and produced ten pounds – 10 fold return
3) One came and produced five pounds – 5 fold return
4) One came with the original pound – no profit; loss of opportunity; loss of interest
e. The two profitable servants received reward.
1) They were given public commendation as a “good servant”
2) They were given authority over “cities” proportional to their profitability.
f. The “wicked” servant received condemnation and loss
1) What was his was taken away and given to the best
2) He was rebuked and stripped of any honour or reward.
g. The “citizens” were brought before the King and executed.
1) They are called the “enemies” of the King
2) Their execution was horrific and public

III. The responsibility to “work out” our salvation is very serious.

A. It is to be with “fear”

1. Proverbs 8:13 -- The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

2. Proverbs 6:16-19 --These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

3. 1 Peter 1:17 -- And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

B. It is to be with “trembling”

1. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 -- I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

2. Ephesians 6:5 -- Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ

C. It is because God works in you.

1. Ephesians 3:16-20 -- That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; …that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

2. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 -- For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

3. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 -- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

D. It is because God works to accomplish His good pleasure in you.

1. Colossians 1:9-12 -- We…do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness

2. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 -- Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power

Series: 
Life in Christ
Lesson: 
#11
Book: 
Philippians
Verses: 
2:12-13

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