Philippians 2:12-18 illustrates that a better life comes as a result of obedience. Our obedience shows that we trust God. We “work out” our salvation by obeying Him. God gives us the strength to follow Him and he wants us to do so out of an attitude of love. Through obedience, we fully become who we already are: Children of God. And we also accomplish God’s purpose.
I. A better life comes as a result of obedience.
- Obedience is a positive word, but when we hear it, we tend to get defensive. God deserves obedience because He created us. There are blessings that come to us if we obey and blessings that won’t come if we disobey; this is a general pattern. See Psalm 1:1-6. Obedience is really trusting in God. John 14:15 states:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command”
This is why it’s better to focus on loving Jesus as opposed to trying to follow all of the commands because obedience follows love. See 1 John 5:3.
- Obedience is working out your salvation. Philippians 2:12b states “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. This is very different from working for your salvation, which we are not told to do. We don’t need to work for salvation, for it is a free gift. God calls us to live for Him today.
- God enables obedience. God gives us the desire and empowerment to do this. See Philippians 2:13. God is working inside of us to provide the strength, energy, and ability to obey.
- The attitude of obedience. Philippians 2:14 states
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing”.
The Israelites complained a lot at Moses and they were actually complaining about God, even though God was so good to them. They didn’t have a heart that truly trusted God. Paul warned the Philippians to not be like the Israelites, whose attitude is illustrated in Deuteronomy 32:4-5.
II. Through obedience we fully become what we are.
- We are children of God. Born again believers are all children of God. See Philippians 2:15 and Galatians 3:26-27. We are children of God by faith in what Jesus did for us, not by what we do. See Ephesians 2:8-9.
- We are becoming blameless, pure, and faultless. See Ephesians 2:10.
- When we put our faith in God, we become children of God, but then God works on us to transform us and make us more like Jesus.
III. Through obedience we accomplish God’s purpose. See Philippians 2:15-16. God created a perfect world, but sin entered. God sent his son Jesus to redeem the world. God tells us to not be like the sinful world, but to:
- Shine like star, which means we should:
- Be something beautiful so that people will see God in us. See Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12.
- Guide others to Christ.
- Hold out the word of life. People need to not only see you, they need to understand you. We shouldn’t take the credit for our good character, but instead we should give the credit to Jesus. See 1 Peter 3:15.
- Boast on the day of Christ. Boasting for what God has done for us is different from boasting about what we do. The focus should be on God and not on us. See 1 Corinthians 1:31.
Three examples of those than can boast because of God working in their lives:
1. Timothy. See Philippians 2:19-24.
2. Epaphroditus. See Philippians 2:25 – 30.
3. ____________________. Put your name in this blank. God’s spirit will transform your character if you let Him.