The Work of God in Us

Here are the sermon notes from 10/6/13.

Introduction:  The Work Begins:  Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

I remember very clearly Friday night,  July 2, 1976.   I had gone forward for prayer after the youth service at Camp Zion.  I was in the small, downstairs prayer room with a young man named Dave.  He shared this verse with me, shortly before praying with me for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.    It was a special night, a night to remember.  God’s work in me had begun years earlier, but from that point on, I knew that God would continue His work in me.

God’s work continues, not just in me, but in all believers.  As long as we are on this earth.  God continues to polish away the rough edges in our lives.  Sometimes that work is dramatic and quick, and sometimes it is barely noticeable, but it never stops.  By His word and by His Spirit He continues to work in us.

I.  The Work Defined:  Philippians 1:9-11

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

We are to continue to grow in our love for God and for one another.  Our love for God can be hindered, by our love for the things of the world.  We need to be careful to keep God first in our lives.  Our love for one another can be challenged by the fact that some people are not easy to love.  May God help us not to stagnate, but to grow in our ability to love.

We are challenged to grow in knowledge.  Jesus Himself, when being tempted, answered with “It is written…”  .  We too, should be able to respond to those who would question our faith, or those who would tempt us with sound biblical responses.

Not everything is clearly addressed in scripture.  The ability to discern right from wrong, good from evil, is another trait that should continue to grow in our lives.  On this note, we should recognize that younger Christians will not have developed this ability as fully as more mature Christians, so we should not be surprised if they come to different conclusions in their Christian walk.  At the same time, age does not always bring wisdom, so we cannot simply follow the advice of those who are older, we must each search the scriptures and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We should learn to approve those things that are excellent.  We can enjoy the good things that God brings into our lives.  We should celebrate the victories that God gives to us, even if they seem small.  There will always be a mixture of good and bad, let us focus on the good.

We should be sincere.  Do not put on an act.  The church is made up of imperfect people.  We can accept that as truth.  It is not an excuse to remain in our sins, it is an acknowledgement that there is room for growth.

We should seek to live our lives in such a way that we do not cause others to stumble.  We should think of the impact our words and actions will have on those around us.

Our lives should be filled with the fruits of righteousness.  We should be different from non believers.  Christ should make a difference in our lives.

All should be done for the glory of God.  If it were not for God we would still be in our sins.  Because of God we have the ability to change.

II.  The Work Fulfilled:  Philippians 1:19-21

 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

We should live for Christ.  The fulfillment of our life is not to become great ourselves, but to magnify Christ.

III.  The Work United:  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,

Our conduct, both as individuals, and as a church should be worthy of the gospel of Christ.  That is a challenge, since we can never truly be worthy.  We should seek to live our lives in such a way as to glorify Christ.  That is true for us individually, and as a church.  We should seek to be united in our work.  This too, is a challenge because we do have differences.  May we be united by the Spirit that works both in us, and through us.

IV.  The Work Shining Bright:  Philippians 2:12-15

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,

Working out our salvation does not mean working for our salvation.  It means living out our salvation.  If we are in a relationship with Christ, our lives should be changed.

One way that we can be different from much of the world is to avoid complaining and disputing.  May God help us to be blameless and harmless, living as the children of God.

May the light of Christ which has shown into our hearts, now shine through our lives.

May the work of God continue, both in us, and through us.

May God be glorified.

Amen.

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