Main Point: Because God is supplying the power to grow, we should cooperate with him.


  • Graduating college
    • On the one hand, I had the education, upbringing, money, resources, gifting required to do it
    • Yet on the other hand it took a lot of work to carry those things to their desired outcome
    • It’s not like I would have lost all of those components if I had not put in the hard work, but I also wouldn’t have gotten to experience the benefits of them in my life quite as much.
  • Our spiritual lives are this way – God gives us certain things that are indispensable.  Yet there is still some work required on our part to reap the full benefits of the foundation he has laid.  Tonight we hope to see what God has done, and how he wants us to work with him to reap maximum benefits from our salvation.

This is really captured in 12b: “Work out your salvation…”

  • Not “work for” your salvation (Acts 16:31) (GOSPEL)
  • Two senses of salvation
    • Penalty of sin
    • Power of sin (cf. 1:6)
  • Work out = “carry out to the ultimate conclusion”

Organizational statement: We’ll see God’s part, our part, and the results

I. God’s Part

  • Context
    • 2:1 – benefits of salvation
    • 2:5-11 – example of Christ
  • Works “among you” (not “in you”)
  • Supplies desire and action
    • Illus: eating ice cream – not a chore because I already have the desire and the power to do this

II. Our Part

  • Q: What does this passage say about our part in this whole thing?
  • “Obey” (v. 12), “work”
    • Not “let go and let God.”  But more of an active taking hold with God.
    • Fear and trembling
      • Not terror or cowering in fear
      • 1 John 4:17-18
      • Illus: meeting your favorite movie star or sports player
  • Don’t grumble
    • Q: Why do people grumble?
  • Don’t dispute = fight
    • Q: How is this different from grumbling?
    • Q: Why do people fight?  Are there ever good reasons to fight?
    • Q: How would know we have a problem with this?
    • Q: What are some practical steps we can take to deal with our disputes?
      • Resolve soon
      • Take ownership
      • Ask: “How can I learn to forgive?”
      • Active prayer for your opponent

III. The Result

  • Witness at Philippi
    • Illus: stars out west
    • “hold forth”
      • Offering wine to a guest
      • Illus: Imagine offering a gourmet meal to someone when you are dirty and covered with flies and feces.  They wouldn’t want it
      • This is why salespeople are usually charismatic and good-looking.  This is how marketing works too – high speed internet has made our family come together.  Thanks to Chipotle, I can get along with my wife again.
    • Ultimate goal of unity is rooted in mission/ purpose
  • Glory on the day of Christ
    • This is the logical outcome of our salvation.  Ties back into unity and witness.
  • Able to rejoice in suffering
    • Even if drink sacrifice being poured out


  • Progression: Sanctification -> unity -> witness -> glory on day of Christ -> able to rejoice no matter what