Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out
you own salvation with fear and trembling. For
it is God which worketh in you both to will and
to do of his good pleasure. Do all things
without murmurings and disputings: That ye may
be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights
in the world: Holding forth the word of life;
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I
have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and
service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with
you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and
rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:12).
One of the most vital and needful
things today is really and truly living the
life. First of all, it is needful because it is
the only thing, which will produce joy. Too many
people are not really joyful in their experience
with God, simply because they are not really
living for God as they ought. I am talking about
joy, not happiness. Happiness is regulated by
circumstances; joy is an inward experience in
the heart, which God puts there.
This joy is beyond the world; the
happenings of the world cannot change it. This joy cannot be experienced by purchasing a new jet ski
luxury automobile . It is much deeper than that, and beyond material possessions.
a Christian is the most joyful thing, which can
happen to you, if you live it the right way.
But, if you 'cut corners' on God in your
experience, it will become a most irksome task.
Secondly, living the life is
God's only means of revealing salvation to the
world. We do not discount the many moves, which
man is making to take the Gospel to the world,
but God's chosen means of revealing light and
real undestanding to the hearts of a lost and
dying world, is through you and me living the
Paul wrote this letter from a
Roman jail, in a very distressing situation.
Even though he was just a few hours from
acquittal or death (At this time he did not know
which faced him), the burden of his heart was
turned away from his own situation completely.
He was trying to get some help to a
congregation, which he dearly loved at Philippi.
His words can be of great help to you and me,
Down through this second chapter,
Paul has been talking about the very submissive
mind, which we must have to be a Christian. He
shows us that we must have the very mind of
Christ. It will not do us any good to talk about
that higher power, Daniel in the lion's den, or
the three Hebrew children in the furnace of
fire, unless we can apply it to our daily life.
Paul said, "Let [not struggle or work it up]
this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). God will give you the
mind of Christ (a submissive mind), if you will
In verse 11, Paul began to talk
about Jesus Christ truly being Lord. He is Lord.
Every knee should bow and every tongue should
confess it now. Nevertheless, there is a day
coming, if we fail to do it now, when every knee
shall bow and every tongue shall confess.
In verse 12, he begins to talk
about a precious obedience. He said, "Wherefore,
my beloved, as ye have always obeyed..." I know
that very thought is contrary to thinking today.
More and more, the religion of the world is
being trimmed, changed, and molded to the
condition, which the world is in. My friend, the
minds of people in Christiandom are quickly
being sold on the theory, that no one can obey
God completely, that no one can please Him in
all ways. Nevertheless, I want us to notice that
the Apostle Paul is writing to a people who had
always obeyed the Lord.
I think it was mark Twain who
once said, "There are few things harder to put
up with, than the annoyance of a good example."
*S* The annoying part of a good example, is the
inability to accomplish the same achievement in
our life. The reason people get stirred when
somebody lives right, is because they feel they
cannot or are unable to. It always makes a
crooked stick look bad, if you lay a straight
one down beside it.
Many are affected in a negative
manner to the place that they do not live as
they ought. This is because of the negative
feeling, which comes toward them when they want
to live right and be different than the world
is. The admiration you have for a great person
can inspire you, but it does not enable you one
bit, unless they could convey their very life
into you. Thereby, their skills would become
your skills and their abilities would become
Christ "in" You...
Paul was teaching the people at
Philippi...and God wants to teach us, that it
takes more than an example on the outside; it
takes power inside to live a consistent
Christian life. Our world is falling, because
they have fallen from the message, that taught
power on the inside, to just an example on the
outside. Christ is our example in all things,
but true Christianity is not you and me taking
Christ for an example and then straining in our
own strength to be conformed to that example.
Paul set Christ forth as the
great example, in the exercise of a submissive
mind. What submission Christ had, in leaving the
form of God! He was God, one of the Godhead in
the form of God, but He had a submissive mind.
He did not grasp at being God to the place that
He could not lay it aside to become a man, a
servant, and a crucified sacrifice for a lost
and dying world. Paul tells us that we must have
the same submissive mind, if we are going to be
Christians. The reason the Church is not going
forward (like it ought) today, is because too
many people who claim to be the Church, do not
have a submissive mind.
Many people agree that the life
of Christ is a wonderful picture, but the
question is: How do we go about practicing it?
How can mortal man achieve what Christ achieved
in living? The religious world quickly answers,
"No mortal man can live like Christ. No mortal
man can achieve what Christ achieved."
Therefore, they live 'way below' the level of
Brother, Jesus Christ not only
lived the life, but He left a pathway for you
and me to walk in. God, through His great plan,
furnishes the grace, power, wisdom, and all that
we need. In other words, we have no excuse for
not being Christlike.
To many, it is presumptious to
even think about living holy, so they just give
up. Yet, if you have been redeemed, you are
redeemed from among men; you are living a life
that men cannot live. The devil is out today to
deify man and humanize God. He is out to take
the power out of true Christianity. When he
takes that out, we have nothing left but an
empty shell; we are left in a powerless
There is a secret, which Paul is
setting forth, here. He is showing us a divine
pattern for the submissive mind and for the
divine power to accomplish what God has
commanded. Read verse 13, where he begins to let
the secret out. Here was a people who always
obeyed. Paul told them to "...work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God
which worketh in you..." I say this kindly, with
love and respect for anyone who might feel
different, but the day of Christ "with you,"
passed when the day of Pentecost came. Ever
since then, salvation had been an inside work,
not 'with you' but 'in you.' There is no place
in the Christian experience where Christ merely
dwells 'with you.'
He certainly travels with the
sinner. He talks with the sinner and works to
convict him of sin. However, when you come to
the place of real Bible repentance and submit
your life out of your hands into God's, your
heart is cleansed through the Blood of Jesus and
God moves in. It is "God in you" working in you.
Verse 13 tells us, "For it is God which worketh
in you both to will and to do of his good
pleasure." In Galatians 2:20 Paul said,
"...Christ liveth in me..."
The true Christian life is not a
series of 'ups and downs.' The Bible does not
teach that we have our ups and downs. It says
that we have our 'ins and outs'*S* -- God works
in us and we work it out. If we had our 'ins and
outs,' we would not have our 'ups and downs.'
God will never work discouragement or defeat in
your heart. That is not God working in you.
Many live below their privileges
and make excuses for their failures; yet, they
want the Lord to manifest Himself in power by
healing the sick and opening blind eyes and deaf
ears. Dear one, there is a level you can get to,
where God is doing that. God never quit doing
it; He does not turn it off and on. The gifts
and callings of God are without repentance. He
has put everyone of the gifts and callings of
God in the Church, to work at the Churches'
disposal as the needs arise.
We are praying for God to 'come
down' and God is waiting for us to 'come up.'
Mount Zion is more than getting a group of
people together and making sure they dress
right, fix their hair right, and go by the name
_______.*S* Mount Zion means a high spiritual
life. On Mount Zion, you live above the clouds
of the level of Protestantism and above the fogs
Paul was writing to a people who
had always obeyed. He was afraid they would do
just like people have always done--lean to their
own strength and understanding. He did not want
them to forget where the secret of their power
was. The reason they could obey was because God
was working in them and they worked it out.
Philippians 1:1 verifies the fact
that Paul was writing to saints. They were saved
and they put their trust in Christ. They were
set apart unto Him. They were living a life of
obedience, but Paul writes, "...work out your
own salvation..." The words, work out means "to
work to full completion." It means to work out
like a miner would work out a mine by going in
and taking the ore out or like a farmer would
work out a field to get the best harvest
The purpose which God wants to
achieve in every one of us is Christlikeness.
Romans 8:29 tells us, "For whom he did foreknow,
he also did perdestinate to be conformed to the
image of his Son..." This is what God had in
mind when He set in order this great salvation,
that every one of us would be conformed to the
image of His Son. Every move, which God makes
within our heart and life in salvation, is for
that purpose. Certainly, we admit that there are
problems to life, but we are here to tell you
that God helps us to work them out.
Paul said, I repeat, "...work out
your own salvation..." I will just throw this in
for good measure: That means to 'let other
people alone.' Do no try to judge everybody
else. We have all we can do if we work our own
out. Whenever we see people getting their nose
in other people's business, we can be sure, they
are probably not working their own out.
God Believes in Infinite
We must be what the Lord wants us
to be; salvation is individual, God has a plan
for each life. When God says, "...work out your
own salvation..." He merely wants you to be
individually what He wants you to be. God
believes in infinite variety. I am told that
there are no two flowers alike. I was amazed not
long ago to study and find that there are no two
snowflakes alike. So don't feel strange if I
would tell you that there are no two Christians
Here is the difference between
unity and uniformity. Many people have lost the
message of unity and are teaching uniformity.
Unity begins in the hearts and comes among a
people where each one is working out their
salvation before God in their individual life.
They allow each other to be free before God to
walk as God works it in their lives.
Uniformity, on the other hand, is
outside pressure which makes us all come to one
standard. God likes variety. He will teach us
just alike over many things, but we must be like
Christ, and as we are like Christ, we must be
ourselves. We must not try to imitate one
another. We must not try to imitate even great
Christians. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be
ye followers of me, even as I also am of
Christ." Paul wanted them to take him for an
example; but above all, he wanted them to keep
their eyes on Jesus.
We have to own the fact that
every one of us, as saints of God, have feet
made of clay. You may get your eyes on a saint
and try to imitate them, but they may fail you.
I don't think there is a saint who has not had a
failure, but there is One who never fails.
Influences are sowed in congregations, which
work right against the standard of the Gospel.
God never called us to imitate any brother or
sister. The question is: Would Jesus do it? Did
Jesus tell you to do that? Did God work that in
We are not supposed to try to
work out anything which God does not work in.
God is not working lots of things in people that
they are trying to work out. God will never work
in me to misuse a brother, no matter how much he
In verse 14 and 15, Paul
contrasts the life of a believer with those of
people living in the world. Ever since there has
been a Church, the devil's big move has been to
blend the edges of the Church with the edges of
the world. He is out to make the world churchy
and the Church worldly. However, that which God
works in the hearts and lives of His people
causes them to live a life, which is much
different than that of the world.
Lights in the Darkness...
We can tell if God is working in
us. Paul tells us that the unsaved complain and
find fault, while the saved rejoice. Paul said,
"Do all things without murmurings and
disputings." What a time to let our light shine,
when the economy is bad; politics is failing us;
the world is failing us; there isn't any justice
anywhere; you cannot trust the laws of the land.
Which side are you going to be on? There are
only two sides, the saints and the sinners. The
sinners are going to complain and murmur, and
the saints are going to rejoice.
True Christian rejoicing is not
in the fact that you have five hundred dollars a
week coming in, that you have a good home, a
good car, and good clothes, but the Christian
rejoices in the fact that "Jesus is mine." Not a
thing in the world can take Him away. Paul
instructs us many times through this epistle to
"rejoice." What a message, coming from a man who
was down in a Roman jail. Even though he had
been mistreated and he did not know if his head
was going to be chopped off or if he would be
set free, he still had joy.
So, the unsaved complain and find
fault. This murmuring and complaining here is
the same word used back in the Old Testament in
the Hebrew where the children of Israel murmured
against Moses. If you study it, you will find
that the real trouble was not with Moses, but
with the people. We are always prone to blame
somebody else. People do not do any murmuring
and complaining about themselves... "I can't
stand myself, I am such a hypocrite. I know I'm
not faithful in many things," Did you ever hear
anybody talk like that? No. You hear them talk
about another man. "That man is a hypocrite."
According to verse 15, our
society is twisted and distorted, but a
Christian stands straight. The reason he stands
straight is because he measures his life by the
Word of God, the perfect standard. Paul goes on
to say that the world is dark, but Christians
shine as bright lights. In verse 16, he tells us
that the world has nothing to offer the souls of
men, but we (Christians) hold forth the Word of
life. Church, we have the only thing that anyone
has to offer for the souls of men. Paul tells us
that God "...brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10).
Putting it in plain language, life here and life
hereafter has been brought to light by the
Gospel. Right here is the secret to real living
in this mortal life and in eternity.
Notice verse 15...this life is to
be lived in the midst of a crooked and perverse
nation or world. Paul does not admonish us to
retreat from the world and go into an isolation
ward. It is only as we are confronted with the
needs and problems of real life that we can
become more like Christ. God only manifests
Himself to us as we have need. Philippians 4:19
tells us, "But my God shall supply all your need
according to his riches in glory by Christ
Jesus." As we live in this sinful, dark troubled
world which we are in, the needs show
themselves. It is then, that God is ready to
work something in our lives, which will make us
more like Christ, and more like Christ to the
Anyone who has studied the Bible
knows that the Pharisees were isolated and
insulated from reality. They had an artificial
kind of self-righteousness, totally unlike the
righteousness of God. They forced a religion of
fear and bondage on people. (sound familiar?
*S*) Christ opposed that religion, and because
He opposed that religion, they crucified Him.
Preparing the Workman...
Paul lets us know in verse 13
that God must work in us before He can work
though us. The reason God is not working through
us in a greater way, is because He is not
working in us as He desires to. Take Moses for
an example: For forty years, he tended the
sheep. God was working in him, and one day He
was ready to work through him. I am not
advocating that it will take us forty years. I
do not know how long it will take, but God must
be able to rightfully work in us to ever work
God is more interested in the
workman than in the work. If the workman is
right, the work will be right. We might throw
our eyes off the work. It is very easy to look
and see the failures and some points where
things need to be changed, but the work is not
going to be changed until we get the workmen
changed. The condition the work is in, is the
result of the condition the workmen is in.
To what extent is He working in
you? Well, that is the extent that you will be
able to work it out. The greatest need we have,
is God working in the hearts of His people in a
greater manner. Far too many obey God because of
outside pressures, not because of power on the
inside. There is a vast difference. When it is
outside pressure, you do it reluctantly and
carelessly. The one will produce joy and the
other will produce hardship.
Paul said in Philippians 1:27,
"Only let your conversation [conduct] be as it
becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I
come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear
of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one
spirit, with one mind striving together [not
against] for the faith of the gospel." Paul was
telling the Church that it was not his presence
with them which caused them to obey, but a real
desire to obey and please God in all things. In
other words, the obedience of the Church at
Philippi was not built on Paul, because he was
making it plain that he would not always be
It is sad to see how
congregations weaken and fall apart when they
change leaderships. The Church at Philippi was
going to change leadership. Paul was to be
beheaded. He raised the congregation up, guided
them, and still had a burden for them, but he
was going to leave this time world. He was
turning their minds completely away from any
human help to the real source of help--he wanted
them to have the mind of Christ.
The Holy Spirit...
Oh, how we need the mind of
Christ. A real desire to obey God will make the
difference. We need to watch the tendency to
please men and only obey God when others are
watching. There is a world of difference between
that and obeying God because we love Him. When
we are obeying God because we love Him, it does
not make any difference who is watching, what
part of the country we are in, etc. When we
surrender and the power of God works in us, then
obedience comes with delight and not a battle.
It is very easy to read that it
is God which worketh in us, but how does He work
in us? First, He works in us through the Holy
Spirit being in us. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells
us: "What? Know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost [ Written to the Church
at Corinth] which is in you, which ye have of
God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Now
our text said, "...it is God which worketh in
you..." The power which works within us is the
power of the Holy Spirit of God.
Our very English word energy
comes from the word translated "worketh" in the
thirteenth verse. In other words, it is God's
divine energy working in and through us. The
same Holy Spirit that empowered Christ empowers
us. There is only one Holy Spirit. We must
recognize the fact that the flesh and the devil
is ready to work. We can allow them to work, but
if we are going to live the life God wants us
to, we must know it is God working in us.
We also need to know how the Holy
Spirit works in our lives. People get all kinds
of impressions. They say the Holy Ghost told
them to do this or that, from killing somebody
to leaving their family. We must have something
to measure God's working in us. Many spirits
have gone out, and a great majority of them
claim to be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are
instructed in 1 John 4:1, to try the spirits,
which are in people to see whether they are of
God or some other spirit.
Someone may ask, "How are we
going to tell whether preachers are really being
led by the Spirit?" 1 John 2:20 tells us, "But
ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye
know all things." We do not need to be in doubt
if it is God's Word or not; we have an unction
that will let us know whether it is truth or
So, God works in us, but how do
we know that it is God working in us. First of
all, through and by the Word of God. This is one
reason there has been such a falling away in
this evening time. There is not enough sound
teaching, preaching, studying and reading of the
Word of God. It is God's way of working in you.
God works in you, but He works in you by the
Word of God. We are in a lazy age. This is why
"emotionalism" is going over so big. They just
go down all at once, get an endowment of a
spirit, and away they go.
Brother, true Christian living
calls for daily searching and studying of God's
Word. The flesh wants to work in us, the devil
wants to work in us, and hundreds of other
spirits want to work a work in us, but the only
way we can keep God working in us is by the Word
of God. We need the Bible today as never before,
but the flesh has sold many people on the fact
that God will work in us even if we do not read.
Nevertheless, God's divine energy is released in
our lives through His inspired Word. The Greek
says it is God's energy working in you. God's
energy only works in you through His inspired
Word. Our hearts can become heavy with burdens
and cares; yet, if we seek God's face and open
up the Word of God, God can give us energy and
strength to go on.
We want God to work in us every
way except the way God has devised. We read in 1
Thessalonians 2:13, "For this cause also thank
we God without ceasing, because, when ye
received the word 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." How? Through
the Word working in us. There is not a strong
congregation on the face of the globe where
there is not a strong preacher who preaches a
Word strong. I am not studying on how to let up;
I want it strict, according to Truth.
When you will not allow the Word
of God to work in you, you will not allow God to
work in you. You might as well get rid of that
idea, "I will do what I want to about His Word,
but God will work in me." When you reject the
Word, you reject God working in you. I repeat:
God's divine energy is released in our lives by
His inspired Word. This is why we must not
neglect the assembling of ourselves together.
You can come in spiritually weak, but if you
will eat the Word as it is preached, you will go
home blessed and ready to fight the battle.
The same words which spoke the
universe into being, releases divine power in my
life. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God,
who cammanded the light to shine out of
darkness, hath shined in our hearts..." Oh, the
power there is in God's Word! Friend, it takes
this same, powerful Word of God (which spoke the
world out of a chaotic condition and brought it
into all of its beauty and greatness), to make a
new creature out of a sinner. If we will take it
as God's Word, it will work as God's Word.
Since God works in us through His
Word, we have a responsibility, first, to
appreciate the Word. We manifest our
appreciation for His Word by not treating it as
words of men. Sad to say, humanizing spirits
have gone out into the whole world. They are
knocking on your and my door. There is no doubt
in the devil about the truth of God's word. The
devil trembles because he knows if you really
believe the Word of God, all he can do is stand
and watch the mighty power of God move in your
life. So, the devil's very moves since the
Garden of Eden, have been to discount God's
Word. He tries to get you to feel that God did
not mean just what He said. He knows that if you
leave the Word of God intact, it will change you
in spite of his efforts. He will have no power
to stop God working in your life in any way.
We need to hold the Word of God
in high esteem and not allow the devil to
entertain thoughts in our mind that it is just
the words of men. If there was a greater
appreciation for the Word, there would be less
interest in 'other things.' The Word of God is
unique, inspiring, authoritative, and
infallible. When we do not appreciate the Word,
God's power cannot energize our lives.
We must not only appreciate the
Word, but we must appropriate the Word. This
means more than listening to it, studying it, or
thinking about it. We have to welcome it and
make it a part of our inner being by applying
it. It works only in those who truly believe and
apply it. We must trust God's Word and act upon
it. When we trust and act, then the power of
God's Word is released in our lives.
Many times at Christmas time, we
turn to Luke 1:37, where the angel spoke to
Mary. She was so astonished to think that she
was going to bring forth a child because she had
never known a man. The angel in the King James
Version said, "For with God nothing shall be
impossible." The Greek says, "For no word of God
is void of power." Brother, if God is working it
in you, you can work it out, whether it is
salvation, spiritual strength, divine healing,
or what have you.
Too many times, people have
massed to altars of prayer because they heard
somebody bring up Scriptures for divine healing.
I want to repeat: If God is not working it in
you, you cannot work it out. We have left the
Holy Spirit out. Hebrews 8:10 tells us, "For
this is the covenant that I will make...I will
put my laws into their mind, and write them in
Paul said, "...Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him. But God hath revealed
them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of
God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). We cannot leave God
out of this. God's Word has the power of
accomplishment, and faith releases that power.
Another way that God works in us
is by prayer. We read in Ephesians 3:20, "Now
unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think, [only] according
to the power that worketh in us." Many truths
are made plain through the Acts of the Apostles.
I want to go beyond reformers and see what the
formers said. I want to know why the morning
Church had the power they had. Jesus Christ is
the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Acts
makes it clear, from the first Chapter all the
way through, that prayer is a divinely ordained
source of man receiving spiritual power.
In Acts 4:29 and 31, when the
Church was threatened, they said, "...Lord,
behold their threatenings...And when they had
prayed, the place was shaken where they were
assembled together; and they were all filled
with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of
God with boldness." Why doesn't the Word of God
come forth with more boldness today? We find the
answer to part of the problem in Acts 6:4, where
the thought of administering help to the needy
and widows came up. They wanted the preachers to
do it. However, the morning Churches' way was to
pick out Holy Ghost-filled men to do the
administering and visit the sick.
Verse 4 reads, "But we will give
ourselves continually to prayer, and to the
ministry of the word." You show me more
preachers who are doing that, and I will show
you the Churches' spirituality reaching a higher
level. If you are going to feed The Church,
pastors, you have to give yourself much time in
prayer and with the Word. We must go right back
to God's chosen ways of working in and through