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).

Good Examples...

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 or luxury automobile . It is much deeper than that, and beyond material possessions. Being 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 life.

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, today.

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 let Him.

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 your abilities.

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 true Christianity.

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 condition.

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..."

Working Out...

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 of confusion.

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 possible.

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 Variety...

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 alike.

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 you?

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 misuses me.

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 world.

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 through us.

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 there.

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 not.

The Word...

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.

Our Responsibility...

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 their hearts..."

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.

Prayer...

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 us.


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