Keep Up the Good Work (Philippians 2:12-13)
Topic: Philippians Scripture: Philippians 2:12–2:13
First Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Matthew 22:34-40
Second Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1-17
Sermon Text: Philippians 2:12-13
Having thoroughly explained the ground of our justification in Philippians 2:5-11, the Apostle Paul now teaches us what this reality must look like in our lives. Christ is the obedient Son, and we are united to him by faith. We now, as sons and daughters of God our Father and in union with Christ our Brother by the Holy Spirit, must conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). When we think about the worth of the gospel and the preciousness of what Christ has done on our behalf, it can be discouraging when we see how often we fall short of conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of what we have been given by grace. And yet we are assured that we are not working alone, but God is working in us for his good pleasure. Sinclair Ferguson writes, “We are to work out our salvation, not only because God has worked it into us by his grace, but because he continues to work it out in our lives. He is constantly at work in us so that we have both the will and the power to do what pleases him!”
1. For review, read Philippians 2:5-11. What are the stages of Christ’s humiliation and his exaltation? How do these verses connect with Paul’s instruction in verses 1-4?
2. Read Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 16. After you read each section, think about what theological error that particular section is correcting. Notice how long this chapter is compared with others in the Confession. For example, chapter 4 on creation has two sections, and chapter 12 on adoption only has one section. Considering this chapter’s length, why do you think it is important for us as Christians to have a biblical understanding of good works?
3. Read Philippians 2:12. Why does Paul say that we are to work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling”?
4. How does a correct understanding of Philippians 2:12-13 help us not to boast in ourselves and our own abilities? How do these verses connect with what Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:4-10?
5. In preparation for next week, read Philippians 2:14-18. Based on what we’ve studied in Philippians so far, why do you think the Philippians were tempted to grumble and argue with one another?