Check Your Life Time Warranty 10/15/00

Philippians 2:12-16

JESUS CHRIST has you under warranty. Many items come with a warranty. It is a guarantee that the product will work and perform certain intended tasks.

The Bible states your warranty — Phil. 2:13. “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

In the passage before this Christ’s obedience unto death has just been spoken of. Against this background of such obedience is the appeal to “work out your salvation”. This is no reference to justification. It states “work out”, not work “for” or “at” your salvation.

An understanding of what is meant by “work out” comes from the writings of a Roman historian named Strabo who lived in the century before Christ. Writing in Greek he referred to the famous silver mines in Spain. He spoke of the “working out of the mines” and used the term employed in our text. It meant to get the full value out of that which was already in possession.

The term was also used in math and referred to working out a problem. It meant to start with the known and use the proper math formulas to reach the ultimate answer.

With this understanding that is what you are to do with regard to your salvation.

TODAY I plead with you because I know someday I will have to stand before Jesus and give an account.

Not only will I have to stand and account, you will also. I don’t want you to be able to point at me and legitimately say, “I would have been more faithful if he had been more faithful in charging and challenging me.”

I want to appeal to you to live up to your warranty.

I. WORK OUT (Vs. 12b)
Carry your salvation to its full and complete conclusion. This is an imperative command intended to be obeyed by you. Some people downplay human responsibility and refer to passages that depict Christians as inanimate objects such as clay and branches. These are good illustration of limited principles. Remember, however, that the Bible also refers to us as soldiers, ambassadors, servants, watchmen, and children of God.

Live to please the Lord and by your lifestyle appeal to others to follow Him. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

God “works in” you and you “work out.”

The elemental essential to complying with this charge is OBEDIENCE. Regardless of how sincerely or loudly one speaks of their faith it is non-existent unless proven by observable obedience. Search the Scripture to understand just what God expects of you. As you unfold an area of life requiring obedience pause and commit yourself to doing it. Then go out and JUST DO IT!

It has been my joyous good fortune to observe the faith and faithfulness of many. Living illustrations have been inspiring.

As a minister I am not oblivious to the fact my presence makes a difference. By walking into a room I can change the topic and tone of conversations. The spirit and facial expressions of some change. When I walk in some can be talking and laughing and upon seeing me change facial expressions and immediately say, “Pastor, I want you to pray about … uh… pray for … uh … I have a niece in Spokane who heard of a infant, no I believe it was a teenager, in Oregon, no it was Ontario, who was the niece or nephew of a man or woman or something like that, in Texas, who needs a heart transplant, no I believe it is a liver transplant. Please pray for them.”

On a more practical level thousands of us have spiritually bonded so that we are an encouragement to each other by our very presence. It is an uplift just to be around or know of the consistency of obedient children of the Father.

Paul had such a bond with the church in Philippi that he had just left when he wrote them. He appealed to them to be faithful and obedient in his absence as they were when he was present with them. He was focusing their attention on our real source of motivation. It is the unwavering, always present, Lord. It is summed up in this:

“Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto man” (Colossians 3:23). Live as though you are in the perpetual presence of one, the Lord Himself. For persons with that mentality the absence of a motivating person does not diminish the devotion and obedience to Christ.

Do it “with fear and trembling,” that is, reverence and healthy respect. This does not refer to nervous apprehension like that to prevail in the Last Judgement. The expression does not refer to alarm but awe. Maintain a sense of wonder and awe over being constantly in the presence of the Lord. Rejoice, He never takes His mind off you. Keep yours fixed on Him.

In Og Mandino’s intriguing book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, he tells the story of a man named Hafid to whom were given some very special scrolls. Reputedly these scrolls contained principles which if incorporated into life would make him the greatest salesman in the world. Principle number one was, “I will form good habits and become their slaves.” He reached this conclusion, “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits.”

I want to appeal to you to break some old habits and establish some new ones to which you become a slave. Such habits as:

A vibrant habit of daily Bible reading and prayer.

Systematic attendance in Bible study on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am.

Consistency in sharing my faith with friends.

Loyal attendance at Sunday night Bible study.

II. CAST OUT (Vs. 14)
Obey our Lord “without murmuring and disputing.”

Get the negatives out of your life. MURMURING (GOGGISMON) = half-concealed, half-muttered complaints and excuses.

DISPUTES – Christ gets no glory out of heated arguments.

Rid yourself of the two most popular excuses. One is IF ONLY… It implies something is lacking that keeps you from doing. God isn’t going to ask you to do anything He isn’t going to enable you to do.

Once upon a time a man allegedly said, “If only I had some extra money I would give it to God, but I have just enough to support myself and my family.” Later he was heard to say, “If only I had some extra time I would give it to God but every minute is taken.” Thereafter, he said, “If only I had some talent I would give it to the Lord but I haven’t.”

So an attentive God gave him extra money, talent, and time. The man said, “If only I had just a bit more money, a little more talent, and just a bit more time I would give it to God.” And God said, “Oh, shut up!”

III. BEAM OUT (Vs. 15)
In the midst of a CROOKED = wicked, and PERVERSE = depraved world you are to be BLAMELESS, that means you are to avoid being, divisive, fractious, grumbling, or argumentative. Free from fault or defects. Check your warranty.

Ever so gradually we backslide. Our light grows dim slowly. Many of you formerly attended worship on Sunday night, Sunday School, and many of you visited our Christ’s church. Slowly you got out of the habit. Your warranty check will call your attention back to the fact that the one who issued it said, “You are my witnesses.”

IV. REACH OUT (Vs. 16)
“Holding forth…” Like a runner with a torch. Laboring to the point of exhaustion.

REJOICE carries the image of running a victory.

RUN with a sense of urgency.

I want to present a direct challenge to you right now. I want to ask as many of you as will to commit yourself to being used of the Lord to reproduce yourself in this membership. Are you willing to let the Lord use you to bring someone into this church membership? Who joined in the past year because of you? Are you willing to extend yourself in aggressively trying to enlist someone for Christ in this year?

V. POURED OUT (Vs. 17)
“…I BE POURED OUT…” (SPENDOMAI) Poured out like a libation used to seal a sacrifice. Numbers 28:7, 8 reveals that just before a burnt offering was to be put in the fire a drink offering was poured over it. So a believer’s life is to be offered and not become an end in itself.

Are you guilty of being unwilling to give over control of your life to Christ? Are you hesitant to abandon your life in faith to the Christ-like life. If you were to be boldly clear with yourself would you have to admit you think your life can’t be good unless you control it? Would you have to confess you truly believe only you can plan and control a good life?

When you give control of your life to Christ what some people call “good coincidences” begin to happen. A coincident is when God performs a miracle and prefers to remain anonymous.

Our trust of Christ must bring us to the point of self-abandonment, a willingness to “pour out our lives,” as a living sacrifice. Make such a commitment today. Make sure that when it comes time to die all you have to do is die.

When Christ entered the stable in Bethlehem it took on a different significant. Christ in you should do the same.