[Scripture] Philippians 2:12-13
[Title] Work Out Your Salvation
Purpose of Salvation
When God saves people, He has a purpose. Although it is important to know how we can be saved and whether we can be saved, knowing the reason why God saves(purpose) is also important. The purpose of salvation is the same purpose of Creation. It is having a loving relationship with each of us. God created us to have a fellowship with, yet we have sinned against God and our relationship was broken. However, God saved us through Jesus Christ in order to find the lost fellowship back. The salvation was already given us by grace through faith.
Work Out Salvation
However, we have to work out salvation. It does not mean that the given salvation is insufficient. The reason we have to work out is because salvation is not a moment event. (Salvation is not a wedding but a marriage)
In the Bible, salvation, in the one hand, is explained by the image of court. We are justified and it is decided. On the other hand, it is also demonstrated by the picture of graft. Once a broken off branch is grafted to a new trunk, it should remain attached.
In this second image, salvation is restored relationship. Work out salvation means staying in this relationship and making this relationship grow.
How to Work Out
Building up relationship is very simple. Spend good quality of time together. For us to have fellowship with God, we should set up a time of prayer and of reading Bible (which is God's instagram).
Walk this way! (1) [Ephesians 5:1~2]
Last thing we talked about in the retreat was the cross that Jesus bore for us. The cross has two members, one vertical and one horizontal. The vertical member represents the relationship between you and God, the horizontal members represents the relationship between brothers.
Now, we are on the chapter 5, Paul refocus the relational issues back to the vertical relationship. Because what good is the amazing horizontal relationships with your brothers and sisters if you don’t have the good vertical relationship with our Lord Jesus. Another words, even if you have good relationships with your friends and family, yet you don’t have the love of Jesus in your heart, it is just a social gathering or a relationships that is bound to fail and hinder you.
From the chapter 4 of Ephesians, we talked about how we can unite in Christ.
What were those? Do you guys remember? There were:
Humble and gentle, patient and bear with one another in love.
So, today, the chapter 5 of Ephesians, we will talk about how to walk as a Christian to further improve the relationship between your brothers and sisters, based on the vertical relationship with our Lord in Heaven.
Todays’ title is “walk this way” this may remind you of 80’s Aerosmith, But I think this tile perfectly summarizes what Paul is trying to say in Ephesians chapter 5.
There are 3 ways of walk that Paul teaches us. We are only going to talk about the first one, which is “Walk-in-Love” we will hear about the other two next time (Walk-in-the-light, and Walk-in-wisdom)
5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
5:1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.
ii.And do things out of sacrificial love and compassion and do things with excellence (we talked about that during the retreat)
ii.Christianity reverses that! We already have become child of God by God’s grace and act of adaption by God, while we are broken and lost
ii.I remember wanting to become like my dad when I was a boy. He was a strong in character and strong in body, and he was so musical. And now, I sometimes see him in myself. And that’s okay. Because I love him anyway and I always wanted to become like him anyway.
iii.Those of you who are in relationships, you want to please your significant others and you want to honor that person, because you love that person. When you fall in love, you naturally want to follow the one you love. Like the same things and hate the same things. It is the same here; You want to imitate God, not because you have to, because of you love God.
Walk in Love (verse 2)
There are three words that we can pull out from verse 2. LOVE, GIVE, and Forgiveness. These three things we see here describe how to walk in love.
ii.So this forgiveness is very important in Christianity and being saved and all.
iii.But we do not practice the forgiveness in our lives…
iv.How many times does Bible say we should forgive our brothers? 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 (unlimited)
v.Worldly response: our forgiveness is conditional.
ii.However, again our problem is, we decide whom we should love and whom we should not love. You decide that some people are worthy or not-worthy for your act of love
iii.You have been loved and chosen to be child of God, and you get to decide whom you can love and share the act of love? No.
iv.We need to reach out all the brothers and sisters orbiting around our lives with the love of Christ!
v.The reason we love going to homeless center and nursing home and do some mundane work, YET it feels so good. Because you have the love of Christ in you.
vi.And that is the amazing thing. As we serve others, we imitate the love of God. And you and I know how fruitful our act of love could be, if you have the heart of God.
ii.This is to recognize that everything you have is from God and to honor God
No!! He may be a good and live a good life and honest and hard working,
But if he ignores a relationship that matter the most and one person whom he owes everything, this is not good. This is not acceptable.
This is what is missing in our relationship with God.
We may do good things like serving at nursing home or homeless shelter, give much offering to church. Many Christians do the right things for God. But you are not passionately in love with God. This is what is missing in walk our Christian walk.
I am going to close the sermon.. Let us close our eyes..
I would say, this is the most important part of walking in Christian life.
We do many good things because they are nice things to do. But we lose sight of the reason why we do the things that “seem nice”
We talked about being humble and gentle and patient and bear with other to unite. But if you forget about the love of Christ, it is nothing. It gets you nowhere... Other religions can suggest the same things. Buddhists teach the same things.
Let us be reminded again, what this cross meant for us. It meant the love that God pours out to sinners like us.
It meant that he died for our sins to forgive us so that we are able to have relationship with almighty God.
It meant that we are able to love others with love of Christ.
It meant that we are able to give the first and the best of our ability.
We do good things in our live because Christ compels us to do good things.
So, let us forgive and let us love like Christ loves us and let us give the first and the best, not because it is nice to do, not because we have to, but because we are in love with God.
So, Let us imitate god by walking in love.