Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Work Out Your Salvation by John.

Work Out Your Salvation
Colossians 03:1-17

1. The title for this message comes from another Pauline passage, Philippians 2:12,13, "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
2. These verses are not saying that we have to work to gain salvation.
3. They do say that we need to work at making our lives match the salvation our Lord has given us. The Philippians were already doing that.
(1) The word translated "work" signifies "accomplish by toil."
(2) We will be mature Christians when our lives begin to match the Salvation God has given us!
4. You and I, having placed our lives in the hands of the Lord, are in the same position the Philippians were.
(1) We are saved, but our lives do not match the salvation that God has given us in Jesus!
(2) We are children of God right now whether we look to the world like we are, or not! ill. Bert Grimm appeared at our door shortly after we moved to Wellington, KS many years ago. He introduced himself and told me he was looking for the new Baptist preacher. I admitted that I was the one he was looking for. He looked me up and down and said, "If I was shooting preachers, I sure wouldn't have shot you!"
(3) We are Children of God, but our lives usually don't give us away! (If somebody was shooting Christians, they probably would not take aim at us!)
5. This passage in Colossians gives us instructions on how we must go about working out our salvation!

I. First, Exchange your goals for heavenly ones. 3:1

1. We start out in life just living from one meal to the next, one surprise to the next, with no goal at all.
2. As we grow, people start asking, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
(1) The usual answer used to be. "A fireman!" Or "A policeman!" Or "President!"
(2) The answer now may be movie star, or rock star, or another Michael Jackson! I don't think many, if any, would say they want to be President! The job is too tough.
3. As we continue to age, we begin to seriously consider what our aptitudes are, what we can conceivably accomplish to make money, but in all of this, God is seldom mentioned, or even thought about! Right?
4. We make our plans, we get through high school, some of us get through college, maybe even get a Master's, or a doctor's degree, and we still have not considered what God expects of us!
5. We need to change our life-goals!
(1) We should have started early, but how many of us ever had anyone ask us, "What does God want you to do with your life?... Are you going to ask God what He wants you to do?"
(2) I was raised in church. I thought about becoming a minister.
a. A pastor we had at that time hunted and fished almost every day of the week except Sunday, and I thought that was great!
b. God did not enter into my thinking at all.
aa. I never thought of the needs of people.
bb. It never occurred to me that pastors were "called" to preach and serve!
6. If you've never given any thought to what God wants you to do, Colossians 3:1 says, you are saved! Set your life-goals on things above!
(1) That means you belong to God, so expect your life to be directed by God!
(2) Don't make any goal without considering God's will, and without asking for God's approval on what you want to do! ill. In II Chronicles 18:3, Ahab, king of Israel, asked Jehoshaphat join him in war against Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat told Ahab he would, but in v 4, he said, "First seek the counsel of the Lord." Ahab called in all of his false prophets, and said, "Go for God will give it into the king's hand." That did not satisfy Jehoshaphat. He said, "Is there not one prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?"
(4) God's prophet, Micaiah, told them they would lose the battle and Ahab would die. It happened just that way!
7. The Lord will keep us from making great mistakes when we seek Him.
(1) Jehoshaphat decided to help Ahab before he sought the Lord.
(2) That was a big mistake, and he paid for it! They lost the war and Ahab was killed
(3) When Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem, the prophet Jehu met him and asked, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?" (II Chronicles 19:2) Jehu told Jehoshaphat God's wrath was on him.
8. God does not violate the freedom He has given us!
(1) We are free to make decisions without Him, but we must take face the consequence of our actions!
(2) It's much better to go with God, but we won't unless we make going with God the primary goal of our lives!
9. Let's do that, people! And assuming that we will brings us to another point...

II. Conquer your fleshly nature. 3: 5

1. Even if you have decided to follow Jesus all the way, Satan sees to it that there are many temptations just waiting for us.
2. We should not have to struggle with temptation, I Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
(1) Temptations do "seize" us, don't they?
(2) We should take comfort from the simple fact that there are no new temptations.
a. Everything that tempts us has tempted others, too.
b. My mother used to talk about her "besetting sin."
c. Most of the temptations Satan brings to us are fairly constant. They come again and again.
d. If you have failed once, you missed the "way to escape," but it doesn't mean you have to miss it the next time it strikes you!
3. We should pattern our response to temptation after Jesus.
(1) The first attempt I made at preaching a sermon 53 years ago was on the text, (KJ), Matthew 26:39, "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt'"
(2) The first part of that prayer lets us know Jesus struggled with temptation, specifically, the thought of His death.
(3) The second part tells us He avoided temptation by dedicating Himself completely to His Father's will!
(4) Hebrews 5:7,8 illuminate that. "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered."
(5) We need to be aware that we do not have to fall into temptation! God will provide an escape for us, but we probably won't ever discover it unless we submit ourselves to our Father's will!
3. Dale Buchman was President of the Kansas-Nebraska Baptist Convention some years ago. He was asked what he did to be successful in the Lord's work. He thought for a minute, and he said, "I determine to do one thing every day that I don't want to do." We can't be obedient to the Lord unless we are willing to do for Him the things we really do not want to do!
4. There are things that the Scripture tells us do not help us avoid temptation. We saw some of those things in the last part of Chapter 2.
(1) The rules of the world, such as the "do nots," "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!" (2:21). (If something is really sinful, breaks a commandment, that's a different thing).
(2) Religious observances such as "holy days," "New- moon celebrations, Sabbath days." (2:16)
(3) Fasting and prayers can be included here if they are merely rituals. The fasts and prayers that count are those that occur because we are so involved with the Lord that we don't even think about being hungry, and we pour out our hearts to the Lord.
5. There are other things that the general public does, and many church members, I am afraid. They are listed in 3:4-

III. Live a Christ-filled life. 3:12

1. Fill your life with positive things, compassion for other people, kindness to everyone, real humility, gentleness and patience. (v 12).
2. No two people can get along well all the time, so we need to adjust to that. (v 13)
(1) When, not if, someone hurts you, forgive them.
(2) When someone constantly bugs you, don't take offence!
a. If you do take offence, don't let it build up!
b. Face the person, and nicely work out whatever is causing the problem, and that does not mean to run from it!
c. If you leave the irritation there, it will still be there years into the future!
d. If you do all you can, and the other person is unwilling to settle the issue, you are free of responsibility!
3. V 13 says it well, just as the Lord's Prayer does, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
4. People, you cannot live a Christ-filled life and harbor grudges against other people!
5. I think v 16 is underlined in every Bible I own or have ever owned, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
6. All Christians desire to be filled with the Spirit, and we will be when we open all the doors in our lives to Him.


1. We may never have set down on paper goals for our lives, but we have them. We may think of them as "hopes," or some such thing, but they are there.
2. We need to give those to the Lord in exchange for some heavenly goals. ill. Like Paul when Jesus struck him blind, we need to say, what do you want me to do? When the Lord reveals that to us, that should become the principal goal in our lives.
3. As long as we are in these bodies, we are going to have fleshly temptations, but we can conquer them.
(1) First, look for the escape route the Lord has already prepared for you. When you find it, use it!
(2) Second, fill your life with God's Word, with all of the good characteristics of Jesus. If we do a good job at this point, there won't be a lot of room for evil!
(3) Learn to get along with others.
a. Work out your problems quickly. Don't let them fester and grow!
b. In the final analysis of the situation, forgive others just as God has forgiven you!
4. That may not make you popular with someone who is at odds with you, but it will make you right with God!
5. Being like our Lord Jesus Christ starts with coming to know Him as Lord and Savior.
6. If you haven't done that, we invite you to put your trust in Him right now while we pray. In a moment or two, we will invite you to make your decision public by stepping out from where you are and coming to the front. We will meet you and help you from that point on.

Emmanuel Community Church 9/6/2006


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