Responses to God


Live in Response to the Glorious Christ

Philippians 2:12-18

#1  Put God’s work in you into practice (vs 12-13)

Paul has the big picture understanding of salvation in mind

Our ‘salvation’ is more than our justification (being made righteous):

Ephesians 1:3 “(God) has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing”

The gospel brings comprehensive and wonderful transformation to us (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We routinely minimize what salvation has done, and so minimize Christ!

Faith picks up these truths and lives by them

To ‘work out’ our salvation is to live according to all our salvation contains

Think of this as your muscles, you already have them, but you need to develop them

In all responsibilities and circumstances, how do we live out our salvation?

This process is ‘work’, but it’s not drudgery

God himself is at the center in every moment of our labor (v13)

This gives us reason for celebrating and persisting even if we do so weakly

Paul adds that we are to put God’s work into practice with “fear and trembling”

Fear of God is a response that has awe at one end (for the believer) and dread at the other (for the unbeliever)

Christians should fear and tremble that the person of vs 9-11 is working in us


#2  Protect gospel unity and gospel mission (vs 14-16)

There are many sins we are to do without, but Paul here continues with the themes church unity and gospel mission

If we live with conflict in the church, we are not in fear and trembling

We all need accountability and correction, as described in Ephesians 4:15 “speaking the truth in love”

But complaining and arguing are corrosive responses that lack humility and grace

Paul reminds us that church life takes place before the world’s eyes

The world is a crooked and twisted place, we should be distinctly different

We are lights which are meant to shine

2 Corinthians 5:20 “God is making his appeal through us”

However, the gospel is not being revealed when we complain or argue

Paul’s use of the phrase “a crooked and twisted generation” is from Deuteronomy 32:5

He is describing the people of God who acted as if they weren’t

Grace abounded to them, but difficulty brought bickering from them

We fail to recognize that fighting and complaining are serious sins against God

The work of the gospel is a desperate need for every person, and the agenda of the gospel is our only God approved response

“Do all things without grumbling” is a biblical mandate

It comes down to whether or not we want biblical ways more than our own (v16)


#3  Take joy in Great Commandment living (vs 17-18)

Paul rejoiced when his life was entirely submitted to Christ

He compares it to being ‘poured out’ as a drink offering

Drink offerings in ancient religions involved pouring a cup of wine onto the ground to honor the gods

The idea is that once poured out, it can no longer be kept for us

This is Great Commandment living!

Why does Paul want us to rejoice with him over it? Because Great Commandment living is entirely good!

Every hesitation we have about Great Commandment living comes from deception

How can we know God and think that giving less of our life to him is better?

Paul was in prison facing the real possibility of execution

These realities made no difference to his conviction about joy

This is because his joy was in Christ and the trajectory of the gospel

If we see the glories of Christ, let us live by the glories of Christ


‘What are your Kingdom responses?’

Matthew 7:13-23

Jesus is bringing the Sermon on the Mt to a conclusion through a series of contrasts that reveal which kingdom we love and live by


There Are Two Gates For Life (vs 13-14)

One gate is wide and easy

It has a wide gate – because people can choose any option they want

It is easy to take – you can keep life as you want it

The other gate is narrow 

It is narrow – because it declares life is through Christ alone (Acts 4:12 and John 3:36)

It is hard – because we must drop our own claims of rule and ownership

These gates not merely ways through life, they are ways to eternity

Jesus describes two eternal destinies

 (1) One is called life, because it gives all God created living to be

(2) Other is called destruction. We don’t cease to exist, but it only leads to wrath and the loss of all that is good

If you are thinking, ‘How dare you be narrow or judgmental’

How dare we water down what Jesus said?

How dare we ignore the means God has mercifully provided?


There Are Two Influences In Life (vs 15-20)

One influence is false teachers in the church

They wear sheep’s clothes which makes them dangerous

If we are not rooted in God’s Word, their teaching sounds good

But their teaching produces ‘diseased trees’ (v17)

The other influence is faithful teachers who let God’s word be itself

Faithful teaching is when we lay out what the Bible says rather than trying to put truth in it

Faithful teachers are like healthy trees who produce good fruit

Jesus is warning us that there are consequences to who we listen to or read

We don’t want a critical spirit, but we must be discerning

We need to look at what teaching will lead to, what fruit does it produce:

Does it produces character like that of Christ who loved the Father fully?

Does it emphasize what God emphasizes, or does it follow human agendas?

Does it exalt Christ’s kingdom, or does it focus us on our success?

Does it have a gospel agenda for people, or does it use them for gain?


There Are Two Claims of Discipleship (vs 21-23)

Jesus warns against false disciples in the church

These are people who are active in church, think they are Christians, and others probably agree

What is missing? They don’t carry out ‘the will of the Father’

This is not a secretive will of God that they failed to grasp

They refuse to obey what the Bible clearly declares (Luke 6:46)

This kind of mistaken identity is not rare

Many are in Churches that never challenge them with the clear gospel

Others only have the benefits of the gospel emphasized to them. They were never confronted with repentance or the Lordship of Christ

Some appear rooted, but eventually they refuse to ‘do’ what God clearly says

We cannot tag who will or won’t be in heaven, but neither should we close our eyes to false hopes for heaven

How can we give gospel care to one another, if we ignore the failure of “Christians” to obey Christ?


Why Does Jesus End His Sermon This Way?

1. Because it is important

Everyone has a soul that lives forever

We are all accountable to God for how we respond to his word

Jesus makes these contrasts, because they are real problem in the church

2. Because it is needed

We tend to be confused about priorities. Our priorities should be based on the seriousness of consequences

Jesus’ purpose is not to make us doubt our salvation; it’s to have us all examine the foundation and the fruit of our salvation

How do we live?  What choices we are making?

3. Because he is merciful

A common distortion about the Bible is that Jesus in the New Testament has a different perspective from God in in the Old Testament

Yet the Old Testament is no less concerned with grace and Jesus is no less concerned with judgment

Jesus’ warnings are a form of grace and protection

It is a blessing to be awakened before disaster strikes
Jesus lets us know in v23, there is a point when it’s too late to respond correctly

This moment is not too late