GUARANTEED by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: Have you ever had to follow up on a guarantee only to find out that the Guarantor was no longer in business? This happened to me recently. On our date days, I usually end up at bookstores. Nicole really loves that…We went by a used bookstore where I had a discount card that also gave me points each time I used it. We pulled into the parking lot and there were no cars. The sign wasn’t lit up either. I knew something wasn’t right. So, I walked up to the door and there was a handwritten sign that said – “Thank you for your business. We’re out of business.” I almost cried! The discount card with the free points was now useless. Thank goodness that it was just a few free points towards some used books. But, imagine, if it was something much more important. Unlike that bookstore, God never goes out of business. He always stands behind his guarantees, especially when it comes to his work in our lives. That’s the title of our message, GUARANTEED, in our series through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 1 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Question: Has God begun a good work in you? In other words, are you saved? Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? If you have, can you see his work daily in your lives? No work, no salvation.
Pray: Holy Spirit – Continue the work that you have begun in our lives. For those who have yet to see your work in their lives, help them to see their need to be saved.
Context: Last weekend we learned that Paul’s relationship with the Philippians was based upon Trust, Joy, and Hope. In today’s message, I want to focus on the last point of “Hope” a little bit. Paul had the solid assurance, based on his positive relationship with the Philippians, that God was working in their lives and that he would finish the work that he had started. Listen again to verse 6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” What is the good work that Paul is talking about? How does it apply in our lives today? The message is deep but those are the 2 main points:
|I. WHAT IS THE GOOD WORK THAT PAUL IS TALKING ABOUT?|
6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work…”
Background: The “good work” that Paul is referring to in this verse is God’s work of salvation, more specifically, God’s work of grace in the life of a believer. Paul says the same thing in his letter to the Corinthians – 1 Corinthians 1:4 “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.” Don’t forget – Salvation is God’s work in the life of a person. It is God who initiates this work and it’s always by his grace.
Application: Has God’s work of grace happened in your life? Have you experienced what Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”? Have you received God’s gift of salvation?
Something else here – Paul refers to 2 days when it comes to someone’s salvation: First Day and the Day of Jesus Christ. First day is the day that you and I get saved. The Day of Jesus Christ is the day when Christ will return for us. This second day was very important to Paul. He mentions it again in Philippians 1:10 “…that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Philippians 2:16 “holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ…” Here’s the point that Paul is making – Between the First Day and the Day of Jesus Christ, God will complete what he has begun in the life of a Christian. In other words, our salvation is ultimately God’s responsibility. The Guarantor of my salvation is not me. The Guarantor of your salvation is not you. The Guarantor of our salvations is God himself. He never goes out of business. Salvation from start to finish is God’s work and he never leaves a job half-done.
I know there will be objections to this that people will raise. Some will say – Yes, God is responsible but that does not exempt you from your responsibilities to live according to God’s Word, reject sin in your life, and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. They will quote passages like Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” When people bring up that verse, I remind them to keep reading – 13 “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” In other words, working out your salvation is understanding what God is doing in your life which should lead you to fear, which is humility, and trembling, which is obedience. Let me give you couple of more references to help you understand how God is responsible for your salvation – Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” 2 Thessalonians 2 13 “…God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” In other words, your part was to trust, God’s part was to seal you with the Holy Spirit.
What if the Enemy tries to steal you away? 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” What if the trials are too much? I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Romans 8 37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What if a person knowingly messes up? I Corinthians 8:11 talks about a weak brother perishing and Romans 14:15 talks about the weak brother being destroyed. The context here implies “self-condemnation,” “defilement,” and “wounding of the conscience.”
Here’s a big one – Galatians 5 2 “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing…4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Paul is frustrated with the Galatians because they were going back to the law, to circumcision. He’s telling them that if they do that, it’s a waste. He does say something very harsh and it’s exactly as it sounds. He tells them that if they go back to the law (self-effort), they’ll be lost. What do we do with this? Again, you have to look at the context. Go to Galatians 5:10 “I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind…” Paul is giving them an “impossible possibility.”
For e.g. Like a parent telling a child – “If you do that, you are no child of mine.” Let’s say the child does that anyways. Does that mean that he is no longer a child? Even if the parent disowns, it is not possible. By DNA, it cannot be done.
What about 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” This is about the end of times. I Timothy 2:12 “If we endure, We shall also reign with Him”? This is again a warning about the end of times. Overall, the abandonment will be by those
|II. HOW DOES IT APPLY TO US TODAY?|
who never heard the true gospel.
- free to serve (Imagine if you had to fight for a nation while trying to prove your citizenship. How tiresome!)
- Hope in the face of despair
- No need to sorrow, self-condemn, or wounding of the conscience. Think about the Galatians in Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
Are you safe? Are you secure?