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.”
It would seem that in kingdom thinking the working out of our salvation will result in seeing changes in our culture around us. Jesus said that a little leaven in the lump of dough will result in the leaven spreading throughout the dough. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33
I would take that to mean that wherever we find God’s people doing what Philippians 2:12-13 is talking about that it will make a difference in the surroundings. It would stand to reason that if I am working out what the Lord has worked in me that this will affect the situation around me.
When I look at the deteriorating culture around us, another question comes to my mind on whether or not we as God’s people are really working out the salvation that we have in Christ? If so, then why is there no real change in our culture or society? If Christ has worked in us then why are we not working it out?
I do not believe that there is an easy answer to this, but I would like to put forth several thoughts. First, I think there is a real lack of discipleship within the church. When we look at the Master trainer Himself we see that He chose 12 men that could “be with Him.” This is the key: “to be with Him.” More and more I have come to the conclusion that Christianity is not so much ‘taught’ as it is ‘caught.’
Discipleship is not sitting down in a class room discussion or a teaching session (not that it shouldn’t be done), but it is seeing the principles and doctrines of Christianity being lived out day by day. Mahatma Gandhi told Dr. Stanley Jones that if he could find one Christian living like Jesus lived he would become a Christian. If you went to his room you would find a stack of books and one of them would be the Bible. If you opened it to the Sermon on the Mount you would find almost every verse underlined. Evidently Christianity in India did not make an impact on him.
Where does discipleship begin? In our homes! Jesus said: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:15
When it comes to discipleship we need to understand that we produce what we are. “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) This alone should be a great incentive for each one of us to be continually working out our salvation, first in our homes, then in our jobs, schools, community, etc.
An article in “Urban Renewal” made the following statement: “I’ve become convinced that one of the primary reasons the evangelical church has become so enfeebled over the last twenty years or so is because sanctification is no longer being taught. Not just that believers need to overcome the power of sin, which is obvious enough, but how to actually do it!
“The data is incontrovertible: without marshaling the many demographic studies proving it, far too many believers today find themselves addicted to the very sins and anxieties plaguing the unsaved – like pornography, adultery, gambling, lying, cheating, chronic depression, bad marriages, divorce – and at levels that are no different. It’s no wonder that the church is so ineffectual and her witness so pathetic.”
Catherine Booth said: “When the church and the world can jog comfortably along together, you can be sure something is wrong. The world has not compromised – its spirit is exactly the same as it ever was. If Christians were equally as faithful to the Lord, separated from the world, and living so that their lives were a reproof to all ungodliness, the world would hate them as much as it ever did. It is the church that has compromised, not the world.”
There is much more that could be said about this, but another reason why we are not making an impact in our society is that we are not occupying the gates. The gates are where decisions are being made that affect the society, community, state, country that we live in. When I say this I am not talking about establishing a theocracy, but we will live by someone’s morals and if this is the case then why not the morality that has been laid down to us by God in His Word?
Yes, there will be many who will reject godly morals and go their own way, but this is no reason not to be in the market place living and proclaiming these morals because there will also be some who will see that what we are proclaiming and living is the reality.