To help you follow along, here is a rough outline of the sermon for this week.
I. Imagine that you are in the room when Paul's letter was first read.
A. You are listening to someone else read it, because you probably didn't know how to read.
B. You are likely in someone's home, because that is where Christians met.
C. You would be surrounded by other Christians, all excited to hear what Paul has to say.
II. Fear and Trembling?
A. The letter was so encouraging, but now Paul is talking about "Working out your salvation with fear and trembling." What does he mean?
B. This could increase pressure on a new Christian. Or, any Christian.
A. The bottom line is, what Paul is talking about is important.
B. Salvation is not just "dying and going to heaven."
C. Salvation is being saved from sin, suffering, death, persecution, shame.
D. Salvation is also being saved FOR a purpose, mainly, pursuing the mission God has given the church, to spread hope.
E. Salvation begins now, not when we die, and is ongoing.
IV. "Shine as Stars"
A. God promised that Abraham's descendants would be like the stars.
B. God isn't just pointing to how many descendants Abraham would have, but also what they would be like.
C. Stars in the ancient world were thought of differently than we think of them today.
D. Stars were guides who helped people.
E. Abraham's descendants are meant to help the world and bless it.
F. This could increase the pressure on someone following Jesus. How do we live up to that?
A. A mature Christian in Philippi, someone who knew Paul as Lydia did, would be able to remind everyone to let go of any pressure.
B. Following Jesus is not about our work. It's about God's work.
C. Paul reminds them that they should work out their salvation with fear and trembling because God is working amongst them.
D. Fear and Trembling is more about recognizing that God is at work in our lives than it is about us feeling pressure.
E. The first step in working out your salvation is recognizing God's work in your life.
F. The church that God is cultivating recognizes God's work.