“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.”
Philippians 2: 12b-13
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
At St. Aidan’s our Vision summary statement reads, Real God, Real Church, Real Lives. This is not some fancy or glib marketing tool; it has real meaning for those who wish to listen and understand. If God is real, knowing Him should transform the Church into Christ’s Body and Her member’s lives into genuine imitations of Jesus. We’ve just finished working through the letter of James. In essence He is saying the same thing in a much better way. If God is real and we have faith in Him our lives, what we do and say, will be transformed. Lives of faith will be authentic and actions will follow in obedience to God’s Word. We will live in anticipation and readiness for Christ’s return.
If you are reading this the chances are that you agree with what I have just said. The reality of its truth however may not be reflected in our lives, this can make us feel uncomfortable. Well let me encourage you! In Philippians 1: 6 we read that we can ‘be(ing) confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.’ I was recently speaking to a fellow Pastor who shared the truth that we are all unfinished creations. As we read in Isaiah 64 we are the clay and the Lord the potter. We begin a new life in Christ which is then perfected by the author, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12: 2). However, as we considered on Monday, as God is not passive we can find ourselves to be passive in this wonderful relationship. We are called to work out our salvation with God while He works in us to fulfil His good purposes. This means following the directions James has given us along with the Lord’s directions elsewhere in His Word, through His Holy Spirit and in His Church.
When working out our salvation it is a good challenge to consider what type of ‘soil’ we are in line with the Lord’s parable of the sower; how much Kingdom living is going on? Is God’s truth snatched away from our hearts easily (seed on the path), do we have very shallow roots (rocky soil), do the cares of the world inhibit us (amongst weeds) or are we producing much fruit for God’s Kingdom (fertile soil)(Matthew 13: 18-23).
We are not the finished article yet but with Paul’s encouragement let us forget what is behind and press on to attain that which God has called us heavenward for (Philippians 3: 13-14, 7-11); the goal is life itself and is worth more than anything else….anything else!
To Ponder: In which soil do you find your heart residing? Why is that and what do you do next?
Pray: Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after you, and in an affectionate walking with you, every day of our lives; that when you come, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamps unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our glorious God for ever. Amen
Richard Baxter (1691)
Praise: No Longer Slaves sung by St. Aidan’s
Take my Life and let it be
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.