The Obedience That Is Required By God

Text: Philippians 2:12-13

The Scriptures are clear – the Lord expects His people to obey Him (Luke 6:46; John 14:15; Hebrews 5:9). Our text is another passage that emphasizes the need for obedience. This lesson will take a closer look at this passage and see how Paul describes the obedience that is required by God.

“So Then” (“Wherefore” – KJV)

  • Paul’s point was based upon what he previously said – imitate Christ’s example of humility
  • Earlier in the chapter he made a point about humility (Philippians 2:3-4) – follow Christ’s example, who humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:5-8)
  • Humility is one of the primary traits necessary to please God (Matthew 5:3; James 1:21) – naturally leads to obedience (James 1:22)

“As You Have Always Obeyed”

  • Emphasis on persistent, continued obedience (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:13) – we must continue in faithful service to God (Hebrews 4:9-11)
  • “Once saved, always saved” is a popular doctrine – says we don’t need to continue in anything
  • But we can fall away and be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22) – even Paul recognized this of himself (1 Corinthians 9:27)

“Not As in My Presence Only…in My Absence”

  • Our obedience must be willing, not forced – must be faithful servants even when the master is not around (Colossians 3:22-23); nothing hidden from Him (Hebrews 4:13)
  • Christ expects us to work while He is gone (cf. Matthew 25:14)
  • He never forces us to obey – we must choose to obey (Matthew 11:28-30; 23:37)

“Work Out Your Own”

  • We must work – salvation is not by faith alone (James 2:24)
  • We cannot earn salvation (Luke 17:10) – but we still must “do all the things which are commanded” (cf. Matthew 28:20)
  • We each have an individual responsibility to obey (2 Corinthians 5:10) – we cannot enter heaven because of our family, church, or anyone else; judgment will be based upon what we have done


  • Obedience is not about making our lives on earth better – may or may not be (Proverbs 13:15; Luke 9:27); obedience is about our salvation
  • We must obey to have Christ as our Savior (Hebrews 5:9)
  • We must look past this life (Philippians 3:14, 20; Colossians 3:1-2)

“With Fear and Trembling”

  • We will be judged (2 Corinthians 5:10) – recognize that there is punishment for not obeying
  • Fear goes along with obedience (Ecclesiastes 12:13) – people disobey God because they do not fear Him (Romans 3:18)
  • We must fear and obey Him because God will punish those who do not obey (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

“Work for His Good Pleasure”

  • We are to be doing the works of God (Ephesians 2:10)
  • We must serve Him willingly – from the heart (Romans 6:17)

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