Let Us Not Run In Vain

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Text - Philippians 2.16

Philippians 2:16 NKJV
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Title - Let us Not Run In Vain


“Run” is applied in 2 ways in Paul’s epistles
to salvation - Hebrews 12.1
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
to ministry or service to God (this text)
in this context the believer loses other things besides salvation
“Run in vain”
it is an idiomatic expression
it means
to lose the fruits of one’s labor
to have no gain in one’s efforts
similar - “labor in vain”
Not all sincere and godly efforts become fruitful.
Jesus did not win all His disciples
the apostles did not establish churches every single place they went to
many of their converts went back to the world
But we don’t have to run in vain, if we can know how.
Paul was concerned in not losing the fruits of their labors
We should be concerned with the fruits of our labors
the souls we’ve won
the ministries we’ve established

The Main Idea

There are 2 ways to run in vain the ministry
negligence on the part of the people to whom we minister
negligence on our part
But the biggest responsibility lies on our part
believers are partly responsible for the success of the ministry
but the biggest burden lies on those in the ministry

Work out your own salvation...

Philippians 2:12–13 NKJV
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; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Your salvation should not rest on other people’s faith
Jesus commended a woman’s faith
Luke 7:44–50 NKJV
44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
your repentance and faith is recognized
you are saved, not because you belong to the Jews’ religion, but because of your personal faith in God.
fear and trembling - signifies deep respect
Your salvation is a work of God in your life
He gives the “will”
He helps you act on it

Shine as a child of God...

Salvation is demonstrated by acting and behaving as children of God
Philippians 2:14–16 NKJV
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
doing things without complaining
doing things without arguing
holding fast the word of life - the word of God
Matthew 5:43–45 NKJV
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Hebrews 11:1–2 NKJV
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
obtained a good testimony - one word, meaning “approvingly testified of”

Pour our your life in service...

Philippians 2:17 NKJV
17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
A life of sacrifice and service is a drink offering to God
2 Corinthians 12:15 NKJV
15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
2 Timothy 4:6 NKJV
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Spare no effort to secure the fruits of your labors
2 Corinthians 6:1–10 NKJV
1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
1 Thessalonians 2:1–9 NKJV
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
1 Thessalonians 3:1–5 NKJV
1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.


As we face the new year together, let us make sure that we will not run in vain.
watch out for these pitfalls -
negligence - of the faith, the works of God, the warnings and exhortations
indulgence - in worldly, physical comforts and enjoyment
impatience - towards the promises of God
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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