Do All Things Without Murmurings

Philippians 2: 14-18 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do you joy, and rejoice with me. 

‘Do all things without murmurings’ – we are warned in Psalm 55:22 to cast thy burden upon the LORD – Man is commanded to do one thing; then God will do two things. All promises are conditional. Christians tend to emphasize the promises and ignore their conditions. Then they murmur and complain when the promises aren’t fulfilled. There is more to Christianity than its benefits (1Cor. 15:19). From Jude 1:15-16 we see that God’s judgment will come over those who murmur and complain.

‘That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.’ Six results of obedience to Philippians 2:12-14: [1] Blameless before God. [Greek: amemptos]. Blameless in legal righteousness like Paul (3:6), as well as in keeping the commandments. At the rapture, Christ will meet the saints in the air (1Thess. 4:16) and take them to heaven where they will be presented before God the Father and established in eternal and unblameable holiness by God (1Thess. 3:13). [2] Harmless to men. [Greek: akeraios] God desires that we show wisdom by discerning and choosing good from evil (Rom. 16:19). [3] The sons of God Sonship – adopted sons share the same rights and privileges as one born in the family. (Rom. 8:14-16, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). [4] Without rebuke by man [Greek: amometos]. From 1Timothy 3:7 we see the necessary standard of having a good report from outsiders. [5] Shine as lights (Mat. 5:14-16). When God’s word is in us we can bring light as the sun and moon (John 15:1-5). [6] Hold forth the word of life. Be lighthouses to guide people safe to the harbour of safety and rest (2Cor. 4:4).

Work Out Your Own Salvation

Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, 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. For it is God which worked in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 

‘Obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ We all have the responsibility of working out our own salvation until it is completed (3:21; Rom. 6:22; 8:23; 1Pet. 1:5-13). It is everyone’s own responsibility to ask to receive (Matt. 7:7; Jas. 4:7-8) and allow God to complete the work He has begun in us (1:6). God can only bring salvation in us to completion when we are willing to die to the self (Matt. 10:11-13, 37-38).

‘Fear and trembling’ – Why fear and trembling if there is no possibility of a fall and a failure? From 1Corinthians 9:27 we see Paul’s warning to keep our bodies under and bring them into subjection: lest by any means we should be castaways. From Hebrews 6:4-9 we see that Christians can backslide, tearing down the foundation of repentance that is already laid. Should they ever again be admitted into Christ, they will have to build again the foundation of repentance and do their first works again (Heb. 2:1-4; Rev. 2:5) and that Christians can fully apostatize from Christ, completely rejecting Him and His atoning work, so that it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (Heb. 10:26-29; 2Pet. 2:20-22).

‘Worked in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ If one will not obey in working out His own salvation, will God continue to work when man refuses to permit Him? Man’s power to will and to do as he pleases should not be puzzling. Such power comes from God but the use of it lies with man. One who will not use this power to work out His salvation will be held responsible. All people possess the power but not all use it (John 3:16-20; Mark 16:15-16; 1Jn. 1:9; Rev. 22:17).

At the Name of Jesus

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

‘Had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.’ Seven steps in His exaltation: God highly exalted Him (2:9; Eph. 1:21). God gave Him a name above all. At the mere mention of His name, every knee must bow (2:10). Everything in heaven must bow. Everything on earth must bow. Everything under the earth must bow. Every tongue shall confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father (2:11).

‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow …’ This is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in Philippians (2:10-11) that is unfulfilled.

‘Of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.’ There are three worlds that are inhabited: Heaven (2:10; Job 1:6; 2:1; Dan. 4:35; Col. 1:15-18; Rev. 12:12; 13:6). Earth (2:10; Col. 1:16; Rev. 12:12). Underworld. [Greek: katachthonios] under the earth; subterranean; infernal world (2:10; cp. Ps. 16:10 with Mat. 12:40 and Eph. 4:8-10). This includes the angelic inhabitants in Tartarus (2Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6-7; 1Pet. 3:19); the pre-Adamites and demon inhabitants of the abyss (Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1-21; 20:3, 20:7); the giant races that have no resurrection (Gen. 2:4; Isa. 26:14); the human inhabitants of Sheol/Hades (Ps. 9:17; 16:10; 71:20; Pro. 9:18; 15:24; Isa. 14:9; Ezek. 31:14-18; 32:18-27; Luke 16:1-31; Rev. 20:11-15); and all other inhabitants of the infernal world (2:10; Rev. 5:13). This proves that hell is not the grave.

Of No Reputation Part 3

Philippians 2:7-8 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 

He could do nothing of Himself in all His earthly life. He attributed all His works, doctrines, powers, etc. to the Father through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (John 8:28). This is proved by the following facts in Scripture (continued): (10) He did not claim the attributes of God, but only the anointing of the Spirit to do His works (John 8:28; Matt. 12:28; Luke 4:16-21). Others stated this was the source of His power (John 3:34; Acts 10:38). Most scriptures used in theological texts proving that Christ had divine attributes on earth are statements true of Him since His glory has been restored and do not prove anything during His life on earth. All scriptures related to His earthly life can be explained as referring to the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit and not natural attributes. (11) The fact that Christ promised all believers power to do the works He did prove that it was through the anointing of the Spirit, not by His deity and natural attributes, that He did His works (Mat. 10:1-20; 16:18; 18:18; Luke 10:1-42; 24:49; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-15; Acts 1:4-8). (12) His exaltation to original glory and the highest place under God the Father is proof of His lowest humiliation and earthly limitation short of being God by nature (2:9-11; Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:15-23; 1Pet. 3:22).

‘Humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ Christ humbled Himself from the divine form to human form, and from sinless humanity to sinful and corrupt infamy – even the death of the cross, bearing the sins of all men (2:8; 1Pet. 2:24).

Of No Reputation Part 2

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men

He could do nothing of Himself in all His earthly life. He attributed all His works, doctrines, powers, etc. to the Father through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (John 8:28). This is proved by the following facts in Scripture: (1) He was limited to the status of a man (2:6-8; Heb. 2:14-18; 5:8-9). (2) He was God’s agent using God’s power of attorney (John 8:28; Acts 10:38). (3) He was our example that we should walk in His steps (1Pet. 2:21-23). (4) The temptations prove that He was limited as a man so that He could overcome as a man and not as God (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9). (5) Isaiah (Isa. 7:14-16) speaks of the Messiah being born without knowledge enough to know to refuse the evil and choose the good. (6) Isaiah (Isa. 11:2; 53:1-12) speaks of the Messiah being limited as an ordinary baby, showing that God would give Him the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. If He had these attributes as God from all eternity and did not lay them aside in becoming a man when was this ever true of Him? (7) Isaiah (Isa. 50:4-11) predicted that the Messiah would be born without the tongue of the learned, without knowing how to speak a word in season to help any soul, and that He would be wakened day by day to increase in knowledge and wisdom. (8) Isaiah (Isa. 42:1-7; 61:1-11) speaks of the Messiah receiving His power to manifest divine acts by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and not by retaining His own former natural attributes and powers. Is it necessary for God to be anointed with the Holy Spirit to do what He is naturally capable of doing? If it became necessary to anoint Jesus during His earthly life, then it proves He did not retain His former glory and attributes which He had from all eternity when He emptied Himself to become like men in all things (2:6-8; Heb. 2:14-18; 5:8-9). (9) History records that Christ was limited as a baby and grew in body, soul, and spirit, grace, wisdom, stature, and favour with God and man (Luke 2:40, 52). Even after His manhood, His full anointing and gifts of the Spirit, He was still limited in knowledge (Mark 13:32). He even learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9).

To be continued…

This Mind Be in You

Philippians 2:5-6 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God

‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.’ Let the mind of self-emptying be in you which was in Christ (2:7). We are warned to have the same attitude as Christ if we want to be His followers (1Pet. 2:21-23).

‘Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.’ Seven steps in His humiliation: Christ was consecrated to humble Himself (2:5). Christ laid aside His divine form (2:6). Christ made Himself of no reputation (2:7). Christ took the form of a servant (2:7). Christ was made in the likeness of human beings (2:7). Christ humbled Himself (2:8). Christ became obedient unto death (2:8). These points to the humiliation of Christ’s kenosis, the emptying of Himself, so He could become the best human example for how a man should live (Heb. 4:15).

‘Being’ [Greek: huparcho] though existing; subsisting. He existed as God from all eternity (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Mic. 5:2; John 1:1-2; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8-11).

‘Form’ [Greek: morphe] is the outward form that strikes the vision; the external appearance. The passage should read, “who, existing in the form of God (by which He from eternity had appeared to the inhabitants of heaven), yet not thinking that this equality with God should be clung to or retained, He emptied Himself of it, to assume the form of a servant and become like man” (2:6-7).

Consolation in Christ

Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil you my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 

‘If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.’ Four questions to consider: If there is any consolation (encouragement) in Christ. If any comfort of love [Greek: paramuthion] stimulating force. If any fellowship of the Spirit. If any bowels and mercies. [Greek: splangchnon and oiktirmos] (2Cor. 6:12; Rom. 12:1). ‘Fellowship’ [Greek: koinonia] communion (1Cor. 10:16; 2Cor. 6:14; 13:14); communicate (Phm. 1:6; Heb. 13:16); fellowship (1:5; 2:1; 3:10; Acts 2:42; 1Cor. 1:9; 2Cor. 8:4; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:9; 1Jn. 1:3, 6-7); contribution (Rom. 15:26); and distribution (2Cor. 9:13).

‘Fulfil you my joy’ – Make my joy complete (accomplished by doing the twelve things of Philippians 1:2-16.

‘Same love, being of one accord, of one mind.’ Love in the same degree and be in agreement in all things for the Master. Not everyone with his own opinion but in the unity of what the gospel said.

‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory.’ Never oppose each other by acting for personal gain or from vanity.

‘But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.’ Have a humbling view of yourselves, knowing your own secret faults and true self.

‘Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.’ Do not be selfish glorying in your own gifts and graces. Be just as interested in the blessings of others and rejoice to see them blessed.

This Confidence

Philippians 1:25-30 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it become the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. 

‘And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.’ Here again, Paul expresses confidence in his release (1:19, 25-26). He was released after two years (Acts 28:30).

‘Conversation’ [Greek: politeuomai] to exercise citizenship; behave like citizens. Translated live in Acts 23:1 [politeuma] is used of citizenship in Philippians 3:20. The gospel regulates the lives of heavenly citizens.

‘Striving together’ [Greek: sunathleo] wrestling together, not in contention with, or against one another to build up human establishments which oppose each other in the gospel, but in union against the enemies of the gospel.

‘Adversaries’ – From this, it appears that the congregation was going through persecution.

‘Salvation’ [Greek: soteria] Here and in Philippians 2:12 it refers to the salvation of the soul. In Philippians 1:19 it refers to Paul’s deliverance from prison.

‘Conflict’ [Greek: agon] a contest for a prize; a struggle; battle. Run with patience the race set before us (Heb. 12:1).

‘Saw in me’ – read Acts 16:19-40 for Paul’s trial here.

To Live is Christ

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 

‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Here Paul expresses perfect resignation to whatever he had to face (1:21-24). His life was about living for Christ to the fullest and death was to be united with Him forever! What a testimony.

‘I wot not’ [Greek: gnorizo] translated make known 16 times; declare 3 times; certify (Gal. 1:11); give to understand (1Cor. 12:3), and do to witness (2Cor. 8:1).

‘Am in a strait’ [Greek: sunecho] am being pressed. I am under pressure between two desires, that of living and of dying.

‘Betwixt’ [Greek: ek] of, out of, from, with. Out of 921 times used it is only translated betwixt here, and between (John 3:25).

‘To depart, and to be with Christ …’ Seven outstanding facts are noted here (1:21-24): To live means gain to Christ (1:21). To die is personal gain (1:21). There is no gain for man or God if one went into extinction of being, unconsciousness, or soul sleep. All are unscriptural. To live in the flesh is to continue bearing fruit (1:22). This proves that one dwells in a body. Having a desire to depart (1:23). This confirms the fact of the departure of one at death. To be with Christ (1:23; 2Cor. 5:8). Far better (1:23). A far better place and state of being (Rev. 21:4; 22:3). To abide in the flesh is more needful for Christians than to die (1:24). This explains what departure from the body means – that at death the body dies and the inner man leaves the body to go to paradise if one is a Christian, or to hell if one is unsaved. The body without the spirit is dead (Jas. 2:26); to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8); to depart is to be with Christ (1:23) and be in paradise with the spirits of just men made perfect (Luke 16:19-31; 2Cor. 5:8; 12:2-4; Rev. 6:9-11).

Salvation

Philippians 1:18-20 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 

‘What then?’ Paul claims here that it mattered not to him how Christ was preached, provided He was preached. The apostles were commanded to get the Word of Christ out, as long as they stayed away from fiction (1Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:14) and focus on what He taught (Matthew chapters 5-24) and the examples that He set (1Pet. 2:21-23).

‘Pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached.’ The Jews served God with pretence, but He was still preached whether they accepted Him or not. In John 15: 22 Christ stated that if He had not come and proved to them beyond doubt that He was the Messiah they would not have had the sin of rejecting Him, but now they have no excuse for this sin. They wilfully hated both Jesus and God the Father (John 15:22-24).

‘Salvation’ [Greek: soteria] deliverance. This refers to his temporal safety and freedom from chains and imprisonment. This he expected through their prayer and the continued supply of the Holy Spirit.

‘Earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.’ He had the utmost confidence in God that he would be upheld by grace in all his trials. He was ready for either life or death, providing Christ would be magnified in the outcome.