September 17, 2014-“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:1-13 ESV)
-In verses 12-13, Paul declared that Christians should earnestly and eagerly work out their salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God and God alone who causes them to thirst for righteousness for the sake of His Name, in order that His sovereign power alone would cause them to work for His good pleasure.
-As Christians, our sole hope and source of joy in our walk with the Lord as we seek His ways is solely in His sovereign and sanctifying power to conform us to the image of His ways. It is solely by the grace of God that we are saved in justification, are being saved in sanctification, and will be saved in glorification.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
1. The Grumbling against God
-“Do all things” refers to the things which entail working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
-Working out our salvation with fear and trembling involves hearing God speak through His Word and obeying it. (Psalm 119:60; Joshua 22:5; 1 John 3:24)
-Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means being courageous in proclaiming Christ. (Philippians 1:14; Ephesians 6:19; Acts 4:29)
-Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means partnering with other believers in Gospel ministry. (Philippians 1:7; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:16)
-Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means suffering affliction for the sake of Christ’s Name. (Philippians 1:29-30; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 2:8-9)
-Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means placing God above all else in our lives. (Philippians 1:21; Philippians 3:8; Galatians 6:14)
-“Grumbling” (γογγυσμῶν) is the idea of muttering, mumbling, and begrudgingly deriding something or someone. It is the Greek word gong-goos-mos'.
-Grumbling in this context produces disagreement and division. (John 6:61; John 7:12; James 5:9)
-In contrast to a spirit of grumbling, Paul told the Philippians that he had learned contentment. (Philippians 4:12)
-Grumbling comes from looking at our present circumstances (Numbers 14:2) instead of looking at Christ. (Psalm 27:7-8; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
-Grumbling comes from elevating our desires (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:17) above our desire for God. (Psalm 16:2; Psalm 17:15)
-Grumbling comes from failing to remember who the Lord is (Philippians 2:9-11; Psalm 147:5) and what He has done. (Psalm 136:10-12; 2 Timothy 1:8-11)
-Grumbling comes from failing to recognize that God is sovereignly and providentially working all things to the counsel of His will for His good pleasure. (1 Corinthians 1:9; Psalm 92:5; Revelation 15:3)
2. The Disputing Opposing God
-“Disputing” (διαλογισμῶν) refers to doubtful and deliberate questioning of what is true.
-Disputing means to first base our thoughts on the voice of our opinions rather than obeying the voice of God. (Mark 7:21-22; Luke 24:38; Romans 14:1)
-Paul had to correct those who were prone to vain disputations. (Philippians 4:2; Titus 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:23)
-Paul continually instructed the Philippians and other believers to avoid disputing in order to be unified in mind, purpose, and spirit. (Philippians 2:1-2; Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 1:10)
-Disputing begins by trusting one’s own wisdom instead of the wisdom from God. (Proverbs 3:7; Isaiah 5:21)
-Disputing comes from not growing in love in all knowledge and discernment (James 4:1-3), as Paul prayed would occur for the Philippians. (Philippians 1:9-11)
-Disputing comes from seeking one’s own interests rather than the interests of Christ. (2 Timothy 3:2; Philippians 2:21)
-Disputing comes from failing to recognize our great salvation. (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 2:1-4)
-Disputing fails to recognize who the Lord is, since doubts of God’s nature produce dissension among men. (Mark 2:7-8)
-Disputing breaks partnership apart, which Paul commended the Philippians for doing when partnering with him. (Amos 3:3)
-Jesus frequently dwelt with those who disputed about Him and against Him. (Luke 5:21-24; Luke 6:7-8)
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
1. The Righteous through God
-“You may be” (γένησθε) means to be transformed from one state into another. Since it is a hina clause in the Greek, it denotes a certain result, not a proximate probability.
-Being transformed is not a possibility for genuine believers, but a genuine certainty. (2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 10:14)
-The purpose of abstaining from grumbling and disputing is so that we may be transformed by God’s grace. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:24-25)
-God has already transformed us by His saving grace through His Spirit. (Psalm 100:3; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:5)
-God will continuously transform us as we continue our walk with Christ throughout our lives. (2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:9-11)
-“Blameless” (ἄμεμπτοι) means to be lacking in no good thing and to be free from defects and shortcomings.
-Christ established the New Covenant so that it might be a blameless covenant with blameless people of God. (Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 8:7-8; Matthew 26:28)
-As Paul had done with the Philippians, Scripture declares that the righteous before God keep the commandments of God. (Luke 1:5-6)
-We are to grow in being blameless as the Lord makes us blameless. (1 Samuel 2:9; Proverbs 11:20; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)
-To be blameless means to heed the Word of God and to follow it. (Psalm 119:1; Psalm 119:80)
-To be blameless keeps us from reproach in our testimony, as the apostle Paul was free from reproach in his testimony in Roman imprisonment. (Philippians 1:12-13; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
-“Innocent” (ἀκέραιοι) means to be free from deception and evil influences. Akeraios was used to refer to wine that was pure, or metals that were free from impurities. It means to be separate from a mixture of tainted influences.
-We are made innocent by being acquitted of sin by Christ’s blood. (Psalm 32:2; Romans 4:5-8)
-Both Jesus and Paul called believers to be innocent of evil by remaining pure from evil. (Matthew 10:16; Romans 16:19)
-We are to be innocent by having upright conduct. (Proverbs 21:8; 1 Timothy 4:12; Hebrews 13:18)
-We must seek the Lord and His Word as we seek be practically innocent in our lives. (Psalm 51:10; Psalm 119:9)
2. The Children of God
-“Children of God” refers to the position of the Philippians and all believers.
-We become God’s children by being adopted into his family. (John 1:11-12; Galatians 4:5-7;
-Because we are God’s children, we are no longer strangers and aliens to His Kingdom. (Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 12:22)
-Because we are God’s children, we will see Him in His glory when He returns to bring us home. (Philippians 3:20; 1 John 3:2)
-Because we are God’s children, we need not have any fear, for we cry out to the Lord as our heavenly Father. (Romans 8:27; 2 Timothy 1:7)
-Because we are God’s children, we are assured that He will protect us from evil. (Psalm 121:7-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
-“Without blemish” (ἄμωμα) means to be without spot or fault. It refers to being cleansed from all impurities.
- To be without blemish comes from having our sins removed from us. (Psalm 32:5; Psalm 103:11-13; Isaiah 43:25)
-The apostle Paul declared that the Philippians were not to grumble or dispute so as to be without blemish.
-Just as the Philippians were to do, so must we pursue purity, for Christ has set us free from sin and death. (Titus 2:10-14; Hebrews 9:14)
-Christ’s purpose is to present His Church as a blameless Bride, made possible through His power. (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22)
-To be without blemish means to be perfected and to be holy before the Lord. (Leviticus 22:21; Revelation 14:5)
-Pursuing holiness brings us great joy as we make Christ infinite gain in our lives. (Matthew 25:21; Acts 2:28)
3. The Rebellion against God
-“Crooked” (σκολιᾶς) is the Greek skolias, whence we derive scoliosis. Skolias referred to being bent beyond use. In context, it means to be morally perverse.
-When men look to their own interests, they become crooked in their thinking. (Ephesians 4:17-18; Proverbs 11:20)
-When men do not recognize the Lordship of Christ, they become crooked in their living. (Proverbs 2:13-15; Proverbs 10:23; Proverbs 15:21)
-Individuals who are crooked fall far short of God’s perfect standards. (Job 9:20; Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 11:20)
-Individuals who are crooked do not act blamelessly before the Lord. (Deuteronomy 32:4-5)
-All those who walk in crooked ways will be indicted in their sin. (Proverbs 10:9)
-All crooked individuals will fall into a pit of destruction. (Job 4:8; Proverbs 28:28; Psalm 141:10)
-“Twisted” (διεστραμμένης) means to corruptly oppose the right manner of living by turning aside from the right path and entering the winding path of destruction.
-To be twisted is to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. (Matthew 17:17; Luke 10:16; Hebrews 12:25)
-To be twisted is to willingly pervert righteousness. (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; Acts 13:10)
-To be twisted means to willingly distort truth. (Psalm 56:4-5; Acts 20:30; 2 Peter 3:16)
-Destruction befalls those who willingly are twisted in their ways. (Proverbs 10:10)
-“Generation” (γενεᾶς) refers to the entire race of men living in the present moment.
-In all generations of men are those who joyfully submit to His Lordship (Psalm 14:5; Psalm 112:2) and those who do not (Judges 2:10).
-In the days of Jesus, He indicted the generation of His day for being crooked and perverse. (Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; Luke 11:29)
-God deals righteously with all generations of men (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; Deuteronomy 7:9-10), just as Paul had told the Philippians (Philippians 1:28), for He reigns forever throughout all generations. (Lamentations 5:19; Psalm 102:12)
4. The Lights from God
-“Shine” (φαίνεσθε) means to brightly send forth light. The NIV states, “…shine as stars in the sky.” This is a present indicative, not an imperative. “Shine” specifies what we do, and “lights” specifies who we are.
-The idea of God giving light to His people is the idea of God giving blessing and deliverance to His people. (Psalm 84:11; Psalm 118:27; Isaiah 60:20)
-Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. (Psalm 27:1; John 8:12)
-We, being sons of God, have become children of light. (John 12:36; John 12:46)
-Just as Paul told the Philippians that they were the light of the world, so did Jesus tell believers that they were lights in the world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
-We walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:5; 1 John 1:7) for God is the Light of the world. (Psalm 139:12; Daniel 2:22; James 1:17; 1 John 1:5)
-The Lord is the One who keeps us shining brightly in the world. (Psalm 18:28)
-Shining light will accompany the return of the Light of the world (Matthew 23:27) and we will reign forever with Him as our Light. (Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5)
-“World” (κόσμῳ) refers in context to the created universe.
-The whole earth will be full of the glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ our Lord. (Isaiah 6:1-3; Psalm 72:19; Isaiah 40:5)
-As God, Christ shined as light in the past to protect and lead His people (Exodus 13:21-22; Exodus 24:16-18), and He will do so again when He comes to fully establish His reign. (Zechariah 2:3-5)
-As we await our coming King, we shine as His lights in a crooked and perverse generation in the world as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, made possibly solely through Him graciously and powerfully working in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure.
-“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:11-16 ESV)