Verse of the Day

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Worship service at Wayside Gospel Chapel cancelled

The Sunday morning worship service at Wayside Gospel Chapel scheduled for tomorrow morning, 18 FEB 2018, has been cancelled due to slippery road conditions and winter weather warning forecasted. Worship services will resume on SUN 25 FEB 2018.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Course of the History of the True Church of Jesus Christ: An Introduction and Overview, Session Twenty

The Course of the History 
of the True Church of Jesus Christ:
An Introduction and Overview

Session Twenty: “The Life of Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany” 

Date and Time: Wednesday 14 FEB 2018 at 7:00 P.M.

Venue: Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
1397 Easton Turnpike, Lake Ariel, PA 18436
Web site: http://faithbaptistfellowshipch.com

Speaker: John T. Jack Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Course of the History of the True Church of Jesus Christ: An Introduction and Overview, Session Nineteen

The Course of the History 
of the True Church of Jesus Christ:
An Introduction and Overview

Session Nineteen: “An Overview of the Continental Reformation” 

Date and Time: Wednesday 24 JAN 2018 at 7:00 P.M.

Venue: Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
1397 Easton Turnpike, Lake Ariel, PA 18436
Web site: http://faithbaptistfellowshipch.com/

Speaker: John T. Jack Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

Note: After introducing the Reformation by viewing the 1953 film Martin Luther in the previous session (Martin Luther: Part One), and prior to studying the Reformation in Germany in further detail, we need to take a step back for a look at the big picture of where we are headed in this study. The Continental Reformation and the English Reformation will be considered separately, but the period for both will be the bulk of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pastor's Sermon Notes: Philippians (series), Part 15: We Can Do Without! (Philippians 2:14-18)

Sermon Series: Philippians, Part 15
We Can Do Without!
Philippians 2:14-18


[Audio file on Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/Philippians214-18]

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 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. 17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Introduction:

Read 2:1-4, and then skipping 2:5-13, read 2:14.

Read 2:12, and then skipping 2:13, read 2:14.

Transition:

When you are in a combat zone you learn to do without.

When you are on the Appalachian Trail you learn in short order how much you can do without! If you can’t carry it on your back it gets left behind.

There are things that we really could do without.
And then there are things that we must do without.

Outline:

I. The Simple Command (2:14)
II. Why? The Philippian Reason (2:15-16a)
III. Why? The Pauline Reason (2:16b-d)
IV. The Worst Case Scenario (2:17-18)

I. The Simple Command (2:14)

14 Do all things
          without murmurings and disputings:

“…for the vast majority of Scripture, the conscious human author’s meaning and the divinely intended meaning are indistinguishable.” Plummer then cites this verse as an example where “…one cannot imagine a difference between divine and human authorial intent.”
— Robert L. Plummer, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, series ed. Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2010), pg. 131.

1. What is different about this command?

Connect this command to: 1) the previous two verses, 2) verses 5-11, and 3) verses 1-4.

We already have had a command to “work out” our salvation with something, i.e., “fear and trembling.” Now two verses later we are confronted with another command, but this time concerning the doing of everything that we do without something.

2. What ground is covered by this command?

What is the difference between “murmuring” and “disputing”?

Compare translations:

murmurings = “grumbling” (NASB, ESV, HCSB, NIV), “complaining” (NKJV, NLT)

disputings = “arguing” (HCSB, NIV, NLT)

Ex. 15:24 — And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

Ex. 16:7-9 7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? 8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we?  your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. 9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

“A few verses later, Paul addresses the problem of grumbling and complaining (2:14), a theme reminiscent of the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness. That comment leads him in 2:15 to speak of the Philippians as “blameless children of God in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation” (tekna theou amōma meson geneas skolias kai destrammenēs), a phrase that largely reproduces the last part of Deut. 32:5 LXX (tekna mōmēta genea skolia kai destrammenē), but with a provocative twist. Since the OT passage speaks of the Israelites themselves as a crooked people and thus not God’s children (although some question this reading of the Hebrew), Paul here seems to suggest that it is the Gentile Christians of Philippi, not the unbelieving Jews, who may be regarded as God’s children (for a different view, see Bockmuehl 1998: 156–57). Thus the Philippians need not be intimidated by the Jewish-based opposition that they are experiencing (see 3:1–3). (In the light of this use of Deut. 32, it is also possible that Paul’s earlier reference to his being present/absent [2:12] was influenced by Moses’ language in Deut. 31:27 [so Michael 1928: 101].)”
— Moises Silva, “Philippians,” in Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), pg. 838. This allusion is documented also by E. Earle Ellis, Paul’s Use of the Old Testament, Twin Brooks series (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1957; 1981 reprint), pg. 154.

Understanding sometimes is enhance by considering something’s opposite. [1]
What are the opposites of “murmuring” and “disputing”?

            From “fear and trembling” (2:12) to personal and corporate rejoicing (2:17-18)

3. What is the problem with this verse?

“…we are convinced that the single most serious problem people have with the Bible is not with a lack of understanding but with the fact that they understand many things too well! For example, with such a text as “Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Phil. 2:14), the problem is not understanding but obeying it — putting it into practice.”
— Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981, 1993, 2003, 2014), pg. 21.

II. Why? The Philippian Reason (2:15-16a)

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless,
          the sons of God, without rebuke, [2]
      in the midst [3] of a crooked and perverse nation,
          among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
              16 Holding forth the word of life;

1. Connecting the Negatives

Connecting a negative to a negative is advisable when connecting jumper cables. That is what is done spiritually in the beginning of this verse with what was commanded in the previous verse.

Contrast the negative “doing” (2:14) to the positive “being” here in verse 15.

Connect the negatives — two “withouts,” and two “-less” words.

            “without murmurings and disputings — blameless — harmless — without rebuke”

1) Blameless
  
2) Harmless
  
3) Without rebuke
  
2. Connecting the Positives

That ye may be…the sons of God….ye shine as lights in the world

Connect “the sons of God” to “shine as lights in the world,” etc.
  
3. Take a Look Around

in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom

Where? In what context?  “…in the midst…among whom…”

What is the difference between “crooked” and “perverse”?

            Not a straight line, off of the straight and narrow, and then, worse, twisted.

What is intended by “a crooked and perverse nation”?

Connect “shine as lights in the world” to “holding forth the word of life.”

There is a translation issue with the participle concerning whether it should be translated as “holding fast” or “holding forth.” Either is legitimate, but context must drive the decision, and here, while not an easy decision, a good case exists for retaining “holding forth” in the face of what most modern translations have decided: “holding fast” (NASB, ESV), and “hold firmly” (HCSB, NIV, NLT). While the crookedness and perversity of the surrounding world may provide a basis for the caution to maintain a good grip on the Word of life, the immediate connection to shining “as lights” in a dark world would seem to move beyond a defensive fortress mentality here. Even in what follows where Paul refers to “the sacrifice and service of their faith” the shift from the negatives to a positive mind set in the flow of the context seems apparent. The idea of just “holding your ground,” or maintaining your position does not seem to fit the context as well as “letting our light shine,” or bearing God’s testimony.

“We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem.”
– Quote Attributed to Chesty Puller, USMC [4]
“(I have found three versions of this one)
The quotes may not be Chesty Pullers, but may instead have been said by General O.P. Smith

“All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time”
– Lewis B. Chesty Puller, USMC

“They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!”
– Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USMC
When the Marines were cut off behind enemy lines and the Army had written the 1st Marine Division off as being lost because they were surrounded by 22 enemy divisions. The Marines made it out inflicting the highest casualty ratio on an enemy in history and destroying 7 entire enemy divisions in the process. An enemy division is 16500+ men while a Marine division is 12500 men.” [5]

One connection that should not be missed in this consideration is that of “light” and “life.” The Philippians are spoken of by Paul as lights, and then the Word is described as “life” that they are holding. This connection of light and life is something seen elsewhere in Scripture, especially in John’s writings. The shining of the Philippians as lights, and their holding the Word of life should be seen as coordinate. Many places in Scripture the  Word of God is presented as a lamp or a light. The internalization of the Word by the Philippians through the ministry of the Spirit of
God is what has made them lights in a dark world.

Methods of displaying the chiastic movement in Philippians 2:15b-e: [6]

A
the sons of God
B
without rebuke


B'
in the midst
of a crooked
and perverse nation
A'
among whom ye shine
as lights in the world

A
the sons of God


A'
among whom ye shine
as lights in the world

B
without rebuke
B'
in the midst
of a crooked
and perverse nation



A — the sons of God

            B — without rebuke

            B' — in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom

A' — ye shine as lights in the world;

Bringing verse 14, and the beginnings of verses 15 and 16 into the picture may modify the chiasm as follows (to give a more complete contextual picture):

A1 — Do all things

            B1 — without murmurings and disputings

A2 — That ye may be

            B2 —blameless and harmless

A3 — the sons of God

            B3 — without rebuke

                        C1 — in the midst

                                    D1 — of a crooked and perverse nation

                        C2 — among

                                    D2 — whom

A4 — ye shine as lights

                        C3 — in

                                    D3 — the world

A5 — Holding forth the word of life

III. Why? The Pauline Reason (2:16b-d)

that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
          that I have not run in vain,
          neither laboured in vain.

1. What is the essence of Paul’s hope?

that I may rejoice

Connect “rejoice” to the doubled “joy, and rejoice” in the next two verses.

Connect the negatives posited as opposites to “rejoice” here for Paul, to the negatives for the Philippians mentioned in 14-15a.

2. When does Paul expect this hope to be realized?

in the day of Christ

What is meant here by “the day of Christ”? Is this a technical term, or might it mean different things in different contexts?

Phil. 1:6 — Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Phil. 1:10 — That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

1 Cor. 1:7-8 — 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Cor. 1:14 — As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Th. 2:19 — For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

Distinguish “the day of Christ” from “the day of the Lord.”

Acts 2:20; 5:20; 1 Th. 5:2-11; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 20:11-21:8.

Contrast “in the day of Christ” to “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” in verse 15.

3. What would it mean for Paul’s hope not to be realized?

that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain

What is the significance of running “in vain,” and labouring “in vain”?

Is. 49:4 — Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

Is. 65:23 (LXX) — They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

On the allusions to these verses from Isaiah see E. Earle Ellis, Paul’s Use of the Old Testament, Twin Brooks series (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1957; 1981 reprint), pg. 154.

IV. The Worst Case Scenario (2:17-18)

17 Yea, and if I be offered
          upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,
I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy,
          and rejoice with me.

1. The Realistic Alternative

Yea, and if

What may be intended by the apparent emphasis (climactic?) of “yea”?

There is an “if” that is very much on the Philippians mind. Paul has already dealt with it in part in the first chapter. Now he comes back to it again, and speaks of it in a more connected or corporate way than he did previously.

What class of conditional clause is expressed in this “if…then…” expression?

2. The Meaningful Metaphor

I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith

What might Paul have in mind in the verb “offered”?

Num. 28:6-7 6 It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. 7 And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.

What is meant by “the sacrifice and service of your faith”?

How could Paul speak of his being “offered” on their “sacrifice and service”?

“They should be ready to welcome even death itself, if it may be considered subservient to the spiritual welfare of their brethren (Philippians 2:17, 18).”
— Charles Simeon, Evangelical Preaching: An Anthology of Sermons by Charles Simeon, Classics of Faith and Devotion (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1986), pg. 138, s.v. Sermon 2240: “The Spirit of Vital Christianity,” II.3. “Ministers must also more especially have a spirit of love.”

See on the terms of this metaphor Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament: Their Bearing on Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d., 1976 reprint of 1897 ed.), pp. 194, 202, 247.

2 Tim. 4:6 — For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

3. The Mutual Rejoicing

I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Notice that their joy and rejoicing has a common basis. Connect this mutual rejoicing to Paul’s rejoicing “in the day of Christ” in verse 16.

[Sermon preached 26 MAR 2017 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]

Complete Outline:

I. The Simple Command (2:14)

II. Why? The Philippian Reason (2:15-16a)

III. Why? The Pauline Reason (2:16b-d)

IV. The Worst Case Scenario (2:17-18)

Works Cited:

E. Earle Ellis, Paul’s Use of the Old Testament, Twin Brooks series (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1957; 1981 reprint), pg. 154. (2:15f.)
[Allusions to Dt. 32:5 (in 2:15), and to Is. 49:4; and 65:23 (2:16), all from the LXX.]

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981, 1993, 2003, 2014), pp. 21, 71. (2:14-18, 14)

Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament: Their Bearing on Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d., 1976 reprint of 1897 ed.), pp. 98-99, 194, 202, 247. (2: 15, 17)
[On “free from blemish,” and being “offered upon the sacrifice.”]

Nils W. Lund, Chiasmus in the New Testament: A Study in the Form and Function of Chiastic Structures (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1942; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992), pp. 220-222. (2:12-18)

John Piper, A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), pg. 261n2. (2:14-15)

Robert L. Plummer, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, series ed. Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2010), pg. 131. (2:14)
[As an example of no difference in “authorial intent” between the human and the divine author.]

Charles Simeon, Evangelical Preaching: An Anthology of Sermons by Charles Simeon, Classics of Faith and Devotion (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1986), pg. 138. (2:17-18)
[On a ministerial readiness to welcome death.]

_______________________________

End Notes:

[1] “…Paul’s line of thought in Phil. 2:14-15….when things go badly, do the opposite of grumbling, namely, rejoice, which is what Matt. 5:12 says.” John Piper, A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), pg. 261n2.

[2] On “without rebuke” see Robert Baker Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament: Their Bearing on Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d., 1976 reprint of 1897 ed.), pp. 98-99, on “free from blemish” (NA/UBS text).

[3] “…neuter singular of the adjective…appears in many adverbial phrases….It occurs by itself only once in the NT: Php 2:15….although one textual variant….in Mt 14:24…” Murray J. Harris, Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), pp. 247-248.

[4] “Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971) was a United States Marine Corps lieutenant general who fought guerrillas in Haiti and Nicaragua, and fought in World War II and the Korean War.
Puller is the most decorated Marine in American history. He is one of two U.S. servicemen to be awarded five Navy Crosses and, with the Distinguished Service Cross awarded to him by the U.S. Army, his total of six stands only behind Eddie Rickenbacker's eight times receiving the nation's second-highest military award for valor.”
Source: Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesty_Puller [accessed 26 MAR 2017].

[5] Military Quotes at http://www.military-quotes.com/chesty-puller.htm [accessed 26 MAR 2017].

[6] For more on the chiastic structure of Phil. 2:12-18 see Nils W. Lund, Chiasmus in the New Testament: A Study in the Form and Function of Chiastic Structures (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1942; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992), pp. 220-222.

The Course of the History of the True Church of Jesus Christ: An Introduction and Overview, Session Eighteen postponement announcement

Notice of schedule change: Session Eighteen of The Course of the History of the True Church of Jesus Christ has been postponed. This session had been rescheduled for this evening, WED 13 DEC 2017, but due to snow with more forecast, icy road conditions, and frigid chill factors this session must be postponed again to WED 10 JAN 2018

The Course of the History 
of the True Church of Jesus Christ:
An Introduction and Overview

Session Eighteen: “Martin Luther, Part One” 

Date and Time: Wednesday 10 JAN 2018 at 7:00 P.M.

Venue: Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
1397 Easton Turnpike, Lake Ariel, PA 18436

Speaker: John T. Jack Jeffery, 
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

Note: In this session we will begin our study of the Protestant Reformation with a viewing of the 1953 film, Martin Luther, which was nominated for two Academy Awards. A remarkable aspect to the production of this film was the careful historical research involving the assistance of two respected scholars on the Reformation: Theodore G. Tappert (1904-1973), Schieren Professor of the History of Christianity at Lutheran Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA); and Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006). Pelikan, who was teaching at Valparaiso University and Confordia Theological Seminary at the time, went on to co-edit Luther's Works, 15 vols. (Philadelphia: Concordia, 1955-1960), and to receive Yale University's highest academic honor with his appointment as Sterling Professor of History in 1972.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pastor's Sermon Notes: Philippians (series), Parts 13-14: Tremble While You Work (Philippians 2:12-13), Parts 1-2

Sermon Series: Philippians, Parts 13 and 14
Tremble While You Work
Philippians 2:12-13

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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 which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Outline:

I. Absence Makes the Saints More Obedient? (2:12a-e)
II. The Out-Working of Salvation (2:12f)
III. The In-Working of God (2:13)

Sermon Series: Philippians, Part 13
Tremble While You Work, Part 1
Philippians 2:12


[Audio file on Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/Philippians212-13].

I. Absence Makes the Saints More Obedient? (2:12a-e)

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed,
not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,

1. Wherefore
2. my beloved, as ye have always obeyed
3. not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence

1. Wherefore

“Wherefore”? The connection back to verses 5-11, and further to 2:1-4 must not be missed. The Carmen Christi is the meat in the sandwich between the bread of 2:1-4, and 2:12-13 (and 14-18).

2. my beloved, as ye have always obeyed

They have a track record of obedience.

3. not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence

The issue here is concerning their future, their ongoing obedience, and this is seen in direct relation to, or even better, in inverse proportion to, Paul’s presence or absence.

Why does Paul emphasize his absence with “much more”? And make no mistake, this is being emphasized. Besides the “much more” the repetition seen in the second word translated “as” even becomes a textual issue where some miss the emphasis, and explain its presence as “superfluous.” [1]

Phil. 4:15 — Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

Why is Paul’s presence and absence an issue? It was a large issue in Ch. 1, especially in 1:27; and what had been going on in his absence provides the occasion for the epistle.

Ph. 1:27 — Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Phil. 1:5-6 — 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

II. The Out-Working of Salvation (2:12f)

work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

1. Work
2. Salvation
3. Your own
4. Fear and trembling

1. Work

The end of this verse comes with an exhortation that is shocking on its face to many.
Why is this? Where is the problem?

What about “Let go and let God?”
What about “Work as if it all depended on you, and pray as if it all depended on God?”
What about “Work like an Arminian, and pray like a Calvinist?”
ATR on 2:12 — “He exhorts as if he were an Arminian in addressing men. He prays as if he were a Calvinist in addressing God and feels no inconsistency in the two attitudes.”
Marvin Vincent on 2:12 — “Believe as if you had no power. Work as if you had no God.”

Carson’s words are most helpful on this point (highlighting mine):

“It is vitally important to grasp the connection between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility in verses 12 and 13. The text does not say, “Work to acquire your salvation, for God has done his bit and now it is all up to you.” Nor does it say, “You may already have your salvation, but now perseverance in it depends entirely on you.” Still less does it say, “Let go and let God. Just relax. The Spirit will carry you.” Rather, Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, precisely because God is working in us both to will and to act according to his good purpose (2:12–13). Nor is God working merely to strengthen us in our willing and acting. Paul’s language is stronger than that. God himself is working in us both to will and to act: he works in us at the level of our wills and at the level of our doing. But far from this being a disincentive to press on, Paul insists that this is an incentive. Assured as we are that God works in this way in his people, we should be all the more strongly resolved to will and to act in ways that please our Master.
      For reasons too complex to probe here, a great deal of Western thought has gone wrong at precisely this point. We have expended huge quantities of energy pitting God’s sovereignty against human responsibility, when the Bible insists that these things belong together.
— D. A. Carson, Basics For Believers: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), pp. 61-62.

John 6:27-29 — 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

2. Salvation

What is meant by salvation here?

1 Pet. 1:2 — Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Heb. 5:9 — And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

What common misunderstanding of this word injects problems into the understanding of Paul’s meaning here?

Rom. 3:21-24 — 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Rom. 11:6 — And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Eph. 2:8-10 — 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

3. Your own

There is an emphasis in this verse that is left out of several modern translations including the NASB, NIV, and NLT. In those translations it is “your salvation,” but not “your own salvation.” [2]

Some would emphasize the corporate nature of the exhortation, i.e., that it is directed at the church at Philippi as the local body of Christ. That is a good point, and needs to be made since from beginning to end the text is addressed to them in plural nouns, verbs and pronouns: “…beloved…obeyed…work out your own…in you…” However, the church there at Philippi is not just a corporate entity. As such it is composed of individuals, individual Christians whom God is at work in, who will, and who do, who fear, and who tremble. Neither the “one,” nor the “many” can be left out of our consideration without doing an injustice to what was on Paul’s mind and heart when he wrote this.

4. Fear and trembling

Why fear and trembling?

Søren Kierkegaard, Fear And Trembling (1843; orig. title Frygt og Bæven)

Fear and Trembling (original Danish title: Frygt og Bæven) is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio (John of the Silence). The title is a reference to a line from Philippians 2:12, "...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." — itself a probable reference to Psalms 55:5, “Fear and trembling came upon me...” (the Greek is identical).” [3]

Note: The only thing that is identical in the Greek translation of Psalm 55:5 in the Hebrew Old Testament (Ps. 54:6 in the LXX) is the coupling of the words for “fear and trembling.” However, they are not in the same case, there are no other words in common with Phil. 2:12, and the context is dissimilar. Ps. 55:5 — “Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” It is more likely that if Paul had a Psalm in mind in this expression it would have been Ps. 2:11 — “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

Other examples of this expression in contexts where it is viewed as a healthy Christian experience:

2 Cor. 7:15 — And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

Eph. 6:5 — Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

1 Pet. 1:17 — And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

What produces this fear and trembling?

Another basis for this fear and trembling will come in the next verse. However, even that connection seems in the mind of many to be intended to have the opposite effect.

This is not “Whistle While You Work.” [4] This is “Tremble While You Work”!

Why do we see so little of this in modern American evangelical Christians?

No Strength of Nature Can Suffice
by William Cowper

1  No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright;
And what she has she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

2  How long beneath the law I lay,
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

3  [Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.]
4  [Then, all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose his ways.]

5  What shall I do, was then the word,
That I may worthier grow?
What shall I render to the Lord?
Is my inquiry now.

6  To see the law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice. [5]

[Sermon preached 12 MAR 2017 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]

Sermon Series: Philippians, Part 14
Tremble While You Work, Part 2
Philippians 2:13


[Audio file on Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/Philippians212-13_328].

III. The In-Working of God (2:13)

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

1. Because It Is —For it is God which worketh in you
2. Both/And — both to will and to do
3. Good Pleasure — of his good pleasure

1. Because It Is —For it is God which worketh in you
                                      
There are two emphases in this verse. The first two sandwich the other two. The first two have to do with God. The second two have to do with the people of God.

The emphases concerning God are that it is His working, and His good pleasure. The verse begins with “For it is God which worketh,” and ends with “his good pleasure.” His work. His good pleasure.

Because. Since.

It is God.

God is at work in you. God is at work. God is working. God is at work in you. God is working in you. Think of it! Say it to yourself: “God is at work in me.” “God is working in me.”

2. Both/And — both to will and to do

The middle of the verse contains the word “both.” On the one side of this word is “in you.” On the other side is “to will and to do.” The emphasis is on “both.” Not one or the other. Not either/or, but both/and. Both. What God works in His people is not just the willing, but also the doing. He doesn’t just make us “willing to do His will,” as many would leave it. There is more than that here, as “both” emphasizes. God also works in us the “doing” of His good pleasure. If someone wants to phrase one aspect of this as “God makes us willing to do His will,” then they should not leave it there, but go on and finish the thought. If God makes us willing to do His will, He doesn’t leave it there. God makes us do His will. He works in us the doing of His good pleasure coordinate, just as much, in the same sense, as He works in His the willing to do it in the first place. There is no possibility that God’s people will not be willing to do His good pleasure, nor is there any way that they will not do His good pleasure. We know that because it is the work of God from beginning to end. He will accomplish His good pleasure. His work, His working in His people, will not fail. Marvin Vincent is helpful here: “Lit., the willing and the doing. Both are from God, and are of one piece, so that he who wills inevitably does. The willing which is wrought by God, by its own nature and pressure, works out into action. “We will, but God works the will in us. We work, therefore, but God works the working in us” (Augustine).”

Ps. 110:3 — Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

Phil. 1:5-6 — 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The teaching that God is the sovereign source actively producing in His people the will and the deeds that accomplish His good pleasure is woven throughout the Scriptures. This may be seen especially in just a brief survey of the New Testament:

Rom. 12:3 — For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

1 Cor. 12:6 — And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

1 Cor. 15:8-11 — 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

2 Cor. 3:5 — Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

1 Th. 2:13 — For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Many more examples could be cited, but before we leave this subject we should consider one more. Perhaps the most interesting passage in the New Testament where we see this interplay between the working in of God producing the willingness and the doing of His will is:

2 Cor. 8:5-17 — 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

If God is at work in you, if He is working in you, then what is He at work in you to accomplish? Why is God working in you? The answer is, “To will and to do.” God’s work in you has to do with your will, your willing, your willingness, your desires, your motives and motivation, and your hungering and thirsting. God’s work within you is not a work that stops there. God is at work in you to do. His being at work in you effects your actions, deeds, and works. His work produces your work. The fruit of the Spirit is not your fruit. It is not the fruit of the natural man. Faith is the gift of God. Repentance must be granted by God. That is why it is a fit subject for prayer for those who need to be delivered from sin. God is working in you to act in accordance with His will.

3. Good Pleasure — of his good pleasure

The will of God is good.

The pleasure of God is always good.

Eph. 1:5 — Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Heb. 13:20-21 — 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God being at work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure is a good thing. It is a blessed reality for His people. But it still is the basis for them to fear and tremble as they work out their own salvation.

Because. Since.

It is God.

God is at work in you. God is at work. God is working. God is at work in you. God is working in you. Think of it! Say it to yourself: “God is at work in me.” “God is working in me.”

Of His good pleasure. Finish the thought: “God is at work in me to will and to do of His good pleasure.” “God is working in me to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Conclusion:

How sinners vaunt of power, John Berridge [6]

1          How sinners vaunt of power
            A ruined soul to save,
            And count the fulsome store
            Of worth they seem to have,
            And by such visionary props
            Build up and bolster sandy hopes!

2          But God must work the will,
            And power to run the race;
            And both through mercy still,
            A work of freest grace;
            His own good pleasure, not our worth,
            Brings all the will and power forth.

3          Disciples who are taught
            Their helplessness to feel,
            Have no presumptuous thought,
            But work with care and skill;
            Work with the means, and for this end,
            That God the will and power may send.

4          [They feel a daily need
            Of Jesus’ gracious store,
            And on his bounty feed,
            And yet are always poor;
            No manna can they make or keep;
            The Lord finds pasture for his sheep.]

5          Renew, O Lord, my strength
            And vigour every day,
            Or I shall tire at length,
            And faint upon the way;
            No stock will keep upon my ground;
            My all is in thy storehouse found.

[Sermon preached 19 MAR 2017 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]

Complete Outline:

I. Absence Makes the Saints More Obedient? (2:12a-e)

1. Wherefore

2. my beloved, as ye have always obeyed

3. not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence

II. The Out-Working of Salvation (2:12f)

1. Work

2. Salvation

3. Your own

4. Fear and trembling

III. The In-Working of God (2:13)

1. Because It Is —For it is God which worketh in you

2. Both/And — both to will and to do

3. Good Pleasure — of his good pleasure

_____________________________________________

End Notes:

[1] “The omission of ὡς from B 33 42 234 618 1241 al is probably accidental, although copyists may have deliberately deleted it as superfluous; in any case, the presence of the word is strongly supported…”
— Bruce M. Metzger, and United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994). pg. 546.

[2] There is only one word here in the original, but it is a reflexive pronoun. The issue is over how the reflexive nature of this pronoun is to be maintained in a translation without reducing it to a mere possessive sense.

[3] Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_and_Trembling [accessed 11 MAR 2017].

[4] From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney Productions, 1937); lyrics by Larry Morey; music by Frank Churchill. See video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSnXNHUEodY [accessed 11 MAR 2017]; and lyrics on The Disney Wiki at http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Whistle_While_You_Work [accessed 11 MAR 2017].

[5] A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship, by William Gadsby (London: Gospel Standard Publications, 1987; also, n.p.: Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 2000), pp. 158-159, Hymn #188.  Evangelical Obedience. Rom. 7:9; Phil. 2:13.  Common Meter.

[6] A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship, by William Gadsby (London: Gospel Standard Publications, 1987; also, n.p.: Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 2000), pp. 509-510, Hymn #674. Power belongeth unto God. Ps. 62:11; Phil. 2:13. 148th.