Prayer for Abounding Love

I. The prayer is based on our common relationship to Jesus Christ.

A. We can be “confident” in God’s good work (Philippians 1:6)

1. We are His “workmanship” for good works (Ephesians 2:10)

2. We share a common bond

3. We possess a “like mind” – we “think” together for the Kingdom.

B. We have a responsibility to “defend” and “confirm” the Gospel (Philippians 1:7).

1. We are to “teach” all nations “teaching them to observe all things” that our Lord Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20).

2. We are to “go” and “preach” the gospel to “every creature” (Mark 16:15)

3. We are to be “witnesses” of the life, ministry, and doctrine of Christ Jesus (Luke 24:44-48 and Acts 1:8)).

4. We are given a very broad responsibility as the “saints” (Ephesians 2:19) and “ambassadors” of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) to declare “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

C. The “defense” of the gospel requires readiness.

1. The need for readiness requires both preparation and determination.

2. The “defense” must also be with “confirmation.”

a. The Gospel of the Kingdom – looks ahead to the promise and inheritance (Matthew 4:23)
b. The Gospel of Christ – looks on the substitution and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
c. The Everlasting Gospel – rests on the One who Created all things (Revelation 14:6)

II. The prayer, based on our common love for Christ, provides certain restrictions.

A. We need a “superabundance” of (more and more) love.

1. The Command:

a. 1 Peter 4:8 -- “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves”

2. The Reasons: 

a. 1 John 4:7 -- Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
b. 1 John 4:11 -- Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
c. 1 John 4:16-17 -- And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

3. The Goal:

a. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 -- And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

B. Our love must be qualified “in” (by; through) “knowledge” and “discernment.”

1. There are four Greek words translated by the English word “knowledge.”

a. The word used here (epignosis) means “precise and correct knowledge” as opposed to mere general “awareness.”
b. It is possible to have “zeal” (passion) without “knowledge” (Romans 10:2)
c. It is necessary to be”rooted and grounded” in love so that we can “comprehend” and be “filled” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
d. It is this kind of “knowledge” that brings about maturity in us (Ephesians 4:13)

2. The word choice for “judgment” in Philippians 1:9 is unusual.

a. It is the Greek word aesthesis, which means to “discern; come to a conclusion” – as opposed to simply understanding the idea.
b. It was difficult for the disciples to “discern” that it was necessary for Christ to die (Luke 9:45).  Their “judgment” was clouded by a widely accepted wrong theology about the Messiah.
c. It requires the “exercise” of the senses to “discern” between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

3. Colossians 1:9-10 -- For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God

III. Growing love that is based on certain knowledge and confident truth will result in four critical spiritual abilities.

A. We will be able to “test” (approve) the things that will “carry through” (are excellent) – Philippians 1:10

1. This ability to “test” is a critical skill for the Twice-Born.

a. It comes after the dedication of our bodies and with the use of our renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2)
b. It is necessary for a righteous lifestyle (Romans 14:16-23)
c. It is necessary to “try” the many “spirits” vying for our attention (1 John 4:1-3)

2. This testing enables us to identify the “excellent” and eternal matters.

a. The Greek word is diaphero and means “that which lasts” or “that which carries through.”
b. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 describes the judgment of believers by the testing of God’s “fire.”  That which “abides” (remains, carries through) will be the basis for our reward in eternity.

B. We will, with proper testing, become “sincere and without offense” (1:10)

1. The Greek word translated “sincere” is unusual.

a. It is composed of heile, the sun’s rays, and krino, to separate; to judge; to compose; to select –hence “as pure as the sun’s rays”
b. 2 Corinthians 2:17 -- For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
c. 2 Peter 3:1 -- This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance

2. The Greek word translated “without offense” is descriptive.

a. It is composed of a (the negative particle) and proskopto, to stumble; to strike against; to inflict pain.
b. Acts 24:16 -- And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men
c. 1 Corinthians 10:32 -- Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God

3. The sequence of requests thus far builds toward the ideal lifestyle.

a. We are to be continually growing in love . . .
b. That is the result of precise knowledge and carefully concluded judgments . . .
c. So that we can test (prove by observation) those activities that will last . . .
d. Which, as we embrace them, will purify our heart and mind, thereby enabling us to be without any cause of stumbling to others.

C. Maturing love, guided by truth and discernment, will enhance our ability to determine those godly activities which will continue to purify our desires and insure that our reputations will not cause others to stumble.

IV. This prayer has two overall objectives: to be filled with righteous fruits and to bring glory and praise to God.

A. We are “chosen” to produce “fruit.”

1. John 15:16 -- Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

2. Matthew 7:18-20 -- A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

B. Our “fruit” is “by Jesus Christ.”

1. Ephesians 2:10 -- For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

2. Colossians 1:10 -- That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God

3. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 -- Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself….Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

4. John 15:4-5 -- Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

C. All of our “fruit” is to give “glory and praise” to God.

1. Ephesians 1:5-6 -- Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

2. Ephesians 1”11-12 -- In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

 

Psalm 150
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Series: 
Life in Christ
Lesson: 
#4
Book: 
Philippians
Verses: 
1:9-11

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