Christian Love- Part 3

Here’s a quick exposition of the last part of Paul’s prayer for the Philippian church in Philippians 1:9-11…

Verse 10 gives us our next truth-
INCREASING LOVE, KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT ENABLE BELIEVERS TO MAKE WISE CHOICES AND LIVE LIVES OF PURITY WHILE WE AWAIT JESUS’ RETURN.

LOOK AT VERSE 10…

“…so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the Day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ…”

The purpose of this love increasing in knowledge and practical insight was so that they might be able to distinguish the really important issues in their lives together and to act on the basis of such distinctions.

The word “approve” has the idea of “putting to the test and approving of.” It was used of testing metals and coins and candidates who were taking tests to approve of their knowledge in school. What Paul means here is that we should have the ability to sift and test certain things, recognize its worth and put our stamp of approval on it.

Now this is very practical: we should mature to the point that we can approve of certain things and know that they will not lead to sanctification and godliness. We should know that certain T.V. shows will not be good for us; or certain foods; or certain relationships—now we’re getting real practical. God wants us to be able to know and discern what will be beneficial for us.

We can discern what is “excellent”— {or “best”} what is vital, important for moral decisions [especially in light of the Day of Christ]—I know that that or this will not be good for me, that I will not progress spiritually if I continue this way.

If we are ever to “test {approve} of what is best” we must be increasing in love. Unless we are abounding in love, we will never be able to discern and approve what is best. For instance, if you aren’t loving God and others, if you aren’t spending time with God through His Word and through prayer, you can’t expect to be able to discern what is best in your life. Your mind will be clogged. Got a big decision to make? Examine yourself. How much time are you spending in prayer and the Word and fellowship with God. Are you being a loving person? Loving your wife and kids and neighbors? You can never “test what is best” unless you are increasing in love.

May God grant us love which enables us to make the right decisions in each circumstance and to make judgments day by day in the decisions that we face. What do we do when we face tough decisions? Our love for God and one another can help us when facing pressing issues.

Paul’s prayer is not just that we have knowledge, insight and discernment. He has more purpose: that we become pure and blameless. “Pure” means “genuine,” and may have originally meant “tested by sunlight.” In the ancient world, dishonest pottery dealers filled cracks in their inferior products with wax before glazing and painting them, making worthless pots difficult to distinguish from expensive ones. The only way to avoid being defrauded was to hold the pot to the sun, making the wax-filled cracks obvious. Dealers marked their fine pottery that could withstand “sun testing” as ‘sine cera’—”without wax.”

“Blameless” refers to relational integrity. Christians are to live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to sin. Not causing others to stumble. Hey, that’s very important to have in community! And the driving force behind living pure lives is the day of Jesus Christ. He’s coming again. We will stand before Him and give account of everything done in the body {2nd Corinthians 5:10}.

How does your life look? What if it was held up against the light of the Son? Surely we are all sinful, but God is concerned about how we live. Let’s be the kind of community that can be held up to scrutiny and come out being genuine. Sincere. Real. Are you real? Are you real on Sunday morning? Or do you come wearing masks?

Our lives are also to be filled with the “fruit of righteousness.” Essentially these are the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. And these are contrasted by Paul in Galatians with the works of the flesh {5:19-21}. These qualities will come from Jesus Christ, through the Scriptures.

INCREASING LOVE, KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT ENABLE BELIEVERS TO MAKE WISE CHOICES AND LIVE LIVES OF PURITY WHILE WE AWAIT JESUS’ RETURN.

And so how does Paul end his prayer? LOOK AT VERSE 11…

“…to the glory and praise of God.”

That’s the overarching reason why Paul prays the way he does. Our lives are to be lived for God’s glory, not ours. Ephesians 3:10 states that the church is the primary vehicle through which God displays his glory and wisdom to the physical and spiritual world.

We are to be about Gods glory.

May we become a people who overstep the boundaries we have set up and may our love increase. As our love for God and others increases, may we increase in our knowledge and discernment so that we can find out the things that are best for our spiritual walk. May we be a pure and blameless bride for our Savior as we await His return. May we be overflowing with the fruits of righteousness for His glory!

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