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Philippians 1:9-11 Intro | Philippians 1:9a Practical love |
Philippians1:9b Discerning Love | Philippians 1:10 Righteous Love |
Philippians 1:11 Glorious Love | 1:9-11 Video |
Stepping Into God’s Love is an expository sermon on Philippians 1:9-11 relating four stages of love that Paul was praying for those in Philippi and that God wants activated in our lives. This last stage, Glorious Love based on Philippians 1:11, sees the whole purpose of our loving acts, engendered by the love and power of Christ in our lives, is to bring glory to God.
“Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (1:11b).
The fruit of righteousness might seem at first glance to be the end goal, that which we can give to God. In a sense this is right but in another sense, it is missing some key elements. Let me point out two key elements here.
This fruit of righteousness clearly comes “through Jesus Christ”. We always need to be aware of the underlying truth that we are sinners and gain our righteousness before God through faith in Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection and constant intercession. We must not forget this.
Paul speaks about this in 3:9, “Not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith...” This faith undergirds our relationship with God.
This phrase ‘fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ’ can have several interpretations.
Some would state that this refers to justification of faith because it comes through Jesus Christ. While granting our state of righteousness to gain acceptance before God comes only through Jesus Christ, this does not seem to be what is spoken of here.
Paul speaks of this righteousness as a composition of our maturing love and actions (see verse 9) which in turn fosters sincerity and blamelessness (10). The words ‘so that’ at the beginning of verse 10 connect what we do (our love) with the goal of pleasing God (10). They both refer to that which we do after we believe rather than what we do to obtain our belief.
There are two possible interpretations for ‘fruit of righteousness’ which focus on righteousness gained in our sanctification (I prefer the second).
The righteousness speaks of that which comes during salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The fruit is the good deeds that come through my faith. It is the fruit that depicts my sincerity and blamelessness, that is, whether I accomplish the purposes He has for me.
The ‘fruit of righteousness’ is what we present before the Lord like an offering (see Phil. 418). All of our acts of right living (i.e. righteousness) is the summary of what is expected and pleasing before our God.
This basket of righteousness does not grant us acceptance before God. That is differently provided through Christ’s work on the cross. This phrase speaks of our kind and loving deeds that we have done because of what Christ has done for us on the cross (not spoken of here) and through His grace as He lives through our lives.
A pastor said it well, “These fruits are called "fruits of righteousness" because they are from a life that is justified by the righteousness of Christ, done according to the righteous standards/principles of Christ, and empowered through the righteous life of Christ” (Hugo Cheng).
We must not focus on what we do as an end in and of itself. Clearly the verses end by the very lives we live are means by which we bring glory and praise to God. Because all the changes in our lives, starting with our salvation and continuing on through the work of God in us after our salvation, we only can give thanks to the Lord.
We are not self-righteous. Our standard is not ourselves but God and His expectation of us.
We are not all there yet (3:12) but we are working hard to reach there.
We do have an opportunity to praise Him through our works as we yield our lives before Him and imitate Christ’s life of love.
Summary and application
We need to understand that the Lord has given us the opportunity to live out our Christian lives to please and adore Him. How will you fare? Do you have a basket of righteousness to offer up to the Lord to please Him?
#1 Is our life centered around carrying out acts of love and kindness?
￼#2 Paul is speaking from his own experience of love for the Philippians. Can we do the same when we think of those in our small group, our family, our spouse, or even in a broader way to the community that we live in?
#3 In what ways can I better understand the genuine needs of the people I must love?
#4 In what ways have you seen your love grow? Have you thought you loved someone but found out later that it was not seen as such? In what ways can your love abound there?
#5 What acts of love are filling my basket of righteousness?
#6 Loving actions are never separated from righteous standards. God defines those standards. Love is built on caring for others. Is your life characterized by a zealous commitment to love others?
#7 Is what you do, the decisions you make, done so that you can please the Lord? Learn to make that conscious connection to glorify God through your daily decisions.
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