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Paul J. Bucknell
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.
“9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Many are trying to find love, peace, joy or meaning in life by directly pursuing those things. Our modern world is typified by such living and is caught up in the pursuit of happiness summarized by the word ‘get’.
Think of two lovers seeking attention, attraction and feelings. They end up with barren fornication, adultery and all the ensuing pain. They pursued what they wanted without realizing the very means they used destroyed their hopes of reaching those points of delight.
They end up with broken relationships, feeling cheated, hating the one they gave themselves to and even at times killing the child of their romantic adventure. The world knows only the word ‘get’ and uses its resources to gain those very things. Indulgence, greed, arguments are only a few outcomes of selfishness.
When we go against the Lord’s ways, we in a way are reenacting the departure scene from the Garden of Eden. We lose the best and must endure a lesser good known as evil.
God’s ways are wholly opposite. I know you don’t often hear this. You will hear that the Bible is sterile, irrelevant and impotent. In fact, this is the description of the world.
Christians living by God’s Word do not begin with insisting on obtaining what we want now. Instead we start with dreams of what is good and right. It is not that God is against desires, delights and delicacies, but realizes that our desires can and do outrun our desires to do good.
We need disciplines to help us not only enjoy these best things but to maintain that joy. Speaking about wisdom, Proverbs 3:18b says, “And happy are all who hold her fast.”
We are patient and willing to work hard to gain what is so lovely and desirable.
Although mankind has lost its way in obtaining these wonderful things, God has sent Christ into the world to redeem us. He wants to restore what is good and lovely to us (cf. Phil 4:8-9). God sent His Son Jesus into the world in the power and purpose of His love. This love bursts forth as bright fireworks in the dark sky. God’s love is typified by its willingness to give to gain.
Love marks off for us a better way of life which summarizes the Christian life and experience. Note how the early educator of black Negroes in America, Booker T. Washington greatly influenced by the Bible, summarized love,
Joy, peace and life come not by grabbing but by giving. By living out a Christ-centered life, God will begin to create a life characterized by that which is incredibly good.
Love is not something I have, get, grab or even, as some people try to insist, to buy. Love is doing things for others. What might surprise us, however, is that even love, no matter how lofty of an image we have of it, is something that grows and develops like a flower and then bears fruit. We will trace that process here. I hope this vision of love will catch our hearts and lives on fire for it is a clear visual definition of what a Christ-centered life is.
You might feel that you have been betrayed by world and see that the ‘get’ rather than the ‘give’ has dictated your pursuits. Repent from this worldliness. Allow Christ’s forgiveness to cleanse your guilt and begin anew by committing yourself to His way of love.
Philippians 4:9-11 speaks about four stages of love: practical love, discerning love, righteous love and glorious love, the later being the final culmination of love’s purpose.
1) Practical Love (Philippians 1:3-8)
2) Discerning Love (Philippians 1:9)
3) Righteous Love (Philippians 1:10)
4) Glorious Love (Philippians 1:11)
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988