Summary: As Christians we are not to be satisfied to remain as baby Christians we are to keep growing in knowledge and understanding of the things of God.
Go on to Spiritual Maturity
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)
In this passage of scripture the Apostle Paul gives the admonition: “Keep on growing.” During the past year have you grown in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Paul in his letter to the Christians in Philippi praises them for their faithful partnership with Paul and Timothy in spreading the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul also prays for all in Philippi who believe in Christ Jesus. “I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more; and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.” Philippians 1:9
Paul prays that the Christians in Philippi will grow in three specific areas.
First of all he prays that their
I. Love Will Overflow
“I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more…” Verse 9a
The word used here for love is not describing human love, “philia” but “agape” divine love. He is praying that “God’s love in you” will overflow.
Human love is self-serving. Godly love is directed toward others.
“Agape” love is active, flowing out to others, rather than selfish love that flows inward. “God so loved that He gave his only begotten Son.” John 3:16 “Agape” love is sacrificial love. Godly love is more concerned about giving than getting, going than sending, and serving than being served.
When you abound in love you will reach out in service to others. Jesus demonstrated love in action in John 13:1-5, when he took on the role of a servant and washed the feet of the disciples.
When we go on to spiritual mature we begin to practice “agape” love more than inwardly focused love. Love that overflows in our life looks more like a servant than a master. Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45 “...Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 12:29-31 Jesus described love as the greatest commandment: “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Love is meaningless unless it is lived out in our actions and attitudes. In the first session of study for 40 Days of Community five radical statements were made about love.
If I don’t live a life of love,
1. Nothing I say will matter.
2. Nothing I know will matter.
3. Nothing I believe will matter.
4. Nothing I give will matter.
5. Nothing I accomplish will matter.
The Message gives this translation of I Corinthians 13:3 “No matter what I say, what I believe, or what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
Love is described in our relationships. The depth of your love is revealed when you are under pressure. When things don’t go your way do you become belligerent and angry? Do you become mean spirited when someone challenges your opinions?
Christian love is described in our relationships. I John 4:20, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates another Christian, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?”
I Corinthians 13 - describes how love is lived out in our relationships: verse 4-5 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud, or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.”
Christian love is lived out in our relationships. The classic convertible moved briskly through the afternoon traffic. The driver enjoyed the quick response of the small high powered engine. After driving her station wagon, this red corvette was exciting. Driving along with the wind in her hair, she tried to look casual and at ease, but inside she was a bit tense since she didn’t often drive this car – her husband’s pride and joy.
She saw only a blur of color out of the corner of her eye. Before she could consciously consider her actions, she swerved to miss the small boy on the bicycle and veered into the side of a large gray pickup truck. The car stopped with a loud crash and the sound of breaking glass. They she heard, “Hey, lady. You okay?” Strong arms lifted her from the vehicle and helped her to the curb. “I’m fine,” she said, “just let me sit here for a moment.”