Summary: A look at Paul’s feelings for the Philippians shows: true love for people means we ask the Lord to help them grow in the ways that are most eternal and spiritual

1. Title: If You Love Somebody

2. Text: Philippians 1:1-11

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, May 1, 2005, First in the series “Praying for Loved Ones”

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand the role that prayer should play in our lives toward people we love, and also what the nature of that prayer should be

-for the people to feel compelled to express their love in prayer for loved ones and to feel like prayer is genuinely caring for someone

-for the people to actively engage in the right prayers for people we love, and to find ourselves having the same prayers answered for us too

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to examine the amount of time they spend praying for the right things for the people they love. I want them to increase their amount of time, their eternal focus, and right attitudes about prayer for the people they love, and thus increase their love too.

6. Type: book, and expository

7. Dominant Thought: True love for people means we will ask the Lord to help them grow in the ways that are most eternal and spiritual

8. Outline:

Intro - We’re starting a new series with this message today – Praying for Loved Ones. Next week, that will mean praying for Mom. All this time it’s going to mean praying for people that you love, and loving them by praying for them. We’re going to emphasize your prayers for those people: for parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, old friends, new friends, cousins, the person you’re dating, you name it.

I know there are a lot of things you can do for someone to let them know that you love them. You can sing it, you can sign it, you can buy them something nice (chocolate, balloons, or of course roses) you can just give them a big hug. For centuries, artists of all kinds have been working to come up with some other way to say “I love you.”

Paul loves the people in Philippi. What does he do? He wrote this letter. He also was sending them Epaphroditus to carry the letter and to convey his greetings. He wanted them to know that he cared about them. Hey, if you love someone, would you please let them know it, for crying out loud?! Somewhere, in the life of every person here right now, there’s at least one person today who needs to hear from you that you love him or her. And when you do that, you’ll make that person’s day, or week or year. But please, don’t leave it unsaid. Follow Paul’s example here. Much of this letter is intended to simply tell the Christians in Philippi that he loves them.

Read on and you’ll quickly see that Paul also prays for them. Nothing says, “I love you” like praying for someone…and it’s free! You see, love is all about being unselfish. It’s about seeking someone else’s good above your own – sounds like what happens when you pray for someone. So, this morning, I want us to look together at Paul’s example of praying for people that you love. Along with his work, prayer is apparently the way Paul expected to get things done.

I have some goals built into this message:

• I want us all to consider our own love for people – to ask ourselves if we honestly love them or not. That’s an important starting place.

• I want us to consider the way we express that love – how much of that expression of love is really going to last?

• Then, I want for us to step up our prayers for those people we love. I want us to increase how much we do it, and to improve the way we do it, so that the way we pray for our loved ones is decidedly the “right” way.

Here’s the short version:

Philippians 1:9-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

Pick that apart with me, and let’s learn what prayer sounds like when we really love somebody…

I. … that your love may abound more and more… (That love will grow)

If you want a treat sometime, volunteer to help with a kids’ class – with wee worship or help with a SS class or something else. At the beginning of class, ask the little kids for prayer requests they might have. For one thing, you’ll learn everything there is to know about what’s going on at home! You’ll also get an update on what’s happening with pets, if someone’s being mean at school, and everything else that’s on their hearts. You’ll laugh, and you’ll cry.

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