Summary: We can love more perfectly through knowledge and discernment.
Learn How to Love
Attention: I want to talk to you about love. Love is universally appreciated but is often misunderstood. Much of what passes for love in our society is not true love. True love is contrary to the natural tendency of fallen humanity. When a child is born into our society his worldview is: “I’m here to be served!”. No one has to teach a child to be selfish. Small children often lie almost as soon as they can talk. That’s not very loving, now is it? Have you ever seen children fighting over a toy? “Its mine! Gimme!”. Love is not natural for fallen humanity. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not the way of the world. The rules of this fallen world are: “do unto others as they do unto you”; “do unto other before they do unto you”; or “do unto others so they will do unto you”. But as Christians we ought to be different. We are born from above. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Need: As Christians we are people of love, but we can become more loving.
Text: Phil 1:3-11
Textual Idea: Paul is writing the Philippians to reveal his love for them and to encourage them to learn to love more perfectly.
Sermon Idea: We love one another and can to learn to love more perfectly.
Interrogative: How can we love more perfectly?
Transition: We can learn to love more perfectly by understanding how:
I. Love Gives
II. Love Shares
III. Love Grows
I. Love Gives (3-6)
a. Giving love exemplified in the text
iv. Joy at the success of others
v. Credit when it is due
1. Credit for their fellowship in the gospel
2. God credit for being the author and finisher of salvation
b. Resist self-centeredness
i. Don’t be like the child grabbing for his toy
ii. Not asking “what’s in it for me?”
II. Love Shares (7-8)
1. Stages of life
2. Joy and sorrow
1. Stages of spiritual life (partakers in grace)
2. Joy and sorrow in God’s service
b. Bonding through shared experiences
ii. Soldiers bonding – common cause
iii. Intercessory prayer
iv. Some carry a heavy load
An American missionary who was walking down the streets of a Chinese city was greatly interested in the children, many of whom were carrying smaller children upon their backs and managing at the same time to play their games. "It is too bad," the American sympathetically said to one little fellow, "that you have to carry such a heavy burden!" "He is no burden," came the quick reply; "He is my brother."
v. Weep with those who weep
vi. Fatherless and widows in their affliction
vii. Friendless and oppressed
c. All true love is in and from Christ – we love through Him
III. Love Grows
a. Christians love
i. Greatest commandments – love
b. That love must grow
i. It is all grace (v. 6) but we cooperate – Paul prays
ii. Knowledge and discernment
1. Discernment answers questions that the church discipline/student handbook can’t answer.
a. Forced choices between two wrongs or two rights?
b. KJV Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
2. Tough love vs. Gentleness – discernment
a. KJV Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
One winter in Chicago, a young man of dissipated habits was happily converted to God. His life was so radically changed that not a soul who knew him doubted the depth and genuineness of God’s work of grace in his heart. He lived like a Christian for many months. One stormy evening in November, after business hours, he was on his way home when he was delayed by an open drawbridge. A large, brilliantly lighted bar stood right at hand. He had often frequented such places before his conversion, but never since that time. This evening, however, as he waited for the bridge to turn and let him through, he stepped into the bar for no other reason than to get out of the pelting sleet. Suddenly, all the familiar temptations closed around him, and almost before he was aware of his danger, he had ordered a drink. One drink led to another, and before he left the place he was partially intoxicated. Before he reached home he despaired of his salvation. "My family, my friends, the church, will all know about it," he groaned within himself. "No one will have any confidence in me. I am disgraced, lost."