Summary: Introduction While Paul loved all of his brethren, he seemed to have an especially warm spot in his heart for the church in Philippi. Here he prays that they might have three things.
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PAUL’S PRAYER FOR HIS LOVED ONES
While Paul loved all of his brethren, he seemed to have an especially warm spot in his heart for the church in Philippi. Here he prays that they might have three things.
I. That Love May Abound.
A. May it keep overflowing in a perpetual river of love. Even in Philippi there was some discord (4:2). But here, as in Corinth, love is the answer (1 Corinthians 13).
B. Love must be coupled with knowledge. Agape love couples knowledge and understanding with purpose. Seth Wilson told his Bible college students, “What we teach you to love is more important than what we teach you to know.”
C. Discernment and insight are fostered by love and knowledge. Such perception comes by life’s experiences.
II. That You May Discern the Best.
A. The Christian’s choice is not the good from the bad, but the best out of the good. One of the first Philippian converts, Lydia, sought those things that are excellent (Acts 16:14, 15).
B. Some can distinguish more astutely than others in music, art, or sports. In one thing we all need discrimination: godly, righteous living. In our testing we ourselves are tested (see Romans 14:22). Discernment comes by thinking on heavenly things (Philippians 4:8, 9).
III. That You Remain Pure and Blameless.
A. Even though he wrote from a prison cell, Paul knew he had done no wrong. So did his readers. He was filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ (v. 11).
B. To be pure is to be unalloyed, of unmixed substance. Believers are to stay uncontaminated by the world. They are “void of offense,” neither causing nor receiving it. Such a life bears fruit to the glory and praise of God (Job 15:4).
The Power of Love
An old fable tells how different instruments tried to master a piece of iron. The blows of the ax fell heavily, but its edge became more and more blunt. The saw’s relentless teeth worked until they were worn down or broken The hammer’s head flew off at the first stroke. Despite all their efforts, the iron remained. Finally the flame curled gently around the iron, embraced it, and never left until the iron melted under its irresistible influence Love can melt hardened hearts and keep the spirit of Christ in His church.
A friend told Plato of a terrible charge that had been leveled against the famous philosopher. Knowing it was not true, his friend said, “What are we going to do?” Plato replied, “We must simply live in such a way that all people will know it is false.” Paul said that an elder is to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2). He told all Christians to abstain from every appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).