Philippians 1:7-11 - The Marks 0f Mature Believers
Last week we seen a few marks that Paul had in his life, and these marks are marks that I want in my life everyday and I pray that you would as well.
PAUL HAD THE MARK OF:
— A thankful heart – (v.3)
— Prayer – (v.4)
— Joy – (v.4)
— Fellowship – (v.5)
— Confidence in God’s salvation – (v.6)
Today we are going to look at the last three marks in this section in which Paul had.
— The mark of partnership (v.7-8)
— The mark of a growing and discerning love (v.9-10)
— The mark of righteousness (v.11)
A. The Mark of Partnership v.7-8
1. They Were Partners In Heart – “because I have you in my heart”
— THE PHILIPPIANS WERE IN PAUL’S HEART. Because their loyalty to God’s cause, Paul could not help but to say “it is only right for me to think this of you all.”(Luke 10:27) Paul loved them as much as he loved himself
2. They Were Partners In Suffering – “in my chains”
— THEY SYMPATHIZED WITH PAUL, SENT HOPE, & WERE SUFFERING FOR THE GOSPEL
— THEIR HEARTS WENT OUT TO EACH OTHER, WHAT ONE EXPERIENCED THE OTHER FELT Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me (Acts 9:4)
— WHEN WE ARE PARTNERS IN SUFFERING, THEN AND ONLY THEN CAN WE TRULY BEAR ONE ONOTHERS BURNENS
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)
— OUR LORD UNDERSTANDS WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH
Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18 NKJV)
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV)
3. They Were Partners In The Gospel – “in the defense and conformation of the gospel”
— THEY TOOK THE GREAT COMMISSION OF OUR LORD SERIOUSLY
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)
— THEY WERE ACTIVELY DEFENDING THE GOSPEL ENGAGED IN THE SAME CONFLICT
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. (Philippians 1:29-30 NKJV)
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, (2 Timothy 1:8 NKJV)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV)
4. They Were Partners In The Grace of God – “you all are partakers with me of grace”
— THE PHILIPPIANS HAD GIVEN PROOF THAT THEY BELONG TO THE FELLOWSHIP 1:5
— THAT IS THE OPERATION OF GOD’S GRACE WICH ENABLES ONE TO WORK IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOSPEL, TO SUFFER FOR IT AND TO ASSIST THOSE WHO PROCLAIM AND DEFEND IT.
5. They Were Partners With Christ – “greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ”
— PAUL LONGS FOR THEM WITH THE VERY AFFECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
APPLICATION – Philippians 1:8
“how greatly I long for” to long for, desire, to pursue with love, to long after
“with the affection bowels” bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.)
— The bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.)
— The word literally refers to the internal organs, which are the part of the body that reacts to intense emotion. It became the strongest Gr. word to express compassionate love—love that involves one’s entire being.
— PAUL’S LOVE PATTERNED AFTER PHILIPPIANS 2:5 &
— ENERGIZED BY CHRIST’S INDWELLING LOVE GALATIANS 2:20 – I have been crucified . . .Christ lives in me.
ILLUSTRATION – The average person thinks that everything he does is because he has thought it over and that he is very smart.
Psychologist have said that the brain is really a very marvelous telephone exchange. A message comes up through the sensory nervous system, up through the synaptical connections from the hand to the brain. Immediately there is a transfer made over to a motor neuron, and the message goes down over a different set of synaptical connections.
— When you touch a hot stove, immediately the message goes up to the brain, and the brain returns the message and say, “Take your finger off that – you’ll get burned.” You do it without thinking, but there was a connection made in the brain.
— When I first saw my Kristi, where do you think it took place? Was it in the brain?
No, I saw her with my eyes, but I really felt a deep affection for her inside
1. Can you think of any practical ways in which you can love others “with the affection of Jesus Christ” (1:8).
1) I can help my wife around the house
2) Do laundry because her hands hurt to do it
3) Giving other the gospel of Jesus Christ – and not only the gospel but also our own lives as Paul wrote to the 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
4) If someone is in need I must help them “But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 1 John 3:17
5) Put on “tender mercies,” “kindness,” “humility,” “meekness,” “longsuffering,” etc.
B. The Mark Of A Growing And Discerning Love v.9-10
1) Gratitude for the Philippians’ partnership leads Paul to the prayer of 1:9-11. What does Paul ask God for?
Verse 9 – NLT – “that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.”
Verse 10 – NLT – “for I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns
Verse 11 – NKJV -- “the fruit righteousness produces”
NLT – “may you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much praise and glory to God.”
Verse 11 – for the ultimate goal of “God’s glory and praise.”
2) Why is it important that our love abound in knowledge and all discernment (Verse 9)?
Love abound cf. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
1 John 4:7-8 1) The Bible tells us to v.7
2) For love is of God v.7
3) Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God
4) If you do not love, this shows you really don’t know God
5) For God is love
1 John 3:14 – love is the evidence of salvation
Christian love is not something we work up; it is something that God does in us and through us (2:12-13). Remember Paul longed for his friends “in the bowels of Jesus Christ” it was not Paul’s love channeled through Christ, it was Christ’s love channeled through Paul.
Remember that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When we permit (cooperate with) God to perform His “good work” in us, then we grow in our love for one another even those who are difficult to love. Some of our friends are even difficult to love
John 13:34-35 – Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another
Another evidence of Christian love is a willingness to forgive on another
HOW CAN WE TELL THAT WE ARE TRULY BOUND IN LOVE TO OTHER CHRISTIANS?
— When we are concerned about them.
— The believers at Philippi were concerned about Paul and sent Epaphroditus to minister to him.
— Paul was also concerned about his friends at Philippi especially when Epaphroditus became ill and could not return right away
APPLICATION 1 JOHN 3:18
“knowledge and all discernment” (of God and His truth)
— This is from the Gk. word that describes genuine, full, or advanced knowledge. Biblical love is not an empty sentimentalism but is anchored deeply in the truth of Scripture and regulated by it (cf. Eph. 5:2-3; 1 Pet. 1:22)
— Knowledge is the way love grows -- (cf. Colossians 1:9) For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding . . . that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
— The Eng. Word “aesthetic” comes from this Gr. word, which speaks of moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge.
— Christian love is not blind, but perceptive and it carefully looks to distinguish between right and wrong.
The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22—“test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
What is found to be “good” is to be wholeheartedly embraced. What is “evil” or unbiblical is to be shunned. One is never to downgrade the proclamation of God’s Word, but to examine the preached word carefully
(cf. Acts 17:10-11) Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
— Paul wants his friends to be able to “distinguish the things that differ.’
— The ability to differ is the mark of maturity
— When a baby learns to speak it may call every four-legged animal a “bow-wow” but then the child discovers there are cats, dogs, mice, cows, etc.
— We are told to help those who are in need, right? Give example of those who want money, holding signs when you get off the freeway saying, “Family in need, will work for food.”
There are three reason why we need a love that grows more and more.
1. A Growing Love Is Needed To Approve The Things That Are Excellent
— IT IS NOT ENOUGH JUST TO KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG
— SOMETIMES THE CHOICE IS BETWEEN THE GOOD AND THE EXCELLENT
Approve the . . .excellent. “Approve” the assaying of metals or the testing of money for authenticity (cf. Luke 12:56; 14:19). “Excellent” means “to differ.” Believers need the ability to distinguish those things that are truly important so that can establish the right priorities.
2. A Growing Love Is Needed To Be Sincere And Pure
FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION
Does God expect us to be flawless?
Philippians 1:10 – “for I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns.”
Pure (verse 10). Literally , “sun tested”; “sincere.” Fine pottery was fragile in ancient times, and it often cracked when fired. Instead of discarding flawed pottery, dishonest merchants often filled in the cracks with a hard wax. The wax was undetectable in a shop but could be seen when held up to sunlight. Honest merchants marked their unflawed pottery sinecera (without wax) because it held up to sun-testing or “stand in the light.”
Remember, God is the potter and we are the clay. When He allows us to be put through the fire, will we stand the test or will we “crack” in the fire?
ILLUSTRATION OF LUCY AND THE FLOWER CONTEST
ILLUSTRATION OF A MAN BYING A PIECE OF POTTERY AND THEN TAKE IT HOME TO DISPLAY IT IN THE SUNLIGHT AND THEN IT WOULD MELT
Sincere may also mean “to whirl in a sieve,” suggesting the idea of a winnowing process that removes chaff.
In both cases the truth is the same: Paul prays that his friends will have the king of Character that can pass the test.
Paul is saying, “Don’t be a Phony. Be real, be genuine, be sincere.” Don’t go around patting everybody on the back with a “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah” and telling them how much you love them, if you are going to stick a knife in their backs the minute they leave your presence – be sincere!
(Our English word “sincere” comes from the Latin word that means “unadulterated, pure, unmixed.”) James 1:17 says that we are to “keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Application \ Illustration – We must stay pure
1st. There have been times after I had just washed and waxed my truck the very next day it would rain, not hard but just enough to leave water deposit’s on it, just enough that when you seen it, those spots seemed to ruin the appearance of the truck. I would have to wash it again to get the spots off, for if I did not wash the spots off they would dry on the paint and harden.
And in the same way our Lord Jesus Christ has “washed and waxed us” so to speak, and made us clean by his blood with no spots on us. When we get spotted from the things of this world it ruins our appearance, and much in the same way if we do not go to the Word of God and be washed by reading it, then our hearts could become very hard.
2nd. There is a young lady who loves the soldier and is awaiting his return. If she truly loves him, she will keep her eyes fixed upon him and keep herself pure.
Do You Love Jesus Christ? Are You Awaiting His Return?
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3 NKJV)
3. A Growing Love Is Needed T0 Keep Us From Causing Others To Stumble
Without offense – blameless (verse 10). Literally, “not stumbled against”; that is, “not a stumbling block to others.”
1. Having nothing to strike against, not causing to stumble
— of a smooth road
— metaph. of not leading others to sin by one's mode of life
— without offense, not troubled by a consciousness of sin
a. WE MUST CONTROL EVERYTHING WE DO, NOT SLIPPING OVER INTO THE QUESTIONABLE
DRINKING DANCING THE LATEST FASHION AND DRESS
TELEVISION SOCIAL FUNCTIONS MAKEUP
b. WE MUST OFFER UP TO THE LORD THE VERY BEST WE CAN ROMANS 12:1-2; LUKE 9:23
3) Why are purity and blamelessness crucial Christian traits (Philippians 1:10; 2:15-16)?
1st. If I am living the life of true Christianity, then I should be a person who will not be a phony like the Pharisees. Who, “honor Christ with their lips, but their heart is far from Him” (Is. 29:13 cf. Matt. 15:8) this is an outward appearance with an inward lie.
2nd. I should be one who when the heat comes I will not melt (so to speak) because I am the real thing Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23; especially verses 8 & 23.
3rd. The road that I walk down (the life in which I live) must be walked in such a way that I never lead or cause anyone to stumble because of sin in my life. Matthew 18:1-10 cf. Romans 12:9; 1 Cor. 10:31,32; 2 Cor. 1:12; cf. Rom. 14:1; 1 Cor. 8)
4th. I must be one who is never lead into sin. I anyone has a complaint accusation against me – which their will be – then those accusations against me must be false on my part – in other words I must be innocent of all charges against me.
TWO GOOD TEST FOR ME TO EXERCISE SPIRTUAL DISCERNMENT
(1) Will it make others stumble? (2) Will I be ashamed if Jesus should return?
1st. Again I must be such an example in my Christian faith that I prove myself to be blameless and innocent, so that no one can speak a word against me, so that I am above reproach or rebuke from false accusations against me, I am innocent of all charges.
2nd. This passage says that I am a child of God, therefore, I must live as a child of the King – in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.
Crooked and perverse Generation -- to distort, turn aside, to oppose, plot against the saving purposes and plans of God, to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, corrupt
Where we get the word Scoliosis
Spinal deformity means abnormality in the curves of the spine. Scoliosis is a lateral or sideways curvature of the spine.
Since the spine and the rib cage are connected, scoliosis can affect the position of the surrounding organs. Health risks can include neurological problems as well as heart problems.
Testament for Scoliosis
Exercise and bracing can be helpful; but sometimes even with bracing, the problem will still require surgery.
If surgery is required, it's best to do it while the patient is young. Younger patients heal more rapidly and easily than adults. Adults seem to have advanced stages of this deformity.
Spinal Deformities: The Benefits of Early Screening & Treatment
John Albert Odom, Jr., MD. ©1994, The Colorado Spine Center, P.C.All rights reserved
a. Society around us is “twisted and distorted,” but the Christian stands straight because he measures his life by God’s Word, the perfect standard
b. The world in which we live in is dark, but the Christians shine as bright lights
— Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
— Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world . . .Let you light so shine before men, that they may see you good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
— Lights -- That which gives light, an illuminator
Of the stars, sun and moon, light, brightness
Therefore, I am to illuminate or give (light, give Christ), into this lost and dark world
— The Word of Life -- The world has nothing to offer, but the Christian holds out the Word of Life, the message of salvation through faith in Christ (Romans 10:8-16)
c. I must allow God to achieve this purpose in my life, so that I become a better witness in a world that desperately needs Christ.
4) What sorts of fruits result from being rightly related to God (1:11)? See Matthew 5:1-10, 38-48; 25:37-40; Galatians 5:22-23.)
Philippians 1:11 – this is better translated “the fruit righteousness produces”
The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18)
Matthew 5:1-10 – “The Beatitudes”
These Beatitudes list seven characteristics that make up the Christian character. The eighth Beatitude deals with the reaction of the world to these traits. The Beatitudes are not natural characteristics, and they actually create a sharp distinction between the Christians and non-Christians in the things they admire and the things they seek.
Matthew 5:38-48 – “Retaliation”
Matthew 25:37-40 – Can you give Jesus a drink today?
— 1 John 3:16-18 – when people are in need we are to help them with our deeds not only our words. When we help those who are in need, that is a demonstration of God’s love.
— Romans 5:8 – when we were in need, need of forgiveness, mercy, and grace, God did not just tell us of His love, but He demonstrated, showed us His love by dying for us.
D. Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit
— Note the contrast between the “works of the flesh” & “the fruit of the Spirit”
5) How is it possible to bear “the fruit of righteousness” (Philippians 1:6,11; John 15:1-5)?
— Philippians 1:6 CF 2 Corinthians 3:18 (progressive sanctification) – having confidence in God, He is the one who began the good work, & is the One who will complete it because He is faithful 2 Timothy 2:13.
— Philippians 1:11 – the fruits are by Jesus Christ and His ongoing work of power through His Holy Spirit.
— John 15:1-5 – abiding in the vine