And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

There is a reason why we gather at church. You may have heard that we gather as a church to worship God. But worshiping God is not merely this time spent together to share an experience of worship. Although we do have a good time and enjoy worshiping God together, this is not the full picture of worship. It is not the mere goal for us gathering as Christians.

And it is my sincere hope that as we come together as a church, these gatherings would equip, inspire and stir us to greater faith. But this also is not a full picture of worship. Because some people only seek out inspirational messages, experiences, prophecies, and anointings for their own sake. Feeding themselves on something that will sustain them towards the next thing. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. You can find me attending seminars, conferences and other gatherings as well.

But I’ve seen it become harmful to a person’s faith when they start to see a dichotomy between these public experiences and their private lives. Or in other words, the truth of God and their personal life of faith. And many become blinded to this reality and go searching for more experiences, more inspiration, the next word, the next anointing while others become hopeless, then jaded and hardened to the gospel.

My hope is to avoid this at our church by becoming a community that cares for one another, that is accountable for one another. Let’s continue to gather but let’s not end there. Let’s see the obedience to God’s Word and Spirit become evident here among one another.

That’s actually what God has called us to be as the church. That’s how we will find reconciliation between public experiences and our private lives. That’s what I mean by becoming a community that cares for one another and is accountable for one another. Loving one another is the way we reconcile our public experiences with our private lives of faith. It reconciles the truth of God with the life of faith. In essence, it is living in the reality of God’s grace.

What does that look like? The simple answer is to be a people who love one another. It is the love in action, the love that abounds that completes the meaning of worship as the church. But if it were that simple, we’d have no problems with our faith. So if the simple answer is to love one another, the question I want to present today is, “what is love and how do we do it?”

The Apostle Paul explained to us this reality of grace by talking about the good work that God began in us which will be brought to completion at the day of Christ. What God began, he is continuing to do until it is completed at the day of Christ. He is reconciling what He said and promises in His Word with all that He is doing in our lives every single day. And my hope for us is to grow in our faith and for the realities of grace to become evident here, among us in our church.

That is exactly what we see Paul elaborate on in Philippians 1:1-11.

What is the good work that Paul is referring to in this passage? It is not merely salvation. It is not simply a ticket to Heaven. We can know this by what he wrote. And in Paul’s prayer for the people of Philippi in verse 9, he talks about that same “day of Jesus Christ” that he spoke of earlier in verse 6 when he said “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” And so we see that as Paul begins his prayer with the desire for their love to abound more and more in verse 9, he is continuing in his thoughts of the good work that God began in us.

What is love?

Is love merely a feeling? Or is it simply a chemical reaction within us that prompts our mind and body to a certain desire and action? Is love something tangible? Something we can touch and physically contain? Or is it something intangible? Something we can never fully explain or observe? Is love truth? Or is it corruptible?

What is love? Whatever you may think love is, I know for a fact that no matter what you may tell yourself, we are all looking for love.

But to know what love really is, I would argue that we must understand the essence of love and the reason why we love. And as you look at what Paul means by desiring for love to abound more and more, we will see a very clear progression.

Three points of what it means for our love to abound more and more and why our love must abound more and more. The essence of love and why we love.

  • Love must be rooted
  • Love must be approved
  • Love must be completed

Love must be rooted

Love is always rooted in something. Depending on what it is rooted in, that will determine what kind of fruit that love will bear.

Think about what the world’s love is rooted in. Most people’s love is rooted in their feelings. But when feelings are hurt, when we face conflict and trouble, that love disappears quickly. What else can love be rooted in? Even if we think the root is something else, feelings always change it.

The greatest love stories that the world can show you is someone who’s love does not change even when things go from bad to worse. And these are the stories that leave you in tears but more importantly, they leave you hopeless and empty. Because while the love did not change, the outcome is usually a huge sacrifice or the greatest sacrifice, death. It leaves you at a place that cannot be returned or restored.

Romeo and Juliet. Life is Beautiful. Avengers Endgame.

No matter what genre, the greatest stories of love in this world will depict the greatest sacrifices. And fantasy and fiction allows you some reconciliation or restoration but why do we call it fantasy and fiction? Because we know it is impossible and imaginary. And so, even the greatest love when rooted in this world, leads to hopelessness, sorrow and emptiness. The greatest love stories of this world end in death.

So what must our love be rooted in? There is a better way. There is only one way. Our love must be rooted in a story that ends not in death but in resurrection.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

Philippians 1:9

It must be rooted in knowledge and all discernment. What is this knowledge? What is this discernment? This knowledge is a specific knowledge. It is not simply common knowledge. It is the knowledge of God and this knowledge is by God’s Word. And this discernment is a discernment of all things by the Holy Spirit. It is a discernment of all truth and goodness that can only come by the Holy Spirit. It is a discernment of God’s truth that we have no ability to discern without the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit can only come alive in a regenerated heart. A heart that has been made new by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. A heart that has acknowledged its hopelessness in sin and has confessed and repented, turned away, from all sin by put all faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Word of God has no power to the unregenerate heart. It is foolishness to the world. And the Holy Spirit is mocked by the world as a servant of Satan.

As we continue to look at what Paul is saying, I pray that you would be convinced to make sure your love is rooted in the knowledge of God’s word and all discernment by the Holy Spirit.

And so, love must be rooted. And what it is rooted in is of utmost importance. Our love must be rooted in the knowledge of God and must be discerning of all things by His Spirit. Our love must be guided and rested upon the only thing in this world that will never fail or fade away.

Love must be approved

Why must our love be rooted in the knowledge of God’s Word and in all discernment by the Holy Spirit? Why is it so important to be guided and rested upon the only thing in this world that will never fail or fade away? Because love must be approved.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent,

Philippians 1:9-10

All human morality is inconsistent. If our love is based on our emotions, on our feelings, on our morality, it will be inconsistent. It will be unreliable. Not only that, it is in the end, it will be hopeless.

Paul begins in his prayer for a love that is rooted in God and discerned by the Holy Spirit so that we can not only know but approve what is excellent. Love must be first rooted in that which will never fail or fade away so that the love will bear what is consistent, reliable and everlasting. So that we may approve of the fruit of a love that never fails and never fades away.

We not only know what is excellent by the knowledge of God’s Word, we are able to prove it to be true today, in our lifetime.

And what is excellent? Excellence is worthy of praise.
Paul writes later in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Truth. Honor. Justice. Purity. Loveliness. These are worthy of praise. These are excellent.

Excellence is of God

And it is for us to proclaim and partake (or approve).
(1 Peter 2:9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

(2 Peter 1:3-4) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Excellence is to be pursued

(1 Timothy 6:11) But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

(And pursued with the knowledge of the day of Christ.)

(Colossians 3:23-24) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Excellence is the will of God

(Romans 12:2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

(Colossians 3:1-5) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you

This is what the good work that God has begun in us looks like as it is continued to be worked on in us unto completion at the day of Christ.

Love must be completed

First, love must be rooted. And being rooted in knowledge and discernment, love must be approved.

Lastly, love must be completed. This is the reason why we love.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

How is love completed? Love, being rooted in knowledge and discernment approves, pursues, and lives out what is excellent. This in turn fills us with the fruit of righteousness which is not of our own but the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. And being filled with the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, we are made pure and blameless for the day of Christ. That completes our love. That is the clear progression that Paul reveals as he prays for our love to abound more and more.

  • Our love lives by the fruit of His righteousness.
  • Our love lives in the blessings of His sacrifice.
  • Our love lives through the reconciliation by His blood.

When we approve of the love that is excellent and worthy of praise,
we bear in our lives the fruit of Christ’s righteousness. In other words, we fulfill or complete the joy set before God that led Christ to endure the cross.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12:1-3

We complete the ultimate revelation of love, the love of Christ shown upon the cross, when our love abounds.

This is the Gospel

We have a love that is rooted on solid ground. It is unshakable, unchanging and steadfast and certain. It lets us test and approve and live out what is excellent and bears the fruit of Christ’s righteousness in us so that we can be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

And this is Paul’s prayer for us today. For love to abound more and more and so be filled with the fruit of righteousness so that we may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Where have you found your love to be rooted? Return to God today. Ask him tonight for a new hunger for His Word, for His revelation.

For love to abound, we must be filled.

Where are you abounding today? Where are you overflowing today? How are we to abound in love if we have not been filled?
It is because we try to fill ourselves with everything other than God and so we are never filled and therefore we will never abound in love. We will always feel empty and never ready to do anything. We must take out what we’ve filled ourselves with and begin to be filled with Christ’s righteousness. How do we begin to be filled with Christ’s righteousness? By jumping into where Christ’s righteousness is being filled!

We can’t expect to have a love that lasts when our love is rooted in something that fades and fails.

We can’t expect to find blessings when we seek it in things that fade and fail!

We need to find where God is overflowing and we will overflow. Where is God overflowing? Where is God working? Where is God moving? In the church, in His Kingdom! Commit today to simply stand where God is overflowing. We gather together as the church because we want God to overflow in our lives. Because we want God to work in our lives. Because we want God to move
in our lives.

And all we need to do is simply stand where God is overflowing. Where do you stand today? Does your life revolve around your plans, your thoughts, your feelings? Or does it revolve around the places and things that God is overflowing in?

If you want to abound in love, simply stand where God is overflowing. Let’s keep each other accountable. Let’s care for one another. Let’s be a church that abounds in love. My hope is that we would become a community that cares for one another, that is accountable for one another. My hope is that the obedience of God’s Word and Spirit becomes evident here among one another.

Let’s pray to be that kind of church. Let’s pray to stand where God is overflowing and abound in love more and more.