“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1.9-11
As Dr. Todd Still, Dean of Truett Seminary says, ”Everyone loves Philippians. It’s a likable book.” It’s filled with warm feelings of encouragement, joy, and love. Paul in this introduction expresses his fondness of these early disciples. He begins in v.9 by praying that their ”love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”
What does this mean for our love to abound in these ways? That we might fall in love with knowing the things of God, and mature in our understanding of his ways. The NIV study Bible suggesets, ” Real love requires growth and maturation (1Th 3:12; 4:10; 2Th 1:3). in knowledge. The way love grows (cf. Col 1:9). depth of insight. Practical discernment and sensitivity. Christian love is not mere sentiment; it is rooted in knowledge and understanding.”
Abounding suggests maturity. Paul desires for these disciples to mature in Christ and in their love for him. But it’s not without a purpose — the point being that they might ”discern what is best and be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” We must grow in Christ in order that we might know the mind of Christ, being made holy until the day of Christ Jesus.
So when is the day of Christ? Could it be both in the present and future? Both today and in his return? John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the New Testament say regarding v. 10, ”That you may be inwardly sincere – Having a single eye to the very best things, and a pure heart. And outwardly without offence – Holy, unblamable in all things.” I like what he says, ”having a single eye to the very best things,” and to be ”unblamable,” not a word we use today but it’s good!
And finally, in v. 11, “be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Wesley comments on ”three properties of that sincerity which is acceptable to God: It must bear fruits, the fruits of righteousness, all inward and outward holiness, all good tempers, words, and works; and that so abundantly, that we may be filled with them. The branch and the fruits must derive both their virtue and their very being from the all – supporting, all – supplying root, Jesus Christ. As all these flow from the grace of Christ, so they must issue in the glory and praise of God.” Bearing, supporting and praising God.
How can we not love Philippians? It’s like a football coach encouraging his team with an inspiring half time speech. We are called, as followers of Christ, to move forward in faith and hope. We are encouraged to live holy and righteous lives and to bear fruit of the Gospel for which we were called.
I don’t know about you, but this is good news for my ears to hear today.
“O Lord God, that I might abound more and more in my love and my service to you. That my life might be a walking fruit of the Spirit, faithful and set apart to become like you. Come now, Lord Jesus, help me walk in accordance to your grace and mercy. I praise you for your faithfulness and desire nothing but to be like you and to know you more. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen