Series: Joy for the Journey
Pastor Mike Frazier

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;  (10)  That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;  (11)  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Php 1:9-11

 

As you read the Pauline epistles, you realize that Paul was committed to preaching and praying. He was a great theologian and missionary. He was a tremendous preacher as well. Yet, he was also strong in his prayer life. Throughout his letters there is a commitment to prayer.

 

Here are some examples of Paul’s Prayers in the New Testament.

1.      For the Ephesian Believers

Eph 1:15-16  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  (16)  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

 

2.      For the Colossian Believers

Col 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Col 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

3.      For the Thessalonian Believers

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

4.      For Timothy

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

5.      For Philemon

Philemon 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

Paul spent much time in prayer. Paul prayed specifically for each  church. Remember that this is inspired by the Holy Spirit. These were not haphazard prayers. He prayed intensely and specifically. Notice words like “without ceasing”, “night and day”, “ccontinually”. This was not an afterthought. This was the pattern of his life. The secret to Paul’s ministry was his prayer life.

 

As Christians one of our spiritual duties is to pray.

Let us look at some scripture that call us to prayer.

  • Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
  • Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
  • Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
  • 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

 

Prayer has to be more than just fulfilling a sense of duty. There must be an internal desire and passion to pray.

Prayer ought not be just something that we check off a list. There ought to be a passion for it.  The more we grow in our relationship with the Lord, the more it goes from duty, to desire, to delight.  Which category are you in today?

Notice the subject of Paul’s prayer. What was the content of His prayer? He prayed for the Spiritual growth and spiritual maturity of the Philippian believers. Too often our requests are about exclusively temporary and physical problems. We pray for Jack’s back, and Joe’s toe, and Jane’s pain. Yet considering eternity, our spiritual needs are more important than our physical needs.

Paul has 5 specific prayer requests in these verses.

In this sermon we are only going to talk about the first request.

Prayer Request #1- Abounding Love

At the very essence of the Christian life is love. Jesus Himself emphasized love.

Mat 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  (37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When vertical love for God comes first, horizontal love for others naturally follows. The 10 Commandments follow this pattern. The first four commandments are about man’s relationship with God. The last six commandments are about man’s relationship with others. Paul addressed this in Romans 13.

Rom 13:8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Paul was agreeing with Jesus in Matthew 22.

Rom 13:9-10  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (10)  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Here is the question: How can we love God and others the way that we should?

Paul has already told us the answer in Philippians 1. He says, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” The Holy Spirit indwells us and enables us to experience God’s love, and to express that love to others.

In a sense there is a triune aspect to biblical love:

  1. God’s love for us.
  2. Our love for God.
  3. Our love for others.

Paul wasn’t praying for this because they were bad at loving. Paul was just praying this so that there would be more love. He was praying that their love would abound more and more.

Notice the word “abound” in verse 9.

Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

The word “abound” has the idea of a cup that was overflowing. Is it possible to love God and others too much? The answer is no! Our issue is not too much love for God and others, but because our love for God and others must grow! 

Notice the word “knowledge” in verse 9.

Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Where do we get the knowledge to love God and love others the way we ought? The obvious answer is the Word of God. We would not know much about the love of God without a Bible. Someone might say, “Yeah, but nature manifests the greatness of God.” You’ll not fully understand the love of God and ignore the Bible.

The way we understand God’s love is by the Word of God. As we learn how much God loves you, we learn how much we ought to love others. It’s in the Bible that we learn about God’s love for us, how we  re to love God and how we are to love others. This is why it is so important for our mind and hearts to be controlled by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. The two are always in sync with each other. We need to be in the Word of God.

Look at the word “judgement” in verse 9.

Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

The word “judgement” is the word transliterated aesthesis. The idea is perception, discernment, or judgment. The idea of the word is practical insight to express this love in every day ways.

Is your love abounding today?

Is it overflowing? If it is not , then there is one of two issues. Either we are not spending enough time in the Word of God, or we are not being controlled by the Spirit of God. When we are controlled by God’s Word and God’s Spirit , we are going to grow in our love for God and others.