As Christians we are supposed to be growing. Are you growing spiritually? Are you closer to the Lord today than you have been before? God does not want us to be stagnant in our walk with Him.
Let us look at the rest of this great paragraph in Philippians 1.
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. Philippians 1:9-11
Not only does Paul pray for Christian love, but also Christian character. Let’s look at 3 words found in verse 10, all emphasizing mature Christian character.
Word #1- Approved.
In the life of the believer it is God is the one who approves us.
For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. 2 Corinthians 10:18
How does God test the purity of our life? How can we live a life “approved” of God? He has given us His standard in the Word of God! This is how we know how He wants us to live. Look at what the Word of God says in Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
The word translated “prove” in Romans 12:2 is the same Greek word translated “approve” in our text. Notice that as our mind is renewed we can discern what God’s will is. The word translated “transformed” has the idea of remodeling. Out with the old and i with new. This is similar to Paul’s admonitions to “put off” and “put on” throughout his epistles.
How do I find out how God wants us to think?
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Colossians 3:10
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
God wants the old way of thinking to be demolished like a remodeling project. He wants His Word to dwell richly in us. If we’re going to have God’s approval on our lives, we must think biblically so that we can live biblically. We should not be concerned with others more than we are concerned with pleasing God Himself.
Word #2- Sincere
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Philippians 1:10
Pottery in ancient Rome was fragile and would often crack. Vendors looking to still sell the pottery and put one over on the customer would put wax in the cracks and then paint over it. A reputable dealer would only sell quality pottery. He would stamp his pottery with “sin cere”. This means “without wax”. It meant that there was no wax filling in hidden cracks with the intent of deception to make quick money. This conveys a testing process that speaks to the genuineness of the product was. God wants us to be the real deal. He wants us to live without hypocrisy. Jesus hated hypocrisy. The religious hypocrites were often called out by Jesus in his earthly ministry.
Word #3- Offense
The last word we will study is “offense”. Paul prayed that they would be “without offense” and speaks to living a life that doesn’t cause others to stumble into sin. No one is perfect, but we can strive for a life that is blameless.
When it comes to sin in our lives it comes in 4 stages:
- We tolerate sin.
- We accommodate sin.
- We legitimize sin.
- We participate in sin.
There is great danger in letting sin go unchecked in our lives. When we live a life without God’s approval, insincerely, and with offense we are not growing in spiritual maturity. At some point in time we must go from spiritual infant to spiritual adulthood. Are you maturing in spiritual adulthood?
How long do we pursue spiritual maturity? The answer is found in verse 10 where it says “till the day of Christ”. Jesus Christ is coming back and we will give an account to Him of how we have lived our lives.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are accountable to the Lord. We will all stand before the Judgement seat of Christ.
Notice 1 Corinthians 4:5
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
Paul is praying for …
…mature Christian Love. vs.9
…mature Christian Character. v.10
…mature Christian Service. v. 11
We are not saved by good works, but we are saved to good works.
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Php 1:11
This speaks to spiritual fruit that comes from a relationship with God and is produced in us by the Holy Spirit.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Without Jesus we cannot produce spiritual fruit. When we are abiding in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be a spiritual fruit that will be produced in our lives. Religious activity brings glory to man, while spiritual fruit brings glory to God.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples .” John 15:8
Let’s talk about these verse 11 verses in Philippians 1. Go back to verse 3:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” Philippians 1:3
Paul has them in his mind.
“Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart” Philippians 1:7
Paul has them in his heart.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; Philippians 1:9
Paul had them in his prayers.
When you love someone you have them in your mind, heart, and prayers.
As we end this message here are 2 questions:
- Are you growing spiritually?
- Are you spiritually mature?
How do you grow? There must be communication to grow in our relationship with anyone. With the Lord we communicate to God through prayer, and He speaks to us through His word. When we read God’s Word, obey it, and pray to Him, we grow spiritually. We abide with Christ and He fruit in our lives.
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