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Sermon Outlines - Sermons From Philippians - Paul's Prayer For The Philippians (1:9-11)


                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
                Paul's Prayer For The Philippians (1:9-11)
INTRODUCTION
1. True to the form found in several of his epistles, Paul follows his
   salutation and thanksgiving with a prayer for his readers
2. Found in 1:9-11, we find in this prayer that Paul is concerned about
   four things in the spiritual growth and development of the brethren at
   Philippi
[The first of these is...]
I. THAT THEIR LOVE MAY ABOUND (9)
   A. "STILL MORE AND MORE"...
      1. We have seen where they had excelled in their love toward Paul
         and others in the past
         a. Towards Paul - Ph 4:15-16
         b. Towards the needy saints in Jerusalem - 2 Co 8:1-5
      2. But a cardinal principle of Christian growth is that it should
         never stop!
         a. In developing the graces of a Christ-like character, we
            should always be increasing - cf. 2 Pe 1:5-8
         b. Even if we are in no need for someone to teach us "how" to
            love, we can always use the admonition to "increase" our
            love! - e.g., 1 Th 4:9-10
      3. And so, Paul prays that their love may abound "still more and
         more"
   B. "IN KNOWLEDGE AND ALL DISCERNMENT"...
      1. These are the "guidelines" in which their love was to abound
         a. "in knowledge" - according to the right moral principles
            (which comes from God's Word)
         b. "all discernment" - using wisdom to apply these moral
            principles most effectively (such wisdom comes from asking
            for it in prayer - Ja 1:5; Pro 2:1-9)
      2. Thus Paul's prayer is that their love may abound for the right
         things and in the right way!
[If Paul felt such was necessary for the Philippians, how much more for
ourselves today!  May we never be satisfied with the degree of love
that we may have, but strive to increase our knowledge and wisdom of
how to love others more abundantly.
As Paul continues, it is his prayer for the Philippians...]
II. THAT THEY MAY APPROVE THE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT (10a)
   A. THE "PURPOSE" OF ABOUNDING IN LOVE STILL MORE AND MORE?
      1. It is possible that Paul is being progressive in his thoughts
         here
      2. I.e., rather than just listing four equal but unrelated thoughts
         in this prayer, each of the four are related and the last three
         are but building on the thoughts which precede them (a form of
         "stairlike" progressive parallelism common in Hebrew writings)
      3. If such is the case, then Paul is now explaining "why" our love
         should abound...
   B. "MAY APPROVE THE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT"...
      1. To "approve" is to "try, test, demonstrate"
      2. This passage is reminiscent of Ro 12:2, where we learn that we
         are to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will
         of God"
      3. Prove to whom?
         a. To ourselves?  Certainly...
         b. But even more so, to prove to others that God's way is the
            best way! - cf. 1 Pe 2:15
[Therefore, by abounding in love still more and more with all knowledge 
and discernment, we are able to demonstrate by our "actions" that God's 
way is the more excellent way!
But there is another reason, as we continue to see that Paul is 
concerned for the Philippians...]
III. THAT THEY MAY BE SINCERE AND WITHOUT OFFENSE (10b)
   
   A. DEFINING "SINCERE" AND "WITHOUT OFFENSE"...
      1. "sincere" involves:
         a. Having perfect openness toward God and man
         b. With a clear conscience (not hypocritical)
      2. "without offense" means not to provide occasions for others to
         stumble - Ro 14:13
   B. SUCH VIRTUES WILL BE FOUND IN THOSE WHO ARE...
      1. Abounding in love still more and more, in knowledge and all
         discernment!
      2. Approving the things that are excellent by their conduct!
      -- See Paul's progression in thought?
   C. PAUL'S CONCERN IS THAT THESE VIRTUES WILL LAST "TILL THE DAY OF
      CHRIST"...
      1. This is the second time in this epistle Paul has referred to
         this "day" (cf. 1:6)
      2. He is referring to the day when Christ comes again, a day of
         "destruction" for some, but "glory" for others! - 2 Th
         1:7-12
      3. Perhaps Paul's concern that these virtues of being "sincere and
         without offense" lasting till the day of Christ is based upon
         what will happen to those in the kingdom who are guilty of such
         things - cf. Mt 13:41-43
[Such a strong warning by Jesus Himself should encourage us to take the 
thoughts of Paul very seriously!
Finally, we notice in Paul's prayer for the Philippians a concern for 
their...]
IV. BEING FILLED WITH THE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (11)
   A. WHICH APPEAR TO BE THE RESULT OF...
      1. Abounding in love still more and more in knowledge and all
         discernment
      2. Approving the things that are excellent
      3. Being sincere and without offense
      -- Notice again the "stairlike" progressive parallelism@!
   B. SUCH FRUITS ARE POSSIBLE ONLY "BY JESUS CHRIST"...
      1. For without Him, we would not know what true love really is! 
         - 1 Jn 3:16
      2. For without Him, we would not have the ability to demonstrate
         what is excellent - cf. Ph 4:13
   C. SUCH FRUITS ARE TO BE OFFERED "TO THE GLORY AND PRAISE OF GOD"...
      1. Just as Jesus said in letting our light shine - Mt 5:16
      2. Just as Peter wrote in speaking of our good works - 1 Pe 2:12
      3. And rightfully so, for it is God who through the gift of His Son
         has...
         a. Shown us what love really is
         b. Taught us what things are really excellent in His sight
         c. Empowered us to be able to demonstrate the excellence of His
            Will, that we may be sincere and without offense!
CONCLUSION
1. Such is Paul's prayer for the Philippians, for a church that had
   demonstrated it's love and faithfulness to Paul again and again
2. Even as excellent as the church was, Paul could still pray for them to
   abound still more and more!
3. How much more, then, should we!  May we take the prayer of Paul, and
   make it our own for  ourselves and for brethren we know!
 



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