9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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, ESV) In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote to not only thank them for their generous gift while detained in Rome, but also to continue to report, encourage, exhort, commend and to warn them. Paul’s genuine gratitude for the Philippians led him to spend some time in explicit prayer for their spiritual growth. Paul is praying for the Philippians to be a people whose love abounds more and more. This means that their love is to grow and mature. It is a love that is distinctly Christ-like. Paul implies, through his prayer, that it is the possession of love that enables proper expression of all other spiritual virtues. Paul is imploring believers to mature in their relationship in order to bear this fruit of the spirit. Through an active pursuit of an abounding love, the necessity of knowledge and moral discernment is recognized. The believers love is to be biblically pure. This is accomplished through knowledge and depth of insight. This forward progression in knowing Christ and being Christ like entails knowing His will by possessing a discerning mind. A discerning mind enables believers to test and approve what is right. He writes further in his letter to the Romans, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2). Believers are to possess a discerning mind. In addition to love, discernment, and purity, Paul longs for the church to be filled with the fruit of righteousness. Every believer should long for righteousness. While we are declared righteous at justification (2nd Corinthians 5:21), we pursue righteousness in sanctification. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6). Righteous living imitates the righteousness of God. God is completely pure, holy, just and true. As believers, we seek to be “imitators of God.” (Ephesians 5:1). Paul asks that the believers would be “filled” with the fruit of righteousness. In other words, he longed for the Christians to be dominated or controlled by righteousness. Whatever fills a person, dominates his or her life. We should long for righteousness to control every part of who we are. Next, notice it is the “fruit” of righteousness. I take this to mean the “acts” or “qualities” of righteous living. Righteous living flows from a righteous person. Paul identifies the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Are these character qualities evident in your life? If not, then Paul gives us the means to pursue righteousness. He says it is “through Jesus Christ.” Elsewhere, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Thus, the key to bearing fruit is abiding in the vine. The more intimately related we are to Christ, the more the fruit of righteousness will be manifested. Therefore, Christ comes before conduct. We must be pursuing Christ intimately and passionately. The results will be righteous acts. Finally, the purpose for being filled with the fruit of righteousness is the glory of God. Paul ends many of his prayers here. This is the purpose of mankind. The Westminster Confession reads, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Each of these petitions is servant to the grand goal. My encouragement for us today is to see this passage as something that we can pray not only for ourselves, but for those who are in our D-Groups. I use these verses as a template to pray for my D-Group members, and have them memorize this passage so that they begin to pray it for each other in the group. Prayerfully, as we lead and shepherd them along in their spiritual growth they come to a point where they see the importance of being filled with the fruit of righteousness.
Paul’s Heart For The Philippians
Multiply Your Efforts
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