Monday, October 11, 2021

Love That Abounds More and More

 Monday, October 11, 2021 Some material taken from Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 1

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment…  Philippians 1:9

Love That Abounds More and More

As Christians, we may be “known” by a lot of different things, not all flattering. The ideas that people have about Christians are not the same as “knowing” us. One thing is for certain, the people that we know or come in contact with every day, should know us by the love we show for others. 

There are many definitions floating around about this kind of love and what it means to show it to others. Some prefer to give money to a certain cause. Some prefer to get involved, hands on volunteering. The people we influence every day in our lives - family, coworkers, store clerks, friends, church members, waiters and waitresses - are our biggest mission field. It is vital as the body of Christ for us to show the love of God, a Christian’s greatest commodity, to everyone, and it starts at home. It is easy to get caught up in every day life and not really pay attention to how we treat those closest to us, and to not be intentional about loving them like we are called to do. 

Yesterday Sam told us about three kinds of love we have as Christians:

Divine Love: Love that comes from God

Existing Love: We already have this love because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We were given this love to give away to others.  

Purposeful Love: This is Agape love - a love given with intention and purpose. This love is what causes us to act on a need or seeing someone who needs help and stepping in. It s servant love, expressed through action. 

The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians and in the verse above he was speaking to the church in Philippi. He previously told them that he prays for them whenever he remembers them, but now he tells them that he is praying is for their spiritual health. He is giving this church some guidelines for a spiritually healthy church. Verse 1:9 speaks of love as being the first thing they need to be healthy, and not just any love, but love that abounds with knowledge and all discernment. This sounds a little intimidating if you don’t know what it means. Don’t overthink it - it simply means that the only love we should ever consider is love that has been filtered through the Word of God. As with everything in our lives, the love of God must be regulated by the knowledge of Scripture

Yes, God tells us to love others, but we have a responsibility as Christians to line our lives up with the Word of God. This love Paul is talking about is not to be conformed to what we want it to be. it is not an unrestrained emotion. It is never right for us to do whatever we want to do, in the name of the Lord, if it is not glorifying to Him. And it also does not mean we get to ignore the hard people that are not easy to love. Where can we look to be sure we are aligned with Him? The Bible is full of all the knowledge we need to love others in Christ. It will tell us everything we neede to know. 

Paul also wanted them to be discerning. It is a big word that means knowing how to apply the knowledge we get from the Bible. Discernment is important. Sometimes we see a need, and we want to help so we jump before we think. It might turn out good, but not always. We should always pray and seek wisdom and discernment from God on how to apply the knowledge we get from His Word. If discernment is not your strong point, talk to someone who is good at discernment. Also, even if it is not something that comes naturally - and it absolutely does not for all of us - you can grow in learning how to discern. 

John McArthur says of discernment:

Discernment intersects the Christian life at every point. And God's Word provides us with the needed discernment about every issue of life. According to Peter, God "has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3

We cannot skip the first words of the verse - And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more… Love that abounds more and more. It doesn’t run out and there is more than enough to go around. Don’t just sprinkle a little here and there and call it good. Our Heavenly Father fills us with His love that abounds more and more so that , with knowledge and discernment, we can love others in Him. 

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