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So Your Love May Abound

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So Your Love May Abound

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

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

1.“Pray” is the translation of a word which speaks of prayer directed consciously to God, and with a definite aim. As Paul prayed, he had a definite consciousness of the presence of God, and that he was speaking, not into mere space, but to a Person, and that Person was listening, giving attention to what he was saying.

2.It was Paul’s prayer that the Philippians’ love for other believers would abound, run over as a cup or a river overflows. But that love should be more than sentimental emotions; it should be knowledgeable and discerning. Having genuine spiritual knowledge (epignosis) of God and depth of insight into His ways enables Christians to love God and others more.

3.Paul prayed with joy for the Philippians (1:4). Here he explained what he prayed for them. He asked that their love for God and for one another may abound (that is, overflow). But Paul wasn’t talking about gushing sentimental or emotional affection. He was praying that their love would overflow, first in the knowledge of God and his ways. As each believer learned more and more about God and his ways, the entire congregation would experience a stronger fellowship and love for one another.

4.Paul also prayed that the Philippians’ love would overflow in discernment (also translated “depth of insight” or “perception”). Paul was praying that the believers would have discernment in their words and actions. Certainly this would affect their relationships with one another.

5.The love spoken of here is the love that God is (1 John 4:16), produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), its chief ingredient, self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one who is loved (John 3:16), and its constituent elements analyzed for us in 1 Corinthians 13.

"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16, ESV)

"and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5, ESV)

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV)

6.“Abound” is from a Greek word which means “to exceed a fixed number or measure, to exist in superfluity.” This divine love planted in the soil of the believer’s heart (1 John 3:1), was existing in superabundance in the hearts of these Greeks who had been saved out of gross paganism, and was overflowing into the hearts of others. Paul prays that it might continue to increase.

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him."

(1 John 3:1, ESV)

7.The growth is in godly love. The saints need more of it toward God, His truth, and each other. This mentions channels in which the love can develop—in knowledge, discernment, choice of values that reflect godliness, purity, and being blameless. Paul is entreating God for any fruit that can be to the glory of God.

8.Abounding in love is not a mushy, gushy thing without self-control or an ability to appraise things wisely. Love needs tracks to guide it. It is “in the sphere of vital knowledge and discretion.” In this term for knowledge refers to a serious grasp, awareness, vital consciousness, or respectful perception of God’s power and will. Love is not blind, if it were then love would be fluff devoted to wasteful activity and upholding things that are actually against God and Christian good.

9.When we talk about abounding love for one another it is like talking about a river in flood-time, its volume needed to be brought within guiding limitations lest it work harm rather than bring blessing. So Paul prays that this love may overflow more and more, but that its outflow and application might be brought within the guiding limitations of knowledge and judgment.

10.Translation: And this is the constant purpose of my definite petitions to God, namely, that your love yet more and more may overflow, but at the same time be kept within the guiding limitations of an accurate knowledge gained by experiencing God and His Word.

11.Also, we learn that the best way to influence others is to pray for them. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was that they would be unified in love. Their love was based, not on feelings, but on what Christ had done for them. As you grow in Christ’s love, your heart and mind must grow together. Is your love and insight growing?

12."Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:12-15, ESV)

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