Love is the dominant emotion in the life of any child of God. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13:13, "And now abide faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love." Love is greater than our faith, because a loveless faith can never please God. Love is greater than our eternal hope, because before we can get to heaven we must know God. "He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love." 1 Jn. 4:8.
The Philippian church demonstrated to Paul a deep and genuine love. They loved the salvation they enjoyed in Christ; so they in turn, supported Paul as he preached the Gospel. (2 Cor. 8:1-5) They loved Paul so much that they sent a much needed gift to him while he was under arrest in Rome. (Phil. 4:14-18) When they heard that their minister Epaphroditus was sick near to death; they worried about him, and he worried about them. (Phil. 2:25-27)
You don't find this shared love for each other anywhere, but inside Christ's church. And the church at Philippi had this kind of love. So they lacked nothing, right? Not quite, in our lesson today, Paul prayed in Phil. 1:9, "And this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment."
You see, even with a great love for each other, a church must have a complete knowledge of the teachings and the will of Christ Jesus. Read Eph. 4:11-16. Here you find that Christ calls men to preach, teach and shepherd His church because all of us must be equipped for ministry. Each one of us in Christ must minister to the needs of others. Secondly, each of us is expected to "come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)
Christ wants us to become like Him! This will never happen unless we study His life and His teachings. Only then will we know how we should act and treat one another. Only then will the world see Christ in all that we do. (Gal. 2:20)
What is discernment? The definition of discernment is "the ability to judge or distinguish well." Discernment or judgment is necessary that we may know how to live our lives free from sin. Discernment is necessary within a church so we might worship God properly; as we see in the New Testament church. But as you might guess, you can't have discernment apart from a complete knowledge of God's word!
In Phil. 1:10,11, Paul tells us the necessity of having a love "that abounds in knowledge and all discernment." Then we will be "sincere and without offense". The word sincere means "without deceit." Many people try to deceive the Lord by acting religious, yet their lives are not truly changed.
Also, Paul notes that they and we will be "filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ". When we are baptized into Christ, we "put on Christ". (Gal. 3:27) When we put Him on we receive His righteousness which saves us. Yet there is still fruit that we must bear for the lord through our righteous lives. Why? Because our lives are a witness to the world for Christ Jesus. We are called to be "salt and light". (Mt. 5:13-16) This is the fruit of righteousness the world must see.
1. True or False, Eph. 4:12 tells us each of us must be "equipped for the work of ministry"?
2. True or False, Love is greater than faith and Hope?
3. True or False, You will never have the gift of discernment without a complete knowledge of God's word?
4. True or False, We can truly know God and still be without love for others?
5. True or False, Phil. 3:9 tells us we have Christ's righteousness if we are in Him?
6. True or False, if we have Christ's righteousness we will be a witness to the world for Christ?