Philippians 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Paul continued to speak about his relationship with the saints at Philippi. Paul was an apostle. He taught the truth. The truth is not always pleasant to the ear. The truth is always needed for the soul. Paul had the love of God in his heart and he willingly spoke the truth to all he met. His time spent in Philippi was encouraging to him.
Paul’s relationship with the saints at Philippi is a picture of what heaven is like. In heaven there will be complete unity. The focus of heaven will be the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are saved have a desire to be with their Lord and Saviour. In the midst of that longing, there is also the call to continue to serve the Lord here on this earth.
In verse 9 Paul prayed that the love that the Philippians had would grow. Christian love grows as Christians gain knowledge of God’s Word and will. This is why daily Bible reading is so important and why faithfulness in a true local church is so important. Recently a man asked me if he could get recordings of my messages. He is going blind and cannot read anymore. He appreciates the messages we have and says he needs to be able to listen to them more than once to make sure he is understanding what is being said.
I am thankful that this man desires to learn the truth. It is also humbling to me to be mindful of the fact that because this man cannot read, he is dependent upon someone to read the Bible to him and to teach him what it means. I want to be careful not to lead him astray. That is my desire for all that God sends our way.
God wants us to grow in our understanding of the truth. God also wants our love to abound in all judgment. Rather than jump to conclusions, God wants us to be governed by His love as we judge all things. True saints are called to judge all things. This is not a matter of sitting on a chair as a dictator and looking down our noses at the “under privileged”. This is a matter of judging all things with God’s Word as our authority and base. Saints would grow much more if our love would abound in all judgment. We would not be drawn into the many false teachers who are sometimes very subtle. Nevertheless, they are still false teachers.
Verse 10 talks of those things that are excellent. The Greek word translated as “excellent” means to differ or to surpass. I believe we use that word in a way that does not truly reflect its meaning. We try to flatter people with such words. Paul is not flattering anyone. God does not flatter anyone. Things that are excellent are things that come from God, not from us. There are many things we can say or think that differ from what others say or think. The question is: do they surpass what others say or think. The saints need to be so engrossed in God’s Word that we think and speak the things of God, which are excellent.
Saints need to be sincere. I heard of a person who sat down with another person recently and acted as if they were friends. They chatted and all seemed fine. Two days later that same person dropped a real bombshell on the other person, completely by surprise. This was something that was in the plans even as the two of them sat for their “friendly” conversation a couple of days earlier. That person was not sincere.
Jesus had many people come to Him with questions. We are told that some of them came “tempting” Him. They were not sincere. They were not looking for a better understanding of the truth. They were looking to set a trap for Jesus. Those who are saved today, need to understand there are those who want to set a trap for us as well. We do not need to be suspicious of everyone we meet. We do need to be sure that we are sincere in our questions as well as in our answers.
The next phrase is an interesting one. “Without offence till the day of Christ”. I cannot count the amount of times I have been told that I offended someone. If I listened to them all, I would need to shut up and find something else to do. Is it possible that I have offended people? Sure it is.
The Greek word translated as “offence” is found 3x in the New Testament. It means “not leading into sin”. True saints need to live in such a way that as others watch us, they are not encouraged to sin. That is a wide ranging matter. We can offend with our words. We can say things that are suggestive and encourage others to sin. We can also dress in a way that is offensive to others. There are many who do that these days. Many churches have lowered their standards to accept this apparel as acceptable. People who are serving in the church are allowed to dress in an offensive manner.
We talked recently how more and more churches are compromising on the Word of God. The emergent church movement is moving more and more into Independent Baptist churches. It is being promoted by older men who should know better. They are encouraging the younger men in their compromises. These things should not be.
Paul says we need to behave until the day of Christ. Jesus Christ has not come back yet. There is no justification for saints living in such a way as to offend others. Jesus Christ never compromised. He was accused of eating and drinking with winebibbers and gluttons. He was accused of being born of fornication. He was accused of being a blasphemer. However, none of the accusations made against Him had any merit. They were all from the “father of lies” the devil. Jesus did not stop teaching and warning because of it. He confronted the religious false teachers. He called them “whited sepulchres.” He stated they were the “blind leading the blind”. None of what He said was designed to encourage anyone to sin. It was all said to help people stop and consider which road they were on and if they really wanted to stay on that road. Saints today need to think carefully of the doctrines they accept and how purely they accept them. We do not need distortions of the truth today. We need the truth.
In verse 11 we see the importance of being filled with the fruits of righteousness. Righteousness has many effects. It blesses in many ways. The fruits of righteousness are by Jesus Christ. We have no righteousness in ourselves.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
There is no higher way of life than the righteousness of Christ. As we abound more and more in knowledge and all judgment, we will find ourselves being a greater blessing to God and man. We will not be a hindrance to the truth. We will be servants of the true God.
As the saints live out these truths, we are a glory and praise unto God. That is what we are saved to be. We cannot curse and swear and be in the flesh in many other ways and be to the glory and praise of God. That is what motivates the true saint. It is not a competition between one another. The standard is God. We want Him to be glorified. He is the hope of man. He alone provides the way of salvation and He alone provides eternal life.
Let those of us, who are saints, take these words to heart and know that we can accomplish all that God wants of us in Christ Jesus.