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 PAUL PRAYING FOR THE PHILIPPIANS!

PAUL'S GREAT PRAYER FROM PRISON IN PHILIPPIANS 1:9-11.

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."

 

LESSON 1:

The Prayers of the Bible are interesting. They are so varied, and so dynamic, and frankly, so very answered! Answered by God!

For just a few days I would like us to study one of Paul's Prayers, Philippians 1:9-11. This is one of his several "prison prayers," words directed heavenward while the Man of God was in some Roman jail.

Notice first what Paul does not ask of the Lord!

There will be no mention anywhere for any material provisions! Not a thing! Not a coat or a pair of sandals or love offering of some kind!

Paul prays on a higher level than that! At least when he is writing. And Philippians being Holy Spirit inspired like it is, these prayers are built to "teach" us more about properly approaching the Lord, His Throne of Grace.

I am willing to say this is just about a "perfect prayer," with God's total approval stamped all over it.

The whole thing is not that long, either, just three verses. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

The pronouns in the prayer are plural. Paul is not praying just for one person. But for the whole Church family!

He loves this congregation of Believers!

He believes the best for them, great potential for the Lord.

Look at the qualities he desires for His converts, for these saints. There's love, lots of it!  "That your love may abound yet more and more ...."

There's discernment, too. "That ye may approve things that are excellent ...."

There's godliness as well.  "That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness ...."

Love, discernment and righteousness!

Can praying reach any higher level that this?

Lord willing, we are going to study each clause, each phrase, of this great Prayer. Over the next few days I mean.

Maybe we can lean something about praying!

Praying like Paul!

If you have time, notice Jesus' longest recorded prayer. In John 17, the whole chapter. He prays this way too, like the Apostle. No personal needs presented, just godly character and the ultimate Glory of God!

What noble goals!

Are you all ready?

Let's pray.

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

The verb Paul uses is very interesting.

That little verb "pray" in Philippians 1:9. Here's the exact verse, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment ...."

The Greek form is spelled "proseuchomai" and means "to express a wish" ("euchomai") and to do so "before Someone's Face" ("pros," the prefix). That nearly says it all!

Prayer is telling God your wishes and desires and feelings and thanks right there before His Throne of Grace, before His awesome, lovely Face!

Wow!

The verb as it appears here in our precise Text is in the middle voice, meaning that Paul is so impacted by this prayer, his own prayer, that he himself is changed forever!

In all its forms "proseuchomai" is found 87 times in Scripture, in the New Testament.

Paul has been praying like this since the day of his conversion, according to Acts 9:11. "Behold, he prayeth."

But what is Paul praying?

For his Philippian friends?

His words: "That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment."

The word for "love" is "agape," God's Love. Love as is described in First Corinthians 13:4-8.

The verb "abound" is "perisseuo," basically meaning "to overflow!" To be in great abundance!

"More and more," the adverb "mallon" doubled, means "to a much greater degree!" This is copious love, plentiful love, unlimited love, again God's Love! Unconditional love too.

But even this great love has "laws" by which it must operate, according to God's character and will!

Two areas specifically: "In knowledge and in all judgment."

Ignorant love is not healthy love. One needs to know the object of his or her love, all about him or her. Peter told husbands to have such knowledge concerning their wives! "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honour unto her ... that your prayers be not hindered." 1st Peter 3:7

"Knowledge" is "epignosis," meaning full knowledge, experiential knowledge, correct knowledge. No doubts!

Also, some things God will let us know, let us learn. Other things are forbidden! Do remember that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God was cautious of that thing!

But our love is to overflow in "judgment" too. Now the word is "aisthesis," only used this once in the Bible! It means "perception," to understand both with our bodily senses and the Holy Spirit's promptings!

Love does not just come with a blank check attached. No, one must be aware, even cautious, of each situation as it arises. Love discerningly!

Now, Paul's first petition of his great prayer for the Christians at Philippi. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment ...."

More love at Church!

More Love at home!

More Love in our hearts!

But the right kind of love too.

Let it flow, O Lord.

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

Paul continues to pray for the Philippians.

Today we notice the next short clause in his great prayer. Indirectly addressing God, the Apostle desires of these new Christians, "That ye may approve things that are excellent." Philippians 1:10

This is really prayer on a high spiritual level!

Here are some Christians for whom Paul has special interest. They were saved, after all, under his ministry, his preaching.

And he wants them to be so mature, so advanced in their growth, that they can actually "approve" things that are "excellent!"

Wow!

The Apostle wants his little children to be far ahead of the crowd who merely ask, "Is this thing a sin?"

That's deciding between good and bad!

No.

Paul wants his people to be deciding between good and good!

Or really, between good and better!

Yet more so, between better and best!

"That ye may approve things that are excellent."

The verb "may approve" translates "dokimazo," meaning "to test" something. To examine it to see if it is real, genuine! This word was often used by the Greeks when validating if a metal was really gold or not!

We are to learn to discern the really good things of life!

To "spot" the things that really please God!

The adjective "excellent" is interesting, too. "Diaphero" literally means "to carry" ("phero") something "through" ("dia") to its highest end! The best possible outcome! Not a B grade, or even an A grade, but an A+ anyway. Nothing less will suffice!

This is a challenging prayer!

Living the Christian life in the most noble way possible!

Which Book of the Bible should I read today?

Which lost acquaintance should I visit Saturday?

Which recorded Sermon is best for the dinner hour?

What kind words, of my two ideas, would most minister to that sick or lonely person?

"Approving things that are excellent!"

That's what Paul means, for sure!

What a challenge!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

One of Paul's desires for the Philippian Church is simply beautiful. Really it's a prayer for the Christians in that Greek city.

"That ye may be sincere." Philippians 1:10

Fully expressed, "That ye may be sincere ... till the Day of Christ."

The verb really is "may be," a subjunctive form of "eimi," the main Greek word to express "state of being." Its "present" tense quality suggests continuing in this condition indefinitely, a day at a time. Paul wants this "sincerity" be be a reality in the lives of God's people.

To exist down in their hearts.

The adjective "sincere" is the critical word today, however. It is spelled "heilikrites." It bends the Greek noun for "sun" or "sunlight" ("heile") with the verb "to judge" ("krino"). Seen by the bright sun! Examined in brilliant sunlight! Exposed to the clearest light available, for investigative purposes!

This says a lot!

Living the kind of life that can be scrutinized, and no blot or wrinkle or any such thing found at all!

Sometimes I can't tell the difference between dark blue and black, the colors in one of my ties for example. While getting dressed for Church. Usually I walk to the door, get in the bright sunlight, and immediately the answer is obvious!

Sunlight!

So Paul prays for saints everywhere, "That ye may be sincere till the Day of Christ."

Even the English word here is significant, "sincere." It is of Latin derivation and means "without" ("sine") "wax" ("cere"), really! Old furniture makers, I am told, would try to deceptively sell a table as perfect, when in reality it had cracks and  splits in the wood! They would hide those imperfections by inserting wax in the crevices! Of course very hot sunlight would melt the wax and reveal their scam too! But perfect furniture had no wax! Nothing to hide! It was genuine first-class quality!

We all get the picture!

Be real!

Don't hide everything!

No hypocrisy!

Paul, what's your goal for us again?

"That you would be sincere in all you do for Jesus!"

Amen!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Paul always had such high aspirations for the Christian life.

Of course Jesus did too.

Listen to our Lord in Matthew 5:48. This is astounding. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Paul prays for the Philippian Christians an equally robust prayer. "That they may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ."

The condition "without offence" translates one Greek word, an adjective. And "aproskopos" means "not to hit something," maybe better, "not to cut into the path of something coming."

Not to get in its way.

Not to hinder it.

Not to make it trip and fall down.

That's the idea of "without offence," really.

Living such godly lives that we will not "hurt" others as they try to serve the Lord also.

Not causing a brother to stumble!

The word is only used two other times in the whole Bible.

Not to hinder another's spiritual progress.

Paul before Felix, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." Acts 24:16

Then First Corinthians 10:32-33. "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

A harmless life!

Short Lesson today!

But a big Truth!

Think about it!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Paul uses certain phrases in his preaching, in his writing too, that are unique.

Once several years ago I complied a notebook of them, and tried to incorporate them into my vocabulary as much as possible.

They are Pauline, to the core.

One such line is in today's verse. "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:11

Look, "Filled with the fruits of righteousness!"

This sounds similar to Paul's earlier quote on being "filled with the Holy Spirit." Or maybe even growing in our lives "the fruit of the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18 and Galatians 5:22 respectively. All these quips are nearly identical, I think.

But let's investiate our Text phrase more closely. "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ."

I just mentioned the "fruit" of the Spirit. Now here are the "fruits" of the Lord Jesus! Singular as compared to plural!

Wow!

The verb "being filled" is a participle. It is a perfect participle really, showing us that once a person is filled with God's Righteousness, that state of being filled continues on and on throughout life.

One never gets "over it!"

And "filled" translates "pleroo," "completely saturated," all the way to the brim of the pitcher!

Nearly running over!

"Fruits" represents the noun "karpos," from a verbal root that means "to pick, to seize," as if hungry folks are yearning to get some of that godliness in their own lives, some of that good fruit!

And "righteousness" is nothing other than the very character, the very essence, of Almighty God Himself!

And the whole chain of "righteousness" words in the New Testament is believed to be derived from a verb that means "to be seen, to put on display, to advertise!"

God wants mankind to see His Holiness, His Perfection, His Sinlessness, and consequently praise Him forever!

If we are so filled, God will be glorified, no doubt!

Fill us Lord, we beg.

Precisely what are the fruits of righteousness?

I am not sure we know positively.

Let's just pray the prayer and see what God does!

What He gives us.

And that, or those things if manifold, will indeed be the very fruits of righteousness!

Wow!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, CONCLUSION:

We end our prayers, at least usually so, "in Jesus' Name." And that's the proper way to close, I think.

This technique is based on verses like John 14:13, where our Lord taught: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Or John 15:16, "Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

Good verses!

But when Paul closed his great prayer for the Philippians, his prayer from a prison cell in Rome, he did not use this formula. He did not end "in Jesus' Name. Amen."

Instead he did this: "Unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:11, the end of the verse.

Just that, "Unto the glory and praise of God." 

However, that may be about the same as "in Jesus' Name!"

It is certainly similar!

To be more precise let me print for you the whole Philippians 1 prayer. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."

Maybe we too could close our prayers this "new" way!

"Unto the Glory and Praise of God!"

The God Who is most pleased in Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, His shed Blood!

The God Who has placed His Son Jesus at His Right Hand!

The God Who has committed all judgment into Jesus' Hands too!

"Unto the glory and praise of God."

The noun "glory" is "doxa," what one really "thinks" of another! How highly, or lowly, you esteem that person! How much they "weigh" in your mind and heart and soul, how precious they are to you!

The noun "praise" translates "epainos," a word meaning "commendation, laud, approval, approbation," and the like. It is based on a noun that means "a story or discourse or narrative!" To praise God in this sense, tell Him occasionally His Own Story, the Gospel Account! All about Jesus! Share with Him again your testimony, how He saved you from Hell! Now that's praise!

Wow!

Praying ... "Unto the glory and praise of God."

It can't get any better than this!

All prayer, including Paul's and yours and mine ... to the Glory of God and for His Praise!

Yes!

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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