Philippians 1:9-11

Dr. Steve Viars May 20, 1995 Philippians 1:9-11

- now, this morning, we're going to study verses 9-11, where Paul tells
them about what he's praying for on their behalf.

- based on everything else we've said, you might expect Paul to say:
- Don't change a thing
- just keep doing what you're doing

- let's see what he says: READ verses 9-11

- it's very important for us to note that of all of the things Paul could
have spoke to this dear church about, he chose to speak to them about
their love.

- we're going to summarize the verses with these three points:
- Paul prayed:

I. That Your Love May Abound
II. That Your Love May Be Balanced
III. That Your Love May Be Fruitful

- let's begin with verse nine and Pul's prayer:

I. That Your Love May Abound

- we know from many other places in the Scripture that:

A. Love is an important quality for a believer.

- INPUT - why is that true?

- INPUT - what would be some ways biblical love might manifest
itself in a church family?

- illustration (from RBP material) - "they love a fella down

- another point we can see the way Paul discusses this is that:

B. We can never be satisfied with where we are in this area.

- as we said a few moment ago, Paul could have said things like:

1) just keep doing what you're doing

2) don't change a thing

- but that’ not what he said.
- he was thankful for all they were doing that was right...but
that surely didn’t stop him from encouraging them to continue
to grow.

- that’s a very important balance:

1) some folks are always on you for what you need to
change without acknowledging what you're doing that’s

2) others may be very syrupy about what you're doing
that’s right, but they don't challenge you to keep

- surely, when it comes to the matter of biblical love...wherever we
perceive ourselves to be in this area...
- I hope every one of us would say---I'm not satisfied...
- I want to be abounding more and more in that area.

- now, what happens next in the passage is surprising.
- because Paul mentions some very specific ways in which he wants
their love to be balanced.

II. That Your Love May Be Balanced

INPUT - Please tell me from verse 9, specifically how does Paul want
their love to manifest itself?

A. in knowledge and discernment

- INPUT - why do we find that surprising?
(because discernment, regardless of how it is carried
out, is often viewed as unloving in our day and age)

- it's important for us to note that knowledge in the Bible is
not ooey-gooey and indescript.
- love in the Bible is always intelligent and it is always

- a good way to summarize what Paul was saying is:
- our discernment should always be loving....but our love
should always be discerning.

- INPUT - areas in which we need to be discerning today?

(discuss Promise Keepers)

(read quote from Vance Havner - p. 29 of RBP literature)

- Can I ask you this morning--are you a discerning person?
- there's no doubt that this church was doing a lot of things right.
- there's also no question that the Lord had great plans for these
folks in the future.
- but what the Lord wanted to accomplish in their lives was
definitely dependent in part on them growing in loving

- that needs to be true of you and me.

(if time, could talk about how we teach this to our children)

- Paul goes on in verse 10 to add:

B. So you can approve things that are excellent

- each of the versions translates that phrase a little

- William Hendricksen says this phrase is speaking of "the person
who not only has the ability to distinguish but also actually
chooses the things that really matter, in preference to those
that either bad, or of little importance."

- that’s a very important point:

- we're talking about the ability--not just to distinguish
between right and wrong
- but against better and best.

- and that’s a process:
- its one thing for our love for God/others to progress to the
point that we can discern between right and wrong.

- its a whole new level of maturity to be able to discern between better
and best...
- to choose things that really matter, instead of things of little

- let's work on that one together:

INPUT - What might be true of a person that would cause you to say:
- that person's love is so matured that they are able to
choose things that really matter///over against things
that are of little importance.

- so Paul has prayed for this church that:
- their love would abound
- and that their love would be balanced

- lastly, Paul prayed for them:

III. That Your Love May Be Fruitful

- read verse 11

- what we're talking about this morning is part of the "Fruit of the

- INPUT - why is that encouraging?

- He also reminds us that this fruit is "By Jesus Christ."

- cf. 1:6

- cf. 2:12-13

- on one hand, that’s very encouraging -- the thought that
Jesus Christ is enabling us to put on the fruit of love.

- on the other hand -- its challenging.

- unto the praise and glory of God.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video