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Service Archives > Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians > Pray for Love

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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
Skip Heitzig

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Philippians 1 (NKJV™)
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Outline

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  1. Our Love Should Be Plentiful (v. 9a)

  2. Our Love Should Be Perceptive (vv. 9b-10a)

    1. Balanced by Knowledge

    2. Balanced by Discernment

  3. Our Love Should Be Pure (v. 10b)

  4. Our Love Should Be Purposeful (v. 11)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: May 14, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Pray for Love"
Text: Philippians 1:9-11

Path

Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring. Pastor Skip's path through the text is as follows:
  • Our Love Should Be Plentiful (v. 9a)
  • Our Love Should Be Perceptive (vv. 9b-10a)
  • Our Love Should Be Pure (v. 10b)
  • Our Love Should Be Purposeful (v. 11)

Points

Our Love Should Be Plentiful
  • Paul prayed for love because it's the hallmark of our faith in Jesus Christ.
  • A Christian's love should super-abound, exceeding the fixed amount and flowing from God, through us, and out to others.
  • How do we increase something that is already overflowing? Keep the hose running; don't let it stop. If God's love has flowed into our lives, it ought to flow out of our lives.
  • Probe: Take a mental inventory: Does your love abound in your marriage? At home? To family and friends? In the church? If not, how can you learn to increase your love for God and others?
Our Love Should Be Perceptive
  • Paul qualifies love's abundance with knowledge and discernment, approving what is good. This qualifier brings balance.
  • Balanced by Knowledge
    • The Greek word for knowledge indicates knowledge gained by experience.
    • Mature love is not sentimental or emotional; it is knowledgeable.
    • Our love should not only be a growing love, but also a knowing love.
  • Balanced by Discernment
    • Discernment is a mature, sensitive, and moral perception. Take moral and ethical considerations into account in order to govern abounding love toward people. In short, make sure agape love is not sloppy love.
    • We need to "approve the things that are excellent" (v. 10) by carefully examining the expressions of our love in light of God's Word.
    • Discerning love doesn't accept or approve something just to avoid confrontation.
  • Probe: Perceptive means showing or having sensitive insight. Give some examples of what perceptive love looks like. What type of insight into love should Christians display and be aware of (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)? Take a moment to pray for more love in your life.
Our Love Should Be Pure
  • Paul gave a purpose clause: so "you may be sincere and without offense" (v. 10).
  • Sincere is taken from the Latin phrase cine sera, which means without wax. This term is used to describe pure porcelain, untainted with wax; it's sun-tested.
  • In common language, it means don't be phony, but love with pure motives.
  • Probe: Pure means without unnecessary elements, unadulterated, free of contaminates. The only pure love is that which stems from Christ. Share a time when someone loved you with the pure, sincere love found in Christ. What were the circumstances? How was it different from the more common forms of love? How did it make you feel?
Our Love Should Be Purposeful
  • The idea Paul expressed is that this kind of love—abundant, perceptive, and pure—is "the fruits of righteousness" (v. 11), by which we glorify God.
  • The purpose of all love is to bring God glory because glorifying Him is the purpose of all life.
  • The world will know we are followers of Jesus by our love, a purposeful vision of glorifying Christ.
  • Our love should be growing, knowing, and showing.
  • Probe: Are you purposeful in your love toward Christ and others? Share a time someone saw Christ's love working through you (it's tough to talk about yourself, but this is good for the group). What was the end result of letting Christ's love rule in your life?
Practice

Connect Up: God is love, but not all love is God (for example, loving pizza is not the same as loving your mom). Discuss the difference between the two. Read 1 John 4:8, 16. What does "God is love" mean?

Connect In: Love is the main fruit of the Spirit. All the other fruits come from love. Christian thinker Thomas Aquinas said that love finds a voice in virtue, acting with integrity and right-mindedness toward others. Discuss why our behavior should reflect our Christian love. How can love be incorporated in and through the church?

Connect Out: Jesus said the world will know we are His followers by our love (see John 13:35). How can love act as an evangelism tool with unbelievers? Here's an acronym to discuss:
  • Listen. Be a friend.
  • Observe. Pay attention to others' needs, comments, and questions. Act on your observations. Provide help and prayer for the person.
  • Voice your concerns about their standing apart from Christ.
  • Encourage. Gently but firmly point the person to the true love found in Christ.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
completed
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
Skip Heitzig
Info
Message Summary
Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
completed
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
Skip Heitzig
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/7/2017
completed
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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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There are 4 additional messages in this series.