Stair Stepping Prayer

Philippians 1:9-11 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.

This is Paul's prayer for the Philippian church. This should be our prayer for one another. A prayer for Christian growth. Notice there is more to praying than just simply repeating the Model Prayer.

This prayer is progressive. One thing leads to another. It is impossible to have the last thing before you get the first thing. Just like walking up stairs.

I. Love - for God, not just for man.

A. Many try to have a love for man without first having a love for God.

B. This is not possible.

C. Matthew 22:34-40 - the fulfilling of the law is:

1. love for God.

2. love for man.

II. How can love grow?

A. Knowledge - (epignosis) full knowledge

1. Lost people:

a. Rom. 1:19 - did not like to retain God in their knowledge, thus became like verses 24, 26, and 29-32.

b. Romans 10:2 - Israel had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Their kind of zeal lead them to kill those that opposed them.

2. Saved people:

a. Eph. 1:17-19 - Paul's prayer for the people at Ephesus.

  1. Eph. 4:11-16 (verse 13) - Saved people need a knowledge of the son of God. This is more than just a mental knowledge, but a deep spiritual knowledge, a knowledge that will lead us to live for Him completely. A knowledge that will let us see what a great sacrifice He gave for us on Calvary.

  2. I Tim. 4:1 - In the last days, some will depart from the faith. They must be in the faith in order to depart from it. The reason they will depart is because they begin to listen the wrong spirit, and the wrong doctrines (knowledge).

  3. Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

B. Judgment - perception - the degree of love that is appropriate.

1. Knowledge gained through love reveals (tempers) our judgment so when we judge someone, we judge them like Christ would judge them.

  1. That will be a perfect judgment, not a fleshly judgment.

  2. Heb. 5:14 - Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, who have their senses exercised to determine good and evil.

  3. This judgment has nothing to do with personality, but everything to do with righteousness.

III. Approve things that are excellent.

A. Approve - (dokimazo) put to the test in order to approve.

1. Not peirazo - to test in order to find out the good and bad. The method is to racticethe deed, then see what the outcome is. Satanway is to practice, but God way is practical.

2. Dokimazo is God's method, peirazo is Satan's method.

a. Gen. 3:1-5 - Satan promised Eve she would know the difference between good and evil if she partook of the forbidden tree.

b. She already knew what was good, and knew that evil was present, but her inclination was toward the good.

  1. Saved people will know that evil is present, but their minds must be "trained by the Word of God" toward good.

  2. We must not be like Eve, who knew that both good and evil were present, and followed the evil.

  3. We must always follow after that which is good.

3. We need to get to the place that we do not find fault with people, but rather approve those that are right.

4. This is not compromising, but rather knowing the truth and being able to accept the truth in others, not rejecting them because of the evil in them.

B. Things that are excellent - Diaphero - things that differ. The method is to understand Godtruth about the matter and see the results according to what God says the results will be. Satanway is to practice, but God way is practical.

1. That we may approve the things which are excellent upon the trial of them, and discern their difference from other things.

2. We learn to look beyond the present circumstance to see the result of doing certain things.

a. We learn, by a study of the Word of God, that fornication causes much trouble later in life. Proverbs 6:27 - Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

b. We learn, by a study of the Bible, that murdering our "problems" may get rid of that particular problem, but it causes greater problems. Remember King David?

c. We learn, by a study of the Bible, that trying to get rich quick causes more troubles later in life.

2. Observe, the truths and laws of Christ are excellent things; and it is necessary that each one of us approve them, and esteem them excellent.

3. We only need to try them, to approve of them; and they will easily recommend themselves to any searching and discerning mind.

IV. Sincere - pure (eilikrineia)

A. This is not natural honesty.

B. Notice that this sincerity comes after salvation and after our love for God has grown through knowledge and judgment, and after we have approved excellent things.

1. Some people say sincerity is all that is necessary to please God. Natural sincerity will send people to hell.

  1. We need to be an honest, upright people, whose eye is single, looking toward God. This is Godly sincerity.

  2. We must accept God viewpoint on everything.

V. Without offence - neither giving nor receiving.

A. May we all reach this state of Christian perfection.

1. Acts 24:16 - and herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

B. Not offending others - we do not mean to be offensive.

1. Have caused none to stumble.

2. Nobody can say you didn't speak and live the truth.

3. James 3:2 - May we not offend by the word of our mouth.

4. Matt. 13:21 - The parable of the sower - offended because of the Word.

VI. Result: Phil 1:11 - Being filled.

A. Psalms 23, David said , "My cup runneth over."

B. We won't have to be worried about being emptied, if we will be careful to do the above things.

C. Not filled with the Holy Spirit, as the modernists claim.

  1. Philippian 1:11 doesn say we should be filled with the Holy Ghost , but filled with the fruits of righteousness.

  2. Galatians 5:22 - The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

  3. Ephesians 5:9 - For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.

4. This is that holy works of the spirit of God in us.

5. This is what every saved person longs for.

6. To know that God is with you in your life.

D. By Jesus Christ - not by our righteousness, but by his.

E. Unto the praise and glory of God - we won't get the glory, but God will, and this is the desire of God's people.