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A Prayer: The Knowledge of His Desire (Philippians 1:3-11)Dr Daryl Miller, September 28, 2016
Part of the The Prayers of Paul series, preached at a Midweek Meeting service
WEDNESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 28
Title: A Prayer: The Knowledge of His Desire
Text: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:3?–?11
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from prison. Paul styled himself not a prisoner of Nero but of the Lord. This epistle allows us to look into the apostle’s inner life. We hear his prayers, plans, and promises.
I. From the first day until now.
The missionary enjoyed having his converts look back to first things. He knew the motivation in recalling the purity of those first days.
A. They are in his prayers. His recall of the Philippians and their church causes thanksgiving. Prayer requests stream from his heart with every warm remembrance. We find Paul in the grand work of intercession.
B. They are in his fellowship. From the first day until now (the time when he wrote), a fellowship was maintained across the intervening miles. A partnership with the Lord results in steady communion and concern.
C. They are in his heart. Paul does not just remember names but also bears the believers upon his heart as did Aaron of old (Ex. 28:29). He calls on the witness of God himself that his longing for them is as the very beating of Jesus’ heart. Love for fellow Christians is a needed teaching today.
D. They are in his defense. The word translated “defense” is literally “apology.” The Philippian Christians joined the apostle in speaking out words of proclamation and confirmation. The letter writer was in bonds for the faith and would have his readers understand “that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (1:12).
II. From now until the day of Jesus Christ.
The heart of this prayer is found in four “thats” that occur in verses 6, 9, and 10. The soldier of the cross had a purpose in his praying. He sets forth his desire for his brethren.
A. The continuance of a good work. Paul wrote elsewhere that salvation is by grace through faith unto good works. His desire is that God’s initial good work of salvation carry on to its proper continuation and conclusion?—?that
is, a holy life until the Master’s return. This verse emphasizes the God who works “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
B. The continuance of an overflowing love. The apostle often speaks of the “excess” or the “much more” of life in Jesus. Especially at the heart of this prayer is the matter of love against which there is no law. This abounding love will result in proper judgment and corresponding action.
C. The continuance of careful choices. The thought the author is trying to convey is that the child of God will sort among the possibilities and choices at hand and discern and perform the perfect will of God. Spiritual testings are necessary because the Christian life is filled with decisions.
D. The continuance of a holy walk. The believer should live to the praise of the Lord. Paul often mentions walking worthy of the Lord. The words spoken of Elisha are illustration of this thought: “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God” (2 Kings 4:9).
The imprisoned missionary has reflected on the life of the church from its early days. He has also formed some plans for the future days because a person cannot live long on last year’s grace. So he writes to them of progress, of love, of discipline, and of holiness. But all that he says is said against the background of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (KJV)