Living For the Right Purpose                                         8/6/17

Philippians 1:9-11                                   (click here for audio)

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

I saw a question on a church sign in the county recently.  The question was  “What is your purpose?” It caught my attention mainly because it stayed on the sign what seemed forever.  Maybe, that church, or some church leader wanted to really make a point for all who passed by.  It’s important to know your purpose in life.  There comes the time when we are all put on the spot,  we are called to the plate so to speak.  We are called to make a swing at whatever is thrown our direction.  Now, all who know me well, know I’m not a sports person, but I did read something that makes a good point.

There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.” [1]

This great legendary player knew his purpose.   And that made all the difference.   There was once a sign on the door of a particular business that was actually going out of business.    The sign read like this   “Gone out of business. Didn’t know what our business was.”     

The first question in the Westminister Catechism is this:  What is the chief purpose for which man is made?   The answer is – “The chief purpose of which man was made is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Here in Philippians chapter 1 we hear a prayer from the Apostle Paul.  It’s a prayer for the Philippian Believers  to live and pursue the purpose for which Christ has called them.   “Living for the right purpose” is the way to live the joyful life which is the theme of this epistle of Joy, the letter to the Philippians.  Apostle Paul spells it out clearly in his prayer the real purpose in life.

The last few words of verse 11 is   To the glory and praise of God…

You are living with a right purpose  when you live to the glory and praise of God.

Everyone should know that.   Living for the glory of God is our true purpose in life.

Someone might ask,  “How does a person live for the glory of God?”

The answer is also in verse 11   “filled with the fruit of righteousness”.     Living for the glory of God takes place when our lives are filled with the fruits of righteousness.  This is the “good works” described in Ephesians 2:10.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That’s our purpose!   Walking in good works!   Being a witness for Jesus Christ!   Fulfilling needs for those who are hurting.  It’s being the Good Samaritan who used his resources to help a fellow traveler who needed help.

 One day  KING JESUS will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

We do NOT want to be the people on his left.  King Jesus will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:34-46

 

ONE day –    Jesus is coming back!       That’s the meaning of  the day of Christ  in v.10.

We are not perfect.  We are forgiven, saved by the grace of God.   Yet,  we must pursue a life that’s driven by the purpose to live for the glory and praise of God.

What can help us to get down the road….going in the right direction to live for God’s glory?

  1. Be much in prayer – v.9    “and it is my prayer”     We are talking about a spiritual battle, and we need spiritual resources to live for God’s glory.   Paul prayed constantly for the churches that He helped to get started.

See Colossians 1:9-11  “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you….”

Take note when you read the other epistles that Paul wrote.  He prays all the time for the churches. If we are to live and fulfill the purpose for which Christ has called us to be,  we must pray for His help.  We must pray for His guidance.  We must pray for His power.

How are we to pray?    What are we to pray for?

  1. Abounding Love..

This comes first.   If love is not the foundation of our lives, then it doesn’t much matter what we do.

If we are saved, then we already have the love of God in our hearts.   Romans 5:5 says,  “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”    Galatians 5:22 says,  22 …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.

Paul’s prayer –  love may abound more and more….

Abounding love to match the abounding pressures we face;

Abounding love to match the abounding temptations;

Abounding love to match every abounding obstacle and challenge in life;

From God’s storehouse, there are the resources of God’s love that he will pour out upon us to live a life for his honor and glory.

(1)  Love anchored in truth –    with knowledge –

1John 2:15    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.     This is not a contradiction to John 3:16  “For God so loved the World…”    In John 3:16   Jesus is speaking about people;  God so loved a World of Sinners.    In 1John 2:15  “do not love the world…things in the world..”   He refers to this world’s system…  the world’s way of thinking….  The world’s values and beliefs…

We MUST pray for abounding love…  rooted and grounded in TRUTH… in knowledge…  Know what you are supporting.  Know what you are associating with;  Have knowledge of what you are embracing.

Don’t   hug and squeeze every dog that comes around.    Look at Philippians 3:2  “Beware of the dogs….look out for the dogs..look out for the evil-doers”  Not speaking of literal dogs,  however, there are unfriendly dogs to stay clear of.   He’s speaking of false teachers.   WE are not to embrace and support teachers and causes that are against the gospel of Christ.

Our Love for God must be grounded in truth;  it must be regulated by the knowledge of God’s Word. It must be confined to truth.

The world has a misunderstanding of true love.  True love stays with that which God approves.

The world says,   “if you really love people you will let them do what they want”    “if you love me you will let me do what I want to do….….

Worldly love is a self-centered love;   it’s all about me;    it’s all about fulfilling the lust of the flesh;

And you hook up with any ole dog;   you embrace immoral and ungodly values;   TRUE Love  respects the line that has been drawn.  You don’t have to draw a line; the scriptures has already drawn the lines.  Worldly love has no respect for the lines…  Sin is “crossing the line” that’s given in the Word of God.

Yes, we must be loving and act in love,  speak in love…. But remember the Bible says in Ephesians 4:15…speaking the truth in love,

(2) Love that is discriminating….    “all discernment”

This is taking the knowledge of God’s truth and making wise application.  It’s discriminating love.

Love is like a river.  It does great as long as it stays within its banks.  We’ve seen in recent weeks flooding and the damage and disaster that happens when rivers get out of their banks.   Knowledge and Discernment are the banks that keep love in its proper channel.  The abounding love of God is confined to the truth. It does not overflow to embrace everything.  It’s a discriminating love.

It does not love wickedness.   There are other things true love does NOT do:

Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,  (1Cor. 13:5-6)

Either we are being conformed to the ways of the world;  or the ways of God.   We pray for more and more of God’s love so that we can detect the truthfulness of what we do;   We pray to be more discerning;  and have greater insight into our lives so that we will not be taken in by this world’s way of thinking.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  (Romans 12:2)

v.10   Having spiritual discernment – we are able to approve what is excellent.    It’s easy to distinquish between what is good and bad.   Discernment is needed to distinquish between what is good and the best.   Discernment is needed to make EXCELLENT choices rather than good choices.       Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth because of the disunity in their fellowship.   They were in competition with each other over spiritual gifts. They glamorized the miraculous gifts such as the gift of healing; gifts of tongues, and interpreting a message given in tongues. Paul wrote in 1Cor. 12 the purpose for spiritual gifts and concluded that chapter with this statement:  And I will show you a still more excellent way.  (1Cor. 12:31)  From there he gives a complete chapter on the subject of love.  The problem with that church was they were NOT showing love for one another.

In 1Cor. 13 he tells what love does:  Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  It’s more superior,  more excellent to help us approve that which is excellent….not just making a good choice;  but making the best choices..

To live a LIFE of PURPOSE for God’s glory…  We pray for  ABOUNDING LOVE;  this is foundational to all that follows…

  1. To BE Pure and Blameless for the day of Christ (v.10)

There is a sequence in this prayer:

   Pray for love to abound more and more……and that’s love that is rooted and grounded in knowledge and discernment…SO THAT…you may approve what is excellent…make the best choices…godly choices….  AND SO BE….   (here’s the next part in that sequence…..)

BE PURE and Blameless……

Pure – or  Sincere….the Greek word means that which is tested by sunlight;  Sincere comes from a latin word  sine  cera    without  wax

Here’s the story about that word  ‘sincere’

In Bible times a big business was that of making pottery. The cheapest pottery was thick and was easy to make.   The most expensive pottery was thin and often it would develop a crack when it was fired up in the oven.  Cracked pottery was useless, but dishonest merchants would take cracked pottery and put wax over the crack.   After painting and glazing over the wax, the defect was not easily detected by potential customers.   However, there was a way to check for cracks: holding the pottery up to the sunlight.  The sunlight would reveal through the thin pottery the wax job.   Honest merchants would put a sign near the pottery that read  “sine cera”  meaning  “without wax”.

We are not perfect, we have shortcomings and flaws.   However, we must be sincere.  We must allow the sunlight of God’s Word to reveal our defects.   The Lord Jesus is the Potter, we are the clay.

Allow Christ to mold us, and to make us what we should be.  Just be real.  Be pure.  BE straight. Don’t wax over your life and pretend to be something you’re not.

2Cor. 4:7   But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

BLAMELESS –  this has to do with our conduct that affects other people.   If we are sincere, pure, living before the face of God who exposes the cracks, and we are open and sincere…allowing Christ to make us what we should be….then we can be a Good Witness;  a person with an honest report before others… there’s no pretending…

Blameless doesn’t mean sinless.  It means everything is clear….  If you have done someone wrong,  you make it right.   Your blameless.  No one can point any finger and expose some scandal in your life.

How long do we do this?     Until the day of Christ !!!!

  1. FRUIT of Righteousness

This is NOT the fruit of the Spirit.    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…….THIS is Fruit on the inside…

Fruit of Righteousness  is   fruit that Righteousness produces…..this is Fruit on the OUTSIDE…it’s what you see…it’s the GOOD WORKS of the Believer…

  1. Awesome Glory! V.11

————OUTLINE for Church Bulletin————————————————————

 

Living for the Right Purpose

Philippians 1:9-11

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Living for the right purpose is living for the glory and praise of God.   How is that done?

  1. Always Praying vv.4,9   Colossians 1:9-11

  2. Abounding Love v.9     Rom. 5:5;  Gal. 5:22

  • (a) Anchored in truth “knowledge” 3:17

  • (b) Discriminating love “discernment”

Some things you don’t love – 1John 2:15   Phil 3:2

  • (c) Approving love 10    “what is excellent”

More excellent way – 1Cor. 12:31    1Cor. 13

  1. Attractive Life v.10c

  • (a) Pure “tested by sunlight” or  Sincere  “without wax”

2Cor. 4:7

  • (b) Blameless “conduct before others”

  1. Abiding Fruit v.11      John 15:16

Fruit of righteousness is fruit that righteousness produces.    It’s good works. Eph. 2:8-10

It’s through Jesus Christ!     John 15:1-5

  1. Awesome Glory! V.11   Luke 15:7   John 15:8

Will require “pruning”  John 15:2

[1] J. M. Boice, Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.