Share This Episode
Connect with Skip Heitzig Skip Heitzig Logo

Pray for Love - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2021 2:00 am

Pray for Love - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1293 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

July 22, 2021 2:00 am

The apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers. Our own love must be understood and developed intelligently. As Skip begins the message "Pray for Love," he shares how your love can become mature and God-honoring.

This teaching is from the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians .




This week's DevoMail:

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So mature love is not sentimentality nor is it emotion. It has banks. The first bank is knowledge. Second Peter chapter one, he says, make every effort to add to your faith goodness and to goodness knowledge.

So follow me. Our love should be growing, but our love should also be knowing. Knowledge is one of the banks that allows the free flow of love. Someone once said, one of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining.

It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip explains the priority that love should have in your life and how your love can be abounding. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you live victoriously through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mysterious.

In the Bible, Jesus even said he moves like the wind. Even so, Christians are instructed to know and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and his help, counsel, and comfort. As Skip Heitzig reminds us, you can't neglect the Holy Spirit since the scripture is full of the Holy Spirit from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. Not only is the Bible full of the Holy Spirit, you can be too. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who helps us. How many of you think you need all the help you can get to live your Christian life?

Yeah, I'm with you. We need help. Discover who the Holy Spirit is with Pastor Skip's DVD study, Expound Holy Spirit. And for a limited time, you can also get a copy of Lenya Heitzig's booklet called Empower, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Both resources are our thanks for your gift of $25 or more to help expand this Bible teaching outreach.

To give online securely, visit slash offer, or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in Philippians chapter one, as Skip Heitzig starts today's study. Most people never associate prayer with pop music, but there is an interesting country song that's been around for a few years by a guy named Jaron Lowenstein. He goes by Jaron, and it's a song called I Pray For You. It's a song based upon the bitter breakup that he had with his girlfriend, and he puts an interesting twist on prayer. He said, I haven't been to church since I don't remember when.

Things were going great till they fell apart again. So I listened to the preacher. He told me what to do. He said, you can't go hating others who have done wrong to you. Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn. Let the good Lord do his job, and you just pray for them. So his chorus is, I pray.

Your brakes go out running down a hill. I pray. A flower pot falls from a windowsill and knocks you in the head like I'd like to. I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls. I pray you're flying high when your engine stalls. I pray all your dreams never come true. Just know wherever you are, honey, I pray for you.

I think we can do much better than that. And Paul does better than that in the book of Philippians. You'll notice in chapter one, verse four, that he mentions that he prays for them. In verse three, he says, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine, making requests for you all with joy. Now, if you know anything about Paul, you know that in many of his letters, he includes his prayer for his audience. When he writes the book of Ephesians, he includes a prayer. When he writes the book of Philippians, when he writes the book of Colossians, he includes a prayer. When he writes the book of Thessalonians, he includes a prayer in 1 Thessalonians. When he writes to Timothy, he includes a prayer. To Philemon, he includes a prayer. That is a part of Paul's life. He prayed for people, and he did it regularly, and he told them what he prayed for. And I think it's safe to say that nothing really defines a person's spiritual life more so than that person's prayer life. And Paul had a deep and abiding one.

Now, just an interesting note about that. Whenever you read Paul's prayers for people, he never once prays for anything physical. I'm not saying he never did.

It's just never recorded that he did. What he prays for are things that he thought were much more important than just a general blessing for the church or a physical ailment. But what he wrote down were the really heart issues that matter the most. And in this case, we find out that he prays for love. In verse 9, he says, And this I pray.

So here's the main request. This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and the praise of God. Now, Paul has one thing that he's praying for, one specific thing above all else, and that is love. That is the sum of his prayer.

He's praying for their love. All of the other phrases beyond that in verse 9, 10, and 11 support that one main thought. Now, why would Paul pray for their love?

Well, because that is the hallmark of their faith, right? He said, Now abide faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. Jesus said, By this all men will know you're my disciples, by the love you have for one another. So he prays for the most important expression of their Christian faith, and that is the expression of love. By the way, Paul also mentions the idea of love not only here, but also in those other books that I just mentioned, Colossians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, and others. We're not surprised because faith is important and hope is vital, but love is the culminating hallmark.

Now, Dwight L. Moody once said something interesting. He said, You know, a man can be a good doctor without loving his patients, or a good lawyer without loving his clients, or a good geologist without loving rocks or science, but a man cannot be a good Christian without love. And I'm really glad it's Mother's Day because of all the people that I think set the standard for selfless living and unselfish love, it's a mother. At least I can say that in my family. You've heard the old saying, He has a face only a mother can love. That says more about a mother than a face. It says that a mom's love is always there.

It's always steadfast. No matter who you are, what you've done, you can always count on a mother's love. And I found that to be very, very true in my own situation. The Jews used to have a saying that God couldn't be everywhere and so He created mothers. I think it's more of a statement rather than an absolute theological statement. It's a way of saying the way God expresses His presence is so often through the life of a godly mother.

So we're so thankful today that it's Mother's Day and we can express that to you. What I want to show you in Philippians 1 verses 9, 10, and 11 in Paul's prayer are four attributes of mature love. Four attributes of mature love. Now as we go through these four attributes, what I'd like you to do is to be comparing your own expressions of love to what Paul prays for theirs ought to be.

Four attitudes, four attributes of mature love. The first is this, our love should be plentiful. Look at verse 9 and notice, and this I pray that your love may abound still more and more.

The word abound means to super abound or to exceed a fixed number or a fixed measure. Now it's evident that they already loved one another. Paul felt their love and Paul makes note of it in this book.

You'll notice in verse 9, I pray that your love may abound, notice this, still more and more. In other words, that implies they already do it. He just doesn't want them to do it less.

He wants them to continue to do it and to do it more. That your love would abound still more and more. Now how do you increase something that's already overflowing? Well, it's pretty easy. You just turn on the hose and walk away. Let it run. This is a mistake I've made in my own yard.

I have inadvertently watered my neighbor's yards from time to time by trying to fill a little pond or water an area of my grass or a tree and I forgot and two hours later it's like, oh there's water everywhere. Now, when Paul says I'm praying for your love to abound, what is he speaking of specifically? It's possible that he is praying that their love would be the kind of love that goes out of the boundaries of loving just the church and loving different kinds of people in the world.

That certainly would be in line with what Jesus was all about. He said, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. A few years ago when I went to Iraq for the first time, I've told you that I brought shoeboxes with me, 20,000 shoeboxes that many of you packed and we brought them into Baghdad. The most striking thing about that trip is what one of the Iraqi officials said to me. He made a statement that was shocking. He said, up to this point in my mind, he said, I always thought, we always thought that it was the Christian West that hated us, but I can see by this token of your love that it's the Christians that love us.

Your simple shoebox expressions were like overflowing love into another culture that never experienced something like that before. However, I believe that Paul is referring to the specific demonstration of love to one another within the church. I don't think he's speaking of loving God. I don't think he's speaking of loving God's world. I think he's specifically speaking of loving God's people, the church. Why do I say this? Because he writes the same thing almost in 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 12.

Let me read it to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other. Why is that important? I think it's important because sometimes it's easier to love people you never see than people you see every day. The easiest thing is talking about, I love the world. Oh, I love the world, but the people in your own home or in your own work space, it's sometimes more difficult. It's like a cartoon I once saw and the main character said, oh, I love the world.

It's just the people I can't stand. It's easy to say I love people I never see, but people you do see and work with and live with, it's different. So I think he is praying that their love for one another would overflow, would abound more and more, that that hose of love would keep on running. Interesting, one of the church historians named Tertullian made mention in his writings that when the church started growing rapidly in the Roman Empire, that the government sent spies into different congregations because they were afraid that this new group of citizens, these Christians, would be very disloyal to the Roman government. So one of the spies went into a church and came back and wrote this report. These Christians are very strange people.

They speak of one by the name of Jesus who is absent, but whom they seem to be expecting at any time. And my, how they love him. And my, how they love one another.

Interesting that an unbelieving spy in a Christian congregation made note of the fact that they loved one another so intensely. So take that little test in your mind right now and ask yourself this, does your own love abound? Would that be a word that describes the expression of your love?

Think about your marriage. Is your love toward your spouse an abounding love or in your home toward your children or toward your parents or among your friends? Would you say that that is a good description of your own love experience in your life?

You're the kind of a person that love just keeps growing and growing and abounding more and more. You say, is that even possible? Well, yes, it is possible. It is possible because in Romans chapter 5, Paul said, the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The love of God has been poured out or literally it gushes out. It implies there is no limit to it at all. What that means then is that we have an unlimited capacity to love.

If you're one of those type of people, and I've met a few who say, I'm just fresh out of love. I've loved all the love out. I've got no more love to give. It's all gone now. I say, well, you need a better connection because the love of God gushes out, is poured out by the Holy Spirit.

Last time I checked, He never ran out. So what this implies is, is if God's love flows into your life, it ought to what? Flow out of your life. If God flows in, it must flow true must flow true to others. Malcolm Muggeridge, a British journalist, once wrote, the biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis or any other disease, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love, that terrible indifference toward one's neighbor who lives at the roadside, assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty, and disease. Now what all of this tells me is that if I have such a capacity that the Bible tells me that I have to love people, that nobody around me should ever feel love starved. They should never feel love starved. They should feel love saturated, love soaked, but not love starved. Because if the love of God is poured out by His Holy Spirit into me, then it can then be poured out through me.

I have to receive it so that I can give it. Our love then should be plentiful. That's the first attribute of a mature love. Second, our love should be perceptive. Now watch what he does. You know, Paul could have just said, and this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more, period.

But he doesn't do that. He says that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. Now this is important because now Paul is qualifying what overflowing love is to look like by adding these parameters of knowledge and discernment. You see, Paul is not naive. He's not throwing out love like some cliche is tolerate anything except everything kind of a love.

He says, no. The overflowing love that I am speaking about to one another needs banks just like a river has banks. And one bank is called knowledge and the other bank is called discernment. And your love needs to flow within those banks to be safe. You see, overflowing love sounds really great, but it is like a river. And if that water has free flow without any direction or discretion, it can kill people.

A few years ago, I was in Honduras. They had just had a flood and I was in a helicopter going over these villages. The homes were washed out, schools, hospitals were gone, people were huddled in masses and in the jungles trying to find a place for shelter. And it was all because of a river that overflowed its banks. Water is a blessing, but that much water that just flows wherever it wants to can destroy people's lives. And so too with love.

If our love is just pure emotion without discretion or direction, it can bring devastation. It needs those banks in which to flow. So let's look at them.

Let's look at them one by one. The first bank is called knowledge, that your love may still abound more and more in knowledge. What does that mean? The word epinosis, the Greek word for knowledge here, means an expert knowledge, a mature knowledge brought on by experience. If you know anything about Paul's writing, you know that Paul will often take love and knowledge and combine them. Sometimes he'll oppose them.

He'll show the difference between them. For example, in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, he says, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. He's contrasting love and knowledge.

Or 1 Corinthians chapter 13, though I speak with a tongue of men or of angels, but I have not love, I become like a clanging cymbal sounding brass. And though I can understand all mysteries and have all knowledge, but I have not love, I have become nothing. So he says, knowledge needs love. But he also says, love needs knowledge for that love to be responsible for that love. And he says, knowledge for that love to be responsible love. Remember when Paul spoke about a zealous group of religious brethren of his, he said, they have a zeal for God, but it's not according to knowledge.

And he faulted them for that. It's pure emotion, but no knowledge. Now, if you diminish your need for knowledge and you place feeling above knowledge, like so many people do, just do what's in your heart, man, whatever you feel like doing. That is the most dangerous, irresponsible thing you could ever do.

And you would be a dangerous person to live that way. Why do I say that? Well, you can feel out of love with your spouse and feel in love with somebody who's not your spouse. A parent can feel they ought to give something, whatever they, the child wants to their child. Just I'm going to give it because I feel that that's the loving thing to do.

Well, that could be the worst thing to do, to give them whatever they want. You may feel that love is letting another Christian do whatever he or she wants to do. That's where you need knowledge. The knowledge of Matthew chapter 18, where Jesus said sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to confront another brother or sister, and that's love.

So mature love is not sentimentality, nor is it emotion. It has banks. The first bank is knowledge. 2 Peter chapter 1, he says, make every effort to add to your faith goodness and to goodness knowledge.

So follow me. Our love should be growing, but our love should also be knowing. Knowledge is one of the banks that allows the free flow of love. There's another bank I want you to notice also in verse 9, and that is discernment. That your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. Discernment means insight, mature insight, or sensitive moral perception.

Allow me to explain. We might have an affection for somebody else, but that doesn't mean we have the right to express that affection any way we see fit. We need to bring discernment into it. See, there are moral and ethical considerations that are to govern the overflowing expression of our love to people.

To discern something is to distinguish, to make a difference. And so every parent knows this, that love is expressed in different ways at different times to the same child. One day a parent will give a gift to a child.

Another day a parent will spank a child. Both are legitimate expressions of love. Another example is that of Jesus Christ. Sometimes he'd heal a person. Another day he would overturn the tables in the temple and with a whip drive out the money changers. Both are expressions of love, but in two different contexts. One day Jesus would say to the crowd, you are blessed. Blessed are you.

Another day he'd look at another crowd filled with Pharisees and say, you whitewashed sepulchers. Both are expressions of love from the one who is the author of love himself. Now most of us know that the most frequently used Greek word for love in the New Testament is what? Tell me.

Shout it out. Agape. Agape is the Greek word for love that expresses God's love for us.

Generally love for one another is to be at that supreme, superior, that's what we aspire to, agape love. Well, make sure that your agape isn't sloppy. Don't love with sloppy agape. Sloppy agape is saying you love somebody, but it's really a selfish love. I'm going to do something or say something because I don't want to be disliked by that person.

That's sloppy agape. That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series Technicolor Joy. Right now we want to share about an exciting opportunity you have to take your knowledge of God's word even deeper. Do you think taking classes in biblical studies can fit into your life? Here's Calvary College student, Cresta. After years of wanting training in ministry, I found Calvary College. Now I can deepen my walk with the Lord and I can go as little or as often as my schedule allows.

The classes are great and the schedule definitely works around my work and family life. Learn more about God and the Bible on your schedule with Calvary College. Apply today at God must first work in you before he works through you. That's why we share these Bible-based teachings so your life can be saturated in God's truth, allowing him to use you to impact this world.

Well, we want to give you an opportunity to help connect others to God's word and keep these messages coming to you. You can do that by giving a gift today. Call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit slash donate. That's slash donate. Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Hyssig shares how you can take your love to a higher level, loving people with greater purpose than ever before. Connect with Skip Hyssig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-20 19:17:22 / 2023-09-20 19:26:24 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime