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Sunday Service 23/08/20

Theme: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more


Bible reading: Philippians 1:1-11


And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9).


Dearly beloved, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen! Indeed, it is good that we thank God today for our lives and those of our families, friends, and the fellowship of St. George’s and Christ Church.


Brothers and sisters, by God’s grace and mercies, we’ve gone past half of the year despite the difficult circumstances of the time both for the pastorates and for our nation and humanity as a whole.


It is true that some have lost families and friends to the dangerous COVID-19 pandemic and continue to do so sadly. Others experienced and continue to experience relationship rift and separation. Here, at St. George’s, we lost friends through relationship difficulties recently. Many are struggling to keep their families and relationships together from ripping apart. Some are struggling with health issues, job losses, and finance – the mortgage, the rent, the bills. Still, others are dealing with very difficult situations and things that are threatening them. Indeed, like Paul, we are pressed on every side by troubles and we are really perplexed.


Brothers and sisters, but in the midst of it all, like Paul, we need to pray that we should let love to overflow more and more in our midst so that in the day of Christ we may be pure and blameless, having produced the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.


Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Philippi while he was in prison. While in chains in prison for preaching Christ and his gospel, Paul prayed for the church in Philippi that their love may overflow more and more for one another.


And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9).


Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, what is it that should prevent us from showing love to one another? What humiliation and disgrace didn’t Paul experience in his job as a missionary of Christ and his gospel? Torture, beating, imprisonment, insult, name it. Even at one point when Paul was defending himself before King Agrippa when he was arrested with the accusation of the Jews for preaching Christ and he crucified, and while he was making his defense, Festus, one of the high ranking officials of the king, procurator of Judea said to him, “You are out of your mind Paul! Too much of learning is driving you insane! (Acts 26:24).


Yet, Paul continually shows love by praying more and more for the very people who were hurting him in Philippi. What we should know this morning brothers and sisters is that despite our sinfulness and disobedience to God, God continues to love us all with a patient, gentle, and caring heart unconditionally, and His love for us is indeed unfailing and everlasting. Jesus declares and assures us that “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).


What maybe your reason for not showing love to someone? Paul shows in this letter to the church in Philippi that he is a man of fellowship. Like Paul, we should always remember that we are constantly in fellowship with others and not to act as if we are alone in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ in this world.


Indeed, Christians in Philippi proved that they were true friends of Paul by standing with him in the cause of preaching the gospel even while he was in imprisonment. And, therefore, because of their sincere love and commitment to him as a servant of the risen Christ, Paul always longs for them and had the affection of Christ for them.


In effect, Paul is saying that his love for the Christians in Philippi is similar to the sacrificial love Christ displayed on the cross for humanity. Paul writes, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This is the kind of love – self–giving love that we should be showing in our fellowship and relationships.


Paul prays that Christians in the city of Philippi may reach the level of fullness and perfection through Christ. His desire for them is the same as his desire for other believers elsewhere: he simply wants them to become mature in Christ through showing abundant love – a kind of love displayed in one’s actions with a controlled temper. We are not saying that love should be blind and irrational. What we are saying is that love grows and it can be put into practice consciously and coherently.


Like Paul, my prayer for you this morning is that your love for others despite any prevailing circumstances may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.


Indeed, there is no doubt that we may be pressed on every side by troubles but we are certainly sure that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I don’t know what you may be battling or the situation you may be experiencing this day. But one thing I am confident of is that the one who has begun a good work in you will bring it to a completion victoriously to your good and to his glorification and praise (2 Cor. 4:8, Phil. 1:6). “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).


As I said to you before, brothers and sisters, a heavenly refreshment awaits those who know the Lord and show his love in the world; for them, God’s ever-flowing and everlasting joy and peace await in abundance.


May God grant us the grace to continue pressing on in love so as to continue receiving His bountiful blessings in Christ Jesus.


Amen.


Rev. Confidence Bansah (Ph. D.)


Minister, St. George’s and Christ Church

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