The Christians at Philippi were sincere people who showed great love. However, perhaps they did not always act wisely. Perhaps their deep love caused them to accept teachers who did not teach the truth about Christ. Perhaps they failed to recognise those people who only wanted their love in order to take advantage of them.
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New Testament: Philippians 1:1-26
Summary: Thanksgiving and Prayer, The Advance of the Gospel, To Live Is Christ
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
~ Philippians 1:7
Paul was in continual defense of the faith, which was the heart of his ministry. Without the truth of the Gospel, we perish.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
~ Philippians 1:9
discernment. The English word aesthetic comes from this Greek word, which speaks of moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge. Love is not blind, but perceptive, and it carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong. ~ John MacArthur
Love with wisdom
Christians should always act in love (Mark 12:29-31; 1 Corinthians chapter 13). So, Paul approved of the fact that Philippi’s Christians showed such love. In fact, he even prayed for their love to increase more and more. However, he recognised in his prayer that they needed wisdom. He described that wisdom in two ways: knowledge, and discernment.
Paul’s word for knowledge refers particularly in the Bible to knowledge of God, and knowledge of what is right and good. Christians need to choose intelligently when to show love, and to whom (compare Matthew 7:6). They can only make those decisions well if they have a proper knowledge of God.
Discernment means the skill to recognise whether something is right or wrong, good or bad. A person may have great knowledge and intelligence, but still constantly make wrong decisions. That person lacks the practical skill of discernment.
So, Christians need both knowledge and discernment as they carry out their acts of love. Many people choose when to show love simply by their emotions, and they make foolish decisions. Instead, a Christian’s knowledge of God should inform those decisions and then discernment, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, should direct that Christian’s actions.
And certainly, they call a challenging word to contemporary Christianity, which I want to suggest to you is marked by fickleness—by fickleness. Modern Christians tend to be uncommitted when the times are good and unreliable when the times are bad. So they will treat the opportunities of fellowship, they will treat the responsibilities of worship, they will treat the hearing of the Word of God with a very arm’s-length approach. They will be uncommitted when the times are good; if it appeals to their sense of need, if it scratches where they itch, if it tickles their fancy, then they may sign up for it, then they may engage in it. And if things go awry, then, of course, they’ll be gone to pastures new. ~ Alistair Begg
J Vernon Mcgee – Thru the Bible