“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:9-11(NASB)
Paul wrote letters to the churches he helped start and in them he scribed some awesome promised packed prayers. This verse today is one and it is so full we can’t cover it all. But we focus in on the first requests in Paul’s prayer; ‘love may abound,’ ‘in real knowledge,’ and ‘all discernment. The word for ‘knowledge’ describes genuine, full or advanced knowledge. Our practical application of knowledge out of moral and spiritual perceptive is the exercise of discernment. This is our ability in love to distinguish between right and wrong. Paul prayed the Philippians’ love for other believers would abound still more and more and, run over as a cup or a river overflows. The Philippians were already known as a loving assembly of believers and the apostle prays that it would increase. The result would be advanced knowledge and spiritual sensitivity and discernment in their lives. Why does he pray this for the Philippians? So that they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to His glory and praise of God. Lest we forget, also that we would be able to stand blameless until the Day of Christ.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,…” – Colossians 1:9 (ESV)
Paul the Apostle was a man of prayer and filled with love for those who had come to know the saving faith of Jesus through his ministry. One of the servant messengers had brought to Paul a good report. This is Epaphras (Epaphroditus), Likely the same one who carried messages and support to Paul from the believers in Philippi (Philippians 4:18). Because of this good report of them from Epaphras, he continued to pray for them. Paul’s ceaseless prayer does not mean that he prayed without ever stopping but that he never forgot to pray for them when he regularly prayed each day. Paul’s primary petition was that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will. There are two key words, “fill” and “knowledge” which Paul used. The first suggests a filling out to entirety, and the latter is a full, deep understanding. Knowledge of this kind, and of God’s will, does not come from a natural or fleshly mind, but from the Word of God through the Holy Spirit who, dwelling in us enlightens our spirit. That is our promise ⸺spiritual wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” – Colossians 1:9 (NASB)
The believers in the assembly of the church in Colossae were up against false teachers who were co-opting the truth of the Gospel with fabricated rules about eating, drinking and religious traditions. This false teaching developed into the heresy called Gnosticism. The Colossians, like us, needed to know and understand the deity and superiority of Christ. Paul writes that he prayed for them without ceasing. It means that in his prayer times, they were always included in his prayers. He writes this letter from his prison in Rome and stressed two primary requests. That they, and us, would know fully and be filled with the knowledge of God’s will; that they would be enjoined with spiritual wisdom and understanding of who Jesus Christ truly was. This perverse heresy taught that Christ was not God. It takes believers with spiritual maturity in faith to overcome false teaching and fully embrace the truth of Christ’s deity as taught in the Bible. Paul wrote this for us as well so that we too will learn to hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ who is, the Son of God, our Savior. And acknowledge Christ as sovereign head of the Church.
Understanding What Gnosticism Is
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. … For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 12 (NASB)
Some of the words and truths we read in our Bible seem beyond our understanding. When we read the Scripture without adding anything to it or taking anything away from it, we find it always true even if we have not yet reasoned it so. There are many such dichotomies in the Bible. Most times we are not so earnest and just roll right on past them. When we do, we miss the deeper truth that God has for us. Here is a promise that we can cling to and live with that will help us understand that what we don’t understand. One day it will be clear. Paul says that what we understand now is incomplete – We only understand a part. Often the truth is deeper than our ability to know. But we have the promise that there is a day when it will be made clear. We will understand it deeply and completely. What we comprehend partially now we are promised we will understand its entirety in heaven. We do not even know ourselves fully as God does, but we will one day know ourselves completely just as God knows us.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. Our Bible verse today reminds us of one of His acts that has affected our lives in a meaningful way. That act is God’s creation of light in the very beginning. He is a God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings light into our hearts. Without the light of God in our lives we are filled with darkness. In the beginning when the foundations of the world were created, the dark world was lit up when God said, ‘Let there be light’. More exactly, daytime was distinguished from nighttime by the creation of light. Without light, there is only darkness. We can know how wonderful it is that we don’t have to live in that darkness or with it in our hearts? God has made his light shine in our hearts and it is a glorious light for us who have believed. Let’s be encouraged today as we recognize that God is a God of glory and He wants us to know of His glory. It is a promise that will bring light to our hearts and to our lives.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
A Hebrew word is used here, in the original language Proverbs were written in. The “beginning” of knowledge more literally is translated “the start.” The start of knowledge in our lives in Christ is ‘the fear of the LORD.” This kind of ‘fear’ is having ‘awesome respect and reverence’. The fools in our verse are those characterized by a slow and closed mind. They are thickheaded and stubborn and in their arrogant, coarse ways, reject God and His wisdom. One cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things unless one begins at the correct point. The word used for ‘beginning’ is also used to mean ‘the capstone’ or even ‘the essence.’ The essence of true knowledge is fearing God. Apart from Him a person is ignorant of spiritual things. In contrast, those who fear God will have wisdom and gain knowledge. It is fools who despise wisdom and discipline. They despise by trusting their own reasoning and hold in contempt, and ridicule something we experience and might make us shy of proclaiming Christ. The promise is, possessing proper fear the Lord, is to recognize God’s character and respond by revering, trusting, worshiping, obeying, and serving Him
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