PAUL’S PRAYER-DESIRE FOR THE PHILIPPIANS
Phil. 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
We come now to the seventh item in Paul’s prayer list for the Philippians: Verse 11 says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Paul is saying two things in the words, “unto the glory and praise of God.” First, he is saying that what is done through Christ is to the glory and praise of God. The second thing he is saying, is that all that we do should be to the glory and praise of God. So we have both an EXPLANATION and an EXHORTATION.
The words “unto the glory” translate two words. “Unto” translates “eis” and is a preposition. This word is translated 1773 times in the New Testament. It is translated with 26 different words, and is not translated at all from the Greek text 99 times. It is translated 573 times by “into” and 281 times by “to” and 207 times by “unto” and 140 times by “for” and 138 times by “in,” then drops off drastically in the number of times that it is translated by other words. I think it might be interesting to quote from “Little Kittel” on the meaning of this preposition. He says, “More common in the NT is the use in which an action is performed with a view to some end.” I believe that is the correct use of the word here. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, Unto (with a view to the end) the glory and praise of God. The glory and praise of God should be the end to which every believer lives his life. This is in contrast to man’s own work for his own selfish purposes.
The word “glory” translates “doxa” and means, according to Strong, “an opinion, a judgment, a view.” He says, “in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory.” The word “glory is not an easy word to define. I am sure you have discovered this if you have searched the definitions. I have come up with my own definition that I will share with you for whatever it is worth. It is “that in anything that solicits our admiration and praise.” Matthew 9:8 says, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” They had just brought a man sick of the palsy, unable to walk, to Jesus and He had healed him instantly. This caused the multitudes to “marvel.” This word translates “thaumazo” which comes over into English in our word “trauma.” They were “traumatized” by this act of our Lord. This word describes the effect this miracle had on them. Then it says, “and they glorified God” because of what Jesus had done. This means they gave God the glory, believing that He was the Author of the miracle, through Jesus as the human instrument (vs. 8). The end result in this case was that God got the credit and praise for what was done.
Then in Luke 7:16 the Bible says, “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” This was the result of Jesus raising the widows son from the dead. The effect that this miracle had on the people who saw this it is described here.
So Paul is saying that the believer’s life is to have an effect on the lives of people who see Him at work in us. We are not to draw attention to ourselves. We cannot help it if people credit us with what is going on in our lives. But we can refuse in our hearts to receive the honor bestowed upon us. Let me illustrate. I often feel the power of His presence when I am teaching and preaching. After the service someone comes by and highly compliments the message and me for its delivery. I thank the person. I do genuinely appreciate what the person is saying. In my heart I know that this person has been helped by God and I am simply the human instrument. Now I’m not going to stand there and give a lengthy discourse and tell them that this compliment may be wrongly directed. That is stupid and expresses ingratitude to a person who is trying to say they were blessed by something that God is doing in my life. I simply thank them and in my heart I refuse to accept the credit. Our service is to be for the glory of God alone.
He does not only say “glory” but also “praise” of God. The word “praise” translates “epainos” which means “approbation, commendation, praise.” It is found 11 times in the N. T. and is translated by the word “praise” every time. The word “praise” is from a root word that means, “to praise, extol, to sing praises in honour to God.” When people see the fruits of righteousness produced in us by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, it should cause them to sing praises to God.
Isn’t this basically where our songs originate? John Newton wrote the song Amazing Grace. Its words go: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” You can appreciate that song more when you know the story of his conversion.
“John Newton who ran away to sea, and then to Africa was sold at last to a Black woman. He sank so low that he lived only on crumbs from her table and on wild yams dug at night. His clothing was reduced to a single shirt which he washed in the ocean.”
“When he finally escaped, he went to the natives, accepting their base life. It does not seem possible for a civilized man to have sunk so low, but the power of God laid hold on him through a missionary. He became a sea captain then later became a minister. He wrote many hymns sung the world around: ‘Safely through Another Week,’ ‘Come, My Soul,’ ‘Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,’ ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ ‘One There Is Above All Others.’”
“In the church of London of which he was the pastor, there is still an epitaph which John Newton wrote for himself. It reads: ‘Sacred to the memory of John Newton, once a libertine and blasphemer and a slave of slaves in Africa, but renewed, purified, pardoned, and appointed to preach that Gospel which he had labored to destroy.” Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations.
To John Newton, grace was amazing. And all of us who faced our real condition before salvation can sing with him the words of this great song and mean them from our hearts. One who does not think grace is truly amazing, has probably never repented which is a necessary condition for salvation.
Paul Prays for the Philippians and gives them the prayer list that will help them to understand what he considers important in their lives: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
I believe, what Paul prayed for the Philippians, Jesus is praying for us today. He is our Intercessor. Lets cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives to glorify God.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.