Philippians 1:9-10, “9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ”
Biblical discernment is one of the most neglected areas of teaching in our churches, yet it is one of the most important areas to address especially if you want your flock to know, learn, approve, love and also protect themselves from wolves in sheep skins. In our time, some believers say, “we don’t want doctrine, doctrine divides and what divides does not cultivate love. We just want to love and worship Jesus” While this may sound very spiritual, it is not correct, to love and worship God does not devoid truth. Your mind (intellect) is not to be disengaged at all in worshipping God, Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your MIND”.
In continuing to talk about love, John 1:14, highlights GRACE and TRUTH side by side, vs. “14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH”. As Jesus talked to the woman at the well in John 4:21-24, Jesus highlighted the element of spirit (human spirit), the excitement to do something to be accompanied by truth otherwise it lacks backbone, vs. “24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” He did it with grace and truth.
And here in Philippians 1:9-11 Paul does the same in speaking of love and knowledge (truth) and all discernment. Vs. “9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” As a proof of his great affection for them, he puts up this petition on their account; which supposes that they had love, since the good work of grace begun in them; for wherever the work of the Spirit of God is, there is love, which is a fruit of the Spirit. I believe he is praying that their love which was already there to abound more, the “more” here would be fueled by knowledge. Again both standing side by side so that their knowledge might be increased, and their discernment (judgment) in spiritual things be better informed and established. “Some Christians are more affectionate, and less knowing; others are more knowing, and less affectionate;” In missing the biblical knowledge, those who may be more affectionate than others find it easy to conclude that those who have knowledge and discernment, and apply spiritual maturity in many areas including resisting what is unbiblical are less or not loving. They may even want to say, “if you love, you will not judge”.
“It is well when love and knowledge go and keep pace together, that love is increased thereby, which is true; for the more saints know of God and Christ, the more they love and the more they know of one another’s grace and experience, the more they love each other because of what Christ has done”, John Gill.
The gospel message that centers on love and excludes truth is not the gospel of love at all and has no power. The person ready to receive the gospel is compared to the ground (soil) that is well prepared for planting. Jesus says, that is equivalent to “…he who hears and understands the truth”, Matthew 13:23. The gospel must be rightly preached, rightly understood and rightly received, for there lies in the power of God because it is all TRUTH. Ephesians 1:13-14, “13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”. We are not called to a blind faith.
Paul shows what thing we ought to chiefly desire, that is, first of all that we may increase in the true knowledge of God so that we may be able to discern things that differ from one another, and also in love, that even to the end we may give ourselves to truly good works, to the glory of God by Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:12-15, ”12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—”, Blessings Ev