“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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.” -Philippians 1:9-11
One of the greatest travesties about the day in which we live, is the distortion of what true love is. What the world says love is, and what the Bible says love is are two entirely different things.
Biblical love is not an ignorant love. It is a love built on truth, and facts. Worldly “love” is a love built on lies, and an ignorance, or downright rejection, of the facts. Biblical love flows from a heart that knows the truth, and worldly “love” flows from a heart that refuses to recognize the truth. We see this most in politics, and universities. An embracing of lies, and an intolerance for truth. A love for postmodern thinking, and a hatred of the absolutes.
The Bible says that satan, “Disguises himself as an angel of light.” In other words, he disguises himself in love, disguises himself in things that seem good on the surface. But if you were to remove the costume you would see nothing but hatred, lies, and manipulation. His disguise is intended to deceive. He works best against those who have a vague understanding of the truth. He devours those with wide, and general theologies. Therefore, he loves when words go undefined, or vague. One of our greatest weapons against him is specificity. Specific, and biblical definitions shine the true light on him, unveiling his schemes.
So, we see in this text that the love we are called to have is a knowledgeable love. A love that grows in it’s knowledge of God and His word. Learning, through the Word, what God loves, is pleased with, and approves. We should never love what God does not love, and we should never embrace what God rejects if we call ourselves Christians.
We also see that we should have a discerning love. As we grow in our knowledgeable love, our discernment is strengthened, and we are able to discern what is good and evil, what is right and wrong. This keeps us from calling evil good, and good evil. The final resting place of ignorant forms of “love” is just that, calling evil good, and good evil.
Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Paul’s aim for the Philippian church was not for them to be a tolerant, culturally-acceptable, politically-correct church. He did not want them to be a church that embraced evil things, in the name of love. Which sadly is what a wide majority of the evangelical world has done today. Embraced a baby-killing, cop-hating, gender-transforming, marriage-redefining, culture. All the while ignoring God’s holiness, righteousness, and imminent judgement upon these things.
Paul wanted the church in Philippi to grow in love, all the while growing in knowledge and discernment. He wanted them to be a loving church, yes. He also wanted them to be a discerning church, and a knowledgeable church. God’s redeemed bride is a bride that loves her husband, loves her siblings, loves the lost, loves knowledge, and loves discernment.
There is no separating love, knowledge, and discernment. It’s not that they are never to be separated, it’s that they cannot be separated. You cannot have true love for God, without true knowledge of God. You cannot have true discernment without love and knowledge as your guide. Knowledge should never be sacrificed on the altar of love, and discernment should never be burnt at the stake in the name of love.
If they grew in love, without knowledge as its fuel, that would be pure emotionalism. Worthless tears, somehow flowing from a dried up well. If they grew in knowledge, with the absence of love that would be cold-religion. Doctrines flowing from a frozen heart. The loving seeds of God’s grace should always be watered by knowledge, and discernment. This is the recipe for vitality, and genuine spiritual health.
Discernment is likened to love and knowledge’s offspring. Discernment’s parents, love and knowledge, are to train him up to know the difference between good and evil. To know the difference between right and wrong. To know the difference between true and false. But sadly, in many churches today, love and knowledge are divorced, and discernment has gone astray. May we ministers counsel love and knowledge, so that discernment can have his parents back. And may we encourage love and knowledge to take discernment to church on Sundays!
May the true church of Jesus Christ continue to grow in love, knowledge, and discernment. So that she can approve what is excellent, and deny that which is not.
In Jesus name,