Love Exemplified: Part 1 (Sermon Recap)
LOVE EXEMPLIFIED: PART 1 (SERMON RECAP)
In our most recent sermon, we reflected on Philippians 2:19-24. Here we learn from two godly examples – the apostle Paul and his colleague Timothy – about what it means to walk in love toward others. The passage shows us seven things that love does.
First, godly love operates within the relational framework of knowing Jesus (v. 19, 24). Our relationship with Jesus should govern and guide our practical attempts to love other people.
Second, godly love sends high-quality representatives (v. 19). It is the nature of love to show up and be truly present, but often you are hindered from going. At such times you might send a high-quality representative to go in your place, like how Paul intended to send Timothy to Philippi.
Third, godly love wants to be delighted in the knowledge that the beloved is well (v. 19). Our Lord Jesus calls us to make sure that our loving heart goes forth to love all of our fellow Christians. Like Paul, we ought to anticipate and desire to behold the good work that God is doing in our fellow Christians so that we can rejoice that they are well.
Fourth, godly love is genuinely concerned for the welfare of others (v. 20). Some people have an insincere love for others: they 'show' concern because it plays well in the eyes of people and enhances their own agenda or status. Our calling is to serve others for their true good and do whatever is necessary to secure their edification and endurance in the faith.
Fifth, godly love cares for others with the priorities of Jesus' kingdom (v. 21). A genuine concern for the welfare of others (v. 20) means a genuine concern that other people be attuned to the interests and priorities of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are duty-bound under Christ to love each other – not according to my agenda, and not according to your agenda, but according to Christ's agenda.
Sixth, godly love honors others through public commendation (v. 20, 22). As Paul intended to send Timothy to Philippi, so he wrote words of high praise about his choice colleague. And as John Calvin and G. Walter Hansen helped me to see, Paul's commendation was designed to pave the way for Timothy's arrival: since Timothy would minister to them with Christ-centered, Word-of-God-saturated love, the Philippians ought to eagerly receive Timothy's ministry so that they would benefit from it.
Seventh, godly love goes (v. 24). When you can't go, you can always pray, as Paul does for the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-5, 9-11). When you can't go, you can send a high-quality representative like Timothy. But sometimes you can go! And love welcomes that opportunity, because love goes, shows up, and seeks to be truly present. Thus Paul intends to visit the Philippians, and with the same mindset with which he would send Timothy: because of a deep desire to help the Philippians grow in the Lord, because of an abiding devotion to strengthen the church in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fellow Christians: As you walk with Jesus, is godly love within you continually growing and ripening for action? You would do well to follow Paul and Timothy, even as they followed Christ (Philippians 3:17, 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:1).
 Calvin, John. Calvin’s Bible Commentaries: Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Translated by John King. Forgotten Books: 2007 (orig. 16th century): p. 65. Hansen, G. Walter. The Letter to the Philippians (Pillar New Testament Commentary). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009: p. 196-197.