Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Thermometer, Thermostat, and Furnance of Christian Affection

This past Sunday our pastor at Grace Community Bible Church, David Sunday, preached on Philippians 1:3-8, arguing that "a warm affection for Christ Jesus will make you warmly affectionate for Christ's people." I found it very helpful and encouraging, and thought I'd pass it along.

Below are some outline notes for the message.

I. The Thermometer of Christian Affection

Your prayer life on behalf of God's people is a revealing indicator of the level of your love.

Paul's prayer on behalf of the Philippians is:
  1. Thankful: "I thank my God"
  2. Frequent: "in all my remembrance of you"
  3. Consistent: "always in every prayer of mine"
  4. All‐inclusive: "for you all"
  5. Joyous: "making my prayer with joy"
II. The Thermostat of Christian Affection

What are some of the ways I can cultivate a warmer affection for God's people?
  1. Serving together: "because of your partnership in the gospel."
  2. Seeing God's grace in one another: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ . . . you are all partakers with me of grace."
  3. Sticking with one another: "from the first day until now . . . both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel."
III.The Furnace of Christian Affection

We can see evidence of its reality, and we can cultivate the conditions in which such affection
can flourish, but we are not the source of Christian affection--the warmth does not arise
from our own hearts. So where does this warm affection come from?

Paul writes: "For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus."

Lightfoot on σπλάγχνοις: "A powerful metaphor describing perfect union. The believer has no yearnings apart from his Lord; his heart beats with the pulse of Christ; his heart throbs with the heart of Christ."