God’s desire for us is that we abound - in our relationship to Him, in our ministry to others, and in the difficult places of our lives.
All right. What a blessing to be able to share this time together with all of you, my friends near and far, wherever we are together right now, online. Right? If you’re joining us for the first time, I’m Pastor Terry. I’m the lead pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. You know, since the beginning of the year we’ve been exploring the theme of abound, that’s kind of been a statement about what we believe God can and will do.
We’ve been praying for, His love to grow in our hearts, even and in spite of the challenges that we’ve been facing. In fact we’ve been sitting with Philippians 1:9, it’s been kind of a theme verse for us. We have a little bracelet here called abound, right? And that theme verses is when Apostle Paul says, I pray that your love would abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment.
And it’s something we’ve been drawing a lot of life from. Now today, we’re going to be hearing from someone who’s become quite a friend of our church community. In fact, he’s part of our teaching team. I’m talking about Dr. Jeff Louie. You know, I knew Jeff when he was pastoring here in San Francisco years ago, then he transitioned over to, uh, the role of a, of a seminary professor at Western Seminary.
And now he’s been able to, uh, return a little bit more and help us here at Cornerstone. He’s been very involved, as many of you are aware. He has a vlog that we post online. If you hadn’t, haven’t had a chance to check it out, it’s called Radical Honesty. And, and Jeff talks about many of the social and political hot button issues from a theological and biblical perspective.
It’s really good stuff. We’ve also had the blessing for this month, this month of February, of having Jeff share with us what we call a Growth Series. It’s a four week study on Christian worldview. We’ve been doing it, uh, every Thursday evening at the Mission Campus, but we’ve also been posting it. And he’s got one more to go,
so, I’m sure if you haven’t had a chance to really be blessed by what he’s been sharing, also want you to feel free to check that out as well. But today we’re very excited about how he’s going to give us a fresh perspective on the idea that a- was so prevalent in the Apostle Paul’s teachings this, this idea of abounding.
And, uh, I, I think that you’re going to be blessed and my prayer is that our faith and our love would abound in Christ as we share in this word together. So Lord Jesus, here we go, we’re ready to receive it in Your name, we pray. Amen.
Hi, it’s always good to speak to the congregation at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. This is sort of a home away from home for me. I just love being here. Now when PT, uh, told me that the theme for this season is abound, I, you know, I, I like how I naturally respond. I love the theme. Because there’s an insight and a perspective on what it means to abound from scripture that is always, uh, elevating, uplifting and, uh, brings us to a closer walk with Jesus.
Now to abound in life was very, very interesting. Oftentimes we think about, oh, it was very hyperbolic, you know, all of that sort of, sort of like, uh, a spiritual jargon, you know, uh, something to tease, to get us interested. But it’s a really important, not only issue in life now to abound when life is a little bit difficult with all the situations in this world, but also how to abound spiritually.
And to make the situations sort of leap out of the page so that we can overflow, grow, be exceedingly, um, triumphant in these difficult times. We’re going to look at this concept of abound through, a interesting Greek word. The word is περισσεύω. It’s used about 35 times in the New Testament and the rough translation, the general translation means to abound. Used, uh, often in the gospels, but the Apostle Paul it’s one of his more favorite words. Now περισσεύω, what does that mean? It’s kind of like, uh, how we get the English word periscope, you know, to look up, to look over. It means to abound. It can mean overflow. It could mean, over the top. I’m going to often use that phrase over the top today in this message, if I remember. And we’re going to look at how the Apostle Paul uses this term περισσεύω or over the top in the book or the epistle to the Philippians, he used it five times, but we’re going to look at four of them because the, the fifth one is like the fourth one.
It’s in a certain context. And I hope this really, um, helps you as it, um, will help me as I preach. The first passage we’re going to look at is found in the Epistle to the Philippians chapter one. And it is, uh, let’s go with verse nine, uh, and ten. “So 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.” Now here, the translation is very, very clear; abound the prayer of Paul as they may abound in love, uh, in this translation with knowledge and all discernment. So the first concept of being a believer who abounds in our faith in Jesus Christ, is to realize that the use of Paul here in Philippians chapter one, is in the context of believers or followers of Christ development of, um, heart, action, and brain in Christ that we may abound in love. See, oftentimes we think abounding is in blessing things that are good in our lives. Maybe we’ll get abound in material things abound in relational things, but here what the Apostle Paul is talking about is us learning how to abound in love, not in receiving in what we usually think, but abound in giving.
Ah, this is a big sort of reference changer for us because it’s turning the tables from the recipient to the deliverer, the one who gives. To a bound in love in knowledge and discernment. Huh? How do you do that? And what does that mean? I have a group that I met, meet with, and I’m recording this message on a Monday.
And I met with them. Um, just a few hours ago. It’s every Monday morning we meet. It is about 15 to 20 of us that meet. And, you know, what’s interesting about this group of people, we do it through Zoom. It’s people that from my former church that, uh, decided to get together. And we first gathered to study scripture together.
We studied topics of prayer. We studied topics of faith. We studied topics of the End Time. But slowly involved into a prayer time. And oftentimes more than half of the time that we gather is set aside for prayer. We’re sharing, we’re caring for each other, we’re helping each other. And then we study the scripture.
It is the, one of the most dearest groups that I’ve ever been involved with. And Lord, um, I think the Lord allows that I would have uh, relationships with this group for a long, long time. Because you know what, I found out what it meant to have a really good group of believers, who really care for each other and minister to each other. It is to pray for each other,
study the word, and then really intercede for each other in life. Because it’s really important to abound in love, in knowledge and truth. See, when I was a pastor, I will look at small groups as, you know, what, oh, how many do we need? I’ll look how many people are coming. We need to plug them into a church, you know, so that they have relationship.
We think about, oh, how do we split them up? Because you know, we have too many people and we, you know, after so many, a month or a year, you know, they got to split up. Oftentimes we think of groups as a responsibility or logistical issue. For the Apostle Paul, Christians and the development of Christians and the meeting of Christians is not a logistical issue or an issue of ministerial responsibility.
It is an issue of really growing our love for each other to a way in which like it’s over the top. Okay? In love with knowledge and discernment. I don’t know where you are, but it’s important that you understand this: that our faith in Jesus Christ begins at a certain level, but it’s really the heart’s desire of our God for us to grow and exceeding and abundant over the top way so that you and I can be uplifted by the grace of God as manifested through others, based upon our faith in Jesus Christ.
Now there’s a second passage that we’re going to talk about where this Greek term περισσεύω is found. It’s in a chapter one again, but now it’s verse 25 and 26. It goes like this. “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for all your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me, you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
Now you said, I don’t even say the word abound here. Well, it’s in there, I’ll show it to you in a little while, but the whole context of this part of chapter one of the book of Philippians, is that Paul is thinking about, you know, I think I’m going to come to you. He’s in prison now, but he’s going to come to you and, um, it’s going to have some benefit to your faith, okay.
For your progress and join the faith at the end of verse 25. But this term, περισσεύω, in the Greek appears in verse 26 in a really interesting way that this ESV translates it. I’m going to read it slowly, chapter one, verse 26. “So that in me, you may have ample cause,” and here’s that word, περισσεύω. To abundant, go over the top. “That you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus.”
That’s how they translate it. To glory to have abundance in Christ Jesus, but in a spiritual way. So taking that the, the translators of the ESV said, what’s the way to have abundance in Christ? That’s the, that’s the concept of glory, even though that’s not the term that is used in the Greek. It’s to have abundance, to be over the top.
Paul’s thinking is that he is convinced he is going to meet personally with the Philippian believers once again, so that they may be over the top in Jesus Christ, a.k.a. glory in Jesus Christ. Now this is really interesting. Because this is a different way of, uh, the Apostle Paul using this concept of being abundant or being overflowing in something or being over the top in something.
The first one in verse nine was in a personal development of love. The second one is interesting. It is being over the top in your walk and Jesus Christ because another group of people or person or someone is ministering to you. It’s it’s not necessary, the detail of the development. But it’s how you and I are part of the process to put someone over the top.
You see, Paul says I’m going to be there in Philippi because my coming is going to put you over the top in Jesus Christ. You’re going to glory in Jesus Christ. You’re going to have great joy, exceeding abundant peace in Jesus Christ. Now he said, so what’s the big deal of that. The big deal of that, is the Apostle Paul understands that his presence and his ministry isn’t about himself.
Hmm. To meet friends? Well, that’s a side fringe benefit. To get a good meal? Ah, that’s a fringe benefit to it. Paul understands the goal. I’m coming to you, so may you may be over the top in Jesus Christ. You see, Paul always knew that his ministry was not for himself. He knew his place. He knew his giftedness, but he knew that the goal of the ministry was to give glory to God for the people he ministers to, to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and that he was only a conduit, a vehicle to that goal.
That’s very, very important. The ultimate abundance we have in spiritual walk it’s through people. But the ultimate goal is in Jesus Christ. Oftentimes we minister to people. And we feel really good when they give us accolades of how well we done something. You know, if you, uh, having to give a lesson or having to help somebody in a difficult situation, or, you know, you’re volunteering in some, uh, ministry to assist in your local church.
I got a guarantee. We want to be appreciated, in some way. That’s natural. Okay. That’s common to all human beings. But you know what, to be over the top, to really understand abundance, is to take a step away from your presence and your interaction. Not that it’s not important, but to understand the ultimate goal,
is really not me. Or not you. You want the people you minister to, to glory in Jesus Christ, to have an overflowing relationship with Jesus Christ, to be over the top with Jesus Christ. Not to you, not to me, but with our Lord. And that’s really kind of difficult thing sometimes. Because we want to be acknowledged for what we do.
And we want to be sort of, well, you know, be thanked. But you know what, as we grow in Christ, you gotta realize something. And this is a hard thing. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about other people discovering the true joy and the true peace and the true abundant grace that can be found in Jesus Christ.
And if we could be a part of that process, you know, in a strange way, that’s all that matters. It’s all that matters because ministry is not about the minister. It’s about Jesus Christ. Now the final passage that I want to read is found in Philippians chapter four, it’s kind of a, a more, a well-known passage.
It’s uh, let’s look at verse 11 to 13. And I’ll read, it goes like this. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Yeah. That term περισσεύω is found in this translation. Clearly in verse 12. I have no, I, I know how to abound. Okay, but very interesting. The apostle Paul uses this Greek verb two times in verse 12. It’s also found in that second at the end of verse 12, “and hunger, abundance and need.”
So the emphasis of Paul is talking about sort of a circumstantial abundance. And it’s very interesting. He’s saying it’s not that circumstantial abundance being an emotional joy or material, uh, possession gain. Isn’t a good thing. It’s that in order to really understand where the Apostle Paul is drawing us,
the secret in this is not the abundance of the experience or the abundance of the circumstance, but in the key and understanding that you can learn to be content, whether as this translation has it, whether you are brought low or you abound, whether you have a, uh, make a lot of money or whether you, uh, come short in sort of the financial area at times.
The key is not in the circumstance. It is not in the bank account. It is not in the amount of your possessions, but in the ability to be content, whatever the circumstance is because as the apostle Paul says in verse 13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” This is really, really important.
And it brings this concept of abounding in a very different realm. See, the first one was in the context of spiritual development of people. Okay, begin to understand that’s hard enough, you know, but we can understand it. The second was in the perspective of the minister to sort of learn to bypass ourselves,
so that they glory or abound or go over the top with Jesus Christ directly. Okay. I can understand this. This third one is one of the hardest. That the abundance from a spiritual perspective cannot be based upon what we have or what we experience. To be content, whether you have, or don’t have, that’s kind of a hard thing at times.
It’s almost better not to have experienced abundance, than to un-experience abundance. See if you didn’t have much it’s easy then to say, well, I didn’t, I’d never experienced what it meant to be, you know, have a lot of money. So, you know, I don’t know what I’m missing, but if you have it and then lose it, that’s something else. Or a relationship you had a relationship, then you’ll lose it then that, oh, that’s really hurtful was very, very painful.
What does it look like? How do you be content? The key as the Apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The key is not in like in a meditative technique. You know, you don’t know what that, again, give you some benefit, temporary benefit, but for the follower of Jesus Christ, the key is to focus on Christ and to let Christ transform you.
Let Christ strengthen you. The circumstances are going to be the way they are. We need to learn to even our lives and even our emotions. And to allow ourselves to be strengthened in Christ, because strength here is not the ability to do all sorts of things.
The context is to be strong in Christ. Because the circumstances and situations cry out that we should be weak and be crushed. Is that you, at this time? Then you are experiencing all sorts of debilitating situations in life where you feel sort of crushed, bound in by walls. This week has been really difficult for me. And I hope I can get through this taping without emotionally breaking down.
Six days ago, I got a call from, uh, my sister. I talked to my brother. I think it was, uh, we had, uh, a, sort of a, uh, a Zoom call. And my mother, um, had, uh, taken a turn for the worst. She was in the hospital for about ten days. And we thought that, um, she was just going to be discharged. And talk prior to that had been to, okay, where’s she gonna, how’s she gonna, you know, live the rest of her life,
who’s going to take life. Who’s gonna be involved. How’s it. How’s it gonna be? And then it took a turn for the worst and her heart was failing and her kidneys were failing. And the call was to say, we got to go to New York city to see her, probably for the last time. So here it is, I was telling people at Cornerstone, I have two families.
I have a, my natural family that I have responsibility and I love. Means I go and I visit and I say goodbye to my mom that I show responsibility to my relatives. But I have a spiritual family as well, of those who are like-minded in Christ, united through our faith in Christ. So, you know, what made that call difficult,
is because on Thursday, which is just like, I don’t know, five days ago, I had to give the lecture on worldview, the second one, then I have to tape this today. And then I also taped some my Radical Honesty. And then I’m going to give the live sermon for this taping on Sunday. Now I get to give another lecture on the worldview.
We’ll have to fly to New York city to after the taping. I mean, not the taping, uh, giving the lecture last Thursday, I, I took a red eye to New York City and I told people the prayer I want is that all the logistics can be done, that I can make the flight. But second, that I would have the stamina. The third is that my mom would be aware and I could say goodbye to her.
There were other relatives coming in too, that Friday, that she would be alive. Well, I made in time, uh, for the flight and I saw my mother New York time around, uh, noontime. And I stayed for about four hours. I was with my brother and then my brother with his two sons who had driven from Washington DC area.
And then when they left, I spend another hour with my mother, with my sister and, uh, her husband. Mom was viewing videos of like my grandchildren.
My sister was reading a letter that my daughter wrote to her and she was opening one eye just slightly and listening. And then about four o’clock. We said, goodbye, kissed her on the forehead. And I’d say, I’ll see you tomorrow.
Well, six hours later, she, she passed away.
It was a difficult time, difficult moment. I texted some people and I said, what’s interesting, it’s a, it’s, it’s sad.
But I also see the all God, because in her death, my mom mother’s death, I see the mercy of God. To sustain my mom’s life just for bit longer, So some relatives like me, could talk to her and see her and say goodbye.
God didn’t have to do that. And then to come back and to do ministry.
I’m sad, but there’s something in seeing all of this in the framework of Jesus Christ and His strength. Then in a strange way, uplifts me and sustains me and makes me understand what it means that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. All things through Him that strengthens me. It doesn’t mean like, you know, you’re going to be Superman, you know, and you end up bullets bounce off of your chest, you know?
No, it doesn’t mean that. Doesn’t mean that you’re not going to feel sort of distress and moments of sadness in life. No, it doesn’t mean that. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do superhuman sort of like ministry ability and your time’s going to like stop and you can do all these things. No, no, it doesn’t mean that.
It means in the natural wear and tear of life, that as you walk in Jesus Christ,
He will not only sustain you, but you will see the mercy and the might and all of God, because you will understand that the things that can crush us in life,
maybe don’t crush us any, as much anymore. Because our Lord is watching over us and working behind in ways that we do not see, so that we understand that when we succeed in life, it’s not because we abound in experience or abound in possessions or abound in success. It’s not tied to that at all. Not what we, not that we do not give thanks for those experiences and those things, but at the end, it’s all in Christ and the strength
that we have in Him.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I just give thanks for this time, that through the words of Your great apostle from the epistle of Philippines, that You allow us to see what is really important in life, and have the ability to experience, uh, extraordinary, joy and peace as we walk in You. If there’s any one who feels crushed at this moment, I ask that You would allow us to gather around that person to have them understand this abounding grace that You have upon us, Lord.
For, we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.