Welcome Home everyone and welcome to our second installment of Philippians!
In our passage today Paul begins to explain how his incarceration has further advanced the Gospel.
My Big idea for today is that we might see the work of the Gospel as a matter of purpose and not just reserved for Sunday morning. My prayer today is that by hearing this message, together, we would not be distracted by worldly things but rather be ambassadors of The kingdom of God. If you have your Bibles with you today, you can join me in Philippians chapter 1 starting in verse 12
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.Philippians 1:12-18
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice…
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points.
Our Endurance In Christ Serves To Further His Kingdom
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.Philippians 1:12-14
Like any loving church the Philippians where greatly concerned about Paul’s imprisonment. They wanted to help, and they sent someone to his aide. The Philippian church sent Epaphroditus with funds and whatever Paul might need. Paul sharpens his focus here, he’s says, Don’t worry about what has happened to me. Everything has served to advance the Gospel.
I suspect that Paul was sort of a high-profile prisoner. There was a lot of buzz around his case and his name recognition was growing rapidly. Everyone wanted to hear about his case and God had afforded Paul many opportunities to defend the Gospel. All eyes were on Paul and Paul pointed them to Christ Jesus. And as such, the guards and other officials have begun to see Christ radiate through Paul’s character. And through Paul’s adversity, his witness is ringing true. The truth of the Gospel of Christ is seen through Paul’s innocence. In the midst of Paul’s suffering, his message/ministry was centered on reconciliation. His captors witnessed Paul’s suffering, yet what they heard was compelling… They heard about how the living God had sent His son to die so the He would no longer hold their sins against them.
Paul’s situation is pressurized. Here’s the real question? If life squeezes you, what will come out. Will you look like Christ on the outside but worldly reactions come out? Or will your response look like the Jesus who is on the label? If the people in your life lie about you, will you respond in a Christlike manner? If the world accuses you, will you love them with the love of the Lord? How about this, if they accuse you of being a follower of Jesus Christ, will they have enough evidence to convict you? Paul connected his suffering within the partnership of Christ’s suffering. As a result, when Paul was squeezed/pressure applied what came out was the Gospel of Christ Jesus that displayed the love of God!
Our Endurance With Adversaries In The Church Will Still Further His Kingdom.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice…Philippians 1:15-18a
These 3 ½ verses flow directly out of the ones prior. Remember verse 14?
And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.Philippians 1:14
He said that some are emboldened to proclaim the Gospel without fear. But there are those who will speak out of impure motives. Did you know that there are some in the churches that hope to bring about something for their own gain?
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.Philippians 1:15-17
Jesus in His own words told the disciples that there would be an adversarial spirit coming against them.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16
Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 9 thought he could use the Gospel and purchase the Spirit’s power for personal gain/notoriety. We see examples in our time of those who would preach Christ selfishly. Or cause division among leaders out of envy/rivalry.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 John 4:1
Paul’s joy in all of this is that the gospel goes forward. These other preachers are not preaching a false Gospel mind you rather they are using Paul’s incarceration to their own advantage. Paul’s concern is not with who or why they preach Christ. Only that the Good News about salvation through Jesus Christ is pushed along. His concern is not with his own mistreatment, or even his status as an Apostle. His only concern is that people hear the Word of God.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:11
What is most important in our Hearts? Is surviving this world with style more important than the eternal salvation of your neighbor, or that family member? Can they see Christ in your character? When life squeezes you and those who are supposed to be one your side make trouble for you, do they see the love and humility of the Son of God? This was major for Paul. Why was it so important to Paul? Look here he tells us…
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”Romans 1:16-17
Church, we are all placed in this life by God. For those who have accepted Him, He has saved us and given us eternal life, he has filled us with His Holy Spirit so that we would be equipped to share this gift with others. Why does it seem like the Gospel takes a back seat to the trivial things of this world? I’m going to ask each of us to ask the Holy Spirit what is it that prevents me from jumping wholeheartedly into God’s will. What is the distraction in your life? My desire is to seek an authentic partnership with Christ. If you are moved in that like me, I want to invite you to join me.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, if we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving God and each other. You will love more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?
Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me?
Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.
If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’