Scripture: Philippians 1:15-18e
Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Insights: The church of Rome, like so many churches today, was a church in division. Paul knew the solution to such controversy was the proclamation of the gospel. The following is a lengthy quote from Warren Wiersbe regarding the verses today and the conflict Paul experienced at this time in his life. Wiersbe wrote, “Some preached Christ sincerely, wanting to see people saved. Some preached Christ insincerely, wanting to make the situation more difficult for Paul. The latter group was using the Gospel to further their own selfish purposes.... Paul uses an interesting word in [Philippians 1:17—selfish ambition]. It means ‘to canvass for office, to get people to support you.’ Paul’s aim was to glorify Christ and get people to follow Him; his critic’s aim was to promote themselves and win a following of their own. Instead of asking, ‘Have you trusted Christ?’ they asked, ‘Whose side are you on—ours or Paul’s?’ Unfortunately, this kind of ‘religious politics’ is still seen today. And the people who practice it need to realize that they are only hurting themselves…. When you have a single mind, you look on your critics as another opportunity for the furtherance of the Gospel. Like a faithful soldier, Paul was ‘set [appointed] for the defense of the Gospel (vs 16).’ He was able to rejoice, not in the selfishness of his critics, but in the fact that Christ was being preached! There was no envy in Paul’s heart. It mattered not that some were for him and some were against him. All that mattered was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!… Criticism is usually very hard to take, particularly when we are in difficult circumstances, as Paul was. How was he able to rejoice even in the face of such diverse criticism? He possessed a single mind.” The single mind for the advancement of the gospel is the secret we learned about yesterday. Beloved, my prayer is we all have that singular mind as we journey on this side of eternity. May our lives bring glory to God!
- Are you able to rejoice in the advancement of the gospel, no matter what?
- Are your motives pure in regards to your activity in regards to the gospel?
Prayer: Father, search my heart and tell me if there is any wicked way in me. Let my motives be pure and genuine as I strive for the advancement of the gospel. Let my heart rejoice in Your kingdom’s expansion.. Amen.