Everything's Possible - Day 4

Philippians 1:12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.

15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. 19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.

There is so much happening in this text, but the overarching theme is that the Gospel is being preached. He starts by letting them know that no matter what is happening to him, his first priority is to preach the gospel, and he has been able to do that even in chains. The guards know what he is about, and his incarceration has only helped to embolden those believers who know his plight. 

Then he says some interesting things. He lets it be known that there are some who preach the gospel out of selfish ambition, but he doesn’t really care because the gospel is being preached no matter what. In verse 18, he literally says, “It doesn’t matter whether their motives are false or genuine.” It is really sort of incredible of him to understand that God can use even those who are preaching out of the wrong motivations. However, it is true that he often pushes back on those who do not preach a true gospel that saves but a pseudo-gospel that is less than true and does not have the power to save because it says something that is untrue of less of a real understanding of who Jesus really is. 

How do you feel about that? I struggle with it a bit. I don’t want people preaching the gospel that is not in it for great and honorable reasons. However, Paul isn’t so worried about this. I have pondered this a great deal, and I think I have come to an understanding of why Paul wasn’t worried. 

I think it is because Paul understands the power of the gospel to convict hearts. Of course, we know it is not the words but the Holy Spirit working in people’s hearts to hear the saving grace that is held in them. Those words can come from many different places. Things don’t have to be “Christian” to hold truth and the grace of God. This is perhaps why I struggle with Christian media at times. A great story of forgiveness shows us who God is, not just because it has the label “Christian” on it. We need to be able to live beyond the boundaries of a “Christian” culture and see where God is at work, clarifying who he is and what he values outside of our little sub-culture of Christianity. 

  1. Would you care if the gospel was being preached by someone who is doing it for the wrong motives? 
  2. Why was Paul so okay with it? 
  3. Where have you found truth outside of the church? Was it in art, music, or another medium that told a story that drew you closer to God? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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1 Comment

Shawn - May 21st, 2024 at 10:56pm

I experience Jesus more often outside of church than within. Church often makes me feel that it takes a process to see to see who Jesus is rather than experiencing through mission who Jesus is? This makes church hard for me. Help😢