the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;Philippians 1:16(NASB)
Paul's dedication in proclaiming the gospel of God and his deep love for the Christians at Philippi, is very evident in the opening verses of his epistle. Although writing to them from prison, Paul wanted to reassure these believers that despite his incarceration in a Roman jail, the gospel of God was continuing to be spread abroad. Paul's letter was to encourage them to stand strong in the faith - even in the midst of great trouble and strife.
He praised them for their constant witness and concern for the gospel and rejoiced over the good work that God had started in each of their lives. He prayed that their love for one another would abound more and more, and that they would be filled with the spiritual fruit of righteousness - for the glory and praise of God.
However, the enemy of our soul was also very active in various quarters and attempted to silence the truth. As a result, Paul faced fierce opposition and much misrepresentation from those outside the Church as well as within - landing him in jail, which he knew was of great concern for these brethren at Philippi.
But through it all, Paul was quick to recognise that Jesus Christ was exalted and the gospel of grace was being preached. He wanted to reassure these dear believers that God is able to take ALL life's circumstances, both good or evil, and use them to forward His eternal plans and purposes, for His greater praise and glory.
He explained that instead of silencing the gospel, his incarceration in a Roman prison had the opposite effect - even members of the prison guard understood that Paul was in chains for Christ's sake, and many were coming to faith in the Lord Jesus through Paul's ministry... despite his unjust imprisonment.
Another result was that other believers also became increasingly emboldened to preach the Word of truth. Although some were insincere and envious of Paul and taught out of selfish ambition in order to cause him distress during His imprisonment, many preached the gospel "out of love and a deep respect for Paul, knowing that he had been appointed, by God, for the defence of the gospel of Christ."
The former proclaimed Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, hoping to cause Paul distress in his imprisonment... nevertheless, he rejoiced that Christ's name was being spread abroad: "And in this," he wrote, "I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice."
Paul did not allow the naysayers, and those that were envious of Him to distress him. May we adopt the same gracious attitude as the apostle Paul, when opposed and misrepresented by others. May we rejoice when other doctrinally sound ministries are sharing the truth of the gospel of grace - even when they do so from wrong motives or because of some unfounded jealousy or resentment they may have towards us.
Heavenly Father, I pray that the glorious gospel of grace would be spread abroad, despite the evil attempts of the enemy to disrupt the spread of the gospel. May I never forget that You are in control and that You will use every eventuality in my life, whether good or ill, for Your greater glory. Keep me from developing any petty differences with other ministries, even when they are discourteous toward me. May the love of Christ shine forth in my life. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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