What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,Philippians 1:18(NASB)
Much within the Church epistles is designed to refute false teachings and a distorted gospel. Not only do we find Paul challenging the manipulation of the good news of Christ by legalists, liberalists, and gnostics alike, but he also identifies others who were jealous of his apostolic calling. They were teaching the true gospel out of jealousy and resentment of God's unique calling upon Paul's life.
Paul could have lost heart being imprisoned in Rome, for he knew that fierce wolves were beginning to enter into the Church to deceive the flock, and that others were teaching the gospel out of resentment and malice against him. But Paul rejoiced in his circumstances, for he recognised the hand of God in every situation of his life and rejoiced that the gospel was continuing to be spread abroad, despite his incarceration in a Roman jail.
The most important thing in Paul's economy was that Christ was proclaimed, no matter what the motive behind a man's teaching might be. Paul's chains were the vehicle whereby the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard were being brought to salvation in Christ, and the people that taught the gospel with a wrong motive were nonetheless bringing many into the kingdom of God.
Those that resented Paul's apostolic calling and yet taught the true gospel message of Christ, were teaching the truth through hypocritical pretence rather than teaching the truth in love. And those who valued Paul's ministry and proclaimed the truth in a gracious manner were also spreading the good news far and wide. And Paul rejoiced that whether men were teaching in pretence or in truth, Christ was being proclaimed.
Too often in Christian ministry and Church gatherings, there is resentment against other Christian leaders because of what God is doing in their lives. This can often lead to rivalry, bitterness, jealousy, and resentment. This ought not to be. Let us share the good news of the gospel in truth. But let us also rejoice that whatever the motive that other believers may have, when they share the true gospel of Christ, whether it is in pretence or in truth, that Christ is being proclaimed.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am part of the Body of Christ and for the work that You have called me to do. Help me to rejoice over the ministries of others that are sharing the truth of the gospel of Christ, even when their motives are ungodly, or when it conflicts with my own cultural differences or churchmanship. I pray that wherever You place me, I will be content to finish the work You have called me to do and rejoice in the work that you have called others to do, in spirit and truth. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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