This is the sermon for Wednesday, July 21st, 2010.

The Advancing Gospel

Philippians 1:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18 ESV – 12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.

INTRODUCTION

Some people want Christians to be rather quiet about their faith.  Christians should be respectful or tolerant of other people’s religions and beliefs and shouldn’t “push” our own on them; at least that is what some people claim.  And there’s good reason for some people to feel that way; there have been people with agenda’s that can be rather loud and hinder the Gospel message.

Well the problem is the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t meant to be tolerant, mild, or quiet; but it’s purpose is to confront sin, and save the lost.  The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is an advancing Gospel!  Paul understood this in his day.

Let’s begin unpacking our text this evening.

When something bad becomes a good thing.

Philippians 1:12-14 ESV – 12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Paul is talking about his imprisonment here.  This on the surface is a very bad thing.  I mean, I’m sure Paul did not want to be there.  He probably longed for his freedom, but he knew that God was doing something amazing in his imprisonment – He was advancing the Gospel.  In fact, it probably advanced greater through his imprisonment than if he would have been free.

Benefits of Paul’s imprisonment

  • Advancement of the Gospel (verse 12).
  • The Gospel became known throughout the whole imperial guard (verse 13).
  • Other believers became confident and bold in their sharing of the Gospel (verse 14).

It is very easy for us to be down when bad things happen to us.  God has a reason for it happening.  One reason just might be so that the Gospel might advance.

When the Gospel is proclaimed our response should be one of rejoicing.

Philippians 1:15-18 ESV – 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.

In the time of this writing, Paul knew that not everyone’s motivation in preaching the Gospel was beneficial.   He says they preach Christ in two ways.

Two ways

  • Envy – Some preachers were envious and jealous of Paul’s gifts.  Their preaching was akin to “one-upmanship.”
  • Rivarly – Some preached the Gospel for the sole purpose of bringing strife and division.

Now notice that Paul does not attack their message or doctrine, they must have been preaching Christ accurately; their motivations however was wrong.  So Paul could rejoice over the fact that the Gospel was preached in spite of the motivations behind it’s preaching.

Now we are not talking about false gospels and false doctrines here, but a true Gospel.  When it is truly proclaimed – rejoice!  Don’t get bogged down with the motivations behind the proclamation.

CONCLUSION

We should be ever thankful to our Savior for the Gospel advancing – even in hard difficult times.  Let’s be willing to suffer for the advancement of the Gospel and rejoice when we see God advancing it.

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