Wednesday 01 October 2014

Bible Book:

“What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.” (v. 18)

Philippians 1:12-18 Wednesday 1 October 2014


Having got all the introductory niceties over, Paul begins totell the folk about his own experience. He first of all writes thatdespite his imprisonment he is able to continue his work as anevangelist; he speaks of how he has managed to make Christ known tothe imperial guard and his fellow prisoners, letting them know thatit has been his belief in Christ that has got him there in thefirst place.

He then continues with the good news that the people, presumablyin Rome, who had already come to faith through Paul's ministry,have begun to speak out in faith to the people around them,bolstered by the message that he has been arrested.

But then comes the less positive part. It seems that the folk inthis burgeoning church are not all of one mind when it comes totelling the story of salvation. Some are seemingly competing witheach other, perhaps to see who can gain the most converts. There isclearly rivalry between them and perhaps a falling apart of theunited folk. And with their leader not being actively amongst them,there may be a battle for leadership with ambitious people seekingto gain positions of authority amongst them.

And then Paul returns to the more positive speaking of those whoare generous with their time, and are seeking to spread theirmessage not out of any sense of self worth or self importance, butbecause of the love they have for Christ and indeed for Paul astheir imprisoned leader.

Reading this we might think that everything is falling apart.However that is not how Paul sees it: he views both sides of thesituation as being positive because the gospel is being proclaimedby them all whether their overall motive is positive or negative.Paul ends this passage with the short phrase "Yes and I willcontinue to rejoice" (v. 18).

To Ponder

  • Which of the groups that Paul mentions would you count yourselfin, those who compete to make their voices heard, or those who geton quietly spreading the love of Christ as we are commanded todo?
  • Do you sometimes find yourself, however loving you are of yourbrothers and sisters, feeling envious of those who seem to do abetter job of evangelism than you do?
  • How far are you sometimes tempted to let those with the loudestvoice get on with the work and sit back complacently feeling thatyou have done our bit and need do no more?

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