Advancing the Gospel

Philippians 1:12-14

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

Disclaimer: there is no way I can talk about the whole book. I will be taking it in chunks, so I encourage you to go back and read more on your own.

The book of Philippians is one of my favorites. It reads easy and brings a clear picture to the grace of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul is writing to the Church of Philippi. Philippians, more than any of Paul’s other epistles, reveals insights into his situation and commitments. By sharing all he was going through, Paul hoped to provide a model of truth. Not only does Philippians give insight and revelations into the life of Paul, he gives us a fresh look at Jesus, all the while dealing with everything he was having to deal with.

Paul is writing from prison in Rome. This would be nothing like what we would see today. Perhaps going without food and water, stone floor, four walls surrounding him, and fastened down with chains. But in the midst of all this, Paul continues to advance the gospel. The word I like to use is adversity. Paul was facing some difficult times, some unfortunate times. He takes a divine perspective. He understood that all the events happening could be redeemed for the Lord’s sake. His concern while sitting in prison was not what was going on around him, or the smells of the prison, but rather to make sure he did everything he could to continue the mission.

The mission? To advance the gospel in whatever means necessary. Here’s the question I want to pose: when faced with adversity, what’s your response? As followers of Jesus there is no doubt we will face some sort of adversity in or lives. Maybe not to the extent of prison, but if you haven’t already there will be times of hardship, pain, and loss of relationships. It would have been easy for Paul to give up and be discouraged. He had lived a good life. There had to have been times he felt sorry for himself or wondered why God would allow this to happen. But he didn’t. There was no complaining, no questioning, no running and hiding, and certainly no turning his back on God. He fell back on what he knew to be true about his God. In the face of adversity, he believed and chose to continue his mission. Can the same be said about you?

Reflect

  1. What makes it so hard to continue spreading the Gospel in the face of adversity? 
  2. What are 2 things you learn from Paul in these 3 short verses? 

Pray

Father, I pray that I recognize that confidence doesn’t come by some effort to convince myself, some struggle to think positively, but from a quiet resting upon an unchanging fact- that Jesus lives His life within me, and that He is quite competent to meet me in every situation. May I look to Him, and learn to rejoice in His victory. Amen!*

*From Ray Stedman
Nick Viers, May 4, 2020
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