December 8, 2008

Take No Prisoners

Philippians 1:12-18

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
Who is Paul?

According to this, he's the defender of the gospel.

The defender of the gospel tells us that it does not matter of some preach Christ from envy, strife, selfish ambition, affliction, and even without love (though the latter may not be any credit to them), he will rejoice because Christ is being preached and that's what matters!

As the old media adage goes, "There's no such thing as bad publicity," and as far as Paul is concerned, the exact same thing is true of Jesus as well.  As long as people are talking about the truth of Jesus, there is great cause for rejoicing.

What provokes Paul to make such a claim?

His chains.

What happens when you're in chains?  You have nothing.  You also have nothing to lose.

Paul is bolder than ever in prison.  He talks so much about Jesus, the whole palace guard knows who he is.  They all see that he's no prisoner in their prison.  Paul has made it clear, he is in chains so they can hear about Jesus.

His boldness is so contagious that he's got everyone talking about Jesus.  He doesn't care what motives they may have, as long as their reaching the objective of preaching Christ, that's all that matters and he's going to celebrate.

Preach Christ!  Celebrate the proclamation of the Gospel no matter what form it comes in.

Defend the Gospel by proclaiming it!

Tim

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