TEXT: Phil 1:12-18
Proclaiming Christ in Affliction
What do wee see Paul focusing on?
1. Progressing the gospel even in suffering (v 12-14)
“12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
What was Paul’s imprisonment like?
“16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him” (Acts 28:16)
For two years, Paul was fastened in chains that were probably extended handcuffs about 18 inches long. These chains were always attached to his wrist and restricted his every movement. The praetorian guard were rotated through his rented quarters, and his chains were never removed. Day and night, Paul was only 18 inches away from a Roman soldier. In this changing of the guards, there were probably several dozen soldiers circulating through his room and were attached to him at various times. (Stephen Lawson)
What was Paul’s response?
Advancing the Gospel
“Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, “I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much.” Self-pity says, “I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much.” (John Piper)
- Who are the people you are attached to with whom you can share the gospel?
- Where is your heart when it comes to suffering? Do you tend toward self-pity or boastful pride?
2. Proclaiming Christ even in opposition (v 15-18)
15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
What was Paul’s opposition?
What was Paul’s response?
“Christ is proclaimed” (v 18)
Our fallen condition: When we are suffering from affliction or opposition, we can tend to focus inward in self-pity and bitterness and insulate ourselves from proclaiming Christ.
Redemptive solution: The Lord gives us strength to joyfully proclaim Christ despite the worst circumstances.
- What is your response when you are afflicted by others?
- How can you turn to Christ in your worst moments?
Main Idea: When we’re squeezed by the world’s pressures, may our overflow be to proclaim Christ.
“Never in all my sorrows did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul then when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves and the night air played on my throbbing brow as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship. If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then?” (John Paton, Autobiography 2013)