Skip to main content

Philippians 1:17: The Former Proclaim Christ Out of Selfish Ambition

Philippians 1:17
[17] The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. (ESV)

I would love to believe that all preachers of the Gospel have a right heart and motivation when they preach. I would also be wrong. The Apostle Paul knew this reality very well. Here he was, in a prison cell for preaching the Gospel. There were preachers that refused to be supportive of him, but rather viewed him as being punished by God and that was why he was in prison. They cared about their own ambitions, instead of caring for their colleague and brother in Christ.

This attitude that we see in these selfish preachers is one that we all have to wrestle with. We look at someone who is going through a tough time and we make a judgment about them. They must be receiving punishment from God. We assume that God's blessing on a person's life means always having positive circumstances. This is terrible theology.

God has not called us to be judge and jury of our fellow brother or sister in Christ.  When they are struggling or hurting, we need to offer them love, encouragement and prayer. I am reminded of that godly man of the Old Testament, Job, was "comforted" by his three friends. We tend to laugh and say, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?". But, we need to be careful that we do not become those kinds of friends to others who are following the Lord, yet are in difficult circumstances.

Let's not be judge and jury. Look for those who love God and are hurting. Intentionally reach out to them with words of encouragement. Pray with them. Love them.


Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 11:24: For If You Were Cut From What Is By Nature A Wild Olive Tree, And Grafted, Contrary To Nature, Into A Cultivated Olive Tree . . .

Romans 11:24 [24] For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. (ESV) We continue looking at the illustration of an olive tree. The root of the tree is the covenant relationship relationship of God with Abraham. Abraham's faith is what this spiritual tree is built on. The first branches would have been the faithful people of Israel, who like Abraham, placed their faith in God. They believed God, just like Abraham, and it was credited to them as righteousness. There were branches of the people of Israel who never placed their faith in God. Because these branches were not true followers of God they were broken off of the tree. Faith in God was the essential element that made the branches true branches of this spiritual tree. Some branches remained. Others, the faithless unbelievers, were removed. After Jesu

Romans 15:20-21: And Thus I Make It My Ambition To Preach The Gospel, Not Where Christ Has Already Been Named

Romans 15:20–21 [20] and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, [21] but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (ESV) We need to be reminded continually that the message of the Gospel is intended to move all across the world. Jesus said that his followers were to preach the Gospel, starting in Jerusalem, and continue preaching the Gospel to the whole world. Christians have not always been good at delivering the Gospel message as far and as often as they should. In the first century church it took intense persecution to motivate the disciples in Jerusalem to bring the Gospel to Judea and Samaria. Once the disciples fled to new regions they shared the Gospel wherever they went. Would the disciples have preached the Gospel without the persecution? We may never know. Some probably would have stayed in their co