“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in that I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. ” – Philippians 1:18
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In Philippians 1:12, Paul wanted the brethren to know that his imprisonment and his current circumstances had “actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Sometimes it’s like that in our lives – the trials that we face end up allowing us to share the gospel of Christ with others.
When we go through struggles, we can help bring someone to Christ with whom, otherwise, we wouldn’t have connected. Maybe just one soul will listen to the good news about Jesus Christ because of what we’ve been through or because of what we’re experiencing. And we know there’s rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repent (Luke 15:10).
Paul was able to make such a statement because the entire palace guard and everyone else had come to know that he was imprisoned for the cause of Christ (Philippians 1:13).
As a result of Paul’s imprisonment, the Christians there were emboldened and much more confident to speak the word of Christ without fear.
According to Philippians 1:15, some people were preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry. But some preached from goodwill. Those who preached out of selfish ambition wanted to add affliction to Paul. The specific way in which they could add trouble to his imprisonment is unknown.
Perhaps their aim was to create parties or factions, or to stir up trouble among the Jews, or to anger the jailers who were guarding Paul who might in turn make his stay worse by additional punishments. Whatever the case, some were preaching with the wrong motives trying to make trouble for Paul.
Yet, some preached Christ out of love because they knew that Paul was appointed for the defense of the gospel (Philippians 1:17). Paul was an ambassador of the truth of Jesus Christ, and those who preached out of love wanted to help him in the cause of Christ. There’s nothing new under the sun.
People are doing the same thing today. Some preach Christ for selfish gain and out of false motives. Others do so in love from the goodwill in their hearts to serve God. But we should be like Paul and say, “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in that I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:18).
That’s the best attitude to have – even if some preachers are teaching erroneously (and they are). Christ is being preached either way, and someone who may not have ever heard of Christ will from false teachers. Who knows, it may cause the hearers to open up their Bibles and study for themselves.
Paul’s words remind me of Jesus’ response to His disciples when they tried to stop a man from performing miracles in His name because he did not follow them. Jesus rebuked them and said, “For he who is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9:40).
So let us rejoice in that Christ is preached – no matter who is preaching or what motives they have.
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