INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 1:15-18 KJV – “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
In this section of Paul’s letter, he speaks about the motivation that lies behind the preaching of Christ (truths about the person and work of Jesus Christ and the true salvation by grace through faith message) …
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
Paul recognized that not everyone who proclaims truths about Christ have honorable motives. According to Paul, some preached truths about Christ because they were jealous of Paul’s ministry, others proclaimed Christ to stir up quarreling and hard feelings between the church members and the lost people who were living in the area.
However, Paul did not let those with bad motives cloud his judgement, he also recognized those who proclaimed the same truths about Christ with Godly motives of joy and a desire for their hearers to be blessed.
The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
There were those who preached truths about Christ motivated by the desire to stir up anger which would end up adding to the persecution that Paul faced.
But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
But there were also those who taught the truths about Christ as an act of support for Paul, moved by love for him. They were following his example of taking a stand no matter what the consequences, knowing that it would encourage him and they would be doing what he desired for them to do.
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Now Paul says something that may surprise us…. In Paul’s way of thinking the most important point is that truths about Christ were being proclaimed to the world. In made very little difference to Paul whether the proclamation of Christ was done out of hidden sinful motives, or genuinely to please the Lord and support Paul…. In either case, Paul was happy and would continue to be happy seeing truths about Christ being proclaimed.
It is very important to note that this was not an issue of the truth being proclaimed vs false teaching. The issue was the motives that lie behind proclamation of the truth. In both cases, the truth about Christ, His person and His work, was being proclaimed…. and this is why Paul was joyous! Christ was being presented in truth…. That is what was most important to Paul.
Folks, there are many different truths that we can learn from Paul’s writings on this subject. First and foremost, we should see the need to be less judgmental of those who proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ, His person and His work.
If any man teaches error concerning Christ, His work, and the way of salvation, we should mark him as a being an Anti-Christ (one who stands against Christ) and vigorously oppose his message that will lead men to an eternity of separation from the Lord in hell.
1Jn 2:22 KJV – “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
However, for those who teach the truth of Christ, even when in the presence of questionable motives, we are to follow the example of Paul and allow him to continue unhindered, being thankful that the truth about Christ is being proclaimed. The Lord will take care of dealing with the intents and desires of each man’s heart. We are to be concerned with our own desires and make sure we are serving Him with Godly intentions.
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