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The Gospel Advances pt. 2

15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18)

From verses 15 to 18, Paul closes out this smaller section about how the gospel can advance during difficult times by stating two different motivations that were inspired by his imprisonment and continuing ministry of sharing the gospel: “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will.” There were some believers who saw that even though Paul was in prison, the gospel message was still being shared by him and was effectively growing, which led to them wanting to share the gospel out of jealousy, wanting to be as popular as Paul.

Others were inspired by Paul’s current predicament and wanted to share the gospel message out of joy, knowing that if Paul could do that while he is in prison, why can’t they do the same without the hindrance of being in chains? Paul states in verse 16 that these believers had the proper response and were sharing in the right manner: “These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.” As Anders writes, “Such love realizes that Paul was suffering, not for some wrong he had done, but because he preached Christ.”

But, those that were sharing the gospel for the wrong reasons were motivated to promote themselves and their name as seen in verse 17, “the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment.” They wanted to elevate their names higher than Paul’s and try to discourage him while in prison.

The result of their efforts? Verse 18, Paul responds, “What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed and in this I rejoice.” In both circumstances, Christ was being proclaimed to the world. The Lord can use even people with bad intentions to lead people to Him. Therefore, Paul emphasized the result, not the reasons, and was rejoicing and praising God. May we share the gospel with the right motives, full of love, and not of jealousy for one another, thinking that we need to be better than other believers; our goal is to focus on Christ and be more like Him every day.

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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