Rejoicing and Preaching Christ
Rejoicing and Preaching Christ
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
"What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes,
and I will rejoice," (Philippians 1:18, ESV)
1. What then? - Lit. "What really matters." Because of the work of God working in Paul, he was not concerned what the pretenders were doing to him but what they were doing for the Gospel.
2. We ask, Is it possible for such selfish people to render any usable service to the Gospel? The answer is yes.
3. We must remember that those who hear the selfish people do not know what Paul knows. The listeners hear only the good news and not the bad motives.
4. We must remember that the pretenders are not anti-Christians, they are however anti-Paul.
5. What matters then is that Christ is proclaimed, whether in pretense or truth and this is the cause of Pauls rejoicing.
6. Notice two types of people, those who proclaim Christ out of pretense this is the people who know how to cover up their selfish ambition by pretending. Those who proclaim Christ out of truth is the people whose sole aim is actually the glorification of their Lord and Savior.
7. Some people take this verse to mean that even heresies can be preached and God will bless them. This is not true, Paul does not say "Let it be preached" but "it is being preached."
"According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, ESV)
8. What is our wish? What is our motive? If our wish (and motive) is that Christ is proclaimed then no one who is proclaiming Him can cast us into grief, regardless of what spirit and motive they are doing it in.
" For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, ESV)
9. We must remember that "Salvation belongs to the Lord" (Jonah 2:9) and because of that He will use people who preach with pure motives and also those who preach from selfish motives to accomplish His plan of Salvation.
"these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:10-14, ESV)
10. We can rejoice with Paul that Christ is being proclaimed and God will be glorified regardless of the messenger.
"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31, ESV)
11. Paul shows that even against their will, the enemies of the truth inadvertently cooperate with the truth. Remember that Paul does not condemn these people for preaching false doctrine, but instead preaching good things with a bad motive. There was no envy in Paul's heart, it did not matter to Paul whether some were for him and some were against him. All that mattered was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
" But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building." (1 Corinthians 3:1-9, ESV)