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Envy, Rivalry or Good Will

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Envy, Rivalry or Good Will

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but

others from good will." (Philippians 1:15, ESV)

1. If we are to understand the full impact of Paul's experiences in Rome, we must recognize that it was Christians who were trying to get Paul into trouble by their preaching and not unbelievers or Judaizers.

"not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:7-9, ESV)

2. Many want to say otherwise but it will not do to call these troublemakers unbelievers. These people were Christians. They were not anti-Christ. They were anti-Paul, but they were anti-Paul with a vengeance.

3. The lowest motives for preaching Christ is envy and rivalry. Envy is an old sin and it is an example of personal jealousy of Paul’s power and talents (which was given by God) by those who now jump at the opportunity to bring affliction to the Apostle.

4. Preaching is a gift from God to His people. To "Preach the Word" (lat - praedicare) - to proclaim before the public. Literally "herald", make known officially and publicly a matter of great significance. According to Scripture "heralding" or "preaching" is the divinely authorized proclamation of the message of God to men. It is the exercise of ambassadorship.

5. After the imprisonment of the Apostle many of the brothers became bold to proclaim the truth however others appeared to be preaching Christ hoping for Paul’s destruction. In effect he is saying: “Those who envy my reputation and consistency and wish for my death work as rivals.” Or: “Wishing to be honored themselves, they were trying to use my reputation as leverage.”

6. This first group wanted to carry out the envy which they felt towards Paul, on account of the success of the Gospel, owing to his steadfastness in imprisonment; they wished through envy to transfer the credit of its progress from him to themselves. (Rom 14:1–23; 1 Cor. 3:10–15; 9:1, 2 Cor. 11:1–4).

7. It is clear that there was a church in Rome long before Paul arrived. So it is certain that some preachers in Rome had attained a degree of prominence among the brothers. With the arrival of Paul and esp. with the spreading of his fame throughout the city they were not so important and thus they began to preach out of envy and rivalry. Their motives in preaching Christ were not pure or unmixed.

8. The second group consisted of those who were motivated by good will - both for Paul and for the Gospel which he proclaimed. These men did not begrudge Paul and the authority he exercised, by divine appointment.

9. This second group also honored him and the great gifts he had received from God. They recognized that he was the man that had been sent, destined and appointed for the defense of the Gospel. They were encouraged and preached out of good will without any hypocrisy and with incredible boldness.

10. With the church as divided as this none of us dare sing the third verse of "Onward Christian Soldiers" without praying for forgiveness. We sing: "We are not divided, all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity."

11. We are divided, and if we are honest we must admit that all the envy & rivalry that was present then is present now. So what should our attitudes be toward those who are responsible for it? (v.18)

"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)

GracePointe Baptist Church

2209 N Post Road

Oklahoma City, OK 73141

Phone: (405) 769-5050

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