Phil. 1:15 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
After Paul was imprisoned there were those who chose to exacerbate his circumstances. Because they didn’t like Paul, they thought that they would preach the gospel to incite the anger of the Empire. By doing so, they hoped that Paul would be punished even more. While Paul recognized that some were sincere in their preaching, his honest recognition of the motivation of others is fascinating. However, he refused to allow this to get him down because the only thing that really mattered to Paul was that Christ was preached.
It’s Advent and this is a season where we should be compelled to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ. Paul’s concern was not even with the motivation of those who proclaimed Christ, he was simply rejoicing in the fact that Christ was proclaimed. We can rejoice in the proclamation of Jesus Christ to a world that is in desperate need of a Savior.
Have you heard the news this week? If you’re in the US, there’s rather sad news that the life expectancy is declining. Two areas of note, both suicide and unintentional injuries (half of which were drug overdoses) are on the rise. (To read more on this, click here) We have more and more people dying in their 20’s and 30’s. At the same time, the church seems to be more and more reluctant about proclaiming Christ. Why? I think it’s because the church is afraid of the backlash. At least in the United States, the church has received a lot of negative press. The church has even been oppressed for trying to proclaim the good news of Christ. But this is all happening at a time when the world needs to hear about Christ more than ever!
Paul’s words are an encouragement. Instead of backing off when preaching creates even greater threats, keep it up! He even says it again — keep doing this and rejoice! If there is a feeling of resistance to the gospel, don’t retreat. Instead, realize that there will be resistance to the good news that will help to set people free. Rejoice! Proclaim Christ!
How many of our churches are lamenting the fact that they have few people in their 20’s and 30’s attending? Most of them! Church, followers of Christ, (and I’m speaking to myself today) we need to find ways in which we can reach out and minister to those people who are feeling hopeless! The world is suggesting answers and hope, and yet the true hope is found in the advent of the Messiah. Why not embrace the season and proclaim Christ.
Lord, I pray for an opportunity today to share you and your love with someone. Amen.
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