Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things
which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the
Paul is in bonds – chained and in prison. He isn’t free to go and preach the
gospel as he has been before. To many of the brethren it looked like his
ministry was over. His concern was that the brethren understand his true state
and disposition. Knowing how folks are, he knew there was a danger they would be
discouraged by the news he was in bonds. No doubt there were tales being carried
around that were not true. There was surely criticism of his work and talk about
the situation he had “gotten himself into.” There were surely those who thought
that he had messed up by going there and had surely missed the will of God. What
had happened to Paul wasn’t your typical “Bible School” perfect plan where he
went somewhere and “built a GREAT work for God.” But Paul wanted it understood
that all had fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel – or that everything
had turned out according to God’s plan and God was working. He was discouraged
or defeated, but was fulfilling God’s plan for his life and still being a vessel
that God was using. The works that God does and the way He uses people are not
always (in fact, they rarely are) obvious for men to see. Men always have this
worldly idea about success and they define success in God’s work the same way.
But God’s ways are not man’s ways, and it seems that God’s people never learn
He names some examples of how his bonds have proven to be effectual in getting
the Gospel out better.
Philippians 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are
manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
Those who saw him and got acquainted with him knew that
he was unjustly treated, and that he was being punished, not for evil,
but for good. He says this is known in the entire palace, the very seat
of authority. He says this is known in all other places, also. Although
some reprobates may have carried tales back that weren’t true about
Paul, he had the assurance that it was common knowledge that he was in
bonds because of his faith and no wrongdoing of his own.
Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the
Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word
The fact that others saw how God blessed and used him in
such a situation helped others to be more bold. This, in spite of the
fact that most would think it would have the opposite effect. This is
just the way it works with Christians – they are inspired by someone who
stands true to God and truly sacrifices all for Christ. It has the
effect of making them want to do the same.
Philippians 1:15-17 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.
There were those who preached Christ with their
motivation being envy and strife. Their intention was to add to Paul’s
afflictions, so they were preaching to show that it could be done
without ending up like he did. They meant to show everyone how it SHOULD
be done, so as not to offend folks and be in compliance with the
authorities, also. They were doing all this with the hope and desire to
hurt Paul – they wanted to discourage him, as well as make him look as
bad as they could.
There were others who preached Christ because of their love for Him.
These did not blame or defame Paul because of his bonds, but gave him
comfort and used him as an inspiration to others. They knew Paul’s heart
and had confidence in his discernment and his faithfulness.
We would do well to receive Paul’s lesson here. We need to recognize
that God’s work is not done according to man’s ideas or plans. What
appears to be failure and defeat to men is sometimes exactly what God
plans for success. We just need to be submitted to God and allow him to
use us no matter the situation in which we find ourselves.
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