For the Furtherance of the Gospel
Mike Miller




Prayer List

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 gospel;

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 that truth.

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 without fear.

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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