What is the Meaning of Philippians 1.12-18

“Make Christ and His Mission Your Ambition”

Philippians 1:12-18

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Philippians 1.12-18

Philippians 1. This is our fifth sermon in Philippians and we noted that one of the major themes of this book is joy. Paul is writing from jail in Rome because of his testimony for Christ and he is still joyful. And joy is something everyone is searching for, but not something that everyone is willing to hear from their Creator about.

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I’ve said for a long time that if God has made you, He knows what makes you tick; He knows what it takes to make you happy. But the problem is we too often search for happiness in all the wrong places.

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Our society is so much obsessed with happiness that it has become a defining moral principle: we should maximize happiness in the world just because, it’s called utilitarianism. The world says we should do things because they make us happy; we shouldn’t treat others that way because it doesn’t make them happy.

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But the problem is, true happiness in this life seems elusive; finding joy in what we see…seems impossible. We seem to be made for something greater than ourselves, something greater, yes, than even the world itself.

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Indeed the Scripture says in Eccl. 3:11, “He has…set eternity in their heart.” God has given to each of you here an awareness of your significance beyond this life, an eternity. And with that comes a yearning always for something greater.

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So then to find happiness, you need to find the Greatest! And that Greatest is God. Therefore, putting your hope on the things of this life will always disappoint. Relationships, money, material possessions, human experiences, the wisdom of this age, even putting your hope on good works, all fail.

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But if you put your hope on things that last for eternity, you’ll be joyful … for “He has set eternity in your heart.”

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And so I don’t set my sights so low upon this earth; I’ve risen my eyes to eternity and I will not content myself with the scraps of food down here… I will hunger for the banquet of eternity, because I need something greater than the whole world and something sure and steadfast, something all glorious and I need something that will certainly come to pass. Something never changing…what could it be?

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God and His mission. It’s Him who makes even the mundane parts of my life exciting! It’s Him who gives joy and purpose to every part of my life.

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And Paul in Philippians 1:12-18 expresses this same underlying principle, even though he’s in jail for his faith and even Christian people are trying to cause him distress. But he remains joyful because he has Christ and His mission as his ambition, his dream, his desire.

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Since Paul knows God has set eternity in Paul’s heart, Paul has put in his heart something of eternal value: Christ and his mission. And because he’s done that, he’s joyful in jail. To find true joy then, Make Christ and His Mission Your Ambition. I’d like to preach to you that you make Christ and His Mission Your Ambition

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Let’s read this in the text this morning …

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Philippians 1:12–18 12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

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Paul’s determination to rejoice and his ability to rejoice even in jail is directly rooted in his desire to see Christ proclaimed. Paul’s determination to rejoice and his ability to rejoice even in jail is directly rooted in his desire to see Christ proclaimed.

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You can see Paul’s desire for the gospel to advance in the text. In his imprisonment, he’s concerned v.12 for the progress of the gospel. Verse 14, the brethren because of Paul’s imprisonment have courage to speak the word of God without fear.

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Verse 15, goodwilled brethren and ill-willed brethren are embolden to preach Christ because of Paul’s persecution….Paul v. 16 is appointed for the defense of the gospel; verse 17 Paul’s talking about those again who are preaching Christ … and whether they preach Christ from good will or ill will, the major issue is that verse 18 Christ is proclaimed, and that causes him to rejoice.

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And so no matter your circumstances, if you put the advance of the gospel at the center of your life, you’ll be joyful. God’s word will never fail. He will accomplish why He sent it.

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Isaiah 55:10–11 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will God’s word be which goes forth from His mouth; It will not return to Him empty, Without accomplishing what He desires, And without succeeding in the matter for which He sent it.

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God’s word will have it’s desired effect. The gospel will advance; people may reject it, but when Christ is proclaimed, in this we can rejoice.

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Even though you’re not an evangelist or a pastor, you need to have the gospel at the center of your life and ambitions in order to have true joy. This is God’s message this morning, not mine.

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The gospel

The need:

The earth today is as it was since the fall of man… this vile, filthy, wretched place…where the leaders of the world scoff at Christ and try to throw away His rule. Where people use His name as a cuss word and where we purposefully defile his name by using our minds and bodies as sinful weapons of warfare against His holy name.

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But God, the holy God, God the Son for all eternity has lived in blazing glory. Angels all around Him proclaim His holiness, the creatures in glory fall down at His feet. He alone holds the highest station, the King of kings, Lord of lords. The Creator and Sustainer of the universe; the One who gives life and breathe to all things.

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And the white hot holiness of God in the first century AD, came to the most vile sinful place in the universe, planet Earth.

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He came to a place where no one wanted Him. And you and all of us are the exact same, no difference … we have all violated the very character of God…you have purposefully defiled His holiness through your sin. “Against Him, Him only have you sinned” the Scripture teaches. You’ve lied against Him, cheated against Him, stolen…you’ve been angry against someone made in His image, you’ve broken God’s laws for marriage, you’ve stolen time from your employer every time you are lazy on the job…

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And because of your sin and apart from Christ, you’re at war with Him. Apart from Christ, you and God are not on the same side; you’ve been fighting. He’s created you for His glory, but you’ve taken up the weapons of sin to fight against Him.

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But God the Father, out of His great love for the world, sent God the Son to actually be born of sinful humanity. And He lived a sinless life of miracle working, demonstrating His capacity and willingness to forgive sin. He raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and healed the sick…all to say “I’m God and there is no else; I am He who can heal all your iniquities.”

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And then He was executed instead of you; He took the noose, the firing squad, the electric chair of God’s wrath for you, He died … and it looked to be all over … the Jews conspiring with the Romans to crucify Him …. But as the Old Testament Scriptures predicted, He died for your sin … He took your place on the cross. We deserved death, eternal death for our rebellion against the Almighty. But Jesus stepped in at the cross and took all our guilt upon Himself and the Lord poured out His wrath upon Him, instead of you and me. He performed a powerful sacrifice for you.

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And on that glorious 3rd day, He proved it all true by raising Himself from the dead. He is the Lord of glory.

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The response The only proper response…

to this glorious news is to give your life over to it; if Christ is raised from the dead and promises you eternal life and a room in the Father’s house, this changes everything. There’s no “half-way” commitment here…just like Jesus said …

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Mark 8:34–35 34 … “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

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You have to lose your life for the sake of Christ and His gospel, to have eternal life. Just like Paul said in Ga. 2:20…

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Galatians 2:20 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

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I have been crucified with Christ; I take up my cross; I live … no no, Christ lives in me. He has me…all of me!

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And so joy is not becoming a slave to more sin, it doesn’t come from creating your path in life; finding the real you, or finding day to day pleasure…these things will all cease … there must be a death…a death to self and a giving yourself over to Christ and His gospel. Your mission, whether you are a farmer, a housewife, a student, or whatever … if you are a Christian, your mission is God’s mission: progressing the gospel.

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Paul, because he has made Christ and his gospel his ambition, he has joy despite being in jail. Paul describes his progressing the gospel in verses 12-13 and then he describes other brethren progressing the gospel in verses 14-18.

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  1. Paul preaching Christ in prison vv.12-13

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In verses 12-13, he describes his circumstances to the Philippians in light of the progress of the gospel. The progress of the gospel is his circumstances. Paul is on mission.

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Philippians 1:12 12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, [The word “greater” can be translated “actually.” …. My circumstances have actually turned out for the progress of the gospel]

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This is contrary to expectation; you wouldn’t expect it. It’s the opposite of everything you would have thought. Paul’s circumstances have actually turned out for the progress of the gospel.

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ILL: Thomas Brooks, Puritan of the 1600s said, “Truth thrives most when it is most opposed and persecuted; Paul’s iron chain made more noise, and was more glorious, and wrought [with] more blessed effects, than all the golden chains in Nero’s court.” Truth thrives most when it is most opposed and persecuted

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And if you knew his circumstances, you’d be surprised, too that the gospel has progressed.

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Paul’s circumstances

Paul’s circumstances, the things that have happened to him up to this point as he writes Philippians, are recorded in Acts 21 to 28. Paul was illegally arrested at the Temple in Jerusalem. See, the Jews thought he had defiled the temple when he brought in Gentiles … and a huge riot nearly took place as the people rushed together and dragged Paul out of the temple. They were about to murder him when a Roman commander with some soldiers ran down and their approach calmed the crowd.

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The commander sought to understand who this man was, and there was great confusion. Paul then asked to speak to the crowd and he gave his defense before the Jews. And he’d give defense after defense, defense before Jews, Romans, and others. He’s called to the defense of the gospel, he says in Phil. 1:16. But Paul caused a riot and the Romans must have peace in all their provinces. The trouble maker must go.

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So Paul became a prisoner in Caesarea for 2 years. That’s a long time…what’s happened to Paul? Is he all washed up? A worthless missionary? Did God put him on the shelf?

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Well, he appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome as a prisoner. But then the ship was wrecked on the way!

The tumultuous voyage, chained as a prisoner, the violent storm, the ship breaks down, they abandon ship, swim the island of Malta, he’s bitten by a snake … stranded on the island of Malta for 3 months, until finally arriving in Rome. And now he’s chained between 2 Roman guards, 24 hours a day, and no privacy.

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And after he finally gets to Rome, it’s been 2 more years since he left Caesarea. A total of 4 years. A missionary who was put on the shelf for over 4 years, having gone through tremendous strain … and Paul can say through all of that…

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“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have actually turned out for the progress of the gospel.”

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Paul, you’ve been through so much, “just curse God and die!” “How can you be so optimistic .. is it the power of positive thinking? Paul, why is the glass always half full …”

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“No,” says Paul, “My gospel glass is always full.” This is a man whose ambition it is to progress the gospel and nothing else matters to him…, even to his own demise. If he reports about his circumstances, he reports about the progress of the gospel … “How are you doing Paul?” “I’m doing well; the gospel is advancing. I’ve got what I want; I’m rejoicing!” Paul isn’t any different than us. He’s got eternity in his heart too, so do we.

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He’s rejoicing because he has Christ and His mission as his ambition and he knows God is at work in advancing His mission in the earth and Paul can be a part of it, even though he’s chained. That’s our joy too. “Follow Paul as he follows Christ.” Make the gospel and its advancement your ambition; and have the joy of Paul even in trying times.

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TRANS: “Well, Paul, how is it that the gospel has advanced, despite your imprisonment?” Paul, how has the gospel progressed as you say?

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First, he says verse 13,

Philippians 1:13 13 my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,

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EXP praetorian guard: The praetorian guard were a special group of around 9,000 soldiers. They were handpicked, great pay and pension, they had a shorter required service.

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EXP verse: And it is clear to everyone in that guard that the only reason that Paul’s in jail is because of his preaching Christ. And everyone knows it; the whole praetorian guard knows it … that his imprisonment is not because he’s a criminal, but because he’s a Christian who is participating in the cause of Christ…. “my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known” Paul says.

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How did it become known that Paul was imprisoned between these two soldiers merely for preaching the gospel? How is it that Paul’s imprisonment for Christ would be made known to the whole guard? Well, 2 soldiers are always chained to Paul; they take 6 hour shifts. They are chained to him when he sleeps, chained to him at the most private times of a man’s life. And there are different guards coming in all the time.

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Let me ask this question: Who was really chained to whom? Did God chain Paul to the prisoner or did God chain the prisoner to Paul? Sometimes we need to think of our situations a little differently, don’t we? “Oh, poor Paul…all chained up, the gospel’s not going forth, his ministry is over…” Now wait … Paul was a Christian. He would preach the kingdom of God to all who would come to him. He would preach it to the guards who were guarding him. And many got saved!

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Acts 28:30–31 30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

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People would come in and out to see Paul. And many of them received Christ … Paul closes the letter to the Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

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People in Caesar’s own family trusted Christ! Paul’s ministry continued! The gospel went forth!

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Imagine the soldiers walking out of Paul’s little prison house after their shift was over…they would talk about this short man, who’s always filled with love and kindness, boldness… and it doesn’t seem he’s done anything wrong … He just keeps talking about … “Well,” says one solider to another … “You remember Jesus of Nazareth, whom Pontius Pilate crucified…yeah, well, Paul keeps saying that he saw Him alive and Paul’s willing to be in prison for preaching it … and he keeps right on telling everybody about it. Jews from all over Rome, city of a million people, are coming to hear what Paul is preaching … And Paul says that there were hundreds of others who saw Jesus alive too … and well, there are these churches popping up everywhere … Judea, Colossae, Philippi, Ephesus…Judea and Jerusalem … they are everywhere …

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Paul says later …

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2 Timothy 2:8–9 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.

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Paul’s chained, but there is never a chain on the gospel. “”Truth thrives most when it is most opposed and persecuted.”

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APP: You know … God used a staff in Moses’ day … God used pitchers in Gideon’s day, he used the cruse of oil in Elijah’s day, 2 pieces of wood in Jesus’ day, and a chain in Paul’s. What is he using today? Sinners like us? All the bad news in the world?

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Now, I’m not going to apply this to getting stuff you want; unless, what you want is that the gospel goes forth!

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Ever feel like Paul, where things don’t seem to be going your way? If you have gospel advancement on your heart and as your ambition, you’d know that God’s word isn’t chained and that would matter in a deep way.

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His gospel will go forth … and that will only matter to you, if you make Christ and his mission your ambition. And you’ll have joy when it’s raining, joy when it’s dry … you might have pain, but you’ll have joy because God is doing a work to save people from their sins; His mission of calling out a people for his name is being accomplished and one day people from every tribe, tongue and nation will serve Him will serve him in perfection forever.

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That is true joy!

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had the kind of character, strength of heart, to be able to withstand trial after trial and you still have joy upon joy! In fact, when trial comes, you’re constantly seeing how the gospel goes forth and it rejoices your heart? Don’t you want that kind of heart? It comes from the gospel!

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ILL: John Bunyan, a 16th century Baptist preacher, was imprisoned also for the cause of Christ. In his book entitled, Instruction for the Ignorant … not a title that would sell a million copies, he asks this question …

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Q. Is there yet another reason why God requireth self-denial of them that profess his name?—A. Yes; because by self-denial the power and goodness of the truths of God are made manifest to the incredulous [the unbelieving] world. For they cannot see but by the self-denial of God’s people, that there is such power, glory, goodness, and desirableness in God’s truth as indeed there is (Dan 3:16, 28; Phil 1:12, 13).[1]

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Then he references Phil. 1:12-13. Paul’s self denial … his giving his up his ALL for the sake of Jesus Christ led him to this point, a point of joy!

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For indeed self-denial is demanded at the first, even at the point of salvation …

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Mark 8:34 34 … “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

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For if one does not have some self denial, is not a saved person.

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ILL: As Stephen Charnock said, that great Puritan of the 17th century, “Self-denial is the greatest part of godliness, the great letter in the alphabet of true religion. But Self-love is the great letter in the alphabet of practical atheism.” Deny yourself and give your life over to Christ and His gospel and find joy unspeakable. Make Christ and His Mission Your Ambition.

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TRANS: Paul’s imprisonment was motivating. Not only was Paul still preaching the gospel, but brethren not in chains were motivated to preach the gospel.

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  1. The brethren preaching Christ vv.14-18
    1. Christ preached from good will (v.14, 15b-16, v18)

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Verses 15-18 record two types of these brothers. Those preaching from goodwill, love, pure motive, and truth and those preaching from envy, strife, selfish ambition, and pretense v.18 says … or false motives.

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So some preached Christ genuinely; some preached Christ with envy … in other words, they didn’t want Paul to have this ministry anyway! “Now, since Paul is in jail, I’ll step in and draw the large crowds.” They didn’t love Paul; they were jealous of his ministry, yes even envious, desiring that he not have his ministry so they could have it.

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But the truth of the matter is Philippians 1:14 14 … that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

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And Paul’s response…

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Philippians 1:18 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

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Paul was rejoicing that Christ was preached; he didn’t care about the motive. Although they were hurting Paul, as well. Persecuted by pagans; hurt by Christ’s own people.

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Philippians 1:17 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

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But nevertheless, none of these things moved Paul; he was passionate that the mission of Christ go forward. In the face of persecution, he kept on mission. And that determination motivated other brothers and sisters to keep on proclaiming the gospel.

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ILL: When you read the persecutions of Christians in the New Testament under Nero, and in the early church when Nero made “Christian candles” so that people could see at night in the dark streets or made them to be snacks for wild animals in the Colosseum.

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Or the great persecution under Diocletian [DIO-KLEE-SHUN] and Galerius [Ga-lar-ious], in which over 20,000 Christians died, or persecutions by the Persians in the 300’s AD or the Jews in 500’s or by Islam in the 7th century, or the French Revolution, China, India, Japan …

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The Ottaman Empire, burned at the stake in Madagascar in the 1800s, Mexico 1800s your land was confiscated, Nazi Germany imprisoned and killed, North Korea imprisoned, executed, …and they say that there is more persecution of Christians in the last century than at any other time in the history of the world. Of course there are more Christians and more persecutors today, with the population explosion and conversions.

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7,100 Christians last year were killed for their faith.

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ILL: I’m reading the biography of Hudson Taylor. He was a 19th century English missionary to China, who uniquely for the time … adopted the dress and style of the Chinese. Many Protestant missionaries were content to minister in the coastal cities of China, but Hudson Taylor desired to go inland.

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On his fifth journey inland in April 1855, Hudson Taylor and a Mr. Burdon were boating up the Yangtze [YAWN-TSEE] river. They stopped alongside the river wHere was a Buddhist temple and monastery that was so large it seemed itself was a village. The timing was perfect, because thousands of people were gathered to join in the ceremonies at this temple. The place was swimming with priests and priests in training and their idols by the hundreds… they passed shrine after shrine idols priests and worshipers. Incense was filling the air and the passersby threw their coins in the baskets for the idols …. as music was playing, the constant sounds of conversation, and people passing by. It was beautiful scene sacred mountains sunny waters, a clear day, and the Yangtze [YAWN-TSEE] river in the distance.

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And then a Buddhist priest asks Hudson Taylor to bow before his Buddha and burn incense and give money. “Stirred to the depths he could refrain no longer, and mounting the stool he had been desired to kneel on, he [instead] addressed the throng in Mandarin Chinese setting forth the folly and sin of idolatry and the love of God in Christ which passes knowledge.”

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And then Mr. Burdon got up and preached in the Shanghai dialect … Many were listening and moved and the priests seeing how things were turning against them, requested that they leave. They distributed tracts and Scriptures along the way.

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They then went to Tung-Chow. They were warned not to go due to the dangers of the area. Even their Chinese teachers tried to persuade them not to go. Their servant requested permission to go back because he was frightened by the reports of the soldiers in that area. A respectable man warned them about proceeding because of the militia.

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Taylor writes, “Whether it were for bonds, imprisonment, and death, or whether to return safely we knew not, but we were determined, by the grace of God, not to leave Tung Chow any longer without the gospel.”

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Hudson Taylor’s wheelbarrow man decided not to go on… They knew the dangers but encouraged one another from the Scripture and with verses of hymns.

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And they preached the gospel in a small town of about 1000 people to a good number of people. Taylor heard a Chinaman repeat the gospel to another Chinese person the things that Taylor himself was saying. What thrill, a joy to hear that! And then they went to the Western suburb of the city.

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Aa they walked, they were called black devils .. They passed several of the soldiers and before they reached the Westgate, a tall powerful man partially drunk and grabbed Mr. Burdon by the shoulders. In a moment, they were surrounded by a dozen soldiers and they were rushed off toward the city at a frightening pace.

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This same man knocked Taylor down and grabbed him by the hair took hold of his collar choking him grabbing his arms and shoulders and making them black and blue everywhere… And all along, get this … Mr. Burdon tried to give away a few New Testaments and tracts to these soldiers, but quickly realized it was futile.

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The soldiers debated as to whether they should send them to the authorities or have them killed on the spot. They were dragged through the streets… And they stopped at a place for a rest although they were denied any refreshment, and a large crowd had gathered to see what was going on … and so Mr. Burdon again with his remaining strength, preaches Christ to them! Soon, they were ushered into the presence of an official and subsequently freed.

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APP: That’s motivating to preach the gospel! That empowers me to keep on, to want to press forward in the ministry, knowing that there has been men and women in the past who have suffered for the sake of Christ, and yet they still kept on serving the Lord proclaiming his name … living is Christ!

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“The brethren have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.”

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APP: But I wonder … do you know how many even Christian people don’t really care about any of this?

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There’s a story in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s progress, where Christian is asking about Faithful’s testimony. Faithful says, “I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty and I met a very aged man. I told him I was a pilgrim going to the celestial city. And the old man said to me, “You are an honest man, would you be happy to live with me for the wages that I will give you?”

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I asked him his name and where he lived and he said his name was Adam the First and that he lived in the town called Deceit.

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And he said his work was many delights and his wages for me? That I should be his heir! He said his house was filled with the delights of the world, and that for his children he had three daughters all of whom I could marry! “What are their names?” He told me and said their names are “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

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Christian asks, “well, what did you and the old man decide?”

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Faithful says, “Well, I was inclined to go with him because he spoke very pleasantly but as I looked at his forehead, I saw something there written, “Put off the old man with his deeds.”

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“And so it came hot burning in my mind,” says Faithful, “how he flattered me and that when he would get me into his house he would sell me for a slave. I told him to stop talking to me I turned away to go from him and he kept dogging me…”

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I wonder if there are any here today … And you have been enticed by the old man at the foot of the hill called Difficulty … And you’re having a Difficult time because you’ve fallen prey to the old man, the fallen sinful self, and you have married three of his children … the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…and that which you thought would give you peace and joy, has actually enslaved you. And you need a Savior.

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And I wonder if there is someone here, some Christian here today, and you’ll go from a message like this with little effect on your soul because that old man keeps dogging you and tempting you to marry his three daughters, and you’ve toyed around with that proposition. And your passion for the gospel has waned and the light has gone out and the desires and delights of this world has seduced you.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Philippians 1.12-18

What you need is to repent! Do a study on the gospel of Christ; pray over the mission of God in the Bible and the world … and if you need further help, call upon the Lord and you may give me a call as well.

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Whenever I hear you proclaiming Christ, it rejoices my heart! But let’s make sure our life is growing toward Christ-likeness that our lives might be a better testimony for the gospel we preach.

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But we could do more, we must! We must pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth labourers into his harvest.

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ILL: Samuel Dyer was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China in the Congregationalist tradition, who worked among the Chinese. His daughter Maria would go on to marry Hudson Taylor …in one of his letters he writes …

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” From my windows,” he wrote to his wife in Singapore, ” I look

across to the lofty summits of the Chinese hills. . . . The sight is

almost overwhelming. In my happiest moments just two thoughts

seem to concentrate every longing of my heart. One is that the name

of Jesus may be glorified in China, and the other that you and I and

each of our dear children . . . may live only to assist in bringing

this to pass. . . . Cease to feel the intensest interest in the spiritual

prosperity of China I never can, while this bosom has a heart to feel.

Cease to serve the cause of Christ among the Gentiles I never may,

while I have head and hands to work. … I am about my Father’s

business. And if I may but do something for the evangelisation of

that benighted land, come sorrow, come joy, come grief, come delight,

all, all shall be welcome for the love I bear to Him Who bled on the

mount of Calvary.”

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There’s someone who has made Christ and His Mission his ambition, and what joy fills his soul.

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698

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  1. John Bunyan, Instructions for the Ignorant, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006), 689.

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