The thrust of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a message of thanks for the gift they had sent him upon learning about his imprisonment in Rome weaved through several other topics he chose to address.
The opening of this letter to the Philippians (Philippians 1:1-2) introduces necessary background information and an overview of the letters contents. The preface is certainly beneficial in helping our understanding of the text that was introduced in the post here.
Paul’s imprisoned left him disappointed in not being able to fellowship with those in Christ that were in Philippi, yet he was joyful about seeing the advancement of the gospel.
Intentions of Behind Preaching the Gospel (Philippians 1:15 – 17)
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Paul continues his letter to the Philippians by acknowledging there is a distinction between those preaching the gospel during his imprisonment. He communicates that there were those that preached the gospel out of love as well as those that preach the gospel out of envy and rivalry (v. 15).
Those that preach the gospel out of love are those who do so with the right motives and recognize the legitimate reason for Paul’s imprisonment (v. 13). These individuals were so encouraged by Paul’s thankfulness for Christ and the Philippians and joyfulness about the advancement of the gospel that they desired to take the same resolute stand for the gospel as Paul had taken. After that, Paul communicates that those preach the gospel insincerely out of selfish ambition does so with the wrong motives to simply compete with Paul with the belief that doing such would make his imprisonment more difficult.
No Matter the Motives (Philippians 1:18)
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Paul communicated that it does not matter who are preaching the gospel despite intention being out of love or jealousy. The veracity of the gospel remains the same even though someone’s intentions may be unjust. The gospel will never go void any matter the preacher since it contains its objectivity and validity within Christ apart from any speaker.
Paul’s declaration to continue to rejoice despite his imprisonment and the attempts of unjust preachers to cause further difficulty in his life illustrates the kind of vigorous Christian that he called for through our experiences.
It is important for us to remember the struggles Paul dealt with in dealing with the realities of being in prison and having individuals that were trying to make his imprisonment more difficult through their wrong motives. Through such difficulties, Paul remained thankful for those that helped him and joyful about the spread of the gospel. I pray and hope that we all can learn to respond to our hardships in the same fashion Paul was able too. In praying for this to be my response, I realized the importance also to dwell upon my intentions in sharing the good news of Christ. I have found it imperative to consider my motives in sharing the gospel. I sincerely hope that you will join me in asking yourself what your intentions are in preaching the gospel. Are we preaching the gospel for the sake of love or out of jealousy?