Philippians 1:13-18 - More Ways the Gospel was Being Furthered

Steve Viars June 10, 1995 Philippians 1:13-18

- this morning we're going to study verses 13-18 and look at "More Ways
    The Gospel Was Being Furthered".

    - read 13-18

I. The Gospel Was Furthered By Paul's Friends

    - these verses are about Paul's response to others "stepping up" and
        "stepping in."
    - there were new people who were filling his shoes and ministering in
        ways he used to, and would like to be.

    - what Paul is saying in these verses tells us a lot about his heart,
         -- and it explains, why, in part, he was able to handle this
             imprisonment so well.

- one point we can make from these verses was that:

    A. Paul was happy to have others involved

        Paul didn't have to:

          1) have his hands on everything

          2) be the center of attention

          3) be the only one doing things for God

        - He was happy to have other hands on the plow, even if some of
           what they were doing was what he used to do.

- If this wasn't the case, can you imagine what Paul's "emotional state"
  would have been at this point?

- INPUT - let's think about that for a moment...If Paul wasn't "happy to
          have others involved," how might he have been responding to
          this situation?


- Paul's heart toward all this was -- if it results in the furtherance of
   the gospel---GREAT!
      - even if someone else was doing it.


      - it goes back to what we were studying last week from verse 12 --
        he placed such a high premium on the furtherance of the gospel
        that as long as that was happening, he was thrilled.

- the argument of the verses is, because Paul was willing to let go:

    B. Many of Paul's friends were more confident to speak the Word.

        - read verse 14

        - you can imagine that many of the folks in the early church
            might have been tempted to say "Just let Paul do it."
        - he was surely effective, he had loads of experience

- it would be tempting to sit back and watch Paul witness

    - and apparently, up until this time, that’s what many folks did.

    - you get a hint of that in chapter 1, verse 28  (and in nothing
       being terrified by your adversaries.)

- but that’s a lot different, because now many of Paul's friends are more
   confident to speak the Word.
     - they are more bold to speak the word without fear.


- of course the question is -- what made the change?
    - what was the catalyst that led from these folks being terrified to
      speak for Christ-- to them being confident and bold to speak for
      Christ?

- the answer is:

    C. The catalyst was Paul's trial/imprisonment and his response to it.

        - we could view their fear of speaking for Christ as a logjam,
            and what broke that logjam was the severe trial Paul was
            undergoing and his response to it.

        - verse 14 says, these people were becoming more confident "in my
            bonds."

- in other words, because they saw Paul witnessing and winning people to
    Christ in prison (with chains around his wrists) -- their natural
    response would be---"If Paul can carve out a ministry there, in that
    place, in that situation, and be faithful in it...SURELY I CAN
    MINISTER WHERE GOD HAS PLACED ME.


- "I'd be ashamed not to minister here where God has placed me, after
    seeing Paul witness and win others in a prison cell."

- (illustration) man taking the training program right now in a wheel
     chair
        - has to have someone feed him.
        - hold a book for him to read.
        - be pushed in his chair from room to room.

    - As I watched him Monday, I was convicted in my own heart...If that
       man can faithfully serve where he is -- I better be more thankful,
       and more faithful, and more committed to the blessings and
       opportunities God has given me.
- the overall point is that Paul is giving another example of how the
   gospel had been furthered by his imprisonment---because his friends
   had been emboldened to share Christ.

- I think this point yields some very important questions for us to
   ponder:

1) Are you living and ministering in such a way that others would be
    stimulated to greater faithfulness where God has placed them?

        - Are you doing anything that would give someone cause to say,
          "If so and so can carve out a ministry for God in their
           situation, SURELY I can carve out a ministry for God in mine!"

2) Are you being challenged by someone else's faithfulness, to "get in
    the game yourself"?

    - wouldn't it have been a terrible thing if Paul would have had to
       say in verse 14 -- I've been faithfully ministering in prison--but
       no one else has picked up on my example on the "outside."
         - no one else has benefitted from the example the Lord has
            helped me to set?

    - you may be here today, and God has blessed you with the examples of
       others around who are carving out ministries, some on the midst of
       difficulty....
        - my question would be -- what impact are you allowing that to
           have on you?

           - especially if you're saved, but you haven't yet been
               baptized
                 - or if you haven't joined the church
                 - or if you haven't "dug in" and started serving...

         - is it possible that you haven't benefitted from the examples
             God has placed around you
                - just like He gave these believers the example of Paul?

- a third question we can ask from these verses is:

3) Do you want to bring others along with you?  Do you have a desire to
    train others?
      - If a new person is brought into to minister along with you, do
          you have a heart to train them?
      - If appropriate, would you be willing to train them and then turn
          them loose so you can be freed up to minister in some other
          areas?
      - If they succeeded, would you rejoice in their success?


- now, as we look at this first part  (the way Paul responded to the fact
   that his friends were sharing Christ) -- I think most of us would
   say...that was hard!
    - it would be difficult for all the reasons we've just discussed for
        Paul to handle this way.

- and while that’s true, the other side of it is, "we haven't heard
   anything yet."

 


- because, Paul goes on to say that he was also rejoicing because:

II. The Gospel Was Being Furthered By Paul's Enemies

    - read 15-16

    A. Who were these people?

       - I think we need to say strongly, these were not "false teachers"

       - Paul has some comments about the false teachers later in the
          letter and he's surely not rejoicing about them.
            - cf. Phil. 3:1-3

    - They were people who's message was right but who's motives were
       wrong.

       - apparently there was a group of people who were glad that Paul
           had been imprisoned.
       - the text doesn't tell us for sure why people would think this
           way -- some writers believe that these were the men that had
           been the leaders of the church at Rome before Paul got there,
           but whose ministries were overshadowed by the apostle Paul.

       - we don't know that for sure, but we do know there message was
          right (that is, they preached Christ--so the people who heard
          them were not hurt)
       - but their motivation was wrong...they were envious and
           contentious.
             - the word contentious literally means "to canvass for
                office, to get people on your side."

        - that sets these men off from the apostle Paul
            - Paul's goal was to lead men and women to Christ---and to
               direct their loyalty to Him.

            - unfortunately, some people want to lead men and women to
               themselves, and to build loyalty to themselves.

- now, we need to say -- Paul wasn't judging motives without facts.
   - in the absence of clear proof, love is to give the benefit of the
      doubt.
         (INPUT - where do we learn that?  -- I Cor. 13)

   - but apparently, Paul had learned clear facts about these men and
        their motives.

   - they were people who had a competitive spirit, and an envious heart.

   - these verses present a nice balance to what we studied in verse 9-
      10.
        - we saw there that matured love is discerning and knowledgeable.

    - a Christian has to be able to listen to all that’s being "said out
        there," and discern what is wrong, and what is right.
           - that’s not an unloving thing--its a loving thing.

 


    - the other side of that is -- there are some people who want to say
       they are discerning---when really they are being divisive.

       - some people simply can't get along with anyone
       - they can't agree with anyone
       - they love to find fault with everyone else
           - often their characterizations are unfair

       - people like that often demand blind loyalty
          - "don't read anyone else"
          - "don't listen to anyone else"
          - "don't fellowship with anyone else"
          - "we're the only ones standing for the faith"

- that divisive mentality can rear its ugly head in a number of different
    ways
       - denominations, fellowships of churches
       - it often rears its head at Christian schools

- what is passed off as discernment is really divisiveness, envy, and
   contention.


- its also a sign of immaturity
   - remember the problem in the Corinthian church..."I'm of Paul...I'm
      of Apollos...I'm of Cephas..."


- so there were some people who were preaching Christ out of envy and
   contention.
- Paul's response to them was utterly amazing.


    B. Paul's response

        - I'm rejoicing that the gospel is being preached!

 


    C. The lesson for us

         - Christ and His church have to come before you and me and our
             personal agendas.


         - Matt. 6:33-34

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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