God Can Use Anything He Chooses
God can use a sunset to speak to a heart. He can use the smell of rain on the breeze to help someone feel His peace. He can use a mishap to open a closed mind to His Word. God can use a tragedy to turn hearts toward Him. God truly can use anything!
Fear or Boldness
Have you ever seen someone stand up for what is right and then be severely punished for it? How did you react? Did it make you want to hide that you shared the same opinion? Or did it make you stand up boldly as well?
Tough question… tough decision…
Did someone else stand up boldly, only you knew they did not share the opinion of the first person. They just wanted the spotlight and/or to heat up the situation the first person was in even more – maybe saying that they heard him say this… and he said that…
Pretty disgusting huh?
Today, we will continue to talk about the idea presented in verses 12-14, though. God can take what His enemy and ours intends for evil, and use it for good and for His glory. After all, He can really do anything He decides to do.
Pretty disgusting huh?
Philippians 1:12-14, 15-18a
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. so that it has been known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.
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 in defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Paul was pleased to tell the believers in Philippi that the gospel was advancing even though he was stuck in one place. This is one of the ways that it is clear that Paul was not all about himself. He was all about Jesus!
Let’s begin in Verse 15:
“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.”
Envy & Rivalry
People saw Paul as a very powerful and influential man. He was powerful in the power of the Holy Spirit. They did not necessarily want the power to come from the Holy Spirit. They preached the gospel of Jesus Christ because they wanted the power and influence. The prestige that goes with being important was what they were after.
There were definitely people who were also preaching out of the good will of just wanting others to hear the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here in defense of the gospel.
They are carrying on the mission of Paul, which is really the mission of Christ Himself and every believer in Christ.
The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Not only did they do it for power, but to afflict Paul, hoping to cause him trouble inside prison because the gospel had not stopped being proclaimed.
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Here again, we see that Paul’s primary concern is that people be sharing Christ. God can take what is intended for evil and make it for good and for His glory.
There are so many amazing accounts from the Columbine High School Massacre and aftermath. It is hard to believe it happened 19 years ago, seems like yesterday. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy. But God used it to bring so many young people to Himself. God used the testimonies lived out day by day of several of the victims, put together with the way they died and the things that happened in the aftermath to make those kids come face to face with their Savior and surrender to Him.
God is so, so very good. What Satan intends for bad, God can make good. That is a reason to Rejoice!!
Lord, thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for being in sovereign control. Please help us to know You better and better. Help us to glorify You with our days and our moments. In Jesus’s lovely name, I pray. Amen.
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