Philippians 1:15-18 ESV
“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 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.”
Before I get into what this is talking about, I want to state clearly what this is NOT talking about. This is not talking about people who are teaching a false gospel and a different Jesus other than the Jesus of the Scriptures. Otherwise, Paul would not be rejoicing. He’d be rebuking.
They are speaking the true gospel, but they are speaking it in pretense. They don’t really believe what they are espousing. They are saying the right words, but their hearts are not really in it. They neither believe what they are teaching nor are they living it. They are faking it.
For what purpose? Well, if you were these people, and if you were trying to win over a particular group of people who believed a certain way, you might pretend to believe what they believe, at least initially. You might say what you know they want to hear so they would think you were one with them.
So, how might these liars and fakers use this to their advantage? And how might they use that to bring down those who are genuinely following the Lord? Well, for one, it could be to win the favor of the people and to convince them that they (the liars) are genuine, so the people trust them.
Once they have the people’s trust, then they could instill lies into the people’s minds about the person (or people) who is (or are) speaking the truth, in truth. And the purpose would be to turn the people away from the genuine follower(s) of Christ to now follow the fakes.
The fakes may outwardly continue to espouse the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but they may very slowly and subtly introduce what is harmful to the people, and they may begin to introduce lies other than just the lies they are telling about the person (or people) whom they are out to destroy.
But, as long as they are speaking the truth about Jesus and about his gospel, even if they are doing it for evil purposes, then we should rejoice that the truth is going out. But if they merely say the name of Jesus but then they lie about the truth of the gospel, we should not rejoice, but we should expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are.
And we should continue to speak the truth of the gospel even if our enemies are trying to destroy us with their lies. For, just know that if you are out there on the front lines speaking the truth of God’s word, you will be opposed, and people will lie about you, too.
Philippians 1:18-21 ESV
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Paul, even though he was suffering unjustly at the hands of his enemies, did not fear what his enemies were up to, but he trusted the Lord. He believed, in some way, that God was going to turn it around for good. He believed God would answer his prayers and the prayers of the people on his behalf.
He did not let what was being done against him make him afraid or cause him to shrink back out of fear of what people might think about him. He maintained his courage and his strength in the Lord to keep on in what God had called him to do, despite all opposition against him.
And we, if we are following the Lord Jesus, in truth, must have the same attitude as Paul. We must be convinced of what we believe, and of who we believe in, and we must never fear any opposition or people’s underhanded dirty deeds done against us to harm us.
Our goal should be to please our Lord, not to win over the hearts of the people to ourselves. Our goal should be to lead people to genuine faith in Jesus Christ – to them dying with Christ to sin and to them living to Christ and to his righteousness, for the glory of God.
So, we must leave our reputations in the hands of the Lord, and we must be willing to accept being lied about as part of being mistreated for our faith in Jesus Christ and for our testimonies for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we must trust our Lord to work it all out for good.
We can do nothing about what others will do to us or say about us behind our backs. We can’t change their hearts, either. Only God can. And worrying about it is not of God, and it just reveals lack of faith, so we should not worry about what others might do or say that may harm us.
If we believe that God is completely sovereign over our lives, then we have to believe that he is in control over everything that comes into our lives. He has it handled! We just have to trust him. If he allows us to be lied about, well, they lied about him, too, so we are in good company.
So, we keep on doing what we have been called of God to do, and we trust our lives into his capable hands, and we believe that good will come out of what appears to be something bad at the time. We don’t fear man, but we walk in the fear of the Lord, and we continue in him to the death.
Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me
Shine on me
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light..
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