The Book of Acts: Chapter 28 (pt 14 of 16)

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When Paul wrote to the Philippian saints (who were the only ones who sent a contribution to him while he was a prisoner in Rome), he knew he would probably never see them again. Was he concerned because he would not be there for them? Not at all! Paul knew that it was not about him, but about God:

For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect (or complete) it until the day of Christ Jesus —Philippians 1:6

God is the one who began the good work in these believers, and He always finishes what He starts. The believers are not dependent on Paul’s presence, but on their Father, who is present through His Word and through His Spirit.

A few verses later in the first chapter of Philippians, Paul told how Christians had responded to his imprisonment:

I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. Not only that, but because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.

It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice—Philippians 1:12-18

Some of the believers were encouraged by Paul’s imprisonment, encouraged by his example to be even bolder in proclaiming the gospel. So, the gospel was being advanced through Paul’s imprisonment. However, some others were not so noble in their response to Paul’s incarceration. They seized on the opportunity to proclaim the gospel at Paul’s expense (at least in their minds). They did it out of selfish motives. Was Paul all “fired up” about it? Nope! In his mind, as long as the gospel was being preached and folks were coming to faith, that was all that mattered. Paul didn’t worry about the personal insults, either; instead, he rejoiced in the fact that people were being brought to faith. That is a price he was more than willing to pay. To repeat myself, it is not about Paul; it’s about the gospel.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts


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