Read Philippians 1:12-18a
I. Gospel Spread. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul talks about how his chains have been used by God to further the Gospel.
He acknowledges that there are various motives behind those who preach. However, he rejoices in the Gospel being preached for whatever motive.
- Trusting God to work things out. Notice in vss. 12-14 that what was meant for Paul’s bad was used by God for the good of the Gospel. It is obvious that some people are out to harm us. And sometimes they do harm us.
However, God is able to take what is meant for our bad and use it for the good of the Gospel. And whatever is good for the spreading of the Gospel is going to ultimately serve to bless us, as believers.
The more people who accept Christ as savior and lord, the more there will be who avoid lying, stealing, and killing, and the more people there will be who strive to love God and their neighbors, as they love themselves.
Let’s work on trusting God to work things out for the good of His people.
- Behaviors verses hearts. Notice in vss. 15-18a of the Sunday School material that Paul looks past the motives of people and exam the behaviors. We don’t know what is in a person’s heart. We only know the behaviors that we see.
Passages like I Chronicles 28:9 and I Corinthians 4:5 urges us to leave heart examination to God, while we work on having clean and godly hearts ourselves.
Let’s work on having clean hearts, observing behaviors, and trusting God to deal with the hearts of others.This is easier said than done, but it should be our goal.
Some challenging examples that come to mind are those who seem to always want to talk in the microphone at church to be seen by others, instead of to serve the Lord or the person who only shows up, when they have an important role to play, instead of showing up to be supportive of the team.
Read Philippians 1:18b-26
II. Paul’s Outlook. In our Sunday School material Paul moves from rejoicing about the advancement of the Gospel to his mortality. He is confident that God is using him, not matter what his lot in life may be.
He talks about being conflicted between life and death. He concludes that he will live on for the sake of those he minister to.
- Rejoicing in what we believe. Notice in vss. 18b-20 that Paul chose to rejoice in what he believed. Rejoicing is a choice.
We can chose to be sad about what we see and think, or we can chose to rejoice and be glad about what we believe God is going to do. Life is so much more pleasant when we rejoice.
Let’s work on rejoicing about what we believe. We ought to believe that God is working all things out for the good of His people.
- The gain of death. Notice in vss. 21-23 of our Sunday School material that Paul talks about to live is Christ and to die is gain. That is, if he lived on, he would continue to serve Christ with all that he had. And if he died, he would experience personal gain.
To be in Heaven with Christ was a better place for Paul than to be in prison, even under house arrest. We should work to realize that death is not the terrible end for believers.
We actually graduate in death from Earthly living to Heavenly living. Let’s work on trusting that death is actually a promotion. If we really believe this then we can stop being afraid of death.
- Living lives of service. Notice in vss. 24-26 that Paul was willing to live and serve the Lord. Every believer should see life as an opportunity to serve the Lord. The more we serve Him, the less we will focus on the distractions of this world.
Let’s work on living lives of service. Our service should include witnessing and worshipping, using our abilities to help the church and communities, and surely we should carry out our duties to our families.
Let’s work on rejoicing about the Gospel going forth and trusting God’s plan
for our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.