Philippians 1:12-14The Message
They Can’t Imprison the Message
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
How passionate are we about sharing the Gospel?
How much or how little are we willing to extend ourselves, sacrifice and take risks so that unbelievers may become followers of Jesus and believers may become that much better equipped to share the good news of our salvation?
As we approach the Lenten Season and consider these questions, are we helped by the example of the apostle Paul, who heroically, single-mindedly, pursued God’s call through all manner of difficulties and persecutions and throughout the Mediterranean world—all so that others may come to know Christ as Lord?
If nothing else, we we learn that nothing would stop Paul from preaching and teaching about Jesus—not a trial before royalty, a storm at sea, a shipwreck, a poisonous snake bite, chains, or even prolonged wrongful imprisonment.
Paul was hyper-zealous to make all of his days and deeds count for the Gospel.
His dramatic missionary journeys, and finally his journey to Rome to face down the Roman authorities on their home ground, illustrates God’s faithfulness and encourages us to see our circumstances as “God” opportunities for us to throw all of ourselves into our own mission, ministry journey’s to share the Gospel.
As I sit on a pillow in my dining room recovering from “urological surgery,” yesterday, my only thoughts were to start writing another devotional entry.
I can sit here in some fair measure of discomfort with my God, my Savior and the Holy Spirit and my caregiving wife at my side, to feel enormously blessed, so fully and completely grateful for what is stirring me to write and not rest.
God has formed and shaped out a place of such an enormous and intense joy in my heart, in my soul just for sharing of His Gospel, no matter the discomfort.
I have this ministry and mission of writing which Reverend John Wesley states:
“I look on all the world as my parish, thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of the world I am in … I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”
Even if my only place in the world is my very own dining room in my own home.
As of now, by God’s grace, the matchless power and purpose of His scriptures, His own grand plan, [Isaiah 55:10-13] these writings have reached 125 nations.
I cannot speak to the work God has done, but I am still writing after 18 months.
For GOD my Savior and for the Sake of the Gospel
Philippians 1:12-14Amplified Bible
The Gospel Is Preached
12 Now I want you to know, [a]believers, that what has happened to me [this imprisonment that was meant to stop me] has actually served to advance [the spread of] the good news [regarding salvation]. 13 My imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become common knowledge throughout the whole [b] praetorian (imperial) guard and to everyone else. 14 Because of my chains [seeing that I am doing well and that God is accomplishing great things], most of the [c]brothers have renewed confidence in the Lord, and have far more courage to speak the word of God [concerning salvation] without fear [of the consequences, seeing that God can work His good in all circumstances].
Follow Paul through Acts and he leaves you breathless.
He’s constantly on the move, going from place to place.
One moment he’s stitching tents together, then he’s bringing Eutychus back to life, and then he survives a snakebite and heals the sick on Malta.
It’s almost as if you can’t imagine ever being able to keep up with him.
Surely the worst thing that could ever happen to someone like Paul is to be stuck in one house for two years.
But at the conclusion of Acts, that’s exactly how we find him (Acts 28:30-31).
You can just imagine the devil’s response to Paul’s imprisonment:
Now I’ve shut him down! That’ll get rid of him. He won’t be able to go anywhere for a long while. He’ll just shrivel up and die a prisoner.
Not a chance!
It is during Paul’s imprisonment that he penned some of his most noteworthy letters under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—letters that God is still using to transform lives these long and tornado twisting, storm driven 2,000 years later.
And, remarkably, the gospel has continually advanced not only despite Paul’s chains but because of them.
Paul was likely very different from other prisoners.
The soldiers who guarded him would have probably said to one another,
He is the most remarkable person we’ve ever had. We’re used to people constantly cussing, screaming, agitating, and complaining. But this Paul has joy and purpose, and he just preaches!
As a result of Paul’s daily ministry among these soldiers, word began to spread throughout the entire palace guard: The reason this guy is a prisoner is because of Jesus.
They got the point: He’s chained to us, he says, because he’s chained to this man Jesus Christ.
And it appears that some of these guards not only heard the gospel but responded to it.
As they were redeployed throughout the Roman Empire, arriving at their new posts as new men, the gospel would advance to different places through them.
And so Paul’s imprisonment, which at first appeared to be diametrically opposed to the spread of the gospel, actually proved to be essential to it.
You do not need to be a prisoner, a missionary, or an apostle to be used by God in spreading the gospel, nor do you need to wait for all the circumstances in your life to line up just as you want them to before you simply talk about Jesus.
Whether you are in your home, prison, a hospital, an office, a field, or wherever, and whether you realize it or not, you are never far from someone who needs to hear the amazing story of God’s grace.
What are the situations you face that you naturally see as obstacles to sharing the gospel, and how might they in fact be opportunities?
Who are the lost and longing people that God has placed in your life today?
They need God.
And they might only meet Him through your loving, sacred, holy boldness.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Psalm 40The Message
40 1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
ignore what the world worships;
The world’s a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
compares to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that’s not what you’re after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that’s not what you’re asking for.
You’ve opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, “I’m coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
you’re throwing for me.”
That’s when God’s Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation,
I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn’t keep the news of your ways
a secret, didn’t keep it to myself.
I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth
For myself alone. I told it all,
let the congregation know the whole story.
11-12 Now God, don’t hold out on me,
don’t hold back your passion.
Your love and truth
are all that keeps me together.
When troubles ganged up on me,
a mob of sins past counting,
I was so swamped by guilt
I couldn’t see my way clear.
More guilt in my heart than hair on my head,
so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.
13-15 Soften up, God, and intervene;
hurry and get me some help,
So those who are trying to kidnap my soul
will be embarrassed and lose face,
So anyone who gets a kick out of making me miserable
will be heckled and disgraced,
So those who pray for my ruin
will be booed and jeered without mercy.
16-17 But all who are hunting for you—
oh, let them sing and be happy.
Let those who know what you’re all about
tell the world you’re great and not quitting.
And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—
but God, don’t put it off.
Adeste Fidelis. Venite Adoremus. Dominum.
Gloria, In Excelsis Deo, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia Amen.