Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

Right and wrong reasons to declare the gospel

Philippians 1:15-16

There were some Christians who did not love Paul. They were jealous, perhaps of the powerful way that God worked in his life (2 Corinthians 12:12). They saw his troubles as a prisoner, as an opportunity to take authority away from him. So, while he remained a prisoner, they boldly declared the gospel, God’s message about Christ.

Most of the Christians were not behaving like that. They too were declaring the gospel boldly, but they had sincere reasons. They were acting in love; they were supporting Paul’s work. They went to places where Paul could not go to speak about Christ; they declared God’s message to people whom Paul was unable to meet at that time.

Those sincere people understood clearly why Paul was a prisoner. It was because of the same gospel that they too were declaring. God’s message mattered to them even as it mattered to Paul. So, although there were dangers, they were glad to declare that message publicly. They loved God, and God had given them a great love for other people (Mark 12:29-31). Love is the best and the most wonderful reason for a Christian to speak about Christ.

Jealous attitudes and the desire for importance are perhaps the worst possible reasons to speak about Christ. However, it is not rare for people to declare the gospel for such wrong reasons. Some church leaders, for example, only declare the gospel because they want to earn money. It is very sad when someone forgets the real reason for their trust in Christ (Revelation 2:4). The gospel does not lose its power to change lives (Romans 1:16). However, those who declare it must be careful to examine their own attitudes, in front of God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Otherwise, all their work may bring no real reward to them (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Next part: Christians who act selfishly (Philippians 1:17)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.