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Lesson # Phil. 1:12-17
Study Material - Phil. 1:12-17
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12 But [de] I would [boulomai] ye [humas] should understand [ginosko], brethren [adelphos], that [hoti] the things which happened unto [kata] me [eme] have fallen out [erchomai] rather [mallon] unto [eis] the furtherance [prokope] of the gospel [euaggelion]; 13 So that [hoste] my [mou] bonds [desmon] in [en] Christ [Christos] are [ginomai] manifest [phaneros] in [en] all [holos] the palace [praitorion], and [kai] in all [pas] other [loipoy] places; 14 And [kai] many [pleion] of the brethren [adelphos] in [en] the Lord [kurios], waxing confident [peitho] by my [mou] bonds [desmon], are much more [perissoteros] bold [tolmao] to speak [laleo] the word [logos] without fear [aphobos]. 15 Some [tis] indeed [men] preach [kerusso] Christ [Christos] even [kai] of [dia] envy [phthonos] and [kai] strife [eris]; and [de] some [tis] also [kai] of [dia] good will [eudokia]: 16 The one [men] preach [kataggello] Christ [Christos] of [ek] contention [eritheia], not [ou] sincerely [hagnos], supposing [oiomai] to add [epiphero] affliction [thlipsis] to my [mou] bonds [desmon]: 17 But [de] the other of [ek] love [agape], knowing [eido] that [hoti] I am set [keimai] for [eis] the defence [apologia] of the gospel [euaggelion]. KJV-Interlinear 12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. NASB
Here Paul clarifies the on going conflict between Gods will and the will of the enemies of God. Though Paul has been thrown into prison, the thrust of his ministry has not been stopped. Paul's enemies sought to stop him and his ministry. They even sought his death.
But God seeks the spreading of the gospel as well as the Word of God, to allow people the opportunity to be saved first, and grow up spiritually second. So there is a conflict between the selfish desires of Paul's enemies and the desires of Gods plan.
Though man can imprison man, man can even execute man, but he cannot stop the plan of God from moving forward. Gods plan is not subject to the constraints of this world. Gods plan is above and far beyond the reach of human motives and actions.
In addition, God makes it quite clear to all, at least all who are objective in their thinking, that the circumstances of Paul's imprisonment are not due to his having done something wrong. That his imprisonment is not due to his own past failures, but that his imprisonment was due to the cruel and evil political motivations of his enemies. Those who did not want him to succeed in the spreading of the gospel and Gods word, and those who saw Paul as a threat to their own life style and power. These enemies have their own agenda, and that agenda does not include the better good for the common people, but looks only to their own selfish advancement in life. The Pharisees were not interested in the advancement of the spiritual lives of their followers, but were in fact sacrificing their followers in order to fulfill their own selfish lusts.
There are people who envied Paul's success. And even in his imprisonment, they envied him even more, when their own plans were foiled and frustrated in their attempts to suppress Paul. The more they tried to stop Paul, the more God turned these things around and advanced Paul.
This then is the principle for each of our lives. If you are positive toward God. If you are studying your Bible regularly. Then you are advancing in your spiritual life. Sooner or later you will be blessed by God, and the enemies will come out of the wood work. People totally unknown to you, and perhaps even some that you do know. They will attack from every direction. You will possibly from time to time need to offer some explanation in your own defense, but in general, you simply ignore their attacks and stand fast. Let God fight your fight, and He will.
There will be those who attack from hatred, and those who attack from envy and jealousy. Jealous people look to your success or the success they perceive you have, whether your success is real or just in their imagination, and they will attack you with lies, with gossip, with made up stories. And of course there are people out there in the world who, not knowing the truth, will listen to the gossip and believe it. People with sense however will question the gossip and if they are interested, they will seek out the truth.
Here in Paul's case people who are interested in doctrine seek out the truth and God makes it known to them. They reject the gossip and evil plots of the wicked people seeking Paul's condemnation. And the plots of the wicked fall back against themselves and crush them. The one being attacked is instead advanced and prospered by God.
Thus, when you advance in doctrine, you become stable and secure in the knowledge that God will protect you. That all the attacks against you will be repelled and Gods plan for your life will move forward. And the plan that God has for you is the best plan you could have. Far better than you could do for yourself.
Whether your enemies envy you and your success, because they are not succeeding or perceive you as a threat to their own success, or whether your enemies are totally unknown to you, makes no difference. God stands in the gap and defends you so long as you are advancing and consistent in your spiritual life.
But remember too that what you perceive as your own plan for your life, may not be what God has planned for you. Paul had political plans for himself in the beginning, but God blinded him to make him see Gods plan. Paul next wished to preach to the Jews, but God wished him to preach to the gentiles. Paul next wished to travel to the many churches, but God wished him to stay put and write doctrine for the many generations to come. Paul ended up in prison and therefore saw more people through his letters, than he would have in his travels. All things work together for good so long as God is in charge. So whatever circumstances fall in your life, if you are consistent and growing in your spiritual life, then God will make clear to you the direction He intends for you to go.
Never consider your situation as beneath you. There is a reason for everything, and you simply move forward in your life, studying your Bible and advancing yourself spiritually, as well as doing whatever it is you do in your career and doing it well. Do not ever try to advance yourself from your selfish ambitions. This is a misguided effort. But instead seek advancement through Gods word, wherein God will advance you much farther than you could ever go on your own strength.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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