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Proclaiming Christ out of Rivalry

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Proclaiming Christ out of Rivalry

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but

thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment."

(Philippians 1:17, ESV)

1. This first group preach out of partisanship "ex eritheias"

and/or selfish ambition.

"For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I

wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps

there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander,

gossip, conceit, and disorder." (2 Corinthians 12:20, ESV)

2. They preach not sincerely "ouch hagnos" in other words not

with pure motives but instead from rivalry, division and envy.

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality,

impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy,

fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,

drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I

warned you before, that those who do such things will not

inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV)

3. They preach thinking to afflict Paul in his bonds "desmois

mou." In other words, now that Paul is down they jump on him

in "mean and nagging ways." (AT Robertson) "To make my

chains gall me" (JB Lightfoot).

" But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the

surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted

in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to

despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not

destroyed;" (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, ESV)

4. Like many a hired servants (opposed to those truly called),

they forget the purpose of why they are in the Gospel ministry

(to Proclaim the surpassing greatness of Jesus Christ) and seek

their own interests. They take their minds off of the prize and

set them on the wages which they will receive here and now.

"For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ."

(Philippians 2:21, ESV)

5. While seeking their own interests, they would rather

persecute Paul who is proclaiming Christ sincerely and with

pure motives. This is a pattern we see even today of people in

the Gospel ministry who only have their eyes on what they can

get and what they can do and they persecute those whose only

desire is to glorify God by proclaiming the truth of His dear Son

Jesus Christ and standing only on the truth of His Word.

6. This same group does not mind afflicting the man of God as

long as their own selfish interests are served. This is done out of

a spirit of faction like in Romans 2:8. "but for those who are

self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey

unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury." (Romans 2:8,

ESV)

7. This same group craves honor and prestige and will do

whatever it takes to get it. Even if it means affliction to the man

of God who is imprisoned. Paul declares that his opponents

were annoyed at his success because it interfered with their own

selfish aims and because of this they stirred up conflict against

him.

8. Notice that Paul does not hurl around scurrilous accusations,

he simply and calmly describes what has come to pass and

allows their actions to expose them for who they really are. Paul

endures them by grace and by his actions exhorts us to "live a

godly life in Christ Jesus."

"my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at

Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I

endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who

desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," (2

Timothy 3:11-12, ESV)

9. It is sad to think that the Gospel ministry can be carried on in

the energy of the flesh, motivated by greed, strife, pride and

envy. This teaches us the necessity for watching our motives

when we serve the Lord. We must not do it for self display, for

the advancement of a denomination or for the defeat of other

Christians. We must do it out of a sole desire to see God

glorified in all the nations through His Son Jesus Christ and to

suffer for His name's sake.

"except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that

imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my

life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish

my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,

to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:23-24,

ESV)

" For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not

worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

(Romans 8:18, ESV)

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an

eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," (2 Corinthians

4:17, ESV)

10. It is sad that there should be men who profess the gospel,

especially who preach it, who are governed by such principles

as these, who should preach Christ in spite to Paul, and to

increase the affliction of his bonds. Let us not think it strange if

in these later and more degenerate ages of the church there

should be an increase in such. - Matthew Henry (A. D. 1702)

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