Proclaiming Christ out of Rivalry
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,
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
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,
" 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
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)