“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me
has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become
clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that
I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers
in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more
courageously and fearlessly.”
Philippians 1: 12-14
As I was preparing to write this blog, I was reminded that two of our elders recently took a trip to Poland on an apostolic mission. I thought of a scenario that goes something like this:
Somewhere along the way one of our pastors who is ministering in a foreign country is arrested and accused of being a spy. All we know is he’s being held as a prisoner of the state. As a church, we “pray without ceasing” 24/7 eagerly awaiting word from him, not even knowing if he’s alive. After a time, our church receives a message from him that goes something like this:
“Guys, I have wonderful news to share with you. I was arrested for being a spy and have been questioned several times by top government officials and have had opportunities to share the gospel with them. Not only that, but word has reached the local brothers and sisters here, and they’ve been going crazy preaching to everyone they meet. Keep praying because God is doing some amazing things here.”
The gospel was everything to the Apostle Paul. It didn’t matter if he was in prison or free as long as the gospel advanced.
I guess I’m kind of musing on this blog because I find myself convicted about the fact that I get bothered by things that have to do with me and my well-being. Paul wasn’t concerned about that. As long as the cause of the gospel advanced, he was content.
I was also reminded of a blog that Kelly Kinder wrote about a year ago. Paul had been wanting to go to Rome but had been prevented up until he was arrested. Now as a prisoner of the state he was in Rome and because of his chains, he had access to the government officials. Some of them even became believers as is seen in Chapter 4:22, “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” Had Paul gone when he wanted to it is very unlikely he would have had opportunities to share the gospel with Caesar’s household. In this passage, Paul emphasizes to the brothers that everything that happened worked out to advance the gospel and that’s what mattered.
Is that what is really important to us?