Christ Is Proclaimed
Read Philippians 1:15-18 (ESV)
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Have you ever questioned the motivations of people who are preaching the Gospel?
Social media is full of pastors and Bible teachers who are promoting their work. Maybe they wrote a book. Maybe they want you to subscribe to their YouTube channel, or Like their Facebook page. But what if they have questionable motives? What if they just want to grow a following or sell a book? How do we know if their hearts are sincere?
Today’s passage shows us that people proclaiming Christ with selfish ambition instead of with a sincere and humble heart is nothing new. In Paul’s day, he said that some were preaching Christ from a place of envy and rivalry. They were jealous of Paul’s authority and the fact that he was an apostle. Maybe Paul’s opposers didn’t think Paul should be preaching Jesus Christ to Gentiles. Maybe they were legalists.
Or maybe these detractors remembered Paul’s past. He had persecuted Christians! Why did God choose him? Why did he get to have such a successful ministry? Why was he gifted with apostolic power? Why could he heal the sick and cast out demons?
But God had specifically chosen Paul for this role. And truthfully, while God did give Paul apostolic power and He did grant him with extraordinary ministry success, God also allowed Paul to suffer. His ministry wasn’t glitz and glamor. Throughout his ministry, he was beaten and imprisoned and eventually killed for the truth he preached. It is obvious that Paul was seeking to glorify Christ and lead others to Him for their salvation. His heart and motives were pure.
So what about Paul’s critics and rivals? Paul said that he rejoices because Christ is proclaimed. No matter the motive. He knew that some people were for him and some people were against Him but all He cared about was the advancement of the Gospel.
We may never know if someone is preaching the Gospel with sincerity or ulterior motives. But if they are preaching the truth about Christ, we should rejoice that Christ is being proclaimed. Of course we should all have pure motives and a sincere heart! The problem is that all of us are sinners. Unfortunately, none of us serve God with pure motives 100% of the time. And because of that, I am eternally grateful to Jesus Christ for His grace!
Friends, let’s seek to preach Christ and serve Him humbly and genuinely. But rather than trying to deduce the motivations and heart attitudes of another, let’s evaluate their message on the basis of truthfulness. Is this person proclaiming the truth of Christ? If so, let’s rejoice that despite human sinfulness, Christ is being proclaimed.
Lord, I want to serve You with a sincere and humble heart. Help me to share the Gospel for the right reason—that others may know You. No matter what, thank You for working through us in spite of our fallenness. In all things, may You be glorified and Your name be proclaimed. Amen.