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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. (Php 1:12-14 NAS95)
- Paul shared that his imprisonment had advanced the Gospel because it allowed him to share with the praetorian guard and the other people around him. He also shared that other believers had more courage to trust the Lord because of Paul’s imprisonment.
- How are you advancing the gospel during our time of social distancing?
- Is there something that you have seen someone else do that you would like to do to spread the gospel or encourage other believers?
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. (Php 1:15-17 NAS95)
- Paul talks of people sharing the gospel out of envy and strife.
- Have you ever seen a preacher who preached out of ambition instead of love? What did it look like when someone shared the gospel out of envy?
- If someone preaches the Gospel out of envy, what will be the results in the lives of those around them?
- How can someone be saved if they hear the gospel from a teacher with false motives?
- What is the advantage of sharing the gospel out of love instead of ambition?
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Php 1:18-20 NAS95)
- Paul says, “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed” and then says this proclamation will result in his deliverance. Ultimately Paul would be executed by Caesar while in prison.
- Does Paul want the ambition filled and envious preachers to stop preaching? Why or why not?
- How does sharing the gospel result in deliverance if Paul stayed in prison until his death?
- If a church member said, “Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body,” why would it make you uncomfortable? Would your comfort level change if the person was fit and healthy or if they were broken and sickly when they were saying this?
21 ¶ For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. (Php 1:21-26 NAS95)
- Paul is conflicted in his prayer, part of him wants to die and be with Christ, part of him wants to live and do the work of Christ.
- In spite of his imprisonment, what is the benefit of living for Paul?
- Why does death seem attractive to Paul?
- In verse 14, what is Paul’s deciding factor in wanting to live on?
- How does Paul’s insight help us in praying for those we love who are facing death?
27 ¶ Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” (Php 1:27-30 NAS95)
- Paul’s command to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel” is in the plural, addressed to the whole church, not the individual members.
- How can our church conduct itself in a worthy manner?
- How does fellowship help us to strive together and not be alarmed?
- Paul says that suffering for Christ is a granted by God in the same way as believing in Him is.
- How is suffering for Christ a blessing?
- Is Paul grateful that he is suffering or grateful in his suffering? What is the difference?