TEXT: Philippians 1:12-21
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
— PRAYER —
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 310 messages in this series.
This is message #311 titled, Prayer, Pain, and Preaching, Part 2.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The same God who used Moses’ rod, Gideon’s pitchers, and David’s sling used Paul’s chains. Little did the Romans realize that the chains they affixed to his wrists would release Paul instead of bind him. Even as he wrote during a later imprisonment, ‘I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.’ He did not complain about his chains; instead, he consecrated them to God and asked God to use them for the pioneer advance of the gospel. And God answered his prayers.
“To begin with, these chains gave Paul contact with the lost. He was chained to a Roman soldier twenty-four hours a day. The shifts changed every six hours, which meant Paul could witness to at least four men each day. Imagine yourself as one of those soldiers, chained to a man who prayed ‘without ceasing,’ who was constantly interviewing people about their spiritual condition, and who was repeatedly writing letters to Christians and churches throughout the empire. It was not long before some of these soldiers put their faith in Christ. Paul was able to get the gospel into the elite Praetorian Guard, something he could not have done had he been a free man.
“But the chains gave Paul contact with another group of people: the officials in Caesar’s court. He was in Rome as an official prisoner, and his case was an important one. The Roman government was going to determine the official status of this new ‘Christian’ sect. Was it merely another sect of the Jews? Or was it something new and possibly dangerous? Imagine how pleased Paul must have been knowing that the court officials were forced to study the doctrines of the Christian faith.
“Sometimes God has to put ‘chains’ on His people to get them to accomplish a ‘pioneer advance’ that could never happen any other way. Young mothers may feel chained to the home as they care for their children, but God can use those chains to reach people with the message of salvation. Susannah Wesley was the mother of nineteen children, before the days of labor-saving devices and disposable diapers. Out of that large family came John and Charles Wesley, whose combined ministries shook the British Isles. At six weeks of age, Fanny Crosby was blinded, but even as a youngster she determined not to be confined by the chains of darkness. In time, she became a mighty force for God through her hymns and gospel songs.
“The secret is this: When you have the single mind, you look on your circumstances as God-given opportunities for the furtherance of the gospel, and you rejoice at what God is going to do instead of complaining about what God did not do.
“Paul’s chains not only gave contact with the lost, but they also gave courage to the saved Many of the believers in Rome took fresh courage when they saw Paul’s faith and determination. They were ‘much more bold to speak the word without fear.’ That word speak does not mean ‘preach.’ Rather, it means ‘everyday conversation.’ No doubt many of the Romans were discussing Paul’s case, because such legal matters were of primary concern to this nation of lawmakers. And the Christians in Rome who were sympathetic to Paul took advantage of this conversation to say a good word for Jesus Christ. Discouragement has a way of spreading, but so does encouragement. Because of Paul’s joyful attitude, the believers in Rome took fresh courage and witnessed boldly for Christ.”
In this passage, Paul continues to express his thankfulness and gratitude despite his predicament of imprisonment. In fact, in this passage, he reveals another reason why he is thankful despite his painful situation. As you might recall, his first reason for thankfulness was because of how the Philippians were growing in the faith, supporting him in the ministry, and expressing Christ-like love to each other. His second reason is because, despite his own situation, the Gospel is still being preached; in fact, it is being preached even moreso. And Paul says, “Every way Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Sometimes, we make a great deal over praying for deliverance from suffering, but we forget that God often intends to use our suffering for His glory. It shouldn’t be lost on us that, in this letter, Paul never states that he is praying for deliverance from prison. Instead, he prays for the furtherance of the Gospel and for the spiritual growth of the Philippians. He rejoiced over the fact that the Gospel was being preached even more because of his imprisonment than it had been before.
With Paul out of the picture, other preachers were led to step up to fill in the gap. Of course, some of them did not have entirely pure motives. Some thought to themselves, “Great! Now that Paul is off the scene, I can become the big time evangelist.” They preached Christ “of contention, not sincerely.” Others were sincere and preached Christ out of “love” and “good will.” It didn’t matter to Paul; he was just happy that the Gospel was being preached. He said, “Therein I do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
What a great example for us today. Even in the most personal of matters, Paul did not have a will about things. He was not trying to defend his name or knock those who thought they could rise up and take his place. He kept the main thing the main thing, even in prison, even in his prayers. In difficult circumstances, we ought to reconsider how we pray. Instead of being concerned only about our own deliverance, we ought to be concerned about whether God is being glorified and whether His will is being done. This will help us ensure that our will is aligned with God’s will in our prayers.
Mary A. Bachelor wrote:
Go bury thy sorrow, the world hath its share;
Go bury it deeply, go hide it with care.
Go think of it calmly, when curtained by night;
Go tell it to Jesus, and all will be right.
Go tell it to Jesus, He knoweth thy grief;
Go tell it to Jesus, He’ll send thee relief;
Go gather the sunshine He sheds on the way:
He’ll lighten thy burden—Go, weary one, pray.
Hearts growing weary with heavier woe
Now droop ‘mid the darkness—Go, comfort them, go!
Go bury thy sorrow, let others be blessed;
Go give them the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.