“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 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.”
Lord, let the Gospel advance in us and among us.
Paul is writing this letter to the church of Philppi from prison. I don’t know about you, but if I were in prison (and there for wrong reasons, I might add) I don’t think I would be concerned about many things other than 1) getting out of prison and 2) defending my case. But Paul doesn’t seem to be concerned about either of those things… he says “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…” Paul continually shows us that he cares about one thing and one thing only. The Gospel. He wants people to hear the Gospel, respond to the Gospel and live in the Gospel. This was his greatest desire.
Now let me ask this: is that your greatest desire? The gospel...advancing.
Because if I am honest, I don’t know if I can necessarily say that is true of me. My greatest desires seem to be more in line with the latest instagram story, surviving the daily grind with my kids and my own comfort. Paul encourages us to desire the greatest thing, the Gospel.
Now let’s take a minute and grasp more fully why the gospel is worth our greatest desires. The word “gospel” can also be translated as “good news.” The gospel is GOOD NEWS. Y’all, these days good news seems harder and harder to come by. HEB has eggs… that’s good news! Chuy’s is still taking to-go orders… that’s good news! Good news is only good news if it’s in light of bad news. So HEB having eggs is a good thing because they haven’t had eggs in a while. The gospel is good news because before there was only bad news. Sin- pain- suffering- separation from God- trying to keep the law. All of that… bad news. BUT THEN JESUS. Jesus came and defeated sin. Jesus came and created a pathway for relationship. Jesus came and conquered the grave. We are free. We are forgiven. We are adopted as His kids. Y’all this is GOOD NEWS.
This gospel deserves our greatest desires. This gospel deserves to advance even in the craziest and most difficult and unchartered territory of Covid-19.
So Lord Jesus, let the gospel advance. Let it advance in our own hearts and let it advance among us.
What are some of your desires in life outside the gospel?
How can you receive the good news today of the gospel?