The Gospel, Above All Else
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:15-21
For complete audio of this message, CLICK HERE.
This week's recap is quite brief. The message didn't lend itself well to being condensed for quicker reading, and it didn't seem fair to expect you, the reader, to slog through a 2,100 word sermon if we posted the entire text on this page! So, here's a teaser paragraph or two to encourage you and perhaps pique your interest enough to listen to the sermon in its entirety (see the link posted above this paragraph).
Why was Paul so consumed by the Gospel? Why was he brimming over with joy? The answer seems boringly simple: because the Gospel is what saved him. He knew that when he was on the road to Damascus, he was on the road to hell. He can look back and realize this. And I wonder how many times he had though of it since that day – that the road to Damascus was a road to his own destruction had God not intervened. And isn’t that really our own testimony? How many of us have saved ourselves? Who can say, "Yeah, I did that. I was just clever enough to say 'yes' to Jesus." Isn't the reality that any true believer would testify that "He sought me and He bought me with his redeeming blood?"
Before salvation, Paul’s zeal for gaining salvation through works of the Law was actually earning him death because he was still sinful, because works done when your sin isn’t covered are useless! This is why he wrote in Romans: The wages of sin is death. This had been his life story. He had worked for so long as a "pharisee of pharisees", and he was going to get paid what he had coming to him. But God . . . stopped Paul in his tracks, knocked him off his horse, and saved him. Why was Paul consumed by the gospel? Why should we be? Because we, like Paul, would still be galloping toward Damascus and destruction apart from the Lord's intervention.