Faith Church Family,
When we think of the gospel, there are a number of things that could and should come to our mind. But hopefully what comes to our mind is the notion that the gospel should be foundational to our lives and that without it we would be lost. Because our hope is found in the gospel, we give it prominence in our life over all things.
- We love the Gospel more than our comfort: v.12-14
Even though Paul is writing from prison his concern is about the advance of the gospel, not his personal situation. The result of this is that the gospel advances. It advances among non-believers and believers. For non-believers, they are exposed to the gospel because of Paul’s imprisonment. For believers, they are emboldened to share the gospel because of Paul’s imprisonment. What we would be tempted to look at as something bad or undesirable, Paul tells us it is for Christ. This is a great challenge for us to be reminded that the things that we may find to be difficult, Christ may be using to accomplish His purposes. This has increasingly become an obstacle toward gospel advancement today. It’s not that comfort is inherently sinful or wrong, but it becomes wrong if it pushes Jesus or the gospel to the periphery of our lives. Ask yourself: Am I willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel? Am I willing to be moved for the gospel?
- We love the Gospel more than our reputation: v.15-18
Paul continues by saying that there are people sharing the gospel, but not all of them are doing it for the right reasons. In fact, what we see, is that some are sharing the gospel with the intent of getting at Paul. In a contemporary sense, they’re going after his reputation. But Paul is more concerned with the gospel then his own reputation. The result of this is that the gospel is proclaimed. If we’re honest with ourselves, this can be a great hindrance to us sharing the gospel. We can care too deeply about what others will think of us and not deeply enough about their state before God. Ask yourself: Am I willing to lose my reputation if it means gospel advancement?
- We love the Gospel more than life: v.18-24
The next aspect that we see is all encompassing. Paul makes clear that he loves the gospel more than his life. The result of this is that Christ is honored. The beauty of what Paul lays out here is that no matter what, we win. To live is Christ. This means that my identity is subsumed by Jesus. Further, he goes on to mention fruitful labor in v.22. What he’s pointing the reader toward is the fact that living for Jesus gives our life a deeper meaning and purpose. It means we have something to invest and expend ourselves in that has eternal value. But he doesn’t stop there. He continues by stating that to die is gain. Do we really believe that death is to our advantage? If so, it becomes an incredibly freeing reality! Consider this, if the worst that the world can threaten us with is the greatest treasure possible, the world has nothing on us! But we must believe that dying is in fact gain, to live in this freedom. Ask yourself: Do I see my life as belonging to Christ? Do I see death as gain?
- We love the Gospel more than personal preference: v.25-26
Finally, we see that we are to love the gospel more than personal preference. The result of this is that Christ is gloried in. This is a beautiful reality that plays out. When we forego our personal preference, it leads to a place where God’s people are able to glory in God’s person. Ask yourself: Am I more concerned with my personal preference or Christ being gloried in? Put another way, is getting what I want more satisfying than Jesus getting what He deserves?
A faithful church loves the gospel. God help us that we would love the gospel more than our comfort, our reputation, our life or our personal preferences.
Note: At the end of the service, someone from Faith came and shared how God has been working in her life, as a tangible way of seeing the gospel. You can listen to this by listening to the sermon audio from this Sunday. You can click here http://faithchurchrr.org/sermons-20/a-faithful-church-loves-the-gospel/ or find it on our website.