The Apostle Paul most likely wrote the letter to the Philippians while he was in Rome. By the time of its writing, he has certainly suffered his fair share of hardship. But what is his response to all of the difficulty that he has faced?
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…Philippians 1:12, ESV
He realized that all of the things that happened to him were ultimately for good. Paul was a true Gospel Advancing Leader! His passion was christ! He longed to advance the gospel (boldly proclaiming Christ everywhere he went) and making disciples who made disciples (writing letters to his disciples all along the way).
He recognized that God is a Great Redeemer, making good out of the bad circumstances he consistently came up against. He trusted God as the Glorious Savior, knowing that God could and would save him from the terrible situations he found himself living through. He also realized that God is the great King Forever, he was not afraid to declare Jesus even when he stood before early kings and rulers. He knew that Jesus was exalted high above any and every earthly king.
May we also live lives that are passionate for Christ! May we long to advance the gospel and make disciples who make disciples… to the glory of God!
Philippians 4 – Colossians 2
Paul and Timothy’s opening thanksgiving and prayer in the letter to the Colossians is so beautifully written and articulated. Let’s check it out.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,Colossians 1:3–4, ESV
Paul and Timothy thank God when they pray for the church in Colossae. They think about the church’s faith in Jesus Christ, and the love that they have for other believers, and they thank God for it! When is the last time that you have thanked God for your church’s faith in Christ and love for one another? No, I’m sure that your church is not perfect, but neither were the Colossians. Still, Paul and Timothy thanked God for their faith and love.
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,Colossians 1:5, ESV
Here we see the secret to their love for one another. They are not kind to one another because they are exceptionally good people. No. They have issues just like anyone else, but they are able to be kind and show genuine love for one another because they realize through their faith in Christ that they have a hope beyond this world! Their hope is laid up for them in heaven. So what can man do to them? Nothing! Man may destroy their earthly possessions, but man cannot touch their heavenly possessions. Therefore, since we have such an amazing hope laid up for us in heaven, let us love one another!
And how did they come to know about this hope that is laid up for them in heaven? They realized it by hearing the word of the truth, the gospel! Someone shared the gospel with them, and it literally changed their lives (and their eternity)!
which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalfColossians 1:6–7, ESV
Who was it that shared the gospel with the Colossians? It was Epaphras.
The gospel IS advancing. It IS going out into the whole world and it IS bearing fruit and increasing. How is it the gospel advancing? It is advancing by word of mouth as everyday, average, faithful ministers of Christ, like Epaphras (and like you and I) share the gospel with others.
Did you see the difference the gospel made in the lives of the Colossians?! God wants to make that same difference today through you and me as we faithfully advance the gospel, like Epaphras.
So… what are we waiting for? #LetsGo!