March 30, 2013

Greater Progress Of The Gospel – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:49 pm by sranderson0103

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,” (Philippians 1:12)

The infrequently used word translated “greater progress” (also translated “advancement”) is used to describe what happened to the cause of Christ as a result of Paul’s being in jail. Paul wrote this epistle while he was unjustly imprisoned in a Roman jail, and no doubt he remembered the time when he had first met many of his Philippian Christian friends as a result of being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-40). In fact he had often been imprisoned (II Corinthians 11:23) and had suffered severely in many other ways for “the greater progress of the gospel.”

During the two years or more he was a prisoner in Rome, he not only taught God’s Word to many who visited him there (Acts 28:30-31) but also wrote at least four of his inspired epistles there (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon). And these have been of untold blessing to millions down through the years. In ways which Paul could never have imagined, it was true indeed that these things which had happened to him had turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.”

The apostle Paul had the spiritual insight to realize that what seemed like great problems and difficulties could be used by God to the “advancement” of the gospel. Rather than complaining or even quitting when the Christian life gets hard, we must remember that God can make even “the wrath of man” to bring praise to Him (Psalm 76:10).

Of course, such difficulties do not have the same effect on all. The proud were turned off by this preacher who spent time in jail. Paul described the effect on a significant number when he said, “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me…” (II Timothy 1:15). He implied that some were embarrassed by him when he commended Onesiphorus who, “was not ashamed of my chains;” (II Timothy 1:16).

The proud are turned off. The humble are unaffected. This is the way God planned it. The bottom line is “the greater progress of the gospel.” In fact, Paul informs us of the extent of the progress during his lifetime. He says “…the gospel that you have heard,…was proclaimed  in all creation under heaven.” (Colossians 1:23).  The New King James Version says, “the gospel which you heard,…was preached to every creature under heaven.”

There are times we are tempted to think that if we could just build a more impressive building than the denominationalist, if we could just have better, more impressive entertainment, then we could really advance the cause of the gospel. Many around us obviously think this way. However, that was not the way Paul did it and that was not the way it worked in New Testament times.

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