We have all heard our parents and grandparents speak of the “good old days.” They speak of it as yesterday was so much better than today; less troubles, less problems, even less sinful behavior.
In the church we tend to exalt the early days of the New Testament churches imagining that they were so much more pure than we are today. However this is a false idealization, it is an attempt to make the early church into something it never was. There is hardly a problem in the church today that did not exist in some form in the church of the first century. The sins and problems are essentially the same. (Read
I Corinthians) Paul experienced many trouble makers at Rome that sought to bring distress during his imprisonment. Jealous and envious preachers sought to take away Paul’s joy. No such thing was achieved because Paul had his hope in the Lord of the church. And the sovereign power of Christ’s gospel. Rom. 1:16)
Preaching Christ With Wrong Motives
Some believe these preachers were not Christians at all – Gal. 1:7-9
Even if the gospel is preached with impure motives, Christ is proclaimed – v.18
Detractors – Turn To: I Corinthians 3:10-15
Anti- Paul factions – I Cor. 1:12; 3:22-23
Paul was not naïve – Mark 15:9,10
Envy – ( Rom. 1:29; 13:13; II Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19-21; I Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:9; I Pet. 2:1) Acts 9:1-6; 18:9-11; 22:17-18; 23:11
Strife – It should not be excused.
Paul’s imprisonment – compared to Job’s friends – Turn To: 13:4-12
Preaching Christ With Pure Motives
Good will preachers – I Cor. 13:1-3
Appointed for the defense of the gospel – Phil. 1:7 “appoint” Gk. “a strategic position” or “special forces,” a military term. (Acts 9:15 cf. 13:2; Gal. 1:15-16; Eph. 3:6-7; Acts 25:11
Hobby horse preachers – Dr. Ed Robson – “Dear Young Shepherd”
I Tim.6:3, 4
Pretense or Truth:
Why does Paul rejoice when men preach with selfish ambition?
Jonah was such a preacher. He was angry when Nineveh repented – Jonah 4:1-4; Isa. 55:11
Scottish preacher, and expositor, John Eadie’s wise comment.
Matthew Poole’s emphasis on the providence of God
Absolutely nothing could steal Paul’s God given joy. Paul knew he was expendable; the gospel was not.
God is much more pleased to use instruments of the gospel with pure motives because deep down within their heart and soul they desire to exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are all called to be witnesses of the gospel in our daily lives. In a sense we are all evangelists, bearers of the good news – (Book “Jesus the Evangelist” by Richard Phillips) – John 1:6-7
Pastor Nick Iamaio
Reformed Presbyterian Church 207 South First Street, Fulton, NY 13069 Web Site fultonrpc.org