Home > General Posts, Sermons, Social Commentary > Together for the Gospel … and Rejoicing in Its Proclamation

Together for the Gospel … and Rejoicing in Its Proclamation

This morning, I delivered a sermon entitled “Rejoicing in the Proclamation of the Gospel” on Philippians 1:12-18 at Union Grove Baptist Church in Fulton, MS. In these verses of Philippians, Paul anticipates and quells the Philippians’ concerns that his imprisonment in Rome (v. 7) has hindered the advancement of the gospel; on the contrary, his imprisonment has “really served to advance the gospel” (v. 12)! In fact, “most” of the Christians in Rome are “all the more bold to speak the word without fear” (14). Even members of the imperial household have been converted to Christ (4:22)!

That said, Paul then delivers some interesting news: some of these Christians preach Christ sincerely and some insincerely. Some preach Christ in Paul’s absence out of love for God and fellow people, but others preach Christ out of enmity toward Paul. Paul, however, rejoices that “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed” (v. 18). The same Paul who pronounces a curse on anyone proclaiming a false gospel (Galatians 1:9) here rejoices in the proclamation of the gospel even when people proclaim it with impure motives! This is a fine line to walk, but while we are (definitely are) supposed to denounce false gospels, we should rejoice in the proclamation of the gospel at the hands of people who are less-than-friendly toward us. Whatever our other differences with people are, if we agree with someone (namely, a Christian) about the gospel, we are to be united in that. The gospel leaves no room for pride; we are to be humble and love all fellow Christians—even if they don’t love us (Philippians 2:1-5; Luke 6:27-28).

At the end of my sermon, I gave Together for the Gospel (T4G) as an example of Christian unity in the gospel. T4G is an interdenominational conference that initially stemmed from the friendship of four pastors—from different denominations—who united in the gospel. They do not all agree about baptismal methods, nor do they all agree upon the nature of spiritual gifts, but instead of disputing and dividing over these differences, these four pastors rather united in their like faith in the gospel of Christ. Their example is excellent, truly representative of Paul’s attitude in Philippians 1:18—

What, then? Only that in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes and I will rejoice,”

Like Paul, we should always rejoice at the proclamation of the gospel. Like the pastors who head the T4G conference, we should unite with fellow believers who are grounded in the gospel (listen to my sermon for a more thorough treatment of what the gospel is and what it is not).

For more information about Together for the Gospel (the next conference will be held in April 2010), visit the T4G website.

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