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October 21, 2023 - Philippians 1-4

Paul writes, “My imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. . . . What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (1:13-18).

Imprisonment, good will, envy, and rivalry . . . it doesn’t matter to Paul, the gospel will be proclaimed. The whole world seems against us. Our own culture and society is turning quickly away from the things of God. Sometimes, it seems as if Satan is winning. He’s not! The gospel will be sown, and it will be watered, and it will grow, and it will bear fruit.

Paul fleshes it out a bit more: “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:18-21). What a powerful and encouraging testimony!

Make me a captive, Lord,

And then I shall be free.

Force me to render up my sword

And I shall conqueror be.

I sink in life’s alarms

When by myself I stand;

Imprison me within thine arms,

And strong shall be my hand. -- George Matheson (1890)

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