“But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel”
Most of the people that worked with Paul knew that he had been imprisoned for his preaching of the gospel. He was a zealot for Christ. Everything he did and said revolved around that one thing – introducing people to Jesus. And for that, he was put into prison. We can read the account in Acts. He came up before two of the Roman leaders, and almost convinced them to follow Christ. They were wanting to let him go, ignoring the charges of insurrection that the Pharisees were bringing against him. But he had appealed to Caesar, and they could not avoid that. They had to take him to Caesar, and they would be him in a guarded house until his time came up before Caesar. So Paul was imprisoned for the gospel.
Paul’s first trip Philippi was before his trips to Thessalonia, Ephesus and Corinth. He was imprisoned there for preaching the gospel, and was miraculously set free in the middle of the night. His second trip there, on his third missionary journey, was short and effective. He fell in love with the people of Philippi for their sincere love of Christ.
The brothers he worked with, including Timothy, Bartholomew, Mark, Epaphrus and many others, knew of his plight, and went out to continue his work in the field. They preached Christ because of their love for Paul and his mission, and because of their love for the churches Paul had started, and for the people in them.
When we preach Christ for reasons like this, we preach for the right reasons. Maybe we are extending the reach of our church, maybe we are helping out our Pastor, maybe we are missionaries spreading the gospel for our denomination. These reasons are all lifting up Christ, not us. And as long as Christ is lifted up and receiving the glory, all is well.
Lord, as I allow your Holy Spirit to speak to me about getting back out to evangelize, help me to have an attentive ear to hear what the Lord wants me to task about. Not my agenda, but His. I must preach out of love for the people and love for the gospel. Every church is different, and every one needs a different message. Help me to be wise and open to your leading.