“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:13-14 KJV)
“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” (Philippians 1:13 NIV)
NO FEAR. This is our goal as we have studied over the past months all God’s Word has to say about “fear not.” This verse, however, is somewhat of a “surprise, surprise, surprise” to quote Gomer Pyle. So, let’s dig into this and see: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discern-er of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Paul is in prison. He is in prison for His faith. Some say people get religion in prison. Paul already had his faith and it has landed him in jail. A Roman jail. He is well known in the prison: To everyone in and around the palace. He has been a wee bit too vocal about his faith in Jesus Christ who was executed and then had the audacity to rise from the dead and make Rome look foolish. Christ is an enemy of the Roman empire. So, as a follower of Jesus, Saul who became Paul is now an enemy of the state. Yet, even though he is in prison, chained to a wall in a dark, dirty, dungeon with minimal food and water and the knowledge that his head is on a chopping block, Paul continues to preach Christ crucified, dead, and raised from the dead, sitting at the right hand of God the Father for the remission of sin.
Now that is guts born out of something worth dying for or complete misguided stupidity. Having your head on a chopping block will make you examine just how much you REALLY believe something. Only love and a firm, unshakeable belief in someone will make you willing to die for them.
Paul is a living (for the moment) manifestation of what it means to have trusted in Christ as Savior. He needs a Savior right about now! If he loses his head he has to know it was worth the price. His life exemplifies, “ For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Paul is in prison but already he sees “all things working together for good to those who love the LORD and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28) Others are gaining courage and confidence to boldly proclaim the good news that Jesus has paid our sin debt and all He asks in return is that we believe. Paul is an ambassador: “a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” In this case, an ambassador for CHRIST.
Do we realize how much our lives and how we respond to the circumstances of our life impact others? Do we realize that people REALLY do watch our lives and make decisions about their lives based on what we say, what we do, what we believe in? Maybe we should be worried, at least to some degree, about what people think of us? Can our lives impact others to make decisions to count the cost and choose to follow Christ? This Scripture says IT MATTERS! This scripture declares it does make a difference.
Throughout history, persecution has never failed to spread the gospel despite the fact it was intended to stop the spread of Christianity in its tracks. Do we not hold those who have willingly suffered and died for the faith in high esteem? Do we not stand in awe of their sacrifice for who they believe in? (Matthew 16:15-20)
Followers of Christ began to share without fear knowing it landed Paul in prison. Does this even make sense? Here is the power of Christ living and working within a life of a believer. Instead of Paul’s imprisonment inhibiting the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire it was the match igniting the tender and causing Christianity to spread like wildfire.
Are you being persecuted for your faith? Are you in “chains” in your workplace, your family,your nation? We can take heart-courage-our God will use our persecution as He used Paul’s and others will gain confidence to boldly and daringly proclaim His good news! In God’s economy, NOTHING is wasted: Not our time, not our suffering, not our sacrifice, not our life.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Treading water til Jesus comes,