As we work our way through the epistle to the Philippians, we are commenting on Paul’s use of the word JOY (and its variants). His first use of the word JOY occurs in 1:4 where he says he always prays with JOY” for these believers. I’ve got a lot to learn about prayer — and its connection to what I’m calling “deep JOY.”
The second use of the term JOY is found in 1:15-18 where we read:
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (ch. 1)
Should we rejoice when “Christ” is preached by the cults? Of course not! Why not? Because the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons and those in Ba’hai, etc. are not preaching the biblical Christ! Paul’s not thankful for false Christs being preached. He’s rejoicing when the true Christ is proclaimed, even if the motives for such preaching are not praiseworthy.
Do I rejoice when prosperity theology preachers — the “Name It/Claim It” characters — preach Christ? That’s a challenge, primarily because they often twist the gospel for financial gain. Paul is dealing with motives not with the message itself. We must evaluate and oppose perverted “gospels” that some proclaim today.
Paul says some preach Christ out of goodwill and love while others preach Christ out of envy and rivalry and selfish ambition, seeking to get Paul in more trouble than he already was. The obvious point is that Paul isn’t primarily interested in his own situation, but in the true Christ being preached!
Challenge: How will you and I “preach Christ” today? Let’s rejoice in Him and His saving work and share the gospel out of love and goodwill.