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Philippians 1:12-18

Talks for Growing Christians

The Good Results of Paul’s Imprisonment

Philippians 1:12-18

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Lesson Number 4

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Adverse circumstances can advance God’s purposes.
  2. Bad motives cannot thwart God’s purposes.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s develop a big picture mentally like Paul.

Questions

  1. What was the rippling-out effect when Paul was chained to the Roman guards?
  2. Explain, in light of Paul’s imprisonment, “Adverse circumstances can advance God’s purpose.”
  3. “Some preached Christ from envy and strife…” Could God use this for good?
  4. How could Paul rise above the circumstances of his imprisonment?
  5. Why was Paul imprisoned?

Answers

  1. Each guard would have heard Paul’s preaching, teaching, and testimony. Some would have become Christians, and the gospel rippled out beyond the ranks of the guards into Caesar’s household, where others became Christians. See Philippians 4:22.
  2. From the human perspective, Paul had run into some very adverse circumstances after having a successful ministry. Thrown into prison, Paul’s travels were cut off and he was chained to a Roman guard. It was in this situation that God’s purposes were being advanced; the gospel was making its way into the imperial ranks. The prison became a pulpit. Also, the Christians in Rome were emboldened by Paul’s position.
  3. Yes. Regardless of bad motives, Christ was preached. Paul could say, “Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice…”
  4. Because he looked at the big picture, knowing that God was in control and that He was able to turn tragedy into triumph. Paul believed what he had written in Romans 8:28.
  5. Not because he had done anything wrong, but because of his faith in Christ and his bold testimony.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Do you dread adverse experiences, or do you look for God’s greater plan in them?
  2. What is your response when you hear some preaching out of envy or strife, or with wrong reasons? Can you say with Paul, “Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice?”
  3. Have you ever emboldened others because of your strong stand for Christ?

Challenge

  1. How real is Romans 8:28 to you? Can you cite specific instances when you realized this truth? Remember “all things” means “all things!”

Key Verses

  • “The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12
  • “Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:18

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