Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Paul is writing to the Church of Jesus Christ in Philippi from prison in Rome. Rome was the only church he wrote to that he had not been instrumental in founding. Paul had experienced the Sovereign Grace of God. He knew how God worked and moved. It is good to learn from a man who knows – especially in this vital area.
We are in Philippians Chapter 1verse 12f – Paul realised that there are no misfortunes – only opportunities. What an attitude!
Everything furthers the Gospel. I have got the Gospel into the palace! Now, as a free man that would have been impossible. He holds Gospel meetings in the palace – not a big attendance – but certainly a captive audience! I am prisoner because I believe in Jesus Christ. His only crime was loyalty to Jesus Christ.
Imprisonment got Paul and the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the heart of the Roman Empire. This elite praetorian guard who were chained to Paul had to listen to him preach. Imagine being chained to Paul. Think of what they would hear – Paul praying – Paul praying in tongues – and they were also exposed to his correspondence.
All this went around the palace. Everyone was speaking about it. What a door for the Gospel. With Paul in prison, we Romans must get out and preach the Gospel. They passed on the message.
Paul had passed on the gift of speaking with holy boldness. They were now fearlessly proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ. People were preaching Jesus. Paul had set on fire the Church of Rome. He cannot preach now, so we will do it.
Some were doing it out of wrong motives – yes, out of jealousy, but that did not overly concern Paul. When you hear wrong stuff, you can correct it!
They were doing it as if knowing they were doing it – to make Pauls’ chains irritate him more. What a big man he is. Paul has no battle over this.
Back in Philippi, they can rejoice, because Jesus Christ is being advertised. Even though people are preaching from wrong motives, (or mixed motives) it is the right message and that pleases me! I heard a few years ago – “Why does someone who preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ need to be so boring?”
It is the message that saves – not the preacher. As long as the message is being preached, I am pleased. There is no self-pity here – no poor old me!
So what should they pray for? Pray that I will not fail in my duty. Pray that I will not let down Christ. I want people to honour Christ. The circumstances are wonderful – just pray that I may honour Christ.
“Our loving gracious God – help us to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teach the truths of the Scriptures in the power of the Holy Spirit – with a clean heart and from pure motives. Thank You that these very honest and realistic circumstances are recorded in the Bible. Help us to be as real and honest and pure as we can be as we minister to those to whom You call us – in Jesus Name.” Amen.
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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