"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
Making Good Out Of Ill (Ph 1:12-18)
1. As we continue our study, we should really begin to appreciate the
statement that "this epistle is like a window into the apostle's own
2. We have already seen Paul's FONDNESS for the saints at Philippi, as
expressed in his thanksgiving (Ph 1:3-8) and prayer (Ph 1:9-11)
3. In this lesson, we shall see Paul's JOY, despite circumstances which
would cause most people to be despondent
4. The title of this lesson is "Making Good Out Of Ill", for this is
what Paul did, as we find in our text (Ph 1:12-18)
[Notice first, that Paul was "Making Good Out Of Ill", even...]
I. IN IMPRISONMENT (Ph 1:12-14)
A. PAUL INFORMS THEM OF THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL (v12)
1. The Philippians were aware of Paul's circumstances - cf. Ph 4:14
2. Yet he does not want them to be overly concerned
a. For he had "good news" - not bad news!
b. The "gospel" was still being spread!
3. Now, Paul could have looked at the bad side of his situation...
a. His own imprisonment
b. His restriction in travel
4. But Paul looked at life from the viewpoint of the gospel...
a. If the gospel was spreading, it was "good news"!
b. And his imprisonment was actually INCREASING the progress of
[How? Let's read on...]
B. THERE WERE SERMONS IN HIS CHAINS (v13)
1. Being under "house arrest" (cf. Acts 28:30-31) constantly made
reference to the cause of Jesus Christ
a. He was not there for normal reasons (e.g., crimes)
b. So his situation naturally sparked interest and discussion
2. In this way, the message of the gospel was being made known to
"the whole palace guard"
a. Most likely the emperor's own guards, who were put in charge
of special prisoners awaiting their appeal before Caesar
b. Though allowed some freedom, Paul was still under constant
guard - cf. Acts 28:16
c. But these guards were also under the constant influence of
Paul and the gospel!
1) They could not help overhearing what Paul taught others!
- again cf. Ac 28:30-31
2) It is almost certain Paul would have tried to teach his
"captive audience" (those soldiers chained to him)
d. So it is possible that some of them were converted (for they
would be included of those "who are Caesar's household"
- cf. Ph 4:22 )
3. The message was also being spread "to all the rest"
a. Perhaps by word of mouth
b. And by visitation - again cf. Acts 28:30-31
4. And so, Paul could see "good out of ill"!
a. Being in protective custody gave him free rein to preach the
gospel to guards and his visitors!
b. But he saw even more "good out of ill"...
C. HIS EXAMPLE WAS PROMPTING OTHERS TO ACTION (v14)
1. His imprisonment caused most brethren to be more confident and
a. They saw that HE was at liberty to teach, "with all
confidence, no one forbidding him" (Ac 28:31 )
b. That prompted THEM to "speak the word without fear" (v 14)
2. So the gospel was being spread, and to Paul, that's GOOD news!
[There is an application for us to make today, but before we do so,
let's notice another example of how Paul was "making good out of ill",
II. IN PERSECUTION (Vs 15-18)
A. SOME WERE PREACHING TO HURT PAUL (v15a; v16)
1. Such individuals were motivated by "envy","strife", and "selfish
2. They thought they could add affliction to Paul's chains
3. These individuals could either be "Judaizers" or jealous church
B. BUT WE SEE PAUL'S CONQUERING JOY SHINING THROUGH THE GLOOM (v15b; Ph 1:17-18)
1. First, because he did not lose sight of those preaching out of
"love" and "goodwill"
a. Those who knew Paul was imprisoned because of the gospel
b. Those who knew their preaching would increase the gospel and
thus encourage Paul
c. And so, Paul did not fall into the trap of "self-pity" and
"despair" so common among preachers
1) Who when persecuted, think they are the only ones who are
2) Who when persecuted, lose sight of the faithful because of
2. Secondly, because he could see those seeking to persecute him
were inadvertently spreading the gospel! - v18
a. Though in pretense, though from envy and strife, Christ was
still being preached!
b. And since "preaching Christ and Him crucified" was Paul's
main purpose in life (cf. 1 Cor 2:2), he could find cause to
rejoice even when Christ was preached by those who meant him
[So we see how Paul was "Making Good Out Of Ill", even in imprisonment and
in persecution. What applications can we make from this today?]
III. DRAWING SOME APPLICATIONS FROM THIS TEXT
A. UNDERSTANDING THE "KEY" TO "MAKING GOOD OUT OF ILL"...
1. For Paul, it was making the proclamation of Jesus Christ his
goal, his purpose in life, his highest joy!
2. So it can be for us! If we do the same...
a. We can experience a joy greater than any other (just as John
did - cf. 3 Jn 4)
b. We can "make good out ill" in just about any circumstances,
1) Hospital confinement (as we communicate the gospel in
both word and life to those ministering to our needs)
2) Difficult situations at work, with family, and even with
the church (as we demonstrate the impact the gospel can
have in dealing with these problems)
3) Even in death and dying (as we will learn more about in
our next lesson)
3. If we make magnifying Christ our primary focus in life, we can
ALWAYS "make good out of ill"!
B. TAKE HEART KNOWING THAT GOD CAN USE "IMPERFECT" TEACHERS...
1. Many get discouraged by all the "false teachers" we see on TV
and hear on radio, etc.
a. But much of their error is interspersed with some truth
b. God is able to use them to lead others who are seeking the
truth a little closer to His truth
c. The false teachers will be held accountable for their error;
we can at the least rejoice that to some degree, Christ is
2. Many who would teach others about Christ, hesitate to do so out
of fear they may say the wrong thing
a. Yet we see in our text that God could use those who were
imperfect in motive to proclaim Jesus to others - v18
b. If God can use those imperfect in "motive", can He not also
use those imperfect in "ability"?
1) Paul certainly claimed lack of ability to some degree -
cf. 1 Cor 2:3-4
2) So God can use us, to whatever degree we are able!
3) And wherever we may be lacking, He can use someone else to
supplement our efforts!
1. To put it another way, not only was PAUL "making good out of ill",
but GOD is able to "make good out ill"!
2. And so can we, if we like Paul make "preaching Christ" the major focus
in life! Do we?
Even if you are lost in sin, or a child of God who has strayed away, you
can let Christ make good out of your ill circumstances by obeying His
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