2017-11-26 10:15:02

/ November 26, 2017 - 10:15 am / 31 min / Viewed 357 times

Philippians 1:12-14

The Power of Chains

Courage or Cowardice
Jesus said to His disciples: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated
me before it hated you.” John 15:18
The apostle John wrote: Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates
you. 1 John 3:13
Jesus said to Ananias about Paul: “I will show him how much he must suffer
for the sake of my name.” Act 9:16
And as Paul writes this letter to the church at Philippi we find Paul in chains
for Christ because he was faithfully telling people the Good News of
Salvation. His imprisonment, according to our text, has two strange effects.
Saints are inspired by it, and sinners hear the Gospel because of it. This is
just one of the many mysterious ways the Lord works. What may be most
surprising to us is the way the believers familiar with Paul’s circumstances
responded, because (if we are believers) we wonder how it would impact
our witness if our companions in Christ were imprisoned, persecuted or
even martyred for the cause of Christ. Would it embolden us or frighten us –
would we be more courageous or more cowardly? We have not experienced
persecution to any serious degree in our country, and we need to thank the
Lord for that! But we don’t want to become soft. It seems to be a unique
trait of American Christianity that, because things have been so good here
by and large, we are surprised when the world doesn’t love us – when we
get any pushback for our faith or convictions. But that is contrary to what
we are told to expect. May God grant us the grace to be His faithful
witnessed whatever comes to pass. And may we be inspired by the faithful
witness of others who suffer for Christ to be bold and witnesses, all the
more, while we have the luxurious freedom most of our brothers and sisters
do not enjoy.