Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Men focus much of their attention upon worrying about the motives behind other men’s actions. The apostle Paul had been placed in prison for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly for preaching the resurrection. His imprisonment actually led to “the furtherance of the gospel.” The Bible says that “many of the brethren in the Lord” began preaching the gospel; some had pure motives such as love (Philippians 1:17), but others had impure motives such as envy, strife, or contention (Philippians 1:15-16). Instead of complaining about the motives behind the actions, Paul rejoiced that Christ was being preached knowing that the Lord would deal with the motives at the judgment seat of Christ.
• (For children): Only God truly knows thoughts and hearts (Matthew 12:25a, Mark 2:5-8; Psalm 139:4). We cannot always know why people do what they do. Trust that the Lord will take care of others (1 Corinthians 4:5) and watch your own actions and motives (Romans 14:13).
• (For everyone): What are some instances that you can remember fretting over the motives behind the actions of others? How did this fretting benefit you? How did it harm your ability to serve the Lord?
• The Lord will judge the motives behind the work of the saved people at the judgment seat of Christ. How should this knowledge keep you from fretting about the motives of others?
• Ask the Lord to help you trust Him concerning other men’s motives.
• Ask God to help you focus on serving Him from a right motive.
SONG: OUR GREAT SAVIOUR