This Sunday we will be finishing our study in Paul’s little letter to the Philippians. For me personally I find this letter to be one of the more impressive pieces of literature found in the New Testament. What especially impresses me is the attitude of joy and celebration that Paul has in his heart and life even as he’s writing from a Roman prison cell. One of the last verses contains a very interesting note about Paul’s ministry while he’s imprisoned in Rome. We read, “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household” (v.22 NIV). This is Paul sending greetings from those with him to the church in Philippi. This includes those who are of Caesar’s household. It becomes obvious from this greeting and the note that is found in Philippians 1 that Paul saw those who were caring for him and even his guards that he was chained to as people who were in need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact we read in the first chapter of Philippians where Paul writes, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly”, (v.12-14 NIV). Paul used his format from a Roman prison cell to declare to those who were his guards and to those who would be bringing him meals their need for Jesus Christ. Paul could never have achieved the pulpit that he received except through his unjust imprisonment as a messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We tend to think of the lack of persecution as a good thing. When in reality the absence of persecution is not the most favorable thing for spiritual growth. Think of Caesar’s servants trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and giving their hearts to him while working in the very court of Nero. This proves to us that it is possible to be a Christian anywhere. Many come to Christ in it state of poverty or during times of hardship. In the Gospels we find even a centurion placing his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, it is harder to be a Christian in some places but the greater the difficulty we overcome to maintain our Christian witness the more powerful the reality of our witness is. Paul used the format of his prison cell to preach the gospel to all he came in contact with. This is an amazing example for us who are living lives of comfort and ease to be challenged to use whatever format God has given us to declare the glories and the wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ. What opportunities has God given to you to declare the majesty and wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you using those opportunities in the place the God has placed you to invite people to join you in the kingdom of God? Paul certainly is an example of one who used his prison cell to make an eternal difference. Let’s use wherever God has placed us to tell those around us that there is a God in heaven who loves them and gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be their Savior.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo