Summary: God is the master of bringing good things out of bad things. He loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. How does He do it? Phil.1:12-20 shows us.
“HOW GOD BRINGS GOOD OUT OF BAD”
Tonight we’re going to see how God brings good out of Paul’s bad circumstances.
You recall that Paul was under house arrest for having preached the gospel and for healing a demon possessed woman.
Because of these two things the Roman authorities had placed Paul under house arrest.
HOW DID PAUL’S ARREST HELP SPREAD THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?
1. Unbelieving Palace guards came to understand that Paul was not in prison for committing a crime but for being committed to Christ.
There’s a big difference between being arrested for doing something wrong and being arrested for doing something right.
Knowing that Paul was arrested for his faith and not for some crime would have made a deep impression on these faithless palace guards.
Their religion was Rome. Their faith was in their military. Their god was Caesar. These were people who put their faith in the state of Rome.
But seeing Paul stand for something he believed in, seeing Paul sacrifice for a cause greater than himself would have moved these people.
What does this teach us?
Spiritual Application: As a Christian I can surrender to my circumstances or surrender to Christ’s cause.
Paul could have given in to the pressure being put on him by the Roman Guards and Leaders. These politicians were putting pressure on Paul to get him to stop preaching Christ.
Arresting Paul was one of their methods for censoring him.
But Paul made a choice. Instead of give in to the Roman government he gave himself over to Jesus Christ and obeyed God instead.
Richard Wurmbrand is the founder of a ministry called “Voice of the Martyrs”. Some of you receive their publication.
Richard Wurmbrand was a Romanian Pastor who was imprisoned by the Russians and tortured for his faith in Christ.
In May of 1966 Pastor Wurmbrand testified in Washington before the United State Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee. During this testimony Pastor Wurmbrand stripped to the waist to show 18 deep torture wounds that covered his body.
After the Communists came to power in Romania, they convened a congress of all Christian bodies in Romania’s Parliament Buidling.
There were 4,000 pastors, priests and ministers from different denominations in attendance. These 4,000 chose Joseph Stalin as honorary president of this congress.
Pastor Wurmbrand recounts that one after another, bishops and pastors arose and declared that communism and Christianity were the same and could coexist together.
This was at the same time that Joseph Stalin was raising Russian children to be atheists and at the same time killing Christians.
Pastor Wurmbrand and his wife were there and his wife said to him, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ. They are spitting in his face.”
He said to his wife, “If I do so, you lose your husband.”
She said, “I do not wish to have a coward for a husband.”
So Pastor Wurmbrand stood up and began to praise Christ and declared that their first loyalty was to God and His Son.
Pastor Wurmbrand wrote, “Afterward I had to pay for this, but it had been worthwhile.”
There is a great difference between suffering for the wrong reasons and suffering for the right reasons.
“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” – I Peter 2:19-20 (NIV)
Paul shows us that a Christian can surrender to Christ and not their circumstances.
What circumstances are getting you down lately? Do you have any situations in your life that are negatively affecting you?
Can you adopt the attitude of Paul in your present circumstances?
Can you choose to surrender to Christ instead of give in to your circumstances?
2. Seeing Paul Stand Up For Christ Motivated Others To Speak Up 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. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” – Philippians 1:14-18 (NIV)