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Saturday, October 30, 2004

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Philippians 1:18-26
Psalm 42
Luke 14:1, 7-11

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"all that matters"

"He went on to address a parable to the guests, noticing how they were trying to get the places of honor at the table." —Luke 14:7

Throughout history, some Christians have promoted Jesus with the wrong motives. For example, some proclaimed the gospel to make Paul's "imprisonment even harsher" (Phil 1:17). Some thought that by enthusiastically proclaiming Jesus they would provoke the Romans to torture or kill Paul who was in prison on death row. This is possibly one of the most perverse motives for spreading the gospel ever acted upon. However, Paul's reaction to this was: "What of it? All that matters is that in any and every way, whether from specious motives or genuine ones, Christ is being proclaimed! That is what brings me joy" (Phil 1:18).

Paul does not intend to encourage evil motives but rather to declare that these are overshadowed by the proclamation of the gospel. Today many continue to preach Jesus for the evil motives of greed, pride, and ambition. This is lamentable, but still the good news is always more important than the bad news. Although the secular media report in great prominence and detail all the sins of Christian leaders, the most important part of the story has again been omitted. "All that matters is that...Christ is being proclaimed" (Phil 1:18). "God must be proved true even though every man be proved a liar" (Rm 3:4). The Lord will be glorified through us or despite us. "Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Jb 1:21).

Prayer:  Jesus, no matter what happens to me, be glorified.

Promise:  "For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." —Lk 14:11

Praise:  Stephen makes his own Christ-promoting Christmas cards.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Developing A Deep, Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 30, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 1, 2004