Philippians 1:12
Furtherance of the Gospel

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;

The advancement of the Gospel has been on-going since the beginning of this church age. People like the apostle Paul knew the value of getting the Gospel message into cities because people from all around a city would sometime come there. The seed of the Gospel in the cities would then spread through people telling other people of the Person and work of Christ on behalf of sinners. God allows adverse things to happen to those who preach the Gospel. They will have inconveniences imposed on them; occasionally pain inflicted on them; persecution against them and just plain old ordinary annoyances because God allows them according to His overall plans. So the costs of furthering the Gospel may be opposition and rage in order that truth and salvation might prevail.

It is in such times the light of truth illuminates the Light of Life, and our Lord Jesus Christ becomes the topic of conversations. Believers will be inclined to openly testify to His grace personally shown to them. His mercy and truth will make sense in times of tension and His message of salvation will be furthered through controversy. The actions and attitudes of believers at such times are what make the Gospel real. Observers watch grace react to antagonism. They watch body language and listen to tonal expressions by which they form opinions as to how real the Gospel is to believers. Personal testimonies of saving faith and divine interventions in life and how they affect us, adds weight to what we say. The more opportunities arise, the stronger faith grows. In the past, suffering saints were gladly joined by new believers who had just come to faith in Christ. They saw reality in those who were persecuted and realized there was an eternal purpose in their lives rather than mere fleeting temporal accomplishments and pleasures.

It started small, then a gathering tide of living souls rolled out from the safe shore.
Moving on the feet of men and women, the voices sound out the news of new life.
The voices consolidate; gather in clear unity and publicly the cities hear the truth.
Cities, and from there to towns, farms, individuals, large crowds – Jesus died.
But the story does not stop – He died for all, for us, for me – He died and rose again.
And the country hears, the nation too; from there it goes to adjoining nations.
From nations to continents; the Gospel crosses borders and oceans and cultures.
It is passed on to the generation following and generations following them.
It gains momentum – the wave rolls on through persecution, violent deaths, martyrdom.
The foundation is solid; the Cornerstone firmly in place; stones are added – some fake.
Righteousness is visible; truth is audible; unseen is plausible; confidence is tangible.
In times of hunger, it gives hope; when dryness parches, it quenches the thirst.
In times of war, it gives consolation; in bereavement, it gives comfort; in the dark – light.

In prison a man writes, a guard watches his pen move across the pages and moves.
He moves to look and read and wonder and ask. The answers come – clearly, personal.
He wonders and comes again another day; another conversation; another conclusion.
He is reborn; he is changed – his facial expressions; his words; his ways; his walk.
He speaks and another asks why he is different now: and throughout the prison – and
Palace, and barracks, and army, and in camps in far and distant places the Gospel goes.
The Middle East, Gaul, Italy, Greece, Britannia, and to all the far reaches of the empire;
Outposts of truth; people gather and sing and pray and worship; faith is spread all over.
Amidst life and death; famine and feast; fear and confidence; hope and despair – it grows.
Without hesitation; with much consolation; with great expectation; goes God’s salvation.
Throughout many nations, and all generations, and hard situations –it is furthered.
By wandering pilgrims to far distant islands; by intellects keen to the great of the nations:
To hungering souls, to questioning scholars; to mothers with babes –“The Way” unfolds.

Finally: after years on the move it reaches by means planned by God – to me, yes me.
It came unappreciated, unrecognized as important, unheeded, unattended and unwanted.
But now as then: things happened – planned by God, but seemingly, just happened.
A mother’s song, a father’s prayer, a table and a black book to read – “furtherance;”
One word at first: “God,” then “Jesus,” then “sinner” – the message “…of the Gospel.”
The words come together; the truth is lived and seen, and heard; a dead spirit awakens.
Framed by divine intent; lived out by divine nature; new life, divine life – it’s “happened.
New desires framed; “What does God want, why am I here – Lord, what do You want?”
Availability: willing to do the small things – falls out to “The furtherance of the Gospel.”
Responsibility: can be trusted to do what is needed – “The furtherance of the Gospel.”
Suitability: has learned from others and can work for – “The furtherance of the Gospel.”
Accountability: to God and truth; to self and honor; to those who trust him and those –
Who need to need to hear – “The things which happened… have fallen out… unto the Furtherance of the Gospel.”

“Even as I think, and praise and worship here this morning, Father God; I am moved by the history and the movement of Thy truth. It seemed so small at first and now so large. Its significance is not in the power of force but of a love that makes little things “happen” and works to bring life in unexpected ways to unexpected people. All praise to Thee! Amen.”

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