“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
Philipppians is the most personal of Paul’s letters written to a church that was wholeheartedly in support of his authority and quite resistant to false teachers. Although he was writing from prison in Rome, he did not complain about it. Rather he thanked God for these faithful brethren and thanked them as well for their sincere partnership with him in the ministry of the gospel. This partnership was also with the Lord and with other believers. It was the driving force which empowered Paul’s work of preaching the gospel. The Philippian believers supported him with prayer and finances which endeared them to his heart. He, in turn, prayed that the Lord would continue to sanctify and strengthen them so they could share in his work and enable him to continue the ministry despite the obstacles he faced.
Perhaps Paul was concerned that the Philippians were becoming discouraged over his imprisonment and because of the prevalence of false teachers out seeking their own profit. He feared such things would hurt the cause of Christ. Naturally when we see false teachers personally benefitting from preaching a false view of Jesus we want to stop them. And when we face obstacles and problems that seem to hinder the work of the ministry we tend to get upset and aggravated. Yet Paul does not see these tribulations as a reason to shrink back from preaching or from living a life pleasing to God. Rather, such obstacles can be overcome and nullified if we see them as opportunities to spread the good news about Jesus.