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Philippians 1:12-26

Philippians 1:12-26


Series: Philippians
Sermon: Overcoming Rivalry and Envy
Bible Passage: Phil 1:12-26

I. The expression “my situation” OR “what has happened to me” refers to (vv 12-14)

1. Riot in Jerusalem (Acts 21:26-36)
2. Two-year imprisonment in Caesarea (Acts 22-26)
3. Dangerous, painful journey to Rome (27:1-28:1)
4. Imprisonment in Rome for two years (Acts 28:16)

a. Believers “envy” and “rivalry” towards Paul when Paul was in prison (Phil 1:15-18a) They developed “envy” and “rivalry” probably because of Paul’s success in his preaching ministry
b. They most likely competed with Paul, instead of treating him as a fellow minister of the Gospel
c.Their style of ministry and behavior “stirred up” emotional trouble for Paul (verse 17)
d. Their style of ministry probably contradicted that of Jesus’ nature, i.e., “self-giving”
e.Because they did it out of “selfish ambition” (verse 17)

5. Paul was in a predicament: chains on the one side and envy & rivalry on the other side

II. Paul sees his chains from missional point of view (verses 12-14)

1. Paul makes a comparison between two words: “advance” and “chains”
2. Chains obstruct progress (chains hold back!)
3. What is meant to hold Paul back is now helping him to “advance”  the Gospel (advance = progress)
4. In fact, chains turned out to be a great advantage for his ministry (verse 13)

a. The imperial guards did not intimidate Apostle Paul
b. His identity in Christ and conviction of his message gave him upper hand over the palace officers
c. Chains could have been a tragic end to Paul
d. But he turned his potential tragedy to an amazing success (no self-pity, complains, etc.)

5. Paul focuses on the Gospel that was advancing rather than focusing on himself

III. Paul overcomes “envy” and “rivalry” by not focusing on them (verses 18b-26)

1. Refused to compete with them (18a)
2. Refused to react
3. Instead, developed a goal which is bigger than “envy” and “rivalry”

a. To live is Christ and to die is gain (verse 21)
b. He was ready for both (verse 22)
c. If he lived, it would be for fruitful ministry; if he was sentenced to death, it would be for him to be with Christ (verses 23-24)
d. When the goal of living is Christ, then living inevitably follows the way of Christ, the way of self-giving, self-humbling, and self-sacrifice (cf. 2:5–8) (Walter Hansen)
e. His joy is not based on the prospect of his release, but it is based on the progress of the Gospel (verses 25-26)

IV. Take Away

Avoid reacting to “envy” and “rivalry”; instead, live with missional mindset

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at