David B Curtis - Berean Bible Church

Pastor David B. Curtis

The Joy of Pure Motives

Philippians 1:15-18

Delivered 07/12/1998

In our study last time we looked at the subject of Advancement through Adversity. In verse 12, Paul was giving the Philippians a principle that he wanted them to understand. We also need to understand this principle: "Those circumstances which from a human perspective seem to be obstacles of defeat are by divine providence instruments of victory."

Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

This is a verse that every one of us should have memorized. No matter what happens to us, God will work it out for our good.

Paul told the Philippians that despite the adversity, the gospel was being advanced. In verse 13, he told them that the Praetorium Guard was coming to Christ and the gospel was being spread through all Rome. In verse 14, he tells them that Christians are becoming bold through his example.

Verse 15 further explains verse 14,

Philippians 1:14-15 (NKJV) and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:

Most of the brethren are now witnessing, but there are two classes of those who are preaching the gospel and the thing that separates them is motive-- why they are preaching.

Now, let's look at verse 16 if you have the KJV, the NAS and the NIV have it as verse 17. The KJV has verse 16 and 17 reversed from the original Greek. The NIV and NAS are correct.

Philippians 1:16-17 (NNAS) the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

One of these groups is preaching to add to Paul's affliction, to cause Paul grief. They preached to try to make Paul miserable.

Every now and then we hear someone talking about the good old days. They talk about the early church as if it had been perfect. Do you know that there is hardly a problem in the church today that did not exist in some form in the early church of the first century? Rome at around 62 AD, had problems in the church. Some were actually preaching Christ to add to Paul's affliction. Well, things haven't changed much, people preach today with wrong motives also.

Paul's heart is in the advancement of the gospel, his life is dedicated to ministry. Let me share with you what, from my perspective, are some of the most discouraging things in the ministry. 1. Carnality-- To see people live casual Christian lives, living much more for themselves than for God. It is discouraging to watch people ruin their lives with sin.

3 John 1:4 (NKJV) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Paul had heartaches because he knew people who were walking in carnality.

The second thing that is very hard to take is being criticized by fellow preachers or believers who want to discredit you. This hurts! We know that we will have tribulation and persecution in this world, but when it comes from those in the church, it really hurts.

Why the attacks from the inside? Carnal believers!

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NKJV) And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

When believers are carnal, they cause strife and divisions because of their envy.

Paul experienced the pain of believers living in carnality, and he experienced the pain of fellow believers attacking him. But it didn't touch his joy:

Philippians 1:18 (NKJV) What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Paul's joy came from the proper motive, that is why he never got off center of this joy. No matter where he was or what was happening to him, he had joy. His joy was constant because he had the proper motive in life.

Look with me at verse 15:

Philippians 1:15 (NKJV) Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:

"Some indeed" is the Greek, tines men. Tines means certain ones. And men means on the one hand. Certain ones on the one hand. "Preach" is from the Greek verb kerusso. Which is from the noun keruxz, which means a herald for a king. He declares the policy of the king. So, kerusso means to declare the policy of the king. That is what "preach" means. To declare a policy, the king's policy.

Preaching has some very different connotations today. A husband will say to his wife, "Stop preaching at me." That is not preaching that he is talking about, but nagging. We often think of preaching as loud, bombastic speech. This word has nothing to do with the manner in which you say something. It has to do with declaring a policy, God's policy. Witnessing is giving God's policy of salvation. The word "preach" is in the present tense, they were doing it at the time he wrote.

They were preaching "Christ," ton Christon-- the Christ. There is a definite article there in the Greek. So far, so good. They are preaching Christ. These people are not heretics, Judaizers, Gnostics, Idol worshipers, or false teachers, they are preaching Christ. They are preaching the true gospel. They could have signed Paul's doctrinal statement. Isn't that something! They are preaching the true gospel out of envy and strife.

Paul says, "Some indeed preach 'Christ'" (vs 15); "The former preach 'Christ'" (vs 16); "Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, 'Christ' is preached" (vs 18). He says it three times, they are preaching Christ.

They are not preaching another gospel as in Galatians 1:6, or another Christ as in 2 Corinthians 11:4 and 13. Paul hated and condemned false doctrine.

Galatians 1:9 (NKJV) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

None of them is a dog or evil worker as in Philippians 3:2;

Philippians 3:2 (NKJV) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!

Someone might say, "That's not very loving, Paul!" Paul came down hard on false doctrine. He doesn't do that here in Philippians 1, because they were preaching the truth.

They were not attacking Paul's theology, they were attacking Paul's person. They were not anti-Christ, they were anti-Paul. This is a very unbiblical position. Because if you don't love your brother, you really don't love God.

1 John 4:20-21 (NKJV) If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

If we love God, we are commanded to love our brethren. That is clear enough. In Matthew 25, Jesus says in effect, "How you treat Christians is how you treat me." So, their attack on Paul was, in fact, an attack on Christ. Their theology was straight, but their motives were wrong.

While all are proclaiming the true gospel, not all are actuated by pure motives. This is the point of the passage. The point is -- motive. So Paul divides the preachers at Rome into two groups; those with true motives and those with false motives. All believers can be divided into these two groups. Everything you do is either done out of pure motives or false motives.

Let's look at the first group; those with false motives.

Philippians 1:15-16 (NKJV) Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;

Some were preaching Christ from envy, strife, selfish ambition, not sincerely. This is what motivated them to preach. That is truly amazing!

The word "envy" is the Greek word phthonos, it means jealousy. The root word means, to boil. It refers to an inner boiling, seething, or steaming over something that somebody else has. It doesn't have to be over a possession, it could be over a character trait, a talent, or position.

You don't have to read too far in the Bible to find the sin of jealousy. The first sin in the Bible is jealousy.

Genesis 3:5 (NKJV) "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Eve wanted to be like God. Jealousy spawned Eve's sin and the whole human race fell into sin. Jealousy is why Cain killed Able and why Joseph's brothers hated him and sold him into slavery.

James says that every evil work spawns itself out of envy and jealousy:

James 3:14-16 (NKJV) But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

It all spawns out of envy and jealousy. What is behind envy and jealousy? Pride!

1 Timothy 6:3-4 (NKJV) If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

Out of pride come envy and jealousy. So, at the root of these sins is pride. And pride is the basis of all false motivation. It motivates us erroneously in life.

James 4:6 (NKJV) But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

The word "resists" in the Greek is antitassomai. It means; to range oneself against, to oppose. God stands against the proud.

Pride is one who shows himself above his fellows. Pride is an expanded view of self. Pride places self above God. Pride resulted in the death of Uzziah, the fall of Satan, the judgement of; Layodicia, of Herod, the city of Petra and of Nebucanezzer.

Proverbs 16:5 (NKJV) Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
Proverbs 16:5 (GWT) Everyone with a conceited heart is disgusting to the LORD. Certainly, <such a person> will not go unpunished.

Pride is highly sensitive to anything that would attack it, and under pressure, it turns to jealousy, hatred, vengeance, gossip, and slander.

You may be proud but keep it hidden fairly well. Let's say that your pride is in your beauty, or intelligence or maybe in your popularity. When someone comes along who is better looking than you, or more intelligent, or more popular, all of a sudden the pride is compressed. It feels threatened and attacked. And you respond with envy, jealousy and strife.

A woman came to her pastor and said, "Pastor, I have to confess I have been in sin all afternoon. I have been sitting in front of the mirror and admiring my beauty." The Pastor said, "That is not the sin of pride, that is the sin of imagination."

So, these preachers in Rome were motivated by jealousy. Motivation is why you do the things you do. What is it that impels you into action? A motive is any thought which determines a choice or induces an action. This is why Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart. Because motive comes from the heart. The writer of Hebrews says that the Word of God will judge our motives.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Why were these preachers jealous of Paul? Keep in mind that there was a church in Rome long before Paul ever arrived there, and certain preachers had attained a degree of prominence among the brothers. With the arrival of Paul, and especially with his spreading fame throughout the city as is seen in Philippians 1:13-14, these leaders were losing some of their former prestige. They were bothered by Paul's giftedness, his success, his following, his testimony. These things hurt their pride, which caused their jealousy, and resulted in strife. They were motivated by envy and strife.

The word "strife" is the Greek word eris. It means discord, or contention. Eris is the name of a Greek goddess who was also called Discordia. She is the goddess of discord and strife. She is famous for rolling the golden apple of discord across the floor at the wedding of Pelevs and Thetis. This apple marked, "For the fairest" was claimed by three goddesses-- Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera. It led to the judgement of Paris and indirectly to the Trojan war.

Eris is strife, discord. First comes jealousy, your pride is compressed, you feel threatened, so you feel jealous, and you cause strife. You try to discredit the person who has hurt your pride.

The church is rampant with jealousy and pride today. Pastors attack pastors. They act as if they are in competition with each other. The fight for man's glory and not God's. I think that it is pride that causes pastors to count heads, give invitations, and have contests and campaigns. The church isn't a business or sporting event. We are to be laboring for God's glory, not trying to build our own kingdom.

There are men whose whole approach to Christian work is pugnacious, and who cannot believe that they are doing God's work unless they are fighting someone over it, especially other Christians. There is a church in our area whose yellow page ad claims they are militant! And they are. I read one of their news letters and in it they attacked everyone and anyone. They said, in effect, that if you used the NAS Bible that you had lace on your underwear. They actually said that in a newsletter! They are proud of their strife.

In verse 16 Paul says, "The former preach Christ from selfish ambition." The words "selfish ambition" are the Greek word eritheia. It means contention or selfish ambition. Originally it wasn't a bad word, it meant to work for pay. That is okay, isn't it? Sure. But a man who works only for pay, works for a very low motive. The word came to be used in politics for someone who was seeking office, it came to describe someone who spent all their time promoting them self. That's politics isn't it? It came to describe the personally ambitious, the competitive spirit, a driving ambition to elevate self.

These preachers felt in order to be on top, they had to get ahead of Paul. It's like in:

3 John 1:9 (NKJV) I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.

He wanted to be number one in the church.

Paul also says they preach, "not sincerely." This is the Greek word hagnos. It means, not from pure motives. Their motive was self promotion, not the promotion of the gospel of Christ.

Then Paul says, "Supposing to add affliction to my bonds." The word "supposing is oiomai. It means inference without fact. They supposed something that wasn't true. The word "affliction" is thlipsis, which means mental pressure or distress. They wanted to hurt Paul, to discredit him and promote themselves. They supposed to add affliction, but they didn't. They didn't bother Paul a bit. His joy was unaffected by them. The gospel was being preached, and that was all that mattered to him.

How were they attacking Paul? What were they doing that was really attacking Paul? The text doesn't tell us, but maybe they said, "Paul is in prison because he's being disciplined by God, he's in sin. God has shelved Paul because of his sin." They might be like the health\wealth preachers, if you're not heathy and wealthy you're in sin. They might have been saying, "Paul is compromising, if he was standing up for Christ, he would have already been martyred."

Criticism is hard to take, but it is especially hard when we are in difficult circumstances. Let me give you an historical note from 90 AD, written by Clement, who was a Roman Christian. He wrote this letter to the Corinthians. In chapters 3-6, Clement writes about the bad effects of jealousy which, he says, "Has always resulted in suffering and death among God's people." This was true in Old Testament times, according to Clement, and he includes seven examples to prove it. Among them are Cain's jealousy of Able, Esau's jealousy of Jacob, the friction between Joseph and his brothers, and similar examples of envy from the lives of Moses, David, and Saul. Clement also gives seven examples from what were to him more recent times. Among these he speaks of Paul. He says, "By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance... and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers.....he departed from the world and went to heaven." (1 Clement 5)

Clement's point is that jealousy among Christians in some way caused Paul's execution.

Why does Paul tell us this? Why does he tell us that some are preaching Christ out of envy and strife? Is Paul looking for a little sympathy? Not at all. He wants the Philippians to know that if it happened to him, it could happen to them. We will receive persecution from believers, you can count on it.

The words envy, strife and contention are all words listed in the catalogs of vice in the New Testament.

Romans 1:29 (NKJV) being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
2 Corinthians 12:20 (NKJV) For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;
Galatians 5:20-21 (NKJV) idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 6:4 (NKJV) he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

Now, let's look at the true motives. There were some that were preaching from a proper motive.

Philippians 1:15 (NKJV) Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:

"Some" is the Greek word tines de (tin-as-day) which means, on the other hand. They preach from "good will" -- eudokia. Which means to think well. They think well and they preach out of good motivation, pure motives which come from their mind.

Philippians 1:17 (NKJV) but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.

These preach out of love-- agape-- love for God. This is a proper motive. They were sacrificially meeting a need with their preaching. Their desire was to be obedient to God and honor Him.

Paul says they do it, " knowing that I am appointed." The word "appointed" is keimai, it is a military term. It means to be on duty. He is emphasizing the point that in prison he is enduring hardness as a good soldier for Jesus Christ and as much on duty as the guards who are posted to watch over him. The word means set, or destined.

He is set for the "defense"-- apologia (a-po-la-ge-a). This is where we get our word apologetics. He is set for the defense of the gospel. "Gospel" is the Greek word euaggelion, which means, good news.

So, we have two separate groups here with two separate motives. Motive is the issue here. Why do you do what you do in the Christian life? Motives are everything in Christian service. Both of these groups were preaching Christ, the only difference between them was motive.

Let's look at Matthew 6 and the subject of motives.

Matthew 6:1 (NKJV) "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Jesus is speaking here of motives. The phrase, "to be seen of them," indicates in the Greek, purpose of design. You aren't to do righteous deeds to be seen of men. You are to do righteous deeds for the glory of God. Back up one verse.

Matthew 5:48 (NKJV) "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Be perfect, but be careful (6:1). We hear high injunctions and glimpse just a little the genuine beauty of perfect holiness, and then prostitute the vision by dreaming about the way others would hold us in high esteem if we were like that. The goal of pleasing the Father is traded for its pygmy cousin, the goal of pleasing men. It almost seems as if the greater the demand for holiness, the greater the opportunity for hypocrisy. We are truly depraved!

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Does this verse contradict:

Matthew 6:1 (NKJV) "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

No, there is no contradiction here. The subject is motive. The motives are different. In 5:16 you're doing good deeds so people will look at your life and glorify God. But in 6:1, the motive is so men will see your good works and praise you.

The heart of the issue is the issue of the heart. Two people can give, pray, or fast with totally different motives and you and I would never know the difference between them. Yet to God, one is a source of joy, a sweet smelling savor, and the other one is smoke in His eyes, hypocrisy.

Not all people witness for the same reason. Some do it for the praise of men. They want others to think that they are spiritual. Some people study for the wrong reason. They study not to learn about their God and grow closer to Him, but to gain knowledge to impress others. Some people pray for the wrong motives. They pray to be seen of men.

Luke 18:10-14 (NKJV) "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men; extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Pharisee was praying to be seen and heard of men, he was looking for men's praise. The tax collector was praying to God and God alone. His motives were pure.

Some people give for the wrong motives. Can you believe that? The organized church works very hard to falsely motivate people to give. It is not the amount of money that you give, it is your heart attitude that matters.

2 Corinthians 8:12 (NKJV) For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

A willing mind-- they give out of a desire to honor God. Motive is the key. This is one of the reasons we don't pass a plate. I think it causes some to give out of a false motive. We don't need to motivate people falsely to give, because BBC is not dependant upon you to give. We are dependant upon God. If God wants this ministry to go on, He will provide for it.

Why do you do what you do? Do you do it out of a love for God? Or a desire to be seen of men?

Look with me at what Paul says about motives in:

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV) Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Paul saw himself as a steward. All he had belonged to God and he was responsible to give it out. Verse 2 tells us what God requires of stewards-- faithfulness. Paul's motive was to be faithful to God in all he did.

1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (NKJV) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

In verse 5, Paul tells them not to judge people's motives. We can't see their heart, we don't know why they do what they do. What does Paul mean by, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts"? I think it may mean that Christ's coming in judgement on apostate Israel in AD 70 will clearly divide the apostate Jews and the OC system, once and for all, from the NC system, and therefore show decisively who the true Israel is -- thereby clearly showing who the true Sons of God were. I think the thrust of this passage is that he didn't want the Corinthians to get proud and judgmental, but rather to let God expose the true hearts at the proper time.

We see Paul's conclusion of all of this in verse 18. There are two groups of preachers with two different motivations. Some are preaching out of envy, strive, and contention. Others are preaching out of love. Paul's conclusion is:

Philippians 1:18 (NKJV) What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

"What then" is ti gar in the Greek. Tee is what, and gar is an idiom for, "what is my conclusion." "Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth." The word "pretense" is prophasis which means false motivation. "Truth"is aletheia, true motivation. "Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice." The word for "rejoice" is kairo, it means inner happiness. The fact that Christ was being preached brought Paul inner happiness. Remember, it is not false teaching Paul is talking about, he could never rejoice in that. He is talking about preaching Christ form false motives.

There is a lesson here for us. Paul knew nothing of personal jealousy or of personal resentment. So long as Jesus Christ was preached, he did not care who received the credit and the prestige. He wasn't in it for himself, but for God's glory.

There is a resemblance here between Paul's attitude and Luther's often-quoted words from the preface to the Letter of James in his German New Testament of 1522: "That which does not teach Christ is not apostolic, even if Peter or Paul taught it. Again, that which does preach Christ is apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate or Herod did it." What matters is the content of the preaching, not the identity or motives of the preacher.

With all the strife and envy that is in the church today, it is refreshing to read of men like John Wesley and George Whitefield. It is a matter of historic record that the two great English evangelists disagreed on doctrinal matters. Both of them were very successful, preaching to thousands of people and seeing multitudes come to Christ. It is reported that somebody asked Wesley if he expected to see Whitefield in heaven, and the evangelist replied, "No, I do not."

"Then you do not think Whitefield is a converted man?"

"Of course he is a converted man!" Wesley said. "But I do not expect to see him in heaven -- because he will be so close to the throne of God and I so far away that I will not be able to see him!" Though he differed with his brother in some matters, Wesley did not have any envy in his heart, nor did he seek to oppose Whitefield's ministry.

Paul didn't rejoice in their motive, but he rejoiced that Christ was preached. Could preaching from false motives help anyone? Yes! A preacher with a selfish, jealous, envious motive can still be used of God because, "the truth is more powerful than the package it comes in." It doesn't matter if it is spoken by Balam's ass. The truth is the truth, no matter who speaks it.

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God's word will accomplish His work.

Romans 1:16 (NKJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As the truth is proclaimed, people will come to Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God's word is living and active. It does the work of bringing men to faith, not the messenger. The listener hears the truth despite the motive of the messenger.

How can we deal with false motives? How do we deal with the fact that we are often driven by false motives?

Paul gives us the solution to this situation in the next chapter. First, he says that we are to develop a low opinion of ourselves. This is often hard to do, but it should be easy. We are merely to see ourselves as God see us, and this will happen as we study His Word. Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse often illustrated this process by the story of a man walking along the street at night toward a street light. "He is on his way to a party. It has been raining, and he has just been splashed with mud by a passing car. He thinks it is not too bad. He will be able to brush it off. But as he gets closer to the light he begins to see that it is much worse than he imagined. And when he finally stands underneath the light he realizes that he will simply have to go home and change his clothes. In the same way. As we draw near to Christ by reading the Scriptures, Christ's light will fall on us and we will begin to see ourselves as He sees us. When we do, we will look to Him for cleansing."

Second, we are to have a better opinion of others, especially those who are troublemakers. Paul says, "Let each esteem others better than themselves." this will come about as God makes us sensitive to the work of His Holy Spirit within other believers.

If our motives are pure, we will have joy. It's when our motives get off center and we become self-centered that we lose our joy.

Paul's motives were pure, all he cared about was God's glory. This was the driving passion of his life.

This is a remarkable passage that speaks to us today.

Motive-- why do you do what you do? Are you doing it out of love or are your motives self-seeking? When is the last time you examined your motives?

Christ is preached -- this should bring us joy, no matter who's preaching him. Do you rejoice to hear Christ preached, no matter who preaches him?

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