Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reach Out To People

Opportunity Knocking: Part 2

As we read through the Bible it is obvious that God likes to use the under dog who is up against a no win situation. Usually we think opportunity is knocking when things are looking favorable, but often for the follower of Jesus opportunity knocks when things can’t get any worse.

When the apostle Paul wrote Philippians things were not going well for him. He is in prison in Rome. No longer can he travel the country preaching about Jesus, his mission to take Jesus to the Gentiles has come to an end. Yet from this bleak situation Paul tells us that a victory emerges.
12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: 13 The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment, now more than ever dare to speak the word fearlessly. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment. 18 What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:12-18; NET)


From this situation in Paul’s life we can identify three actions of faith that can help us make the most of the opportunities God sends our way.

The first action is OUTREACH:
12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: 13 The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, (Philippians 1:12-13, NET)


The phrase “I want you to know...” can carry the tone of answering a question or that what Paul is about to tell them is the opposite of what they expect (College Press NIV Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon; p. 34). So in essence Paul could be saying, “What I have to say you will not to believe.” This news is amazing and very unexpected.

What is this amazing news? That being in prison hasn’t hurt Paul’s ability to preach the Gospel. He has been able to reach out and build relationships with the guards and any other visitor he might have.

The result is that the real reason Paul is in person is revealed, the fact that he is in prison for preaching about Jesus, and members of the royal guard are giving their lives to Jesus. It is truly amazing what is happening.

Think for a moment about your situation. I don’t know what is happening with you, but I do know that we can talk ourselves out of reach out with the Gospel, whether by words or deeds, because of our current circumstances. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that we don’t know enough or that we or too busy or that we don’t want to get hurt. It is easy to convince ourselves that opportunity isn’t knocking at our doors.

The reality of being in prison didn’t stop Paul from reaching out to the people that he could reach. Paul continued to focus on the reason God had called him to preach Jesus, and he did what he could with the situation that he was in and a miracle began to take place.

The first action of faith that we need if we are to impact our families, friends, and community for Jesus is to reach out to people. This isn’t about being “preachy” and tell them that they will burn if they don’t don’t turn. It is about exhibiting love, acceptance, and telling them the truth. It won’t be easy, but if we never take this step of faith then we will never be able to make a difference in the lives of other people. Reaching out to other people with the Good News of Jesus Christ is an act of faith.

  • Point to Ponder: Reaching out to other people with the Good News of Jesus Christ is an act of faith.
  • Passage to Remember: Philippians 1:12-13
  • Question to Consider: How are you reaching out to people?

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Our Identity

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...