Philippians 1: 8-18.
Philippians is one of the Pauline’s four prison epistles. The others three prison epistles are Ephesians, Collosians, and Philemon. Paul wrote these epistles when he was prison in Rome through trumped up charges. From AD 60, he was under a house arrest, chained to a Roman pretorian guard, 24/7, who rotate through shifts. Caesar Nero released Paul in AD 62, rearrested him in AD 66 and beheaded him in the Mamertine prison shortly after this. Paul wrote the prison epistles during his first imprisonment when he was under a house arrest.
VV 8-11, 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul called God to be his witness. The word “affection” in Greek is “splanchnizomai”, which means intestine. For the Jews in first-century Israel, intestine is the seat of emotion, not the heart. Paul missed the Philipiians Christians dearly and had compassion for them. He prayed for them to be rich in love, excellent in knowledge and discernment, kind, sincere and blameless in relationship, until the second coming of Christ. He prayed for them to be filled with the fruit of righteousness or fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of righteousness is the fruit of the Spirit.
Proverbs 11: 30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise”.
Galations 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”.
1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”
VV 12-14, 12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Paul was a prison soul winner. The prison was his pulpit for evangelism. The Roman pretorian guards chained to him and his visitors was his congregations. When Paul preached the gospel to the Roman pretorian guards, many believed and were saved. They preached the gospel to Ceasar’s palace causing a Chritstian revival in Caeser’s household. He also preached the gospel to those who visited him in the prison. Other Romans Christians stepped up with boldness to preach the gospel. Paul called a prisoner of Christ and not Nero Caesar. Today, you can be a soul winner in the place that you worked. Your office is your pulpit. Your staffs and your clients are your congregations. You can share the gospel and minister to the people around you.
VV 15-18, 15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 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.
Some people preached the gospel with an envious and jealous heart out of a selfish motive. Some people preached the gospel with a sincere and pure heart, out of genuine love. Paul was not concerned and could rejoice as long the gospel was preached and Christ was glorified.