It Is Not So Bad After All

Bible Book: Philippians  1 : 12-26
Subject: Trouble; Joy
Series: Philippians - Williams

Put yourself in the place of the Philippians Christians. You have not seen Paul for at least four years. You have heard rumors of so many things that have been happening to him and your concerns get greater and greater. What is going on with this man? Has he come to trial? Has he been released? Has he been executed for his faith in Christ?

Then, at last, a letter comes from Paul. How eagerly you would have read it. At least he is alive. You read the first part and it is all about you. Then you reach the part about Paul. Yes, it is true, he is in prison and the gospel is being hindered. Poor ‘ole Paul, he loves to preach Christ so much. How is he handling this tough time in a Roman prison? What did the letter say? He says, It is not so bad after all.” He just kept on preaching Christ. Through his writings, he is STILL preaching!


A. Certainly the things that had happened to Paul were not what he had planned for himself.

He was the great missionary to the gentiles. He had carried the gospel so far and to so many places. His plans were to go even further and spread the Good News about his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he found himself a prisoner in Rome.

B. Do you see how God works?

Paul’s suffering was neither corrective nor instructive. It was simply a suffering permitted by God so that the gospel might be spread to others. Not many of us have found ourselves suffering in this way, but if we do, we can discover that it is really not that bad when God uses it for the salvation of others.

C. All suffering is not this way, of course.

Some of our suffering is corrective. Some is to awaken us to the needs of others. It is intended to mold us into the image of Christ. We can rest assured that God has a purpose for our suffering. When we realize that truth; things are not really so bad.


A. Through his imprisonment, Paul was able to present the gospel to the guards.

While working with prisoners in higher education, I never wanted to know what put them in to prison. The guards learned that Paul was not in prison for some crime he had committed, but because of his commitment to Christ. Can you imagine hearing that over and over again? Paul repeatedly shared Christ with the guards. He must have driven some of them crazy, but he surely drove some of them to Jesus!

B. Paul could have complained.

He had every right to do so. But every soldier chained to him heard the gospel. Here is a special application for those who do not have the freedom to preach the gospel. Paul was in prison in chains. You may have your own chains. You may be chained to a desk when you would like to be out in more direct Christian service. You may be tied to a home, especially when there are small children who need special care. You may be confined to a sickbed and never see outside your room. You need not be discouraged. If you are in circumstances like these, they have been given to you by God. Use them for His glory! God will bless your efforts. You will see spiritual fruit, and it will entirely change the way you look at your circumstances. Then you can say with Paul, (Philippians 1:12) (NIV) "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel."


A. There is something else that happened while Paul was in prison.

There was the effect he had on other people and the effect he had on other Christians.

Philippians 1:14 (NIV) "Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."

Christians moved from fear to boldness when they saw how God was using Paul. They learned to testify. Has your life had that effect on other people?

B. Christians should always be bold to witness.

Many Christians are not bold about their faith in Jesus. They simply lack an example. It may be that God has placed you in a position to be that example.