Posted by: Heather | September 22, 2008

"I’ll have you know . . ."

Most of the time when we hear these words, they are followed by some diatribe about the difficulty someone has gone through on our behalf. Perhaps someone has waited in line for a couple of hours in order to do something we needed them to do, or something of the sort.

Paul in effect says “I’ll have you know. . .” in Phil 1:12. But what will he have us know? Well, he says that his situation has worked out for good. (the furtherance of the gospel) Now this situation assumes a knowledge of the situation, so let’s review it.

About four and a half years previous, (you can follow this story from Acts 21-28)Paul began a long journey of good will back to Jerusalem, gathering a gift to take to the church in Jerusalem because they were being persecuted and there had been a famine. They were in dire need. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he delivered this gift from the gentile churches, and then as an act of good faith involved himself in a ceremony at the temple. The purpose of this was to demonstrate that he was not at odds with the old testament message. However, he was grabbed by a mob and beaten severely, to the point that the Roman soldiers broke in and arrested him for his own safety. He was then transferred to Caesarea where he was in prison for 2 years under a corrupt official who kept calling him in to “hear his case” but the official was really hoping for a bribe. That official leaves the post and is replaced by another one, who has Paul come before him and King Agrippa. King Agrippa was going to release Paul, but Paul makes what would seem in human terms to be a tactical error. He appeals to Caesar. Because of this appeal, Paul is sent under guard (and still under arrest) to Rome to go before Caesar. This is a difficult journey, there is an awful storm and their ship wrecks. Everyone is washed ashore, and as they are drying out Paul is bitten by a snake. This should kill him, but God saves him. Finally, they make it to Rome, and Paul spends 2 years under house arrest in Rome. Now Paul had wanted to go to Rome and preach, but this probably isn’t what he had in mind. During this time, he is literally chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is not allowed to leave the house. This isn’t just a bad day.
TALK ABOUT A GOOD EXCUSE TO WHINE OR COMPLAIN!

Put yourself in this situation. Would the first thing you would want your friends to know be that the Gospel was being furthered by your situation? I think I would feel entitled to whine a bit first. This strikes me as being very strange. Where does this strength come from? The strength to keep focus on what is important. Well, I think it is the same thing he referred to in his prayer for them. Let’s review that prayer quickly.

You can break the description of the prayer down into two parts. Part one is the attitude or posture of the prayer. He is always thankful for them (verse 3) He prays for them with joy (verse 4) He prays with confidence that God will finish what he has started in their lives. Part 2, He prays that their love (God’s love in them) will continue to grow in knowledge and discernment so that they will approve the things that are right. The fruit of which will be the righteousness in their lives that comes from Jesus and brings glory to God. Then he tells them how they can pray for him.

You see, this growing love in Paul is the reason he can see that it is not about him. It is about the Gospel being preached. He sees that regardless of his situation, those around him see Christ in him. (verse 13) the palace guard knows the Gospel. (if I was where Paul was, would they see Christ in me? Or would they hear the whining and grumbling or bitterness toward those who were not appreciating me?) (verse 14) Those around him were emboldened to preach Christ, (because his attitude, perhaps they could see that God was enabling Paul even THROUGH tough circumstances?)

In verses 15-18 Paul describes how some are preaching Christ for good motives, and some for bad motives, but he rejoices because Christ is preached. (if it were all about him, the motives would matter to him. but it is not all about him, it is about Christ and him preached, so “what then?” Christ is preached and I rejoice! The last phrase is very powerful and telling as well. “yes, and i will rejoice.” You see, rejoicing in Christ is a choice.

So, where does this strength come from? Where do I get this growing love that Paul prayed for? Romans 5 says that it is poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit when I am justified. (this is not just an enhancement of my love, this is God’s love – supplied by God in me at the time I am justified – the same as Jesus supplied the fish into Peter’s net)
– items in italics are my comments inserted _

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have (present tense) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace (which is God’s power at work in me) in which we stand, and we rejoice (there is that joy word again) on the hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3 And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience,
Rom 5:4 and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. (Paul had hope in his situation)
Rom 5:5 And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.

John Piper says repeatedly, that “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him.” If he is my everything, people see him in me in a good light.

So, I’ll have you know, my goal is for Christ to be seen in me. What about you?

Craig

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Responses

  1. “So, I’ll have you know, my goal is for Christ to be seen in me. What about you?”Ditto 🙂

  2. i think that quote by john piper sums it up perfectly! good thoughts craig…


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