In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says this about other people preaching the Gospel.

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice (emphasis added).

Philippians 1:15-18 (NIV)

It might seem that Paul is contradicting himself in verse 18: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice.” In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul admonishes them for their lack of discernment. 

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

2 Corinthians 11:4 (NIV)

And in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he expresses his surprise at their lack of discernment. 

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:6-7 (NIV)

Paul even goes so far as to curse anyone preaching a different Gospel than his.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Galatians 1:8 (NIV)

How does this verse in Philippians differ from Paul’s stance on false teaching? Or does it?

This verse from Philippians is about motives. It’s not about the teaching itself. Some people, seeing that Paul was in chains, taught the Gospel as a means of celebrating their freedom to preach while Paul was in jail. Bragging, if you will. Perhaps indicating that they were somehow better and possibly more anointed than Paul. Others preached the Gospel out of love and support for Paul. In either case, the Gospel they were preaching was not false, even though some had questionable motives. 

The reasons why people preach aren’t that different today. Some people see preaching as a way of being seen as important and attracting attention. In some countries, the status of “preacher” is highly regarded as giving perks beyond those of “regular” people. Therefore, these positions are well sought after. Others teach and preach because they love God and love people.

The Apostle James gives this advice about wanting to preach out of selfish ambition. 

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

James 3:1 (NIV)

Given all of this, I think a person’s motives matter, but I also know that God’s word isn’t hindered by the ways of people. I’m reminded of this verse from Proverbs.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I wonder though, what the reception will be for those who teach and preach God’s word out of ungodly motives. Might they be included amongst those Jesus was talking about in Matthew?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.