Why is the church to preach the gospel? Preaching the gospel is good, but preaching it for the right reasons puts one in harmony with God.
Persecution involves a wide spectrum, ranging from torture, physical beating, social excommunication, imprisonment and death. Our boldness should match Paul's.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon Paul's motivation for his letter to the Philippians, both appealing for unity and offering encouragement, reminding them that their relationship with one another was through Christ. Unity could only be maintained if they prayed for one another, exercising reasoning, discerning, and discriminating …
Jesus warns of the wrong attitudes of discipleship, including self-exaltation, exclusivity, resorting to persecution or vengeance, and getting distracted.