Here is a summary of my sermon from Sept. 4 2011 at First Baptist Maryville
Audio is coming, subscribe to my Podcast for that when it’s avaiable
Philippians 1:12-30 “To Live is Christ…”
What do u live for? When I was a kid, for me it was snow skiing; I remember being at the top of the mountain and thinking “I live for this…”
As a Christian, Jesus needs to be the singular motivating factor for us and who we live for.
1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This is a popular saying to console those who’ve lost loved ones or are facing death themselves. But the end of the statement “to die is gain” is dependent on “to live is Christ” so it’s not always true for everyone.
We will see Jesus “face to face” (1Cor 13)
The mortal will “put on immortality,” death will be “swallowed up in victory” (1Cor 15), but u can be saved & be of no value to the kingdom: not “gain” but “suffer loss” (1Cor 3:15)
So what kind of life receives the reward? Why can Paul say “For to ME…”
Paul writing from Rome; after The Book of Acts; after 30 years of being a χian (cf. Acts 11)
Phil 1:12-14 To live is Christ… when your life advances the gospel
“what has happened to me” paul is in prison (appeal to Caesar → Roman house arrest cf. Acts 24ff)
“really…to advance the gospel” people learn about χ and χians are more bold
Cf. Gen 50:20 with Joseph “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”
This is the story of the church throughout the centuries, persecution = growth
We are just like fruit, squeeze an orange and you get orange juice, squeeze an apple and you get apple juice, but when you squeeze a χian you should get the gospel. When pressure is applied, what’s inside comes out, what is it for you?
Phil 1:15-18 To live is Christ… when you keep your purpose in perspective
“Some… preach Christ from envy and rivalry… but others from good will… out of love” Paul was a strong leader; when he was removed, others came in to fill his shoes. Some did it out of love and others did it out of envy.
“Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” He didn’t question his circumstances; and he didn’t judge their motives; only results. His purpose wasn’t personal comfort or his own legacy; his goal was to advance the gospel
Do you remember “group projects” in school? There’s always one guy who doesn’t pull his own weight… It’s not about getting credit; or how you are perceived in others eyes; or getting what you think you deserve out of life – it’s all about Jesus.
How disappointed are u when life doesn’t go ur way? Here is the question to ask when life throws you a curveball: “how can this be a win for Jesus”
Phil 1:19-26 To live is Christ… when you rejoice in the middle of life’s struggles
“I will rejoice… not at all be ashamed… with full courage…” Paul is in prison: no way to make a living, no freedom, no justice YET, he can rejoice!
Remember when the Apostle was in prison and singing praises? Then the angel came and freed him and the jailor ends up accepting Jesus? That was in Philippi, the same place Paul is writing to now. They knew the pattern of his life for 30+ years was to rejoice even when he was in prison!
“now as always Christ will be honored in my body… by life or by death” Paul’s confidence was not dictated by circumstances. He can boldly declare that his life will mean fruitful labor, so his death will be gain.
Paul was able to say this because he lived “all-out” for the gospel & he didn’t quit early. Like a distance runner, we need to cross the finish-line, collapse and throw-up, completely spent.
While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.
-Reepicheep, Chapter 14 “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
What bumps in the road will stop someone like that? NONE! We need to REJOICE in spite of our struggles
Are you living for your own comfort/circumstances, or for YOU can you say “to live is Christ?” When life does not go as planned, do you have Paul’s resolve? “Christ will be honored…”
Phil 1:27-30 To live is Christ… when you are willing to suffer for the cause of Christ
“let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” we should live in proportion to the sacrifice of Jesus, and he gave everything!
“standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for …the gospel” Unity & community are extremely important for the sake of the gospel – can’t do it alone. We organize into small groups called Sunday School. Even if you can say “I’ve been in Sunday School all my life, I don’t need it…” GREAT, WE NEED YOU!
We all have good days and bad days, sometimes we wake-up ready to charge hell with a water-pistol, but most days we just want to “coast.” On the good days, you need to be around others whom you can encourage, and on the “coasting days” you need to be spurred-on. If you’re a part of our church, YOU NEED TO BE IN AN ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS.
“not only believe but suffer for his sake” in life, we need to be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
χianity is not “add some Jesus to make your life better” Jesus’ job isn’t to make your career better, you spouse better, your family better, etc. The goal of life is not to be happy, but to serve the king & see the gospel go forth. You don’t just add Jesus to your life, Jesus becomes your life, every day, in every way, with your last breath and with every ounce of your being, TO LIVE IS CHRIST!