Living for Christ
Can we truly magnify Christ?
When we look through a telescope it takes something that is distant, hard to see and magnifies it, makes it seem closer doesn’t it? What we see with our eyes is only a small representation of what is really there, isn’t it? The stars, the planets are bigger than our eye can see.
The believers body is to be a telescope that brings Jesus Christ closer to people. So that is Christ magnified.
How about a microscope, what does it do? It magnifies something small and makes it bigger. We know people who do not think much of Jesus or think little of Him, but Jesus is much bigger isn’t He? We are to be a microscope to the unbeliever that they may see the Christ that is in us.
Because of Paul’s chains Christ was known (Php1:13)
13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
Because of Paul’s critics, Christ was preached (Php1:18)
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
But it is because of Paul’s crisis that Christ is magnified (Php1:20)
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
So can we magnify Christ? Sure we can it is when we go through our times of crisis, tribulation, hard times that how we handle those times the unbeliever can see just how big Jesus is. We can be the leans that makes a little Jesus be magnified in and through us to show how very big He truly is and the lens that makes the distant Jesus very close.
Yes we can magnify the Christ in all things and through all things today we are looking at how Paul magnified Christ
In Paul’s crisis (vv.20-26)
In Paul’s challenge (v.27)
In Paul’s confidence (vv.28-30)
I. Paul’s Crisis
I. Paul’s Crisis
Death did not scare Paul, he was willing to die for the cause of Christ. Living didn’t scare Him either, any way about it Paul’s desire was just to further the gospel (Php1:12) and his confidence was that it would be for the furtherance of their joy in faith (Php1:25); but let’s look at the section as a whole now.
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
I needed to give you that first, since I mentioned it.
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
Think about this, Paul wanted to be with Christ, but willing to put it off for them. In fact he was willing to go to hell in order to win some to Christ (Rom9:1-3)
1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
Depart, don’t we all want to depart to leave our earthly tent’s behind and be with the Lord? Our tent is only temporary (2Cor5:1-8; referenced)
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
it goes on to say
We groan because we want to be with Him, but we are clothed in our mortality now
HE has prepared us for this purpose, to serve Him now and has given us His Spirit as His pledge of His return or us.
So hold on, be of good courage, walk by faith not by sight
8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
Paul and the apostles all wanted, desired to be at home with the Lord, but were willing to serve the Lord here and now until that day that our tents are taken down.
Our bodies limit us now because of the temptations of the flesh , but death will free us one day. Free us to return to Christ (see Rom8:18-23)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Death will free us or the return of Christ will free us, anyway about it our earthly tent will be done away with and we will be with Him!
As believers we take on the yoke of Christ (Mt11:28-30); but in death we will be unyoked and lay aside the burdens of our earthly tent for our work will have been completed.
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Paul had a singleness of mind and of heart and no one or nothing can steal his joy.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Think about the song “This is my Father’s world”
This is my father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sins, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my father’s world, the birds their carols raise the morning light, the lily white declare their makers praise . . . “
When we have the singleness of mind and heart we can see that we are living in our Fathers world, we see Him and His creation all around us regardless of our current circumstances. In our tents that we groan and ache in.
You want to check yourself out, fill in this blank
“For me to live is ______ and to die is ________”
Some people would say to live is or money, pleasure and fame, to die is to leave it all behind and be forgotten.
For the Christian may we echo what Paul says, what Paul believes, what Paul is convinced of “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain!”
II. Paul’s challenge
II. Paul’s challenge
Everyone loves to hear a good challenge, but not everyone is willing to accept the challenge. Accepting the challenge takes effort, as Christians who have taken on the yoke of Christ in our earthly tent should rise the challenge Paul puts before us.
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
We need to strive together for the faith of the gospel, to protect the faith we have in the gospel. So how can we do it?”
First, striving for the faith of the gospel by consistency.
Our walk is much more important than our talk, it is not a catchy sermon, or a new book that protects the gospel, it is a the disciplined life, the consistent life of the believer.
Paul challenges us to conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel. It brings to mind another song we sing “This world is not my home”
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. . . “
We are citizens of heaven according to the scripture (Php3:20)
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
We need to walk as citizens of heaven, act like citizens of heaven; we can even pray, are told to pray for it too (Mt6:10)
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
We are to be a colony of heaven right here on earth when we were transferred into the kingdom (Col1:13)
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
We have been called by the gospel and we need to walk worthy of it
Walk worthy of it (Eph4:1)
Walk worthy of the Lord (Col1:10)
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Walk more than talk by our consistency of our life.
The gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ and is of first importance as Paul lays out in “1Cor15:1-8”. For there is no other way to be saved but in Jesus (Act4:12) anything that anyone may say different is a false gospel, or really no gospel at all (Gal1:6-10). The gospel is in Christ alone, christ who is our hope (1Tim1:1) It is in Him we find our hope.
When we walk worthy, when we conduct ourselves in a worthy manner of the Gospel we are a living testimony of the Gospel (2Cor3:2-3)
2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Strive together in cooperation (see 1Cor12:12-14; Eph4:3-6; Php4:2, 1:12)
Strive in cooperation of One Spirit, with one mind for the faith of the gospel
We are a team, a part of the body, knowing we are many parts that make up the body as noted in (1Cor12:12-14), but still one body. We live by the One’s found in (Eph4:3-6).
There was a problem in Philippi there was some division that was happening and Paul is calling for them to strive together, in cooperation with one another. The division is found in Php4:2
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.
When we are in cooperation with one another Satan cannot conquer and destroy or divide. but it takes effort! Be willing to put for the effort for the common good, for he furtherance of he gospel as Paul said.
When we work together, strive together we can reach the goal, win the prize and glorify and magnify the Lord!
So as citizens of heaven who should walk consistently, for we are a team who should work in cooperation with one another, as we face the enemy, the difficulties of this life we can know, can can have confidence in our victory through the gospel.
III. Paul’s Confidence
III. Paul’s Confidence
Remember the book of Philippians, the book of joy, written exhort, to promote unity, to thank them, to encourage them to love, and abound more and more. Now we come to Paul’s confidence in the gospel and in them.
28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
We should not be alarmed by Satan or those who are opposed to the gospel, we need to be prepared for them.
First, when these oppositions come; know they prove our faith (v.29)
Not only prove our faith, but our suffering for Him strengthens our faith (v.39)
I mentioned false gospel before, any gospel that does not include the truth of the Words of Christ is a false gospel.
33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
In this life we have tribulation, we suffer, but because of the truth of the gospel we have victory in our suffering and over our suffering (Jn16:33)
Paul writes to Timothy about that also (2Tim3:12)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Jesus called it a blessing to be persecuted
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Remember our reward is in heaven for this world is not our home. Another encouragement we can have is that we are not alone in our suffering either as noted in (v.30)
As we face the enemy, and we will, we can have God given confidence and the enemy will have no where to go with you so he will flee.
(wrap up) - So when we have the singleness of mind, the singleness of heart it produces joy in the midst of the battle, or any circumstance that may come our way. The battles product in us consistency, cooperation and confidence and we can experience joy as a part of the spiritual team that strives together for the faith of the gospel.
(lead to invitation) - insert invitation slide.
There is room on the team, you are invited to join
As a team member you have a part to play, be sure you play your part for all are to partake and not just sit on the bench. For we are all the same in Christ Jesus!