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For Me to Live is Christ

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
March 13, 2022 7:00 pm

For Me to Live is Christ

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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March 13, 2022 7:00 pm

The Apostle Paul shows us what it means to live for Christ. Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition of Philippians.

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Probably at some time in the past, we have all sung, I'll live for him who died for me, and happy then my life shall be. And that, in essence, is what Paul is saying in this section before us in Philippians chapter 4, particularly verse 21, that well-known text where Paul says, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. To live for Christ. We sing the words, we've heard the words, we recognize the weight and value of these words, and yet perhaps sometimes we do not consider as carefully as we should the meaning of these words.

What does it mean to live for Christ? And we'll learn something about that in this passage that's before us this morning. This verse, often quoted but seldom analyzed, is certainly a standalone text.

Not all of them are, but there are verses in the Bible that you can take from their setting and look at them alone and derive truth and direction from that text as it stands alone. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. And yet this text, like all others in the Bible, takes on greater meaning and contributes more to our understanding when we consider it in its context and learn exactly why it was said at that particular time.

And that's what we want to endeavor to do today, that these words, familiar as they are, may become more conspicuous and powerful in our lives as we consider them in their setting. Now you recall that in the preceding verses, Paul has reflected upon his imprisonment turning out for the advancement of the gospel. Instead of being a detriment, it had turned out to be an incentive. It had turned out to be a positive element in the advancement of the gospel. Contrary to normal thinking, Paul confined, Paul unable to preach in the public, Paul unable to travel, and yet the gospel travels more quickly, more widely, it spreads to more people of that great city of Grom than Paul says it would have if he had been free.

Quite amazing. And it did so because Paul witnessed to his jailers and they told other people about this strange prisoner. And because the church in Rome became more bold because of Paul's chains and because there were raised up more preachers, public preachers of God's word who were preaching zealously throughout the city of Rome. And so this imprisonment has advanced the gospel of Christ. And I think Paul wants us to know that like his trial that had advanced the gospel of Christ, so our trials, every one of them, will also advance the gospel of Christ, though we don't always have eyes to see it.

But we need to pray that the Lord will help us to have eyes to see it. God is advancing the church. God is advancing the cause of Christ. God is glorifying His Son, not only in the proclamation of the gospel, but in the trials and difficulties of His saints.

May we understand that and glory in that. But now Paul reflects upon the meaning of his life. We might say the meaning of life, but particularly the meaning of his life. For me, he says, to live is Christ and to die is gain. What does that mean specifically for the apostle Paul?

And what does that mean for me and for you? To live is Christ. Well, there are four areas that I'd like to address in verses 19 through 26, and we begin by noticing Paul's confidence in verses 19 and 20. He's confident of God's deliverance, verse 19. He's confident of God's faithfulness, verse 20. Verse 19, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed. But with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. Paul is confident.

He's confident, we see in verse 19, of God's deliverance. I know that this will turn out for my deliverance. I know that this, and the this there in the context is referring to his Roman imprisonment. I am confined to jailers. I am restricted here in Rome. I am a prisoner of the Roman government.

I am waiting my trial at the imperial court. I have appealed to Caesar, my privilege as a Roman citizen, and now I am imprisoned waiting for that trial to begin, and I am confident that this will turn out for my deliverance. The word deliverance could also be accurately translated my salvation because salvation, we generally apply a fairly narrow understanding to salvation, meaning the salvation of our souls. But what is the salvation of our soul but deliverance from sin, deliverance from eternal judgment, deliverance from bondage, deliverance from ourselves. It is a rescue. It is a deliverance.

That's what salvation is. But that's not the deliverance that Paul is talking about here. He's talking about deliverance from his Roman imprisonment and impending trial. Paul is aware that his trial before Caesar could result in his acquittal, that he'll go free. And that is the expected result because he knows that he's done nothing wrong. He knows that he hasn't violated any Roman law.

He knows that he's not guilty of any crime that would cause him to be in trouble before the Roman court. And so if the trial goes well and if justice is served, then Paul knows that he's going to be acquitted, but he also knows that his trial could eventuate in his execution because things don't always turn out the way that you think they should. Sometimes they have an unpredictable result. Sometimes justice is not served. Sometimes the judge, presumably in this case Caesar himself, though in some cases it would be those he appointed if he didn't want to be bothered with some of these trials that were going on as people had appealed to him from all over the Roman Empire. But sometimes the Caesar or his appointed emissaries are having a bad day.

They're not judging things fairly, and they have prejudice, biases against the prisoners in front of them. And so Paul knows that it's possible that even though he is innocent, he could be declared guilty and executed because of his trial before Caesar. He's in prison waiting his trial, and yet he says, I am confident that I will be delivered through your prayers and by the supply of the Holy Spirit of God. I will be delivered through your prayers, one of God's primary means by which he carries out his sovereign purposes, mystery of mysteries. But even an apostle of Jesus Christ needs the prayers of God's people.

How much more do you and I? And Paul says, through the prayers of God's people, God is going to send a fresh supply of his Spirit. Through your prayers, God will consequently, to your prayers, supply the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of Jesus Christ, of course, is the Holy Spirit, and that's how we more commonly refer to him. But here he is, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, because indeed he is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. When Jesus left this earth in his earthly form, he said, I'm going to send you another comforter, and when he's with you, he's going to be to you all that I was, all that was important about me.

It wasn't so important that you could touch me and see me. My physical presence, it was important that you could hear my words and be guided and directed by me. And the Spirit of Jesus Christ will do that for his people. And he indwells all of his people, and all born-again believers have the Spirit of God, but not always in the same energy, the same activity, the same manifestation of his power, not equally at all times. And Paul says, I'm confident of my deliverance because of your prayers that God will answer by increasing the supply of the Holy Spirit to me. And therefore, your prayers and the Spirit of God are going to bring about my deliverance.

I'm confident of that, absolutely confident. And so, once again, this mystery between the human and the divine, human responsibility and divine sovereignty, the Spirit of God, who's going to be granted in greater measure when God's people pray. Figure that out. Explain that. In one sense, we can't. It's too mysterious.

In another sense, we can. It's so simple. You pray, God responds. Now, how all that happens in details, we can't really figure out, again, because of that mystery between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.

But on the surface, it's simple enough. You pray, and God goes to work in response to your prayers. Why don't we pray more if that be true? And of course, it is true because the Bible says so.

Why don't we pray more if we believe the Bible is true? You pray, and the Holy Spirit of God is going to bring deliverance. Paul is confident in God's deliverance. But he goes on to make it clear in verse 20 what it is, actually, he is confident of in this deliverance. Verse 20, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, and now also, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. Paul is confident in God's faithfulness, his deliverance in this sense, that God will faithfully deliver Paul from being ashamed. That is, God will deliver Paul from dishonoring Christ in his time of trial.

That the Holy Spirit of God will enable Paul to remain true to Christ at all costs, even as he is in this very precarious position of being put on trial before Caesar, and many a child of God down through the centuries has faltered at that very point. Think of Peter, just hours away from the cross. Jesus says to his disciples in the upper room, I'm going away, and where I'm going, you cannot come.

And Peter, who was always the one who spoke up, always the one who spoke up, said, Why? Why can't we come? Where are you going, and why can't we come?

Audacious Peter. And Jesus says, well, this is in the last part of John chapter 13, Jesus says, well, actually, you can come later, but you can't come now. Peter says, well, why can't we come now? Why can't I come now? I'm willing to die for you. Why can't I come now? If you're talking about going to heaven and we can't come there now, even though you're going there now, but we can come later, why can't I come now?

I'm willing to die for you. And Jesus said, Peter, before the cock crows, you will deny me. Well, Peter didn't think so, did he?

No, sir. He was bold. He was courageous. He would never deny his Lord.

He would never do a thing like that. Less than six hours later, Peter is in the courtyard. Jesus is on trial, and a servant girl, a young lady says, I think you're one of them. And Peter shakes in his boots and is filled with fear and denies his Lord in the hour of trial. And he was ashamed. When he realized what he did, what did he do? He went out and went bitterly.

He was ashamed. That's what Paul says. I'm confident the Holy Spirit of God will deliver me from. He's going to enable me not to do that, not to falter in this time of trial, to grant boldness in this time of trial, to enable me, Paul, to magnify Jesus Christ in my body during this time of trial. To magnify Christ means to make Him large.

How do you make Him large? When we make Christ large, we make it clear to others that we count Christ more important than ourselves. When it's clear that He's, in our minds, bigger than we are, more important than we are, we make Him large. We exalt Him.

We magnify Him. And Paul said, I'm confident that the Holy Spirit of God will enable me to do that in my body, that is, in my words and actions in this time of trial. That whether by life or by death, whether I live or die, whether I'm acquitted or executed, in either case, right up until the end, that I will not deny my Lord. I will not shame my Lord. I will not dishonor my Lord. I will be true to Him to the very end. You see, if you read verse 19 without reading the contents text, you might assume that Paul is saying, I'm confident that I'm going to be delivered from prison. But that's not what he says. He says, I'm confident that I'm going to be delivered from failing, from faltering, from being an unbeliever for a moment, from dishonoring my Lord.

I'm confident of these things. Paul is confident that he will be delivered from dishonoring Christ before the imperial court. Paul's deliverance that he was anticipating and confident of was not deliverance from hardship, not deliverance from suffering, not deliverance from imprisonment, not deliverance from possible execution, but deliverance from fear, from cowardice, from failure, from dishonoring Christ. Paul's greatest concern was that in the moment of weakness, he might fail to be faithful to Christ. And he prayed that that would not happen. And he said, I'm confident through your prayers the Holy Spirit is going to enable me not to fail my Lord. His confidence was that God would grant Paul's desire to magnify Christ in whatever circumstances God had appointed for him.

Is that your desire? If, according to the appointment of God, you find out this coming week that you have got a serious illness, what's your greatest concern? My greatest concern is for healing. That's the most important thing, is it? Or is the greatest concern, or what should your greatest concern be, that this trial not cause you to doubt the Lord, dishonor the Lord, demonstrate lack of faith in the Lord, demonstrate that you don't consider Christ the most important one in your life?

That's the greatest concern, or ought to be our greatest concern, at times like this. It was Paul's, and we learn from him. May Paul's greatest concern be ours as well, Paul's confidence in deliverance. But number two, we find Paul's commitment, and now this brings us to our famous text in verse 21. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I'm confident that I'll be delivered so that I can magnify Christ in my body, whether by life or by death, for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Paul's commitment, which was a wholehearted commitment to Christ, for me to live is Christ, and it was an unquestioning commitment about Christ, and to die is gain. How do you know that, Paul?

Because Christ said so. And I don't doubt it. I don't question him. I believe his promises. I believe his word. I believe his commitment to me. I'm committed to him, and I have no doubt in his commitment to fulfill the promises that he has made. A wholehearted commitment to Christ, for me to live, is Christ. Paul is saying, if I continue to live and I'm not executed, I'm going to live for Christ. That's what I have been doing all of these years. Why should I stop now?

Far from it. Because Paul knows something that most people have not yet discovered, namely that the only life worth living is the life that is lived for Christ. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul? What can we possibly live for in this life that's more important than living for Jesus Christ? We who know the truth of the Bible know that there is nothing that is more important than that.

And that's why we sing, Isaac Wotskim, Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. Sometimes we sing, Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all. He is my strength from day to day. Without him I would fall.

And on it goes. Jesus is all the world to me. We sing it, but is he?

Do we demonstrate that in our body? Do we demonstrate that in our words and actions like Paul did? Or that great song that I have in the past, and you probably have too, heard sung by George Beverly Shay, I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I'd rather be his than have riches untold. I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land. I'd rather be led by his nail pierced hand than to be the king of a vast domain or be held in sin's dread sway.

I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. We sing it, we love to hear it sung, we delight in it, but is that my sentiment? Is that my commitment?

Is that my desire? For me to live is Christ. Here's what John Eadie, one of the commentators that I consult on Philippians, said about this portion. Paul said, for me to live is Christ.

The preaching of Christ, the business of my life, the presence of Christ, the cheer of my life, the image of Christ, the crown of my life, the spirit of Christ, the life of my life, the love of Christ, the power of my life, the will of Christ, the law of my life, the glory of Christ, the end of my life. Christ was the absorbing element of his life. If he traveled, it was on Christ's errand. If he suffered, it was in Christ's service. When he spoke, his theme was Christ. And when he wrote, Christ filled his letters. Paul said, for me to live is Christ. And there's no question as we examine his life that he meant what he said.

That is exactly true in his case. A wholehearted commitment to Christ, which therefore gave Paul an unquestioning commitment about Christ. For me to live is Christ, and I am confident, I am certain, I have no doubt that for me to die is gain.

Whichever way it goes, I can't lose. For me to live is Christ. For me to die is gain. To die is gain because to die is to enter into the realization of so many of those promises which Christ has made that pertain to our salvation, that pertain to our presence with him, that pertain to the putting away of the sinful remnant that remains from our Adamic nature that brings us into a place without sin, without suffering, without tears, a place of joy, a place of presence of Christ and the presence of our blood-bought loved ones, a place where God is always honored and never disobeyed, where every heart gladly, willingly, eagerly obeys the Lord in every detail. May thy will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.

Paul knew what these promises were. He knew the Word of God, and therefore he was confident that to die is gain because he would enter into the beginning of the fulfillment of these eternal promises. For Paul, it is clear that death is a promotion, not a defeat. Death is better, not worse for a Christian. Death is the preferred condition because, of course, it's only physical death, but there is no death of the soul for the child of God. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. To die is gain. To die is to be living, alive, vibrant in the presence of the Lord.

To die is not soul sleep. To die is not for our souls to be with our bodies in the grave to await that future time when Jesus Christ shall come, as some erroneously teach. If that were true, then Paul couldn't say to die is gain. He'd have to say to die is to await the gain that everybody will get at the same time. But Paul is talking about an immediate gain, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Bang, bang, just like that. To live is Christ, to die is gain. Many, many years ago when I was traveling for a school group and one of our services turned out to be at a family camp up in New England of a group of Christian Adventists and nobody prepared me for this.

They should have. And so I was preaching to an auditorium filled with about a thousand people and I did my usual spiel in that day. I'm ashamed of it now. Got to the end of the sermon and I said, heads bowed, eyes closed. All of those who know that if you died today you'd be with the Lord in heaven, raise your hand.

Out of a thousand people, one hand went up. I said, what a mission field. No, you idiot, these people believe in soul sleep. They don't believe that if they die they're going to be with the Lord in heaven.

Oh, my ignorance. That's what Seventh-day Adventists believe in. That's what Christian Adventists believe. They don't believe in the seventh day, but they believe in the same doctrine of soul sleep.

So here I was showing my ignorance because I was not prepared for that particular occasion. But that's not what Paul is talking about. He doesn't say for me to live is Christ and to die is to sleep until the great resurrection day. He says for me to live is Christ and to die immediately is gain. Because Paul believed the promises of God.

He had an unquestioned faith in the commitment of Christ to him in the promises of his word. Paul could say sincerely from an honest heart for me to live is Christ because for him it was to live is Christ. And therefore without hesitation he could say to die is gain. Could it be that so many of God's people would have difficulty really saying with enthusiasm to die is gain because perhaps you can't say the first part.

You can't honestly say for me to live is Christ. Why are so many Christians fearful about death? Why are so many Christians un-eager to die and to experience this gain that is represented by death? Why do so many Christians hold so tightly to life and dread dying as if it were something awful when the Bible tells us just the opposite. To die is gain.

To die is gain. Paul's confidence ushered forth into Paul's commitment. But we come thirdly to what I've called Paul's conundrum. What is a conundrum? Several dictionary definitions of conundrum but the simplest one is the one I have in mind here.

A conundrum is a difficult problem. And Paul had a difficult problem before him as he came to this point. He didn't know which one was better, to live or to die. He makes it clear that if he could have his desire, he has no question which is better.

To die is better. But his own desires, his own interests, his own feelings, his own benefit is not the most important thing in Paul's life. And so he goes on to say in verse 22 that if I live in the flesh, I'm going to have more labor, more fruit for my labor. But if I die, verse 23, then I have the joyful prospect of being with the Lord forever.

But that's not the whole story. Let's look at it, this conundrum, verse 22 and three and four. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit for my labor. Yet what I shall choose I cannot tell, for I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.

Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. If God appoints for me to live, I am acquitted at my trial. I'm freed, I go on living, which all the evidence of history indicates is exactly what happened. The Bible account concludes before that time comes, so we don't have that record in the Bible.

But the indication of history is that, in fact, Paul was acquitted and he did travel again, though later he was re-arrested and was put back in prison and this time executed. But as far as this imprisonment is concerned, he did live on in the flesh. And he said, if I live on in the flesh, the result will be more fruitful labor. That's what I've been doing with my life ever since Christ saved me. I've been laboring for Christ. I've been laboring for the gospel. I've been laboring for the souls of men. I've been laboring for the establishment of churches. And if God extends my life, I'm not going to change a thing. I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing, and that means more gospel proclamation, more souls coming to a knowledge of Christ, more churches being planted, more Christians being built up in the most holy faith.

That's a joyful prospect, the idea of having some more time on earth to serve the Lord and to add additional fruit to my Lord's account, to my account in heaven because of my Lord. But he says, there's also in my mind this prospect of a joyful departure, verse 23, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. He states the difficult choice again.

He states it at the end of verse 22 and again in the beginning of verse 23. This is a hard decision. This is a hard choice.

I'm not sure which one to choose. In one way, I've always been a little puzzled by this because Paul knows full well, as we know, that it really wasn't his to choose anyway. He didn't get to choose, and he knows that. But he's saying, if I could choose, which would I choose?

Which do I desire the most? And he says, clearly my choice, my preference would be to go on and go to heaven and be with the Lord. To depart and be with Christ, which is far better. A greater desire than remaining on earth and continuing to earn fruit, to produce fruit for the Lord. To depart and be with Christ. Depart is a word that means to break camp or to weigh anchor or to set sail.

All of these have the idea of the temporariness of life. Life is like living in a tent in a camp. And the time comes to break camp and move on. That's what it means to die, to move on to a better place. Life is like a ship in a harbor with the anchor out. The time comes to pull up the anchor and sail on. And so the day comes when our life on earth, which is temporary anyway, is over.

And on we sail into eternity. I desire to depart and to be with Christ, which he says is far better. Literally, I suppose this is the most literal way to translate this Greek phrase, very far better. You have to find some way to translate it if you want to give it its full force that will communicate the triple comparative that you don't see in your English. You see a double comparative.

To die, to depart and be with Christ is better. That's one comparison or one way of describing the betterness of it, the preference of it. It's better. But no, it is, what does he say here? It is far better. So that's number two. A double way of saying that it's better.

But in the Greek, there's a third one. It's very far better. It's better, better, better.

It's very, very better. So why are some Christians not even convinced that it's better at all and others that might concede it's better only want to give it maybe just a little bit better? It'd be better to stay. I'd rather live than die. But I know I've got to die someday, so I'm glad to know that that's going to be better, but my heart's not really in it. I don't really want to depart and be with the Lord.

I don't really believe that that's very far better. But Paul did. Why did he when we don't?

Well, maybe back to that first part. For me to live as Christ. And then we'll know that to die is gain. But there's another element involved in all this, and that's verse 24, the recognition of the needs of others. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. As I'm weighing this choice, to remain and have more years of fruitfulness for the Lord, that's a good prospect. In spite of the pain, the sorrows, the sufferings, the beatings, the persecutions, the physical difficulties, that's still a good prospect to me. The possibility, the time to continue serving the Lord and bearing fruit for Him. But I'll tell you what is a far, far, far more attractive prospect for me, which is to die and go on to be with the Lord. But there's something else. To remain in the flesh is more needful for you. The recognition of the needs of others, to remain in the flesh addresses a great need for others.

You see, Paul doesn't consider his own desires to be the most important formula in weighing this decision. If I'm the only one in consideration, I know what I want to do. Zip, I'm out of here. Right now. We've all heard about that we all want to go to heaven, but please don't get up a busload right now. Well, for Paul, he wanted to get on that bus right now. Right now. Let's go.

I'm ready. But Paul didn't consider his own needs and desires to be of paramount importance. Paul puts the needs of others above his own desires. I know that to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. It would be better for you that I stay and continue to preach God's word.

It would be better for you that I stay and encourage and guide and direct you in the development of the church at Philippi and even to help other churches and to plant new churches. I put the needs and desires of others above my own. Isn't that what we ought to be doing? Isn't that what Christ requires of all of us?

And doesn't this get right down to where the rubber meets the road? If we really don't make this a major consideration, the needs of others, then it's questionable whether we are really putting Christ first in our life. It's easy enough to sing, I'd rather have Jesus in anything, but how do you demonstrate it?

How do you show it? Well, if you love me, keep my commandments. And here's the greatest commandment, that you love one another. And by this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you have loved one for another. And if you're putting the needs of others before your own, then you're probably putting Jesus Christ first. And if you're not putting the needs of others before your own, are you really putting Jesus Christ first? Maybe we're learning a little bit more about what it means to live for Christ. For me to live is Christ.

What does that mean? It means to live for others. And so that brings us number four to Paul's continuance, verses 25 and 26.

What have we seen so far? We have seen Paul's confidence, Paul's commitment, Paul's conundrum, but now Paul's continuance. He is going to continue in the flesh for a while and being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Paul is confident that he is going to live because he recognizes the needs of others and somehow he has this divinely given assurance that because there are needs of others, that he is in a unique position to help that God is going to extend his life so that he can continue to do this. And so in light of the needs of the Philippian church, Paul expresses another confidence. His first confidence was that the Holy Spirit would enable him to be courageous in the day of his trial and not deny the Lord. His second confidence is that because other people need him, God is going to extend his life so that he can continue his labors.

He will remain in the flesh for a little while longer. Not for Paul's benefit, he'd rather depart, but for the benefit of others, they need him. And so his continued labors in verse 25 and his continued fruitfulness in verse 26. His fruit will increase the Philippians rejoicing when he comes and visits them and ministers to them.

His fruitful presence in ministry will cause them to rejoice and Paul will be content to continue laboring in a body that is giving ever more weary, ever more painful, ever more exhausted by his labors. But what is that in the face of the needs of others? What is that in the face of the desire of Jesus Christ upon my life at this time? What is that in the light of the length of eternity with the Lord? Thus we conclude that at least in part to live for Christ means to live for others for the sake of Christ.

That's not all of what it means, but it's a lot of what it means as we see in this text. What does it mean to live for Christ? It means to sacrifice our desires for the sake of Christ and for others. What does it mean to live for Christ? It means to sacrifice our comforts for the sake of Christ and others. Paul was weary.

Paul was tired. Paul was ready for an eternal rest, but it's more needful for you that I stay and therefore I'm confident I will stay and I'm happy to do it. What does it mean to live for Christ? It means to sacrifice financially for the sake of Christ and others. You say, I don't see that in the text.

No. No, that's not in the text, though surely that's included, but that's what Christ taught us, not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth where moth and dust rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but rather to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, to sacrifice financially for the sake of Christ and others. It was Christ who taught us you can't serve both Christ and man, and you can't give them equal weight. You can't even give Christ a little bit of advantage, but still living an awful lot of your life for the accumulation of material things.

You can't do that. To live for Christ means you need to be willing to give that up. Now, that doesn't mean that Christ may not benefit you with many of the good things of this life, as the Bible shows us that He often does, but that can't be the goal of your life. That can't be what you're living for.

That can't be your main endeavor, your main goal, your main desire, your main interest, your main energies directed to that. You can't be living for Christ and make that number one in your life. To be able to live for Christ means to put Him first, not money, not comforts, not ease. Yes, to live for Christ may very well mean to sacrifice family for the sake of Christ and others.

You say, no, not that. Well, what did Jesus mean when He said, He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And He who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And He who does not take up His cross and follow me is not worthy of me. What does it mean to live for Christ?

It means to put Him first in everything, every area of our lives. And when we do, when we are truly living for Christ, then dying is going to look so glorious. Dying is going to look so wonderful.

Dying is going to look like such a delightful prospect. And the more we live for Christ, the more dying will be seen to be gain. May God show us how to apply these truths to our lives and circumstances, shall we pray. Father, this is a wonderful portion of your word. It's a challenging portion of your word. It is an instructive portion of your word. O Lord, teach us Your ways and show us Your paths, we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 23:07:52 / 2023-05-22 23:22:54 / 15

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