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Living for Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2022 12:01 am

Living for Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 19, 2022 12:01 am

Our highest priority, both in life and death, is to glorify Jesus Christ. Everything else is peripheral. Today, Steven Lawson focuses on the Apostle Paul's words, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).

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For me to live is Christ. It's not even my church is not even my family is not even my business is not even my work. Those are all important, but there's only one that's most important. And there's only one of which we can say he's everything and that's Christ using emotion from his latest teachers to assure value of the book of Philippians and explode rejoice in the war were pleased to bring you portions of this week here on Renewing Your Mind welcome and we will the apostle Paul's fundamental goal in life was to serve Jesus in his ultimate ambition in the next life was to be with Jesus.

Paul admitted that he was hard-pressed between those two realities and today Dr. Lawson will show us how you can live in the tension between the here and now in our glorious future want to take your Bible and turn with me to the book of Philippians chapter 1 getting in verse 21 for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I'm to live on in the flesh. This will mean fruitful labor for me and I do not know which way to choose but I'm hard-pressed from both directions. Having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very, much better, yet remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your site. Convinced of this. I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus my coming to you again. Therefore, the apostle Paul is he is imprisoned in Rome and he's awaiting his trial before Caesar who has the power and authority of life or death. And Paul does not really know which way it will go and as he is awaiting his trial has Paul writes this letter. He is very transparent and he's very open with the Philippians and says to them as they are worried about him if his life is taken. Paul is saying to them, that's okay. That's going to be a whole lot better because I will be in the immediate presence of Christ and I will be glorified and be as much like Christ as a redeemed center can be or all be found not guilty and I will be allowed to stay and I'll be able to preach Christ and I'll be able to minister to Christ and I will be able to come to your aid. So either way it's a win-win. It's just that Hall understands that the greater outcome would be for him to be able to go to heaven right now.

I wonder how many of us could really have that as our perspective that faced with the life-and-death situation that we all will face one day that we would desire to be with Christ, which is very much better, but that were willing to stay so that I can serve Christ more here on the earth, wirelessly these verses and see how Paul works through this. I want you to note. First, Paul's priority that's at the beginning of verse 21, Paul begins this section by making one of the most dramatic statements never come from his pen had to ever come from anyone spin he he he says this in just these few words for to me to live is Christ when he says to me what he is saying is whether anybody else list for Christ our everyone was surprised a related matter, I'm to live for Christ does not look into his laughter to his right to see what everyone else is going to do before he decides what he's going to forward to me whether lots follow Christ. Whether nobody follows Christ, I'm all in with Christ, for to me to live is Christ, for me life is to know Christ is to worship Christ is to adore Christ is to surrender to Christ is to submit to Christ is to walk with Christ is to fellowship with Christ. It is to obey Christ is to serve Christ my whole life is Christ that that's why were called Christians. That's the way that's what we are.

We are people who live for Christ is our only priority that can only be one priority and that is Christ for us. Everything else in our life is peripheral is secondary. What is at the pentacle of our life is Christ. It's interesting the word is for me to look for to me to live is Christ is not found in the original, and Paul wrote this. This is literally how it reads for to me to live Christ, he does anyone of bourbon between me and Christ is want anything to come between him and Christ even grammatically everything in Paul's life revolves around Christ. Christ is the center not the circumference Christ is first and last and everything in between. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega and every letter in between. Christ is the son and the substance of my life.

Paul's entire life is consumed with Christ.

Christ is his cornerstone crisis is linchpin. Christ is his anchor. Christ is his center of gravity crisis is foundation Christ as his pillars.

Christ is his pinnacle. Christ is everything in Paul's life.

That's what it is to be a Christian and then this isn't some hyper spiritual statement to come from Paul.

That's only true for him. This is Christianity 101.

This is kindergarten level entry level Christianity is for Christ to be every thing to us in our lives. Christ is our priority. Christ is our passion. Christ is our power. Christ is our pursuit, our entire life is summed up in this one statement for to me to live Christ.

What a challenge this is we we we live in a very complex world we we don't live on in Little House on the Prairie. We we live in a fast-paced society with so many things coming at us right and left through all the media in computers and cable TV and everything going on. What a challenge it is for us to say in the midst of all of this chaos that for me to live is Christ. It's not even my church is not even my family is not even my business is not even my work.

Those are all important, but there's only one that's most important.

And there's only one of which we can say is everything and that's Christ. The fact is the moral of Christ. The moral of my family. The more I love Christ, the more I will love others. The moral of Christ. The better businessman I'll be your better housewife or whatever the key is Christ and the commitment to Christ is the key that unlocks every door in life is that your testimony today.

Can you say for me to live is Christ taken you so you could take away everything if I can only hang onto one thing, it would be Christ that I would hang onto the word Christian simply means it's a diminutive form of the name Christ just means a little Christ and was originally a term of slander that was thrown at the early believers and what the world met for slander the early believers embraced it they took it as a badge of honor that I could have any name association with Christ because my whole life is Christ, so that's Paul's priority must be your priority in my priority fact if it's not our priority. I would wonder, for even a Christian at all. Jesus will not be in anyone's backseat to heal only be behind the steering wheel and he's not along for the ride is our master and his our Lord and we are his slaves and we are his subjects and we follow him wherever he leads.

Second, I want you know Paul's profit as we look at the second half of verse 21 Paul's profit, meaning Paul's gain. He says to die is gain and to die here referring to the outcome of this trial before Caesar, as Paul is right now staring death square in the face potentially is time to die could come very soon. He says to die is gain. That seems somewhat radical.

Does it not, but is true. Again the word is is not in the original and it literally just reads to die gain is it makes it very emphatic that just even leave the bar about to die gain. The gain here means to receive far greater profit that the grave will graduate him the glory that the grave will usher him into the immediate presence of Jesus Christ that death will bring Paul to a far greater benefit. The grave will not be a tragedy it will be a triumph as he will graduate the glory. As I said, so Paul is caught in the middle. When do I live for Christ.

Instead they do I die and go be with Christ. Well, what is the greater gain in heaven is not streets of gold, not gates of pearl is not reunion with loved ones is wonderful as that will be not absence of sorrow and tears.

The greatest gain in heaven is being with Jesus Christ. The greatest gain in heaven is seeing Christ the greatest gain in heaven standing before Christ in casting crowns at his feet and Paul understands that there could be no greater gain for his life than to die and go to be with Christ that this is perspective that you and I must have because it's been well said we were not ready to live until were ready to die and we need to settle the end before we can settle today and we need to be ready to die, and the only way to be ready to die is to know that you know that you know that you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, who is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but through me. We have to have that nailed down. We have to know with certainty that death will be my passageway into the immediate presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. If I know that and that's settled then I can face whatever in this life and I will serve Christ in this life.

No matter what it will cost me so want you to note next Paul's perplexity. That's in verses 22 and 23 Paul's perplexity because like I said earlier he he's torn between the two. He says in verse 22 but if I am to live on in the flesh. This will mean fruitful labor for me. He realizes the possibility that he may be released from this Roman imprisonment. In fact, he was and he said it will mean fruitful labor for me because it will give him extended opportunity to preach Christ in more places to board people and to see more souls won to Christ. There'll be more voices in the hallelujah chorus and choir and so it will be fruitful labor yes labor hard work toiled to the point of exhaustion for Christ, but it will be fruitful because our labor in the Lord is not in vain. First Corinthians 1558. He says in the middle of verse 22 and I do not know which to choose. Help that's really surprising to hear from Paul, because Paul's a very decisive man had Paul's never like should I should I not. Which way do I go no Paul's man of action. Paul is a leader. Paul has others following him.

This is a rare time to hear something like this flow from the pen of Paul. I do not know which way to choose because he's like a rope in a tug-of-war he's being pulled in in both directions, and we know those two directions are stay here and live for Christ die and go to be with Christ and I'd I don't know which way to choose verse 23, but I am hard-pressed from both directions in the word hard-pressed here he pictures himself is walking down a tight corridor between two walls and these walls discontinue to close in on both side and we would put it this way in the vernacular, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place and there's no escape you're just stuck in the middle between two compressing and this is like you're in a vice grip and in that vice grip is being tightened and tightened and you feel it squeezing in on both sides and on hard-pressed from both directions, and on one side the vice grip is ice day and I live for Christ.

On the other side, the vice grip is iodine. I go be with Christ and Paul is trapped in the middle.

In this dilemma when he goes on to say in verse 23. Having the desire to depart and be with Christ empathy me. It's a very strong Greek word that meant speaks of strong desire deep affection, intense longing burning zeal, growing passion with every passing day. Paul is desiring more and more and more to be with Christ uses this desire to depart to be with Christ.

This word depart is used in classical Greek to picture a ship is been tied to a dock with a rope. But then the rope is untied and loosened and the tide are the current just takes the ship out into the open sea impulses. I desire someone just to loosen the rope it's binding me here to this world so that I can be carried away into the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. This word was also used in classical Greek of soldiers ready to break camp and move out to the next destination. And Paul is saying I'm just ready to pack up and move out to the world to come to be with the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul is really pulling back the veil and allowing us to peer down into his heart is being so transparent here with us and he says and be with Christ that Christ is his supreme joy. He is like a bride who is separated from her husband.

He being the bride of Christ, and he longs to be with the one he loves who is Christ that he knows from second Corinthians 58 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord Jesus said to the thief on the cross today. You'll be with me in paradise. And so Paul understands death will take him immediately in a split second, the twinkling of a nine to the presence of Christ.

What could be better than that. And then he will be made like Christ. First John 32 and his body will be made like Christ. Philippians 320, and 21 and he will actually see Christ and reign with Christ that this is just absolutely glorious and Paul's estimation because he's just so Christ obsessed in a right way at the end of verse 23 he says it again. This is to be with Christ is very, much better now. I can hear Dr. scroll saying they do not use the word very image of a weak vocabulary. They need a stronger word. We don't have to use very well.

Paul uses the word very and it's it's very much better. It's just taking something to the superlative degree it's it's a double comparative it's the greatest good, not just better, but much better, not just much better but very much better good, better, and best Paul says for me to pass through the iron gates of death will be very, much better because I will go immediately into the presence of the Lord also had a lot of time to think about this. He's been sitting in this house arrest chained to the Roman soldiers during this two year imprisonment in Rome. We don't know exactly when Philippians was written in that two-year period of time… Put it right in the middle. He's had a year to sit there and think about his life about his future but his ministry that his ambitions but his goals about what's really important. What's of lesser importance. And Paul has processed all of this and these can cut a scum to the conclusion that the greatest thing that could possibly be in my life will be to go be with Christ, so that needs to be our passion in life there is a sense in which God has made us with a desire for self-preservation is why we look both ways. We cross the street.

That's why there is an instinctive fear when were in danger in God is put that within us to preserve our life and we should do all that we can to preserve our life but we do know this, that, whenever it is that our life will be taken. It will be it will lead to the greatest thing that will ever happen not just that will be made like Christ, but will be with Christ, and will see him and we will worship him forever and ever will have a glorified body that will never grow tired and never grow weary will be able to worship Christ forever and ever and ever. We will have glorified eyes that will be able to look upon Christ and see him in the beauty of his holiness. We will have a glorified tongue that will never grow weary of praising him and extolling his name.

We will have glorified knees and will never tire of kneeling before him and worshiping him, we will have glorified ears with which we will hear him hear his voice hear him speak to us with the sound of many waters drowning out every other voice we will have a glorified body that will be perfectly adapted to our new home in heaven, but specifically it will be an enlargement of every capacity that we have towards Christ will have a glorified heart with which we will love Christ with an even greater capacity than we presently love him. Everything will be enlarged to the maximum degree regarding our relationship with Christ, how much greater it will be but as we find ourselves in this world now, and let us live for Christ. Now let us have no regrets. Let us give our all for Christ. If Christ be God and died for me. The no sacrifice is too great for me to make for him CT stud. Let us give everything for Christ.

As we live our life.

And then when we come to die.

We will have no second guessing we will have no regrets because we left it all in the field for the Lord. We gave everything we have, to give may this be our testimony for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Knowing Christ brings confidence and joy to wife those in the world can't give us joy your particular way because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ this week on Renewing Your Mind. We are focusing on Dr. Steven Lawson's lawyers. Teaching series rejoice in the Lord. Paul's letter to the Philippians in 42 messages we learn and discover.

Verse by verse all the joy of the Lord to transform our lives today is your first opportunity to request this six DVD set. Just contact us today with a donation of any of melted will lead the teaching series to your online learning library. You'll also receive the digital study guide that includes lesson goals message outlines and questions for group discussion plus will send you the DVD set to keep and share with a friend or maybe you'd like to donate it to your church. You can find us or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. We are grateful for your generous support.

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It is 800-435-4343. What's the source of your joy. The world says you are the source can only be found in serving yourself making yourself happy in his letter to the Philippians alters that notion on its head. What ever time I have. It's really not for me is for a whatever treasure has been entrusted to me. It is not really for me is for others in serving the Lord blessed the focus of Dr. Wilson's next lesson. I hope you'll join us tomorrow. Here on your mind

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