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January 10, 2020 12:00 am
For me to live is to play games for me to live is to accumulates shop to golf the garden to travel to grow the portfolio of the building of the degree to watch television. Whatever you fill in the blanks is whatever I want to live for another misunderstand living can involve all of those things. But the question is are they a part of your life, or are they the reason for your life will know the right answer.
Welcome to this broadcast of wisdom from the heart were looking today at some verses, Paul recorded for us in Philippians 1, Paul wasn't just given a vision of heaven.
He was actually taken their first hand. He saw with his own eyes what God had in store for him after his death. After seeing that how was he able to remain content in the face of imprisonment chains and beatings. Paul himself tells us he learned to live for Christ and working to examine that in today's lesson. Stephen baby has a lesson for you, entitled ready for either 1934, John and Betty Stamm were new missionaries with the China inland Mission along with their three-month-old daughter. They have arrived and they would serve in a small town for only few months Civil War had erected nearby and the communist starlet was called the red Army was fighting with government forces and they were moving toward the mission compound. The towns magistrate or mayor knew that this would be a life-threatening situation for any foreigner certainly for missionaries from the Weston so we came to the Stamm's missionary compound and urge them to leave for their lives, taking no chances for the safety of his wife and daughter. John arranged for Betty and her baby girl to be escorted away to safety before their plans good even get off the ground. The 19th division of the red Army had already streamed over the mountains behind government troops and entered this town. Gunshots echoed throughout the city.
Rebel forces began looting and killing wasn't long before some of the soldiers began pounding on the mission stations front gate. John opened it and invited the soldiers in asking them if they were hungry.
Betty set before them tea some little cakes they were uninterested in the courtesy of the missionaries. In fact, they simply demand that all of their money. John willingly handed over what little they had a still, the men tied up John's hands and he pleaded for the safety of his wife and daughter.
All three of them were eventually taken to a local prison were some of the prisoners were released to make room for this family and in the midst of all of the chaos and all of the turmoil little baby Helen began to cry. Nothing could console her.
And finally, one of the soldiers offered the killer since she was bothering the rest of the troops.
One of the prisoners he was being released in the process of being released, how he turned to the soldiers.
It happened anyone think of murdering an innocent baby and the soldier turned to him and said well I will allow this baby to live tonight, but you will take her place and in their presence.
He cut him down Stamm's nude they would more than likely not be allowed to live for very much longer by John in that prison wrote a hasty note to the mission explaining how they been captured in the ended is not with the words. May Christ be glorified, whether by life or by death. The following day, John handed the letter to the postmaster as they were forced to begin in March and the postmaster was a believer asked him where they were going, and John said to him, we don't know where the soldiers are going but we are probably going to heaven after a forced march of 12 miles. They arrived to the town with a stop for the night of the wealthy landowners home and fled upon their arrival. Betty was allowed to tender their little girl but she did more than that. She hurriedly fed her baby and hug her goodbye wrapped her in a sleeping bag and hid her in one of the rooms of that large state inside the sleeping bag. She placed a change of clothing, diaper and all the money she had kept hidden to five dollar bills. The next morning the young couples led to the town square with other baby. None of the soldiers seem to notice both John and Betty's hands were tightly bound as they were led past jeering soldiers and and citizens have enforced empty their homes to come and watch. They were stripped of their outer garments in the tradition of common criminals on the way to execution. John one bystander would note later was barefoot. Having given his socks to Betty to help keep her warm in the winter air. The commanding officer stopped in order John to Neil John and Betty exchanged a few words that went unrecorded on earth.
And then John knelt and as he was praying softly soldier flashed his sword through the air and severed John's head with one vicious blow bystanders reported that Betty didn't cry or scream out, but merely shivered and then fell to her knees beside her husband's body there with her. Her hands bound. She knelt there next to him. That same sword rose and fell again, ending her life there baby. Helen was found two days later her muffled cries in that abandoned house that aroused the suspicions of the neighbors. They call the Chinese pastor who came and took her to his home. Sometime later she was safely delivered to her maternal grandparents would raise her until the age of five.
They were also serving as missionaries in China, but later she came to the United States where she lived with her uncle and aunt she would grow to serve the Lord in a variety of ways including writing. She passed away just a few months ago, a woman in our earlier service came up to me and told me she knew her as for her martyred parents small group of Christians took their bodies and buried them on a hillside nearby.
John was 27. Betty was 28, their deaths would impact and inspire the evangelical world in the West. In fact, I read that at Moody Bible Institute. Upon receiving the news 700 students immediately dedicated their lives to missionary service regardless of the costs their biography a brief one would be written little later by the daughter-in-law of Hudson Taylor, the courage of John and Betty at that moment, the God graced them with wasn't the first to be written in church history. In fact on their headstones were lines from a letter written by another martyr lines inscribed next to their names headstones. Read John Cornelius Stamm that Christ may be glorified, whether by life or by death. Elizabeth Scott Stamm for me to live is Christ to die is gain course these words come from the pen of the apostle Paul in one of his missionary letters were studying at the moment if you will turn back to Philippians in chapter 1, like John and Betty. He has at least at this moment a suspicion of impending death is not sure what the Lord is going to arrange for his future but he wants the world to know in one of his last letters that this is a just inspired Scripture. This is a reflection of his heart. This is the motto of his of his life.
Given what we know of his near term future. As I reached this point in his letter, it brought me and I think you with a it brings you to sort of a holy Halasz and and reference, he plans to return to these believers. But you never will we know why, but for now, listen to the passion of his heart. In verse 21 for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. In other words, I don't know what God has in mind for me but this I do know this. I know if I live it's all about Jesus Christ. And if I die, things will only get better for me. Would you notice by the way, you might circle the personal pronoun at the beginning of the statement, which makes it clear this is intensely personal, foreign to me to me about you but to me live is Christ and dying is game.
By the way, I can't help but notice there isn't any dread. This is the perspective of Paul for his future living. I win dying. I win.
If God will use the praetorian guard to ultimately lead to his execution, he doesn't resent them. He wants to take advantage of this, he originates the perspective that Spurgeon so eloquently imitated when he wrote in the late 1800s. I have learned to kiss the way throws me against the rock of ages. I have learned to kiss the way that throws me against the rock of ages. It's a win-win. Paul goes on to write in this paragraph can be categorized along these two ideas. The reason for living in the truth about diet. The reason for living in the truth about dying to deal in the session with the time we have left with Paul's reasons for living any identifies at least three of them for us. First, he wants to multiply fruits look at verse 22. If I live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. What is he mean Paul's words translated here. Fruitful labor is a an expression these fond of, or a metaphor. He expresses this same idea of multiplying fruit as a demonstration of the control of the Holy Spirit, he talks about fruitful attitudes basically Galatians chapter 5. In that letter he he lists some of them certainly not exhaustive, but he lists the ones the spirit through him wants to communicate. The attitudes of fruitful thinking, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. These are these are attitudes fruitful attitude. He also uses the expression to refer to fruitful action effect earlier in this letter we saw in chapter 1 verse 11 where Paul calls holy deeds, the fruit of righteousness. So you have fruitful attitudes and you have fruitful action. He also uses this in regards to fruitful addition will use it in Romans in chapter 1 and verse 13 to talk about the spiritual harvest of converts. He previews them like ripening fruit.
So Paul anticipates one of the benefits of living a little while nursing God, will it being operative and giving them an opportunity to reap more fruits for Christ and this fruit by the way that he wants to add is going to last forever because it's related to people. It's related to the gospel. It's related to the spirit of God. It's related to the eternal Lord. Paul wants lasting fruit, lasting treasure, whatever produces eventually spoils whatever the spirit of God produces lasts forever, and that's real treasure. Paul wanted more. Betty Stamm wrote these words before her martyred them when we consecrate ourselves to God. We think were making a great sacrifice when we are only letting go of some little trinket and when our hands are empty, he fills them with his treasure pulses. Listen one of the reasons I want to live is to get more opportunities to multiply trade treasures.
The last forever. Secondly, Paul says, knowing the reason for living is to multiply fruit. But secondly, to motivate growth. I will stay focused on Paul's reasons for living. So I want to skip down to verse 24, where he adds these complementary thought. He writes, but to remain in the flash what he means is to stay alive, but to stay alive is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this. I know that I will remain and continue with you all to know how long.
For note. Your progress, your joy in the faith in others. I know that the for the time being.
God has me remaining here for the sake of your progress. That word progress is already appeared in this letter. Back in verse 12 for the progress the advancement of the gospel it's it's a word that refers to cutting a path through thick underbrush. It's a word that refers to climbing over obstacles to reach your goal.
Paul never says that the gospel advancing is easy stuff for you to grow in Christ throughout the piece a cake. He never ever alludes to your growth in my like that he's he saying I want you to move forward against resistance and through the thick forest of difficulty. Paul is is not just interested in in moving forward in his own life. This is amazing to me. He's he's just as interested in the Philippians moving forward in the progress of their faith. Enjoy.
He's going to model what right in just a few verses where he'll say to the church and you are still look to your own interests only but look to the interests of others. Let me sort of drop one other thing in here that marks me as he writes with this selfless attitude. Paul is willing to postpone going to happen if the Lord wills it for their benefit and get this, he has seen heaven. He's been there personally.
If you study his testimony. You learn that he was personally trained by the Holy Spirit over three year period of isolation.
According to Galatians chapter 1 and during that training. The Holy Spirit told how what, when, how long, but took him on a tour of heaven. In fact, Paul would write to the Corinthians about any would say look, I didn't even know my body went along with me.
It was so marvelous it was. It was so amazing that he wrote to the Corinthian believers and said that he had seen things he wasn't allowed by God to describe and he had heard things that God wasn't allowing him to repeat and identity are not happy about that. Are you I would love just a few more lines you know because it is not a drawing or to probably not because were not nearly as patient as Paul, we'd seen that we might not be any good. Paul is is is not allowed by God to reveal what he saw, but I want you to understand what is writing this, he is saying I am willing to post what I have seen for your benefit for your progress and joy in faith. He would either add fruit in service or he would certainly be willing to depart to that place where he had seen the splendor of the glories and heard the music and the hosts of heaven and that celestial city where he longed to live so missed the point. He's willing for God to literally postpone heaven in order to allow him to help other Christians grow in their faith leads me to his third reason for living. Not only does Paul want to multiply fruit and motivate growth 30 wants to magnify Christ as verse 26 so that by the way that's important. This is his purpose clause. Yes, I want to live the multiply fruit will and and motivate growth.
But here's where I'm driving here. I'm taking you. Here's the ultimate cause here's the core of my life's motto so that he writes in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus. Because of my coming to you. In other words, he saying if I'm allowed to live anywhere for some time yet. The Philippians will have all the more reason to praise and worship the Lord for answering their prayers that he lives, even if it's for a year or are year and 1/2. Not exactly sure, but ultimately Jesus Christ is gonna receive greater glory in Paul's living and ministering and preaching and discipling and he says if the believers are incentivized to give Jesus more glory and more praise by me being allowed to live a little longer. I'm fine with that. You imagine Paul is so other people oriented, willing to sacrifice even now comfort and personally is even postpone entering heaven in order to give other believers greater reason to praise Jesus Christ desire influence in the lives of other people. I mean after their around us today want to give God glory or do they just want to complain about you, but I've been around a few people in my life that have made me soon after being with them want to get alone and pray Lord I don't worship you like I should long for you like I should. But now that I've been in that person's presence how they have motivated my faith and my joy, and a deeper desire to praise you for like that. I'm convinced that to become the kind of person you have to mirror these kinds of reasons for wanting to be alive. To sum up your life with this motto for for me to live is all about Christ. The most people that you know are living for the weekend and they have a job. Basically to pay for how they want to play what they're going to do for the weekend and talk to them in word man will divert gyri diskette going to are you kidding, is that it you probably know some guys not only enjoys golf, that's all he talked about affecting can't wait to retire so you can play golf every day. Are you is that you might not top of it saving diligently, passionately, every spare penny so they can retire in a cottage so they can spend the remaining years living at the beach. Are you okay is that is that life is that our great ambition that were heading how much of what we really want out of life has an expiration date attached are treasures people are deepest prayers for the growth in faith and joy of others. These were Paul's reasons for living to multiply fruit for Christ to motivate growth in Christ and to magnify worship of Christ as a young woman only 18 years of age just 10 years before she would be martyred in China, Betty Stamm and Rick not a prayer that would later be published around the Western world very simple prayer but me read it to you Lord I give up all my own plans and purposes all my own desires and hopes and accept thy will for my life. I give myself my life, my all utterly to the need to be design forever is writing as an 18-year-old filmy seal me with thy Holy Spirit use me as thou wilt send me where thou wilt, and work it out by whole will in my life at any cost.
Now and forever. The prayer would be published and would be copied by a 12-year-old girl in the flyleaf of her Bible would grow up to be a household name for our generation is Elizabeth Elliott fruit continues to multiply. To this day.
Elizabeth husband you know Jim one more martyr in the hands of church history, a like-minded man who once wrote of his life's motto. He is no fool who gives up when he cannot keep gain that she cannot lose. Just another way of saying for me to live is Christ die is gain for the believer who desires to live Christ. That's the only way to live. Thanks for joining us today here in wisdom for the heart.
Today's lesson is called ready for either and it comes from Steven Davies series entitled moving forward.
If you'd like to go deeper into your study of Philippians we have a resource that can help you. One of the books in Stephen's wisdom commentary series is a book on Philippians. It's a very practical and pastoral luck at Paul's and it would be a blessing to you.
Call us for information at 86 648 Bible or look on our website. Wisdom online.org in the resource section.
Hope you have a great weekend, then join us Monday for more wisdom for the heart