San Lo Community, an update for the week of April 15, 2018…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Philippians 1:18b-26, “Life or Death.” Humans will do anything and go to desperate measures in order to stay alive. We will spend ridiculous amounts of money for the best doctors, best treatments, best care, etc.… the list will go on and on when it comes to life or death. Will you go to any length to stay alive? The Apostle Paul faced a desperate situation. He was stuck in prison facing execution. He had to contemplate the meaning of life and death as he was face to face with the reality that he could very well die. Paul penned these very famous words for us to understand the meaning of life and death. For us to know for sure life and death is not meaningless. For us to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can and will alter the way that we see our lives and even death itself. The good news of Jesus Christ reveals to us that we’re meant for more than making money, living well, and eating good. Life is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is about honoring our God whether in life or in death.
1) Life is about making much of Jesus. (vv.18-20) Paul continues talking about his joy in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, how life is about sharing the gospel with other people. Paul broadens his perspective whether proclaiming the gospel, living at work or home, being stuck in a jail cell or studying for an exam. It’s all about honoring Jesus with everything we do. In verses 18 and 19, Paul says, “I rejoice because of your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul again is stuck in prison but he knows for certain that God is helping him through the prayers of other believers and through the work of the Holy Spirit. There isn’t anything lacking when it comes to being a Christian because you have the biggest power source on the planet at your deposal, the Holy Spirit. God is enough. He is sufficient, all we need. Out of this power supply, Paul knows that God will save him. Whether I die, I am saved. Whether I live, I am saved. Paul says in verse 20, “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Paul confesses so whether in life or in death, I have the greatest supply of strength and courage in God, so I can courageously honor God. I want to make much of Jesus in my life. I want to share as much of Jesus as I can. I want to glorify Christ with my life.
2) The gospel helps us to know death is far better than life so we can be with Jesus. Paul says something that might seem odd. Let’s be real. It is odd. It’s not normal. It’s not what comes to our mind first, EVER! To die is gain. Now, Paul is not morbid or suicidal when he wrote these words. When Paul says, to die is gain. And my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better…, he is being truthful and honest. He is being real and genuine. Because Heaven is far more glorious, far more precious, and far more meaningful than anything on earth. Yet, there was a struggle for Paul between being on earth to serve others and being in Heaven with His Heavenly Father. Paul was torn between the two ideas, even then he would choose death as better. Let the good news of Jesus Christ rescue you from this world today. That Christ came down from Heavens glories to set you free from sin and death. Jesus died and rose from the grave because He loves you and offers you everlasting life.
3) The gospel helps us know that life is about helping others enjoy Jesus. (vv.24-26) After Paul’s dilemma between staying or going, he comes to this conclusion. It is necessary and it is important for him to stay and to serve, not on his own account because he’d prefer to be gone and be with Jesus. Paul concludes to remain. In his conclusion, it’s not just serving for serving sake. There is a real purpose to Paul’s service. In verse 25, Paul says, “For your progress and joy in the faith.” Paul’s deep desire is for people to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Paul wants to see people on fire for the Lord. In verse 26, Paul extends his reason for living is about the joy and the glory of God. Paul desires to see others grow not just for themselves, but because it gives God glory. It magnifies the name of Christ. It exalts the Lord. It makes much of Jesus. The Westminster Confession says this so well, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Even though Paul had a stronger eternal longing, his earthly longing was for the enjoyment of God for himself and others. So that God might be glorified in others. His drive for life was not self-centered or self-serving or even about church growth, it was God growth. Paul’s drive was to glorify the King of Kings through changing lives and making disciples so that people might love Jesus more, enjoy Jesus more, and desire Jesus more.
We too, can reach out to our neighbor, to our friends, and to family to let them know how much Jesus deeply loves them. We too, can share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone else. Then, we too, can say like Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” That’s a life worth living and death worth dying.