Sermon Follow Up - Week 6, 2022
May the controlling desire of your life be that Jesus would be magnified through you at every point so that you would rejoice at knowing him more in this life and that you would see your death as the doorway to gaining Christ fully.
“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 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. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:18–26, ESV)
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. May the controlling desire of your life be that Jesus would be magnified through you at every point...
Paul was a man like you and I who experienced supernatural joy flowing from his love for Christ. He was in prison preparing for his possible execution but even the thought of death was not enough to rob him of his joy because his heart was set on magnifying Christ— even if dying would accomplish that.
We should look at Paul not as an untouchable hero of the faith but as someone worth imitating. He served the same God, was given the same Spirit, and had the same Savior as us. That sole desire to see Christ magnifiied is what made Paul tick. He said in 2 Corinthians that the love of Christ controlled him (2 Cor. 5:14) such that he dedicated all of himself to making Jesus know. Friends, we can do the same if we ask the Holy Spirit to powerfully alter our desires so that we would not just die for Christ but to live wholeheartedly for him as well.
- What would you say is your strongest desire in life? What makes you do what you do?
- What are some things going on in your life that could be infused with a desire to see Jesus honored and magnified?
2. ...SO THAT you would rejoice at knowing him more in this life and that you would see your death as the doorway to gaining Christ fully.
We want our controlling desire to be magnifying Christ so that our life can be filled with the joy of knowing him and we can start to look at death with a peculiar kind of joy as well knowing that Jesus himself stands on the other side.
TO LIVE IS CHRIST:
Our life should fly under only one banner— “To live is Christ”. To live, is more of my Savior, more of the one who has ransomed me by his death and has proven to me that this life is more than pointless. The one who has sent me on a mission to make disciples of all nations and who has given me his Spirit to enable me to work to parent and eat and think and suffer and to notice others all for his glory. If the controlling desire of your life becomes magnifying Christ, you will be able to rejoice about this life that you have and the days you have left as you go on knowing Jesus.
TO DIE IS GAIN:
The Pilgrim’s Progress depicts death as a wide river just before the Celestial City. Christian the main character wades into the water and is drowning as he doubts whether he’s worthy to enter into God’s presence, whether his sins were paid for, whether this was the end. But his friend named Hopeful is only knee deep in the same water… because he was remembering God’s promises and he had faith that he would make it through. Both make it to the other side but their experiences of death were very different. There’s a reality there which I’ll address more in a moment… Paul seems more like Hopeful. The river of death to Paul sounds like this sheer curtain. This veil that if you only touched it with the tip of a knife that it would split. And who would be on the other side except his Jesus. For Paul, to die meant fast forwarding past all of the days that he would’ve spent knowing more of Christ and suddenly he would see him face to face. That’s what leads him to say that it would be gain.
It's easy, even as a Christian to talk about death with the same sort of bleakness as the rest of the world. The World has no answer for death. No solution. No escape from it. But those who believe in Jesus, the resurrected Lord who ever lives, have every right and reason to talk about death as an experience that will come and that will also pass....giving way to deathless life in heaven and one day a new earth. We want to speak about death seriously... but we also want to speak about eternal life and resurrection with an even greater weight and significance! Consider what it would look like to think of our own death as yet another point in your life rather than the end of your life. Consider and ask for faith to endure that moment of greatest suffering which will give way to gaining Christ completely.
- As you take stock of your life currently, fill in the blank: "To live is ____"
- How do you feel about dying?
- What would need to be true about Jesus for you to feel like being with him would be far better than this life?
- 1 Corinthians 15
- Philippians 3:8
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Article: Dying for the Glory of Christ- John Piper
SONGS TO ENCOURAGE
CHRIST OUR HOPE IN LIFE AND DEATH- Keith and Kristyn Getty
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