Philippians 1 v 19-26
The Apostle Paul was in a lock-down, but in spite of that he had a strong hope and confidence in God for the future.
It looks for many of us that everything is falling apart, but if we look at this passage we learn a lot of wisdom. We will just focus tonight on Paul’s expectation and hope that ‘Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death’ (verse 20).
The Christian mission is not to stay safe, satisfied and glorified. Our mission is to magnify Christ in our body, whether we’re alive or dead.
- Paul wanted to magnify Christ in his life
Because of His love for him (2 Cor 5v14-15).
Because of the strength Christ gives (Phil. 4v16).
Our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3v20)
How did he do it?
a. By maintaining a right attitude towards Christ (v 21).
b. By devoting his life to serving Christ and His purposes (Gal 2:20).
As long as he lived he wanted to offer fruitful service to Jesus (v 22) and to promote the progress of his brothers in Christ, so that other people might grow in Christ and their service and devotion to Him (vv 25-26).
What about us? Are we just studying the Bible, understanding it better, which is good, but is that all that it is about? Why do we study the Bible? It ought to be so that we can know the LORD Jesus better.
Do we desire to magnify Christ with our lives? Are we living so as to promote progress and joy in the cause of Christ in His brothers who are also our own? Do we encourage or discourage fellow believers? Are we discouraging brothers by our negligence to assemble, and sometimes our over the top fear for the virus? That is not service for Christ.
Soldiers need to be prepared, and there comes a time when the boot must hit the battlefield, knowing you could die. Do we live to magnify Christ?
- Paul wanted to magnify Christ through his death
Because of Christ, to die is gain.
Death to the Christian is being with the LORD, which is for the better. Paul understood this. Jesus promised to the believers in Asia that this would happen (Rev. 7v9-17)
Christians are not suicidal in spite of becoming despondent. But they are also not afraid of death, because they know that Christ will be magnified by their death.
How was Paul willing to magnify Christ by his death?
By his willingness to die in service to Christ and his brothers (2v17-18).
He was determined to serve them, even if it killed him. That is how Paul did eventually magnify Christ through his death, dying because of his service to them.
What about us now?
We have the same motives to magnify Christ by our death, assurance of eternal life and being with the LORD to be with the Him.
Unless Christ returns first, we all will die. There is now way that any man or woman can avoid that. What better way to die than in a manner that magnifies the One who makes even death a blessing!
How can we magnify Christ today by our deaths?
It’s becoming more likely that we will suffer martyrdom for our faith.
We can still determine to wear out in our service to the LORD, which is better than to rust away. To not just go and cower in a corner because there is danger ahead.
There comes a time for the real man that the boot must hit the battlefield, and if we magnify the LORD in that way, glory to His Name!
Too many Christians retire in their service to God when they retire from their secular jobs, but it would be better to die in the service of the LORD than to just wear out.
If we want to be able to say with Paul to live is Christ and to die is gain, then we must stand ready in full battle armour to magnify Christ both in life and in death.
Jesus has given us the very motive for doing so.
Let’s encourage one another in both word and deed to so live and to so die that we magnify Christ.