I Live to Live for Christ

Philippians 1:12-14 ESV

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

God can take bad situations and turn them around for good. What might look like a tragedy can be turned into a blessing. And such was the case with Paul and with his imprisonment. Word spread that his imprisonment was for Christ, and that helped to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. And not only that, but other Christians were also being encouraged in the Lord because of Paul’s imprisonment, and so they were much more bold to speak the word without fear. Amen!

Philippians 1:21-26 ESV

“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.”

I echo these words of Paul. I live to live for Christ, but I know that if I were to die, I would gain heaven as my eternal destiny, and I would be with my Lord face to face for eternity. And at my age (73), I am okay with whatever the Lord decides for me. And it is his choice, not mine. Now Paul was confident that he would remain. I don’t know about my case. My health is not in a good place, and I know that I could just as easily die as I might survive this and live many more years. So, it is up to the Lord.

Philippians 1:27-30 ESV

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

And this is what is critical here. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to let our manner of life be worthy (fitting, suitable) of the gospel of Christ. And the gospel of Christ is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24), and that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (2 Corinthians 5:15). And it is that Jesus shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would honor God with our lives (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

And it is that, by faith in Jesus Christ, we were crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we were raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. So, let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. For if sin is what you obey, and not obedience, it will end in eternal death, not in life everlasting (Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Ephesians 4:17-24).

And it is that Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of the name of Jesus we die with Christ to sin, that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have the hope of eternal life (Luke 9:23-26).

And it is that Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For he said that many will stand before him on that day and they will call him “Lord,” and they will proclaim all the things they believe they did in his name, but this will be his response to them: “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” And it was because they did not obey the Lord with their lives (Matthew 7:21-23).

So, if your manner of life is worthy (fitting, proper) of the gospel of Christ, you will be one who is daily dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness. Sin is not your practice, but righteousness and obedience to the Lord are what you practice. You are following the Lord daily in obedience to his commands, he is the one directing your path, and you are walking in his ways and in his truth and not in sin and not in the ways of this sinful world. And Jesus truly is your Lord (Owner-Master).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

And not only are you standing firm in your faith and in your walk of obedience to the Lord, but you are not frightened by any opposition. And you should have opposition if your life is truly surrendered to Jesus Christ and if you are following him wholeheartedly with your life. If you are walking in holiness and righteousness, and not in sin, and if you are sharing the truth of the gospel with others, and if you are also exposing the lies, you will be hated, rejected, despised, ostracized, ridiculed, and opposed.

For, all of us who are following Jesus with our lives will suffer for his sake. We are called to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. For suffering produces steadfastness of faith, perseverance, character, and hope. And we learn through our suffering not to rely on ourselves but on God alone. Suffering humbles us, and we are being made to be like Jesus through our suffering. So suffering, although painful, is for our good.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

Caution: This link may contain ads
P.S. This is not an endorsement of the singers other than as musicians

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