We’ve been going through the fantastic epistle of Philippians in our church here in South Carolina. As part of the preaching team, it was my job last Sunday to preach on this letter. I chose to offer some summary-type considerations. The first was simply, IF God’s Word can be trusted, then I. My prayer life will be revolutionized (1:3-6). I will learn to pray with JOY for others, pray for our partnerships in the gospel, and pray for God’s continuing & maturing work in the lives of others.
The second truth I found in surveying the book of Philippians was this: IF God’s Word can be trusted, then —
2. My view of life and death will be revised (1:20-24). This comes out of Philippians 1:20-24 where we read,
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
I showed a picture of a hearse that had the following license plate:
The congregation, of course, was thrilled that I talked a bit about DEATH, but the point Paul makes is extremely important. Paul emphasizes that there is something far more important than the sustaining of my physical life! For many of us, we actually seem to think that the number 1 item on God’s agenda each day is that of sustaining our individual physical lives. Sometimes He lets His children die. Paul’s deepest desire was that Christ would be exalted by his life or his death.
The second truth that jumped out at me from this text is that the Christian life is really a win/win situation! (v. 21). Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Is that how I look at my life? Is that how YOU look at your life? If not, then you’ve got some changin’ to do too!
Discussion Questions: How does our culture seek to distract us from the fragility and the inevitability of our deaths? In what specific ways might we take a much more biblical position on life and death?