2009-07-05 (pm) Philippians 1:12-30 To Live Is Christ
Our focus this evening is going to be verse 21 to live is Christ, to die is gain.
What is it that made Paul write those words? How did he get to that point, where he could say such a thing?
How about you? What’s your number 1 priority in your life? I Googled “#1 Priority in life”, and this is what I found: Wife, Husband, children, family, self, stuff.
On a couple of sites that I went two, those were the most listed things, not a single one mentioned God, or any faith at all.
That makes me sad. It makes it seem like hardly anyone knows about Jesus. Or, if they do, they’re too ashamed to say so, or if they do know Jesus, he’s just not that important to them.
Now, why would people think Jesus isn’t important? Don’t they know him? Can’t they see Christ in us, in how we live? Can’t Christ be seen in our churches? Or do we just pretend? Or are we presenting a false picture of Christ and his body the church? Are we too ashamed to live like we know we ought to live?
Or is it because we don’t know Christ enough ourselves? Look at how Paul describes him! To live is Christ. Christ was Paul’s very life. There was nothing greater, nothing more important for him. Paul even says at one point, “I was determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified!”
Oh, that we would have the same attitude! That we would be so enamoured of Christ, that we’d find our greatest satisfaction in him! What would that look like? Do you think other people would notice?
I mentioned the web search, and that no one had put Jesus, or any kind of faith as a priority.
But one site did. It was a pastor’s blog and he said this. “God is not the #1 priority in my life. God is the totality of my life.” Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. In other words, there is no one, not one thing greater than Jesus. Nothing on earth, or heaven, or under the earth can compare to Christ.
Sinead O’Connor wrote a song called, “Nothing Compares 2 U” Though she wrote it about an absent boyfriend, the reality is that there really isn’t anything that compares to Christ.
So, because nothing can come close to God, that God is the one who created and sustains all things, all things come from him, as from his hand, God must be, and is, whether we realise it or not, the totality of our lives.
What happens if God isn’t our totality? What happens if we place God as merely our first priority? What happens is that we can very easily shove him aside. We can think, I’ve done my devotions, I’ve gone to church, I’m good to go for another week, and then we hardly think about God after that. But God isn’t just a priority, God is the focus of our lives, as we seek to give Him glory.
We seek to give him glory because he is worthy of glory.
How do we do that, though. That same pastor went on to say that we must make our relationship with Christ the number 1 priority in our life.
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
The first step is to make God your totality. That he is everything and the first thing you seek after in life. If we put Christ first, then all the things the stuff that was a priority for all those people, husbands, and wives and children, and friends and family and stuff, all those things will be added to us.
The second step is to make your relationship with God your first priority.
If you have a roaring fire going, and you take a red hot coal out of the fire, what happens to it? It cools down and goes out, right? But what happens when you put it back in the fire? It gets red hot again.
So, with Christ as our totality, with our relationship with him our first priority, what will that look like? It will look something like this:
We will have the same attitude as Paul. To live is Christ, to die is gain. That is that our life here on earth will have one purpose, to do Christ’s will, to live for Him and glorify him always.
This means we will turn to Christ for strength. We won’t turn to false gods, stuff, even family and friends can become idols, stuff in the way, placed alongside of or in place of Christ. We are to have the mind of Christ. We will seek out the lost. We will desire to have the mind, the humble disposition of Christ (Phil. 2:5–11). We will seek to know Christ from experience, from the Word, from hanging out with Christians. We will be covered by Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3:9), we will rejoice in Christ (Phil. 3:1; 4:4), to live for Christ, that is, for his glory (II Cor. 5:15), to rest one’s faith on Christ and to love him in return for his love (Gal. 2:20)
So, how’s it going? Is Christ the totality of your life? Is your relationship with him your #1 priority, or are there other things that are taking up the totality of your life, the priority of your life?
Do you find yourself resonating with Paul’s words, “to live is Christ and to die is gain?” Or do you find yourself thinking, “that sounds nice, I’ll get around to it later.” Do it now. Choose now; make Christ your priority now. Let him be your totality. Amen.