Text: Philippians 1:19-21
Most things I read in the Bible I don’t feel qualified to read or comment on. The scriptures were written by holy men of God who sacrificed their lives, giving themselves wholly to the Lord. This is such a time.
Paul is the Christian that finds ways to comfort the hearts of people who love him even in his own adversity. Not “whoa is me.” There is no, “I’ve had a terrible day.” He knows that serving God the way he has means there is no downside to his circumstances. (But that’s only because he’s serving the Lord Jesus Christ. That can’t be said about everyone.)
Confidence in the Lord that encourages others
- …turn to my salvation… What does that mean? You mean Paul’s not saved? You mean Paul’s going to avoid hell because he’s in prison? No.
- Defining salvation first:
- Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more forever. Salvation means the eradication of enemies.
- Second, salvation has things that accompany it.
- Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
- Those things that accompany salvation would come from praying saints and God’s supply of His Spirit.
- Paul’s confidence that there is not a circumstance here that will detract from his salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the circumstances will only serve to increase the value of his salvation. Whether that be salvation being lived out in the flesh, or salvation from the flesh in death.
Confident to magnify Christ
- The role of the Christian is to decrease so that Christ can increase. The role is to be a magnifying glass for Jesus Christ. Make Jesus Christ bigger, make much of Jesus Christ.
- Paul is in prison for preaching Jesus Christ. He’s not in prison for praying a prayer when no one was looking. He’s not even in prison for being a Christian. He’s in prison for bearing fruit as a Christian. He’s in prison for his public preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. Living godly in Christ Jesus versus calling yourself a Christian are two different things to God and and they are two different things to the world. For those that will live godly in Christ Jesus, victory is inevitable. In life or in death, there is no downside.
Personal confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ
- Paul said in verse 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Paul is making a personal statement. We like the statement, so we apply it to ourselves. But for us living is not Christ, living is my hobbies. Or living is my job. Or living is my house. Paul is giving a personal testimony of his own life in Christ as he sits in prison. He’s not making a doctrinal statement about the church and every single Christian.
- Look at 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
- So if my life is fishing. Or my life is hunting. Or my life is my job. Or my life is my volunteer work. Or my life is even my family. Or for most people professing Christ, they are trying to see how much sin they can commit without completely ruining their lives in their own mind. Whatever it is that stands in place of the Lord Jesus Christ I will lose when I die. And if this idol has occupied all my time here, I won’t have any particular gain when I die, I will just lose the things I’ve invested my time in.
- Paul had already counted everything in his previous life as loss. So he had no investment in this world. See Philippians 3:7-8.
- John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.