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Summary: Continuing with the thought of joy, this message looks at the joy in living and the joy in dying.

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JOY IN LIVING AND DYING

PHILIPPIANS 1:21-26 FOR TO ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN. 22 BUT IF I AM TO LIVE ON IN THE FLESH, THIS WILL MEAN FRUITFUL LABOR FOR ME; AND I DO NOT KNOW WHICH TO CHOOSE. 23 BUT I AM HARD-PRESSED FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS, HAVING THE DESIRE TO DEPART AND BE WITH CHRIST, FOR THAT IS VERY MUCH BETTER;

24 YET TO REMAIN ON IN THE FLESH IS MORE NECESSARY FOR YOUR SAKE. 25 CONVINCED OF THIS, I KNOW THAT I WILL REMAIN AND CONTINUE WITH YOU ALL FOR YOUR PROGRESS AND JOY IN THE FAITH, 26 SO THAT YOUR PROUD CONFIDENCE IN ME MAY ABOUND IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGH MY COMING TO YOU AGAIN.

INTRODUCTION: CHAPTER 1 AND VERSE 21 IS A TREMENDOUS DECLARATION CONCERNING OUR WALK AS BELIEVERS. A WALK IN THIS WORLD WITH ETERNITY IN VIEW. THIS MORNING, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT THE JOY YOU AND I CAN HAVE AS BELIEVERS RIGHT NOW, AND THE REASON FOR JOY WHEN WE DIE.

NOW, THIS MESSAGE IS NOT AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO “MOVE LIFE ALONG A LITTLE QUICKER”, BUT AN OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERSTAND THAT JOY DOES NOT END HERE ON EARTH.

ILLUSTRATION: WILLIAM BARCLAY HAS WRITTEN, “WE ARE CHOSEN FOR JOY. HOWEVER HARD THE CHRISTIAN WAY, IT IS BOTH IN THE TRAVELING AND IN THE GOAL, THE WAY OF JOY. THERE IS ALWAYS A JOY IN DOING THE RIGHT THING. WHEN WE EVADE SOME DUTY OR SOME TASK, WHEN AT LAST WE SET OUR HAND TO IT, JOY COMES TO US. THE CHRISTIAN IS THE MAN OF JOY. THE CHRISTIAN IS THE LAUGHING CAVALIER OF CHRIST. A GLOOMY CHRISTIAN IS A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS, AND NOTHING IN ALL RELIGIOUS HISTORY HAS DONE CHRISTIANITY MORE HARM THAN ITS CONNECTION WITH BLACK CLOTHES AND LONG FACES.

I. LIVING IN CHRIST

GALATIANS 2:20 "I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST; AND IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME; AND THE LIFE WHICH I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, WHO LOVED ME AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR ME.

LIVING IN CHRIST IS THE ESSENCE OF MY FAITH AND HAS THREE DIMENSIONS

a. LIVING IN CHRIST INVOLVES FAITH IN CHRIST

i. THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT WE CAN DO NOTHING ON EARTH TO SAVE OURSELVES

ii. AS PAUL WENT ON HIS MISSIONARY JOURNEYS, OTHER FOLLOWED BEHIND IN ORDER TO PROFIT FROM HIS WORK

iii. THOSE WHO FOLLOWED BEHIND PAUL TO THE GALATIAN CHURCH SOUGHT TO UNDO EVERYTHING PAUL HAD DONE

GALATIANS 1:6-9 I AM AMAZED THAT YOU ARE SO QUICKLY DESERTING HIM WHO CALLED YOU BY THE GRACE OF CHRIST, FOR A DIFFERENT GOSPEL; 7 WHICH IS REALLY NOT ANOTHER; ONLY THERE ARE SOME WHO ARE DISTURBING YOU AND WANT TO DISTORT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. 8 BUT EVEN IF WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, SHOULD PREACH TO YOU A GOSPEL CONTRARY TO WHAT WE HAVE PREACHED TO YOU, HE IS TO BE ACCURSED! 9 AS WE HAVE SAID BEFORE, SO I SAY AGAIN NOW, IF ANY MAN IS PREACHING TO YOU A GOSPEL CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU RECEIVED, HE IS TO BE ACCURSED!

iv. YOU AND I ARE BELIEVERS BECAUSE WE

1. ADMITTED AND CONFESSED OUR SIN

2. BELIEVED THAT JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS AND IN DOING SO PAID THE PENALTY FOR OUR SIN

3. INVITED HIM INTO OUR LIVES, AND IN DOING SO, RECEIVED ETERNAL LIFE

v. SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE IS A DISTINCTIVE OF THE TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

1. OTHERS SOUGHT THEN AND SEEK NOW TO MAKE SALVATION SOMETHING ELSE OTHER THAN WHAT THE BIBLE DECLARES

1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-4 FOR I DELIVERED TO YOU AS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE WHAT I ALSO RECEIVED, THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, 4 AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES,

2. THE MOMENT ANYTHING IS ADDED TO FAITH IN ORDER TO KNOW CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD, MAN WILL ALWAYS BE LACKING

a. WE CAN NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH

b. WE CAN NEVER BE PERFECT

A YOUNG MAN NAMED SINNER ONCE RECEIVED FROM HIS FATHER A BEAUTIFUL, BRIGHT RED CONVERTIBLE. HE NAMED IT SALVATION – SPARKLING, NEW, CLEAN, MODERN, POWERFUL.

IT DELIGHTED THE YOUNG MAN SO MUCH, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT WAS A GIFT. HE COULD NEVER HAVE AFFORDED IT. SO DELIGHTED, THE BOY EVEN CHANGED HIS NAME FROM SINNER TO SAVED.

"HE POLISHED HIS CAR EVERY DAY. HE TOOK PICTURES OF IT TO SEND TO HIS FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. HE LOOKED IT OVER FROM FRONT TO BACK. HE EVEN CRAWLED UNDERNEATH TO ADMIRE ITS EXCELLENT WORKMANSHIP. HE NEVER TIRED OF TELLING THOSE WHO CAME ALONG. 'MY FATHER GAVE IT TO ME—IT WAS FREE!'

"SOME DAYS LATER THE YOUNG MAN WAS SEEN OUT ON THE HIGHWAY, PUSHING HIS BRIGHT RED CAR. A MAN CAME UP AND INTRODUCED HIMSELF AS MR. HELPER, AND ASKED IF HE MIGHT BE OF ASSISTANCE.

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