Summary: What’s our greatest goal and aim in life? What occupies our minds? If we were to sum up what our life is all about in one word, what would that word be? For the apostle Paul, that word was Christ.
Living for Christ Philippians 1:21
What’s our greatest goal and aim in life? What occupies our minds? If we were to sum up what our life is all about in one word, what would that word be? For the apostle Paul, that word was Christ. In Philippians 1:21 Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
To gain insight into Paul’s words listen to the nuance of this verse in several different versions.
“Christ means everything to me in this life, and when I die I’ll have even more” (GWT)
“To me the only thing important about living is Christ & dying would be profit for me.” (NCV)
“For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better.” (NLT - Tyndale House)
“For living to me means simply "Christ", and if I die I should merely gain more of him.” (Phillips: Touchstone)
“ For, so far as I am concerned, to be living, both as to my very existence and my experience, that is Christ, and to have died, is gain.” (Eerdmans)
When Paul says to live is Christ, what he means is that real life is knowing, loving, serving, glorifying, enjoying, and communing with Christ. What does it mean for us to live as if “to live is Christ”? It means that we live with our first and central aim in life being to know, glorify, and enjoy Christ. It means serving Him and doing all we do for Him. It means setting a watch on our thoughts, words, actions and deeds to ensure that they are glorifying Christ. Paul was motivated to live for Christ by the realization that one day he would be with Christ, the desire to see others come to Christ and an appreciation for the price of his redemption.
I. We should live for Christ knowing that we may stand before Him at any time
A. He may return at any moment
1. John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
2. Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the second coming of Christ. Someone has reported that there are 1,845 references in the Old Testament alone and a total of 17 books that give it prominence. Of the 260 chapters in the entire New Testament, there are 318 references to Christ's second coming. That averages one out of every 30 verses. Furthermore, 23 of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. That leaves only four books that do not refer directly to the Second Coming. Interestingly, three of these four books are single-chapter letters which were written to specific persons on a particular subject. - copied
3. 1 John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
4. "I think Jesus is coming sooner than most people think … but, of course, most people aren't thinking about it at all." -Bill Gordon, Heartland, Summer 1999, p 10
5. 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
6. Luke 12:43 “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.”
B. We may be called home at any moment
1. Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”
2. We all must answer death’s call someday. But we do not know when that call will come. Young, old, rich, poor, wise, foolish, infant, aged, healthy or infirmed; death calls us sooner or later. Most of us receive little warning before it calls.
3. James 4:14 “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
4. The Lord wants us to live all the time as if today would be our last. I believe it was John Wesley who was asked at one time, "What would you do if you knew that tonight you would die?" That great preacher of years gone by said, "I would do exactly what I have scheduled to do." Could we say that?
5. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”