Summary: Part of a lengthy series I am doing in the book of Philippians.

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Sunday April 13, 2008

Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:21


A. How do you think you are living your life today, on purpose or by default? If you had to give me an answer I am pretty sure all of would say that we are living our lives on purpose, but what is the evidence to support our position? What is there in our lives that shows we have a specific aim for our lives rather than us just allowing life to happen to us? Now the fact that you have a job to go to and are earning an income to have a house and are saving money to be able to retire comfortably does not necessarily mean you are living your life on purpose. A life “routine” does not mean we are living life on purpose. It certainly doesn’t mean we are living our lives for the right purposes.

B. If there was ever a person who understood what it really means to live life on purpose I think Paul was that person. Consider with me for a moment the context of this verse we are studying today, these 13 short words. Remember that Paul writes these words from prison. Now I have never been imprison before but I know this, prison in Paul’s day was far different from prison in our day. Think about those who are arrested and then incarcerated while awaiting trial. They have the hope that a good lawyer will argue their case and maybe get them released or at least a shortened sentence. In Paul’s day even though a trial was possible it was just as possible that someone in authority would simply make the decision to pronounce you guilty and sentence you or have you killed.

1. I don’t have time to do so this morning but if you will read Paul’s words here in V.12-24 you get the very distinct impression that Paul knew full well that his future was insecure. That at any moment the plug could be pulled and he could be executed. What is so amazing and inspiring about this is Paul’s focus through out all this. He is facing the pressures of those who are trying to make his imprisonment even more difficult and the reality of death with a singleness of mind. As we saw a few weeks ago in V.18 Paul said, “ I rejoince And I will continue to rejoice…”

2. Now how could Paul live like this? How could he rejoice when for all intents and purposes life was caving in all around him? I would suggest the answer is found in that Paul knew why he was living. He was living his life on purpose not by default. I think that if we would like to gain a fair understanding of whether or not we are living on purpose we will need to be like Paul and see how closely our lives connected to these two things Paul mentioned, Life and Death. Allow me to quote one of this world’s greatest preachers C.H. Spurgeon who living back in the mid 1800’s. “Call no man happy until he is dead; because the life that is to come, if that be miserable, shall far outweigh the highest life of happiness that hath been enjoyed on earth. To estimate a man’s condition we must take it in all its length. We must not measure that one thread which reacheth from the cradle to the coffin. We must go further; we must go from the coffin to the resurrection, and from the resurrection on throughout eternity. To know whether acts are profitable, I must not estimate their effects on me for the hour in which I live, but for the eternity in which I am to exist. I must not weigh matters in the scales of time; I must not calculate by the hours, minutes and seconds of the clock, but I must count and value things by the ages of eternity.” Paul was just this kind of man, a man who understood that what goes on in life now matters not just for this moment but for all of eternity.

Trans. Form these words of Paul I want to share with you two things we must do if we are to live life on purpose. The first is:


Now I feel it is important to remind you of something right here because we have a tendency to look at Paul through rose colored glasses if you will. To live for Christ was not always the way it was for Paul.

A. It Was Not Always This Way For Paul.

1. Let’s look back at Romans 7:14-17 (read). Paul was a sinner just like the rest of us. He too was born with the sin nature just as King David said in Psalms 51:5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. As Paul himself said in Romans 3:23 We have all sinned and come short of God’s plan and purpose for our lives. In fact I think many of us would agree with Paul’s own words in 1 Timothy 1:15 when he said This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. Paul stood there and held the jackets of the people who stoned Stephen to death in Acts 7. He even said later that he stood there approving of what they did. Paul did not always know what this meant to live life on purpose, to live for Christ. He was like the rest of us, living life for himself and his own desires.

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