Summary: Paul shows us from his own life two kinds of desire that we need to have.
LIVING TOGETHER WITH THE RIGHT DESIRE
A. How desire helped us in a basketball game against Manitowoc my junior year in high school. We were having a perfect season; we had not won a game when the eventual state champions came to town to play us. (They would eventually win the state championship twice). There was no way we could play them and win. When we had played them at their place earlier in the year, we were trounced. Now in this game, we should not even have been close to them, but the game was in doubt until the last few minutes when they finally won it. We did not win, but we had the desire to that night and almost did.
• I could recount example after example where that kind of thing has happened in athletics.
B. Paul in these verses is suggesting the same thing is true of the Christian life. If we are going to live together in Christ, we need the right desire.
C. Because Paul had the right desire, he could be encouraged about what would happen through his present situation – Vs. 19.
D. We can have that same kind of encouragement no matter what our circumstances.
Paul shows us from his own life two kinds of desire that we need to have.
I. DESIRE TO EXALT CHRIST – Vs. 20.
A. We see this first in the negative: We need to live so as to not be ashamed.
1. In one particular M*A*S*H episode, the character of Charles Emerson Winchester III has been on leave, only to have a woman show up at the unit who he had met on leave and claimed to be his wife. He, of course, being a straight person, was appalled to find out he had acted on leave in such a manner as to lose control of himself. The wedding was only a fabrication of one evening’s partying, but that was not the way a Winchester acted, and he was ashamed.
2. Paul had said elsewhere that he was not ashamed.
a. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, he suggested that he was not ashamed of building the Corinthians up, though they thought he should be.
b. In Romans 1:16, he indicated that he was not ashamed of the Gospel.
3. Now he had the intense desire that he would never be ashamed in his life as he sat in prison and later stood before a Roman judge.
a. This indicates that he knew he could well fall on his own and therefore needed to continue placing his complete trust in God.
b. But he had a well-founded hope that he would not be ashamed:
(1) He refers to the handling of his case before the judge.
(2) He may also refer to his judgment before Christ.
(3) He knew he need never be ashamed of the Gospel or of building people up; now he indicates he could also stand unashamed as long as he had the right desire.
4. We know we need never be ashamed of the Gospel or of serving Christ, but we need also to seek to never be ashamed by our actions when placed on trial.
a. We do not face the possibility of standing before a real judge for our
faith, but we are placed in positions nearly everyday where we can honor or deny Christ.
b. Moreover we each will one day stand before Christ.
B. We should be unashamed so that Christ is exalted.
1. In Touch and Live, George Vandeman wrote:
"A young stranger to the Alps was making his first climb, accompanied by two stalwart guides. It was a steep, hazardous ascent. But he felt secure with one guide ahead and one following. For hours they climbed. And now, breathless, they reached for those rocks, protruding through the snow above them--the summit.
"The guide ahead wished to let the stranger have the first glorious view of heaven and earth, and moved aside to let him go first. Forgetting the gales that would blow across those summit rocks, the young man leaped to his feet. But the chief guide dragged him down. ’On your knees, sir!’ he shouted. ’You are never safe here except on your knees.’"
That is how Paul desired to live life unashamed, always on his knees to exalt Christ.
2. This is the end of a three-fold result taking place in Paul’s imprisonment:
a. Vs. 13 – Christ is made known, despite circumstances.
b. Vs. 18 – Christ is preached, despite critics.
c. Vs. 20 – Now Christ is magnified or exalted, despite crisis.
3. It was still possible Paul would be found a traitor and executed, but his desire however things turned out was to exalt Christ
4. There are two ways to magnify something: