Summary: Third in Philippians series, focusing on Paul’s desire to either be with Christ in Heaven or serve Him well on earth.
Philippians 1:19-26 – “Longing for Heaven, ready for less”
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni
September 24, 2006
Text – TNIV
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit. He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live."
Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who teaches a Bible study on the tour, had said to him. "Zinger, we’re not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living."
Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour. He’s done pretty well. But that bout with cancer deepened his perspective. He wrote, "I’ve made a lot of money since I’ve been on the tour, and I’ve won a lot of tournaments, but that happiness is always temporary. The only way you will ever have true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don’t have problems, but I feel like I’ve found the answer to the six-foot hole."
Contributed by Todd Randolph
The Apostle Paul is in the middle of sharing with the Philippians about his current situation. He has shared that as far as his work goes, everything is great!
His imprisonment has not hindered the spread of the gospel in anyway. On the contrary, it has opened doors that otherwise would have remained closed to him.
The Emperor’s own troops are hearing the gospel,
the Christians in Rome are getting more involved in spreading the word and,
even though motives are suspect with some preachers,
the Gospel is getting preached.
Paul now moves into how he as a person is faring under the pressure of captivity and his upcoming trial. He, too, is facing a life and death battle, because if his upcoming trial goes poorly he could be executed.
It is a very personal passage - we see him refer to himself 20 times within 8 verses. He talks about everything - how he feels, what he wants to live for, who he cares about, his mental condition as he awaits his trial.
There are only a few passages in the entire Bible that parallel Paul’s openness in this paragraph. Through it all, he maintains his focus on Christ and the church in Philippi.
In each of the three thoughts in this passage, both Christ and the Philippians are central to what he has to say and how he has to say it.
PART ONE - PAUL’S HEART FOR CHRIST
We start in verse 18, because for some odd reason, the church leader that spilt the Bible up into verses centuries ago put the beginning sentence of this paragraph into verse 18.
The last half of vs.18 really is the first part of the paragraph we’re looking at today.
Paul is rejoicing in the spreading of the gospel, and now he moves into his own predicament by affirming that he will still rejoice, no matter what happens to him.
Paul is not the type to have written this to appease the worries of others - he is truly rejoicing at what he is facing. He sees so much opportunity here to have Christ be made known, and since that is what he’s been living for he’s welcoming the upcoming trial.