Summary: In this sermon, we consider Paul's confidence, conviction and conflict that gave him someone to live and die for.
A. Life can often be complicated and confusing! – How is that for an understatement?
1. In his famous “Peanuts” cartoon, Charles Shultz marvelously captured that reality of life.
2. In one cartoon, Lucy was front and center, delivering one of her characteristic lectures.
3. She said, “Charlie Brown, life is a lot like a deck chair. Some place it so that they can see where they are going. Others place it where they can see where they have been. And some place it so they can see where they are at the present. On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?”
4. Charlie Brown sighs, and says, “I can’t even get mine unfolded!”
B. I am sure that more than a few of us can identify with Charlie Brown.
1. Life can be complicated and confusing.
2. We can get stuck focusing on the past, or the future, or the present, and lose our perspective.
C. The Apostle Paul didn’t have that problem, or at least he didn’t have that problem when he wrote the letter to the Philippians.
1. Perhaps, Paul struggled with having the right perspective, priorities and principles before he became a Christian.
2. But after he came to know Christ, he indeed found someone to live and die for.
3. In the verses from Philippians chapter one that we will examine today, we see Paul sharing his basic life principle.
4. This principle gave him his purpose and meaning in life.
5. This principle guided his every choice and in the end gave him comfort in death.
6. Let’s spend some time examining Philippians 1:19-26, in order to better understand the kind of life perspective that will give us joy for the journey.
Let’s begin by noticing…
I. Paul’s Confidence (1:19-20)
A. Paul wrote: 19 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by 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. (Phil. 1:19-20)
1. Paul showed such faith and confidence here in these verses.
a. Paul had already proclaimed that through his chains Christ had been made known, and because of his critics Christ had been preached.
b. Now he confidently asserted that through his crisis Christ would be exalted; magnified.
2. Paul was also confident that all of this would turn out for his deliverance (as the NIV and many other versions translate it).
a. The Greek word translated “deliverance” can also be translated salvation, safety or preservation.
b. The “deliverance” that Paul was confident of could include one or all of the following:
1. He could mean his safety, in which case Paul was saying that he believed he would be released from his imprisonment.
2. He could mean his salvation, in which case Paul was saying that God would reward him according to his faithfulness while suffering for Christ sake.
3. Or Paul could have used “deliverance” in the sense of general well-being no matter the outcome.
3. Regardless of the way Paul meant his deliverance, he was confident that it would lead to the the exaltation of Christ, and this was based on two significant factors.
a. One factor was the supportive prayers of Paul’s friends.
1. I love the fact that Paul was humble enough to realize that he needed the prayers of others and I love the fact that Paul believed in the power of prayer!
b. The second factor that Paul depended upon was the support of the Holy Spirit.
1. Paul knew that the Holy Spirit was and is there to empower and to help.
2. Paul knew that he could not make it without the Spirit, and neither can we!
B. Ultimately, then we see that Paul’s confidence was in the Lord.
1. He was confident that God would work everything out for his deliverance.
2. He was confident that God would give him the courage to magnify Christ, even in death.
3. He was confident that God would answer the prayers of his friends on his behalf.
4. And Paul was confident of the help of God the Holy Spirit.
5. We can have that same kind of confidence when we know and trust the Lord and the indwelling Spirit of God.
Second, let’s notice…
II. Paul’s Conviction (1:21)
A. Paul wrote: For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
1. This is one of the shortest and simplest texts in the NT, and yet it is one of the deepest and most significant verses.