Summary: For me to live is ______________. What are some of the words you have used to fill in that blank?

Good Morning Everyone!

What a joy to worship God and to study His word together here at MGC Global.

This morning we will be looking at Philippians 1:18b-26 and I would like to begin with a question, what are you living for? We need to realize that everyone is living for something or someone. Every person who has lived in the past, who is living in the present, or who will live in the future will have to fill in the blank of this sentence: For me to live is ______________. What are some of the words you have used to fill in that blank?

If you are a basketball player, then you might say, “For me to live is basketball.” If you are a musician, then you might say, “For me to live is music.” Bill Gates might say, “For me to live is Microsoft.” Mark Zuckerberg might say, “For me to live is Facebook.” If you are a parent, you might say, “For me to live is my children.” The list of possibilities is endless. We can live for self, fun, money, career, and so on. But, we must be able to answer the question, what am I really living for?

Your answer to this question will determine the direction of your life. If your purpose is wrong, your direction will be wrong. If your purpose is vague or fuzzy, your direction will be fuzzy as well. And if you do not know your purpose, you will be easily swept by the currents of this world. So, it is crucial that you be clear and correct in answering the question, “What am I living for?”

In our passage this morning, we find two things that we should be living for. The first is…

1. Living to Exalt Christ (Vs. 18b-20)

In verse 18b, Paul says, “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” When he said this, he was in prison for over four years. He was facing the possibility of execution. And yet, he uses the future tense, saying, “I will continue to rejoice.” Paul was determined to rejoice with whatever awaits him in the future. And he was rejoicing in his current circumstances because He knew that his hope was in God. Paul’s attitude was right, not because of the circumstances, but because of his focus on Jesus Christ.

At this point, Paul doesn’t know what’s going to happen to him next. He hasn’t been given any divine revelation that he is going to be released from prison. The only two options before Paul at this point are - death or continued ministry. I’m sure most of us are not facing a choice like Paul. But many of us are going through trails, difficulties, and challenges in life which makes the future seem all the more frightening.

Let me ask you, what is your greatest fear for the future? What makes you most afraid of tomorrow, next year and the next ten years? Job, kids, marriage, finances, business, health, death? Brothers and sisters, I would like to encourage you to allow the Lord to show you how to face the future; a future designed by Christ, controlled by Christ and ordained by Christ. And remember that we are being held by the One who holds the future. So, our future is not a matter of fear, it’s a matter of faith. And we should exalt Christ through our faith in Him.

In verse 19, Paul goes on to say, “what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” He uses the word “deliverance” which comes from the root word for salvation. He is basically saying that no matter what happens, live or die, I am saved! And in verse 20, we see his commitment to exalt Christ “whether by life or by death.” It is remarkable that his focus was not on getting released from prison, but rather on exalting Christ. Whether he lived or died wasn’t the issue; all that mattered to Paul was that he would exalt Christ. Brothers and sisters, are we exalting Christ in and thru our life? To exalt Christ means to give Him proper glory, honor, and praise that He truly deserves. And we exalt Him by our attitudes, our actions, and our words. Let us live to exalt Christ in all we are, and in all we do.

The second thing we should be living for is to serve others.

2. Living to Serve Others (Vs. 21-26)

In verse 21 Paul says,”For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Most people focus on the second part of the verse, “to die is gain,” and they contemplate the joys of heaven. But, we should not overlook what comes before. The importance of the phrase “to live is Christ” cannot be overstated. In fact, it should be the main purpose of every Christian’s life.

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