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Magnify Christ, Whether Life or Death
Introduction:  1.
Published June 5th, 2015
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2015-05-26 13:57:46
2015-07-10 16:55:35
Introduction: 1. Main point of this text : can be found in v.20 . As American consumers we are very familiar with the concept of "branding" or "putting your brand" out there. And by branding you represent to the watching world what you stand for, what you live for. For example, Nike - "Just Do it" Wheaties - "Breakfast of Champions" Playstation - "Greatness Awaits You" McDonalds - "I'm Lovin' It" You get the idea. And the point of these slogans is not only to tell you what these companies do, but what they value. -- What do the above examples value? And as I have studied this text and thought about it over and over and prayed about it, the more it has gripped me because of how it grips Paul. And my challenge for you (as well as for me) is that we would value those things that the Bible values most (not what the world values most). I want to be the kind of person that values most what God values. To be the kind of husband and father that values what the Bible values. The world is constantly trying to sell us something - to sell you what it values - as Christian we want to buy and find our ultimate values from the Bible . I want to challenge us with the question: What defines me ? What is the banner over my life that defines me and what I'm about? MLJ once wrote that the biggest tragedy in the church today is it's superficiality. And he went to explain that the church's superficalility or shallowness can be traced back to its attitude towards the Word of God, the Bible: namely, That the church doesn't take it seriously. We so easily are allured into valuing and living for things that completely forget about God. Listen to Hosea 11:7. This is our bent as sinners; we don't naturally want to care for the things of God. And yet in our text today, Paul is going to lay out his ultimate aim for the Christian life, and by the end of the text he's going to invite the reader to join him in this aim. Q: But perhaps you may be sitting there saying to yourself: Yeah, sure this is in the Bible and what God says, but why should I let Paul's purpose for live define mine? A: Later in our passage Paul will say that if valuing and treasuring Christ becomes your aim in life, when you die you will depart and "be with Jesus", and that's good enough of a reason for me. And if you're a Christian and that idea doesn't excite you - I hope that the anticipation of one day meeting Christ will pull you back into living for the glory of Christ now. And if you're a non-believer, that's the hope you can look forward to if knowing Jesus and living for his glory becomes your aim in life. 2. Now, let me state the main point of these verses in a single sentence: Main Point stated : Paul confidently believes that his Christ-centered aim will become the Philippians' aim . In other words, as Paul presents his slogan - his ultimate aim for life - he wants the Philippians to hug it; to embrace; to have it shape and form their purpose for living life. And as a result for us, I want us to see Paul's aim and then savor and treasure it for ourselves. This is Paul's aim, this is what he aims to live for. In fact, this one of the clearest texts where Paul states his personal mission - this is Paul's slogan (perhaps the clearest is 3:8)! Outline: Paul's Christ-centered aim (vv.19-20) Paul's Christ-centered argument "how" this aim will (indeed) happen (vv.21-24) Paul's Christ-centered invitation (vv.25-26) (1) Verses 19-20: Paul's confident aim: " This " = Paul's circumstances of v.12 and 14, his "imprisonment" will result in his deliverance (ESV, NIV). On one level , he's saying that he wishes for his imprisonment to result in his freedom from a prison cell (see v.25). But on another leve l...Talk about "salvation" in GRK (not deliverance); he's talking about end-time or final deliverance = his future salvation . Three pointers for this: 1) One confirmation of this is that Paul is likely alluding to Job 13:16, where Job refers to his end-time salvation and vindication. 2) Whether he lives or dies, his imprisonment will bring about his "salvation", so he can't merely be talking about physical freedom. 3) the phrase "eager expectation and hope" is elsewhere used to describe end-time hope = Romans 8:18-19. IN SHORT, the idea here is that Paul views his imprisonment through an eternal lens; he sees all life with the eyes of eternity. ** Logic of v.19 with v.20 is this ("this will happen... according to my eager expectation and desire"): Do you hear the logic? Here's how the grammar is working: If Christ is magnified in my living or dying (either one), [then] my imprisonment will result in my eschatological (end-time) salvation. Now this is huge. In other words, the only way for v.19 to come true is if v.20 happens first (horse before the cart) : IF Christ is honored in his life or death, THEN this will result in his salvation. And Paul is confident this will happen because of the prayers of the Philippians and help of the Holy Spirit. This is not performance. Paul's salvation is not dependent on how good he does v.20. V.19 shows us that he is dependent on future grace to do v.20. God will supply him with the grace he needs to do v.20. In light of the main point and logic we see above, there should be a " light " that goes off in your mind that makes you question what I just said. You should say, "Hold on one second, it sure sounds like you just said that Paul's salvation is dependent on his performance . Are you suggesting that Paul works in conjunction with Christ for salvation - that it's not Christ alone and his sacrifice that saves us?" Q2: In what sense is Paul "saved"? A2: I think spiritually. Can you add to/help move it along? - 3:9 says NO. So how do I understand the if-then relationship in vv.19-20? A2: Here's what I think it means. To paraphrase: Paul means that he will bear the mark of someone who is saved. He is confident that this imprisonment will confirm that his salvation in Christ is real and authentic ". Paul is saying: "How can my imprisonment NOT lead to/result in my ultimate (eschatological = reference to Job 13:13-18) salvation, because whether in life or death Christ be magnified in my body?" In other words, that's what Christians do : they magnify Christ in all that they do, whether life or death. Paul shows himself as one who is saved because whether he lives or dies, Christ is magnified. A paraphrase might be, "I will show my salvation in this way". Thus, the idea of "vindication" is not that far off from being a possible translation. Paul's suffering for the gospel will result in his vindication if Christ is magnified in his life and death. Like Christ, Paul's suffering for the glory of God will result in resurrection hope/glory. As Christ looked forward to the resurrection hope that was beyond his death, so too Paul looks ahead to the eschatological end, where his salvation/vindication will be shown by his living and dying for the glory of Christ. What is the key to this confidence? --> v.19b: your prayers and help of the Holy Spirit. This is what drives Paul's confidence. Our work via prayers, and God's work via the Holy Spirit, working in tandem . This tandem suggests that Paul's (spiritual) salvation will show itself because Jesus is at work in Paul through the Spirit via the prayers of the Philippians. Paul is not "saving" himself; Paul will show himself as one who is saved when the prayers of the Philippians and Holy Spirit help Paul to "magnify Christ" in his life or death. ( 2): Verses 21-24: Paul's Christ-centered argument : Remember, I said vv.21-24 is an argument. What is it arguing for? The last phrase in v.20: "Christ may be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death" So how is this an argument? In vv.19-20 Paul argues that his imprisonment will result in his salvation if Christ is honored in his life or death. VV.21-24 explain how being magnified in "life or death" is possible. What does it mean to "magnify Christ" in life or death? Let's take these one at a time: In death (this is absolutely radical. People of the world don't get this. My thinking about what I'm living for has radically changed with these verses), How is Christ magnified in your death? Christ is honored when there is more "GAIN" in receiving Christ than living here for the pleasures of this world = V.23 "To depart and be with Christ is far better". Question : Can anyone here say that this morning? Or do the things of earth outweigh your passion to depart and be with Christ (perhaps the things of earth are good things: kids, money, etc.). Do they outweigh the possibility of leaving earth to be with Christ? Question : How do you honor Christ in your dying? Answer : By not clinging to earth or the things of earth as your "treasure"-- but with open arms embrace the savior who you will shortly meet in heaven. In other words, what's your "treasure"? Paul is saying there's something deeper behind v.21 and v.23: Christ must be your treasure, otherwise how else can someone live like this?. That's what v.23 is asserting. You know , its a lot easier to want to go home and be with Christ when you are on your deathbed, when you've lived a full life - perhaps sick and ill to the point of death, wanting to escape the pain of health problems or loneliness. But where is where I was personally challenged : what about having the desire to depart and be with Christ - in your prime (I'm 25 years old; Lord willing, I have my whole in front of me and so do many of you): You see, when life is still young, and your future is ahead of you, your kids are still growing up and memories are being made, sex is still good/even possible. What then? What is your treasure in this picture? Paul can say, Death is better than life for me, because I get Christ. And as I was preparing this sermon I asked myself, Can I say that ? I have a little baby BOY that is about to be born and I love that little baby already: I look forward to making memories, growing with him and teaching him. But does he outweigh my love to get Christ? If my and your answer to that or anything else is "yes" our idolatry is exposed - and Christ will not be magnified in our death if our desire is to live for the things of earth. Christ will not be magnified if I am living primarily for my son. Oh Christian, see your sin here . What is it that keeps you from saying, Getting Christ is far better than ___ whatever it is for you. And no matter how long you've been clinging to whatever substitute-god is in your life, the gospel says that Jesus died for your sins so that you would know God, and upon knowing God, LIVE to magnify him. What about life? In life (I love how Paul talks about "life" for the Christian because he categorizes all of life as "ministry"). That's the only other option for Paul. "Ministry" is not just got pastors/preachers, but all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-12). Christ is honored because of (v.22) "fruitful labor" in preaching Christ and magnifying Christ is a daily game-plan for the believer. In death it was "being with Christ"; in life it is "knowing Christ" (3:8), proclaiming Christ, ever-deepening love for and trust in Christ, experiencing Christ with others = service of others (v.24) = that's a good reason to live here on earth. So how is Christ magnified in Paul's "life"? To summarize: " magnifying Christ in my life" is experiencing and knowing Christ with other Christians = Community . Building each other up in Christ. So what about us? How is Christ magnified in our "living"? Everywhere you go, everything you say: "Christ be magnified in my body ". And don't miss this: Paul says that we magnify Christ "in our body". 1Corinthians 10:31. We get to know Christ and build each other up in Christ as a body. In conclusion to these verses - by having a radically Christ-centric vision - Paul sees imprisonment or freedom as a Win-Win: we get Christ! One is through death, the other is through community. Now I want to ask you this: Is Paul's vision of how he views "life and death" the way you view suffering? What if your aim in your suffering was not, How do I get out of this suffering, but, How can Christ be magnified the most through this suffering? And the reason why this question is the right question to ask is because of v.19b - prayer and the Spirit will enable you to magnify Christ. (3) Verses 25-26: Paul's Christ-centered invitation to magnify Christ with him: - What sheer confidence of Paul: how can he be so certain of his actual release? - ἵνα clause: Paul's aim (v.20) now becomes the Philippians' aim (v.26). He wants them to join him in his aim, and he's confident that this aim will be achieved by his actual physical release from prison. - Verse 26 is just another way of saying v.20, but he's now inviting the Philippians to join in with him for his delivery.
11432648666934 1432648666926 Notes 2015-05-26 13:57:46 2015-07-10 16:55:35 Introduction: 1. Main point of this text : can be found in v.20 . As American consumers we are very familiar with the concept of "branding" or "putting your brand" out there. And by branding you represent to the watching world what you stand for, what you live for. For example, Nike - "Just Do it" Wheaties - "Breakfast of Champions" Playstation - "Greatness Awaits You" McDonalds - "I'm Lovin' It" You get the idea. And the point of these slogans is not only to tell you what these companies do, but what they value. -- What do the above examples value? And as I have studied this text and thought about it over and over and prayed about it, the more it has gripped me because of how it grips Paul. And my challenge for you (as well as for me) is that we would value those things that the Bible values most (not what the world values most). I want to be the kind of person that values most what God values. To be the kind of husband and father that values what the Bible values. The world is constantly trying to sell us something - to sell you what it values - as Christian we want to buy and find our ultimate values from the Bible . I want to challenge us with the question: What defines me ? What is the banner over my life that defines me and what I'm about? MLJ once wrote that the biggest tragedy in the church today is it's superficiality. And he went to explain that the church's superficalility or shallowness can be traced back to its attitude towards the Word of God, the Bible: namely, That the church doesn't take it seriously. We so easily are allured into valuing and living for things that completely forget about God. Listen to Hosea 11:7. This is our bent as sinners; we don't naturally want to care for the things of God. And yet in our text today, Paul is going to lay out his ultimate aim for the Christian life, and by the end of the text he's going to invite the reader to join him in this aim. Q: But perhaps you may be sitting there saying to yourself: Yeah, sure this is in the Bible and what God says, but why should I let Paul's purpose for live define mine? A: Later in our passage Paul will say that if valuing and treasuring Christ becomes your aim in life, when you die you will depart and "be with Jesus", and that's good enough of a reason for me. And if you're a Christian and that idea doesn't excite you - I hope that the anticipation of one day meeting Christ will pull you back into living for the glory of Christ now. And if you're a non-believer, that's the hope you can look forward to if knowing Jesus and living for his glory becomes your aim in life. 2. Now, let me state the main point of these verses in a single sentence: Main Point stated : Paul confidently believes that his Christ-centered aim will become the Philippians' aim . In other words, as Paul presents his slogan - his ultimate aim for life - he wants the Philippians to hug it; to embrace; to have it shape and form their purpose for living life. And as a result for us, I want us to see Paul's aim and then savor and treasure it for ourselves. This is Paul's aim, this is what he aims to live for. In fact, this one of the clearest texts where Paul states his personal mission - this is Paul's slogan (perhaps the clearest is 3:8)! Outline: Paul's Christ-centered aim (vv.19-20) Paul's Christ-centered argument "how" this aim will (indeed) happen (vv.21-24) Paul's Christ-centered invitation (vv.25-26) (1) Verses 19-20: Paul's confident aim: " This " = Paul's circumstances of v.12 and 14, his "imprisonment" will result in his deliverance (ESV, NIV). On one level , he's saying that he wishes for his imprisonment to result in his freedom from a prison cell (see v.25). But on another leve l...Talk about "salvation" in GRK (not deliverance); he's talking about end-time or final deliverance = his future salvation . Three pointers for this: 1) One confirmation of this is that Paul is likely alluding to Job 13:16, where Job refers to his end-time salvation and vindication. 2) Whether he lives or dies, his imprisonment will bring about his "salvation", so he can't merely be talking about physical freedom. 3) the phrase "eager expectation and hope" is elsewhere used to describe end-time hope = Romans 8:18-19. IN SHORT, the idea here is that Paul views his imprisonment through an eternal lens; he sees all life with the eyes of eternity. ** Logic of v.19 with v.20 is this ("this will happen... according to my eager expectation and desire"): Do you hear the logic? Here's how the grammar is working: If Christ is magnified in my living or dying (either one), [then] my imprisonment will result in my eschatological (end-time) salvation. Now this is huge. In other words, the only way for v.19 to come true is if v.20 happens first (horse before the cart) : IF Christ is honored in his life or death, THEN this will result in his salvation. And Paul is confident this will happen because of the prayers of the Philippians and help of the Holy Spirit. This is not performance. Paul's salvation is not dependent on how good he does v.20. V.19 shows us that he is dependent on future grace to do v.20. God will supply him with the grace he needs to do v.20. In light of the main point and logic we see above, there should be a " light " that goes off in your mind that makes you question what I just said. You should say, "Hold on one second, it sure sounds like you just said that Paul's salvation is dependent on his performance . Are you suggesting that Paul works in conjunction with Christ for salvation - that it's not Christ alone and his sacrifice that saves us?" Q2: In what sense is Paul "saved"? A2: I think spiritually. Can you add to/help move it along? - 3:9 says NO. So how do I understand the if-then relationship in vv.19-20? A2: Here's what I think it means. To paraphrase: Paul means that he will bear the mark of someone who is saved. He is confident that this imprisonment will confirm that his salvation in Christ is real and authentic ". Paul is saying: "How can my imprisonment NOT lead to/result in my ultimate (eschatological = reference to Job 13:13-18) salvation, because whether in life or death Christ be magnified in my body?" In other words, that's what Christians do : they magnify Christ in all that they do, whether life or death. Paul shows himself as one who is saved because whether he lives or dies, Christ is magnified. A paraphrase might be, "I will show my salvation in this way". Thus, the idea of "vindication" is not that far off from being a possible translation. Paul's suffering for the gospel will result in his vindication if Christ is magnified in his life and death. Like Christ, Paul's suffering for the glory of God will result in resurrection hope/glory. As Christ looked forward to the resurrection hope that was beyond his death, so too Paul looks ahead to the eschatological end, where his salvation/vindication will be shown by his living and dying for the glory of Christ. What is the key to this confidence? --> v.19b: your prayers and help of the Holy Spirit. This is what drives Paul's confidence. Our work via prayers, and God's work via the Holy Spirit, working in tandem . This tandem suggests that Paul's (spiritual) salvation will show itself because Jesus is at work in Paul through the Spirit via the prayers of the Philippians. Paul is not "saving" himself; Paul will show himself as one who is saved when the prayers of the Philippians and Holy Spirit help Paul to "magnify Christ" in his life or death. ( 2): Verses 21-24: Paul's Christ-centered argument : Remember, I said vv.21-24 is an argument. What is it arguing for? The last phrase in v.20: "Christ may be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death" So how is this an argument? In vv.19-20 Paul argues that his imprisonment will result in his salvation if Christ is honored in his life or death. VV.21-24 explain how being magnified in "life or death" is possible. What does it mean to "magnify Christ" in life or death? Let's take these one at a time: In death (this is absolutely radical. People of the world don't get this. My thinking about what I'm living for has radically changed with these verses), How is Christ magnified in your death? Christ is honored when there is more "GAIN" in receiving Christ than living here for the pleasures of this world = V.23 "To depart and be with Christ is far better". Question : Can anyone here say that this morning? Or do the things of earth outweigh your passion to depart and be with Christ (perhaps the things of earth are good things: kids, money, etc.). Do they outweigh the possibility of leaving earth to be with Christ? Question : How do you honor Christ in your dying? Answer : By not clinging to earth or the things of earth as your "treasure"-- but with open arms embrace the savior who you will shortly meet in heaven. In other words, what's your "treasure"? Paul is saying there's something deeper behind v.21 and v.23: Christ must be your treasure, otherwise how else can someone live like this?. That's what v.23 is asserting. You know , its a lot easier to want to go home and be with Christ when you are on your deathbed, when you've lived a full life - perhaps sick and ill to the point of death, wanting to escape the pain of health problems or loneliness. But where is where I was personally challenged : what about having the desire to depart and be with Christ - in your prime (I'm 25 years old; Lord willing, I have my whole in front of me and so do many of you): You see, when life is still young, and your future is ahead of you, your kids are still growing up and memories are being made, sex is still good/even possible. What then? What is your treasure in this picture? Paul can say, Death is better than life for me, because I get Christ. And as I was preparing this sermon I asked myself, Can I say that ? I have a little baby BOY that is about to be born and I love that little baby already: I look forward to making memories, growing with him and teaching him. But does he outweigh my love to get Christ? If my and your answer to that or anything else is "yes" our idolatry is exposed - and Christ will not be magnified in our death if our desire is to live for the things of earth. Christ will not be magnified if I am living primarily for my son. Oh Christian, see your sin here . What is it that keeps you from saying, Getting Christ is far better than ___ whatever it is for you. And no matter how long you've been clinging to whatever substitute-god is in your life, the gospel says that Jesus died for your sins so that you would know God, and upon knowing God, LIVE to magnify him. What about life? In life (I love how Paul talks about "life" for the Christian because he categorizes all of life as "ministry"). That's the only other option for Paul. "Ministry" is not just got pastors/preachers, but all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-12). Christ is honored because of (v.22) "fruitful labor" in preaching Christ and magnifying Christ is a daily game-plan for the believer. In death it was "being with Christ"; in life it is "knowing Christ" (3:8), proclaiming Christ, ever-deepening love for and trust in Christ, experiencing Christ with others = service of others (v.24) = that's a good reason to live here on earth. So how is Christ magnified in Paul's "life"? To summarize: " magnifying Christ in my life" is experiencing and knowing Christ with other Christians = Community . Building each other up in Christ. So what about us? How is Christ magnified in our "living"? Everywhere you go, everything you say: "Christ be magnified in my body ". And don't miss this: Paul says that we magnify Christ "in our body". 1Corinthians 10:31. We get to know Christ and build each other up in Christ as a body. In conclusion to these verses - by having a radically Christ-centric vision - Paul sees imprisonment or freedom as a Win-Win: we get Christ! One is through death, the other is through community. Now I want to ask you this: Is Paul's vision of how he views "life and death" the way you view suffering? What if your aim in your suffering was not, How do I get out of this suffering, but, How can Christ be magnified the most through this suffering? And the reason why this question is the right question to ask is because of v.19b - prayer and the Spirit will enable you to magnify Christ. (3) Verses 25-26: Paul's Christ-centered invitation to magnify Christ with him: - What sheer confidence of Paul: how can he be so certain of his actual release? - ἵνα clause: Paul's aim (v.20) now becomes the Philippians' aim (v.26). He wants them to join him in his aim, and he's confident that this aim will be achieved by his actual physical release from prison. - Verse 26 is just another way of saying v.20, but he's now inviting the Philippians to join in with him for his delivery. notes
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