Philippians 1:18–21 (ESV)
Yes, and I will rejoice,19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
This week, Pastor Chris challenged us to adopt an eternal perspective on life. He unpacked how the Apostle Paul lived with joy by understanding how to live in Christ for now and eternity. First, we must believe that Jesus brought us life through His death (Hebrews 12:2). Then, we can know that death was defeated and holds nothing over us. Released from the fear of death, allows us to live a life of abundance!
1 Corinthians 15:26 (ESV)
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
It was never God’s design for us to physically die. But, because sin entered into the Garden of Eden, we all succumb to death. However, God has given us a way to live life fully, by conquering death (granting his children eternal life) and learning to die to ourselves daily so that His power is working through us.
Genesis 2:16–17 (ESV)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Four Thoughts about Life
- Life is _____________________ (fil-in the blank)
- Life comes through death
- Gain through an eternal perspective
To the Apostle Paul, Life is Christ . This life is exceeding, abundant, exciting, glorious, adventurous, and so much more (John 10:10). We are not to be spectators in life. Paul’s personal disciple Timothy heard his tutor say, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV)
In the end, death comes. Yet, the promise to us as Christ’s disciples is that life is found in death. We are encouraged to live a lifestyle of dying daily to ourselves. A pastor in a struggling church placed a coffin at the altar for Sunday services. He announced to the congregation, “Today we have suffered a loss in this church, come forward and pay your respects.” As the congregants filed past, each looked into the coffin and saw their own image reflected in a mirror facing them. At the end, the Pastor announced, “Church we must die afresh, to serve Christ with our whole heart. Today, our body is declaring that we will die to our self – self-interest, selfish ambition, and selfish wants.”
“24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24–25 (ESV)
- Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process (1 Corinthians 15:31, Mark 8:34–35, Galatians 5:24)
- Being “lukewarm” is a symptom of unwillingness to die to self and live for Christ (Revelation 3:15–16)
- Paul lived in the powerful reality of the eternal (Galatians 2:20)
- If we live as the world lives by seeking to find fulfillment now, then how are we different than those who do not know Christ (Hebrews 11:10)?
- We are being prepared for eternity now (John 7:37–39, Romans 8:11).
“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (ESV)
- Do we need more of God? Or, does He want more of us?
- Imagine you are in-charge of creating a bumper sticker with the phrase, “Life is _________” What word(s) would you use to fill-in the blank?
- How do you suppose most people think about the certainty of death?
- What do you think it takes to change our thinking from living for investments, or retirement, or vacation, or better lifestyle to living daily for Christ?
- Read Philippians chapter 1 again and ask God to show you how you can live life with joy.
- Challenge yourself to identify one or two ways that you can ‘daily die to self’ and try it this week. Share with a friend or your life group any revelations you experience!