To live is Christ, to die is gain Philippians 1:12-30

FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST
My life is Christ’s life.
Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What does it mean – to live is Christ?
Following Jesus so closely that we do the things that Jesus would do, we say the things that Jesus would say. To live like Jesus so that other people can see Jesus in us.
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain
to hold His hand and walk His narrow way
there is no peace, no joy, no thrill, Like walking in His will
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain
Living like Jesus – but there is more to it than that!
We saw last week how Paul gave God the glory for everything that he had ever accomplished. It was not his own work, Paul said, but God at work within Him.
1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No – I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me!”
And Paul makes just the same point in Philippians 2.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
WE have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling – we have our part to play. But at the same time it is God working within us to will and act according to his good purpose. It is God’s masterplan we are living out, he is giving us the motivation and he is giving us the strength.
Paul says much the same in Colossians 1.
Christ’s cosmic masterplan is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
And so, says Paul, “28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
We labour and struggle, but at the same time, underneath it all, it is God’s energy working powerfully within us. For me to live is Christ!

TO DIE IS GAIN

When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.”
“Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.”
One day they’ll tell you Moody is dead. But don’t you believe it! On that day. I’ll be more alive than I’ve ever been!

Death is not a loss, but a gain. It is an enormous loss for those family and friends who are left behind. But when a Christian believer dies, for them it is a gain.
Gaining
A perfect life – life freed from the limitations and imperfections of our mortality. Rev 21:4
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
We gain – Incredible life, eternal life, glorious home John 14:1-4
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
To die is gain. If for me to live is money, then to die is a loss. If for me to live is pleasure, then to die is a loss. If for me to live is self, then to die is a loss. If for me to live is ambition, then to die is a loss. If for me to live is sin, then to die is a loss. If for me to live is worldliness, then to die is a loss. But if for me to live is Christ, then to die is a gain.
“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Truly a WIN-WIN situation!!! There’s no way to lose! Either way, we win! Living this life in communion with Jesus Christ is wonderful, but to die and go to be with Christ and see Him face to face will be even more glorious! “To die is gain.” Gaining eternal life in an eternal home,
Philippians 1 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 joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

I DESIRE TO DEPART AND BE WITH CHRIST, WHICH IS BETTER BY FAR
I desire to depart and be with Christ,
“To depart and be with Christ” = we often focus on what we are leaving behind, but Paul is thinking about where He is going and what he is going to.
Depart = boarding ship, pulling up anchor and setting on our way to our destination
Depart is also a legal term, release of a prisoner! (Paul was in prison)

Paul longed to depart and be with Christ – but do we?
Need to face our fear of death.
Woody Allen, “I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
Ps. 116:15 – “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept in heaven for you,

This is our Christian hope. The “happy certainty” of heaven. Sometimes we use the word “hope” in a vague wishy-washy kind of way. In contrast, in the Bible the word “hope” is always definite and certain! So we do better to translate the word “hope” as “happy certainty”!
Only Christians inherit when WE die. When a Christian dies, they receive their inheritance. Death is simply the doorway through which we must pass to enter into the immediate presence of the Lord we love and Who loves us. For Christians, death is not a hopeless end but an endless hope. Death is not an end but a beginning, not an exit but an entrance. “Death is a door to more, not less, a plus not a minus, an increase not a decrease, a filling not an emptying.” (Jim Packer) Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian. It is putting out the lamp because the bright new glorious dawn has come. Death is not a journey to an unknown land but a voyage home, to our Father’s house and to our forever family. When we die, we are simply called home! To use a wonderful Salvation Army phrase, we are “promoted to glory.”

which is better by far;

Finally behind me lies the body that was mine.
I can listen to the laughter, touch the peace of life to come,
Where the darkness yields its questions and the doubting mind is free.
Here I stand, beyond the shadows, reaching for the Son.
Wakened to life in the Land you have chosen, Come gently arise, greet the dawn.
Follow the song of the morning bird calling and watch as a new day is born.
Here you are free as a mountain bird, riding the breeze,
Lost in a Paradise song.
Here you can drink in the sunlight that breaks through the trees.
This Land is where you belong.
Mighty the sound of the cool water falling where rainbow lights dance in the spray.
Sweet is the taste of the air you are breathing so filled with the freshness of day.
Great is the sight of the distant horizon where ocean waves meet with the sky.
Gentle the touch of the summer wind blowing where forests and open fields lie.
Here you are free as a mountain bird, riding the breeze,
Lost in a Paradise song.
Here you can drink in the sunlight that breaks through the trees.
This Land is where you belong.

Gone to a better place
A better home, a better body, a better inheritance,
We might rightly say, “They’ve gone to a better place.” Heaven is a place of rest, a place of reward, a place of rejoicing, a place of resurrection, a place of reunion with our loved ones and especially in the presence of Christ Himself. A place of resurrection! A place with no more sickness, no more pain, no more crying, no more dying, no more mourning. “With Christ, which is better by far!” That is the heart of the Christian hope – the certainty that spending eternity with Jesus in glory will be so much better than even the best of life here on earth.
Come, Lord, when grace has made me meet, Thy blessed face to see;
For if thy work on earth be sweet, What will thy glory be!
My knowledge of that life is small, The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with him. (Richard Baxter)
When D. L. Moody, the great evangelist, was dying, his last words were, “Earth is receding, heaven is approaching; this is my crowning day.”
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
THIS is our Christian hope!

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