The Christian 'Mission Statement'.

June 18, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Philippians - Journey of a Joyful Life

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Philippians 1:19–26

Paul's mission statement is summarised in Philippians 1:21; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

Paul’s aim is to treasure Christ above all things, and he knows that if he does that, if he lives a Christ-centred, selfless life, honouring Christ with every breath he takes, it will actually make death something he doesn’t have to be afraid of but can look forward to because it means MORE of what he loves – being with Jesus. Every Christian should aim at being able to say truthfully, “For me, to live is Christ.” If you can say, “Yes,” then you have also answered that fundamental question, “What about death and what lies beyond?” It will be gain for you.

1. Paul’s Expectation (v. 19-21)
2. Paul’s Decision (v. 22-24)
3. Paul’s Confidence (v. 25-26)

Death can only be gain if what is on the other side is of greater value than anything on this side. In his death and victorious resurrection, Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). He died so that “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Heb. 2:14-15). Death is as good as dead. It is not fully dead yet—obvious enough since we still die (see 1 Cor 15:25-26). But for the Christian, death is nothing more than a passageway to another stage of redemption, to more of Christ’s presence, to the absence of sin and sickness and pain. 

Paul was a man with one foot planted on earth and another planted in heaven. He lived at the same time in this world and in the world to come. This is apparent as he wrestles with conflicting desires—wanting to depart from this world to be with Jesus, and yet feeling the need to remain in this world for the sake of the church. We too should see that needs are many and there is much work to be done for Jesus and his church. But, like Paul, we too should have a constant eye on, even a sincere longing for, what’s to come, whether at the time of our death or at Jesus’ return.

Getting Started                          

  1. Growing up, we have all had dreams and ambitions of what we were going to buy with our first pay cheque. How did your dream compare to reality?
  • Read Philippians 1:19-26
  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

  1. In Philippians 1:19, Paul alludes to Job 13:13-18. Read Job 13:13-18 and note any parallels you see with Philippians 1:19-26. What did Paul expect to be “delivered / saved” from in 1:19? How was this deliverance to be accomplished?
  1. Paul clearly feels torn between living and dying, between the ongoing needs of the church and the glory of Christ in heaven (Phil. 1:22-24). But which of the two possibilities would he prefer, all things considered? What language does Paul use about his preferred outcome?
  1. In verses 21-23, Paul speaks of death in optimistic terms. That path is “gain” and “far better.” Paul doesn’t explicitly tell us why in this passage; he merely assumes the reasons. From what you know of the Bible, what are some ways in which dying is “gain” for the believer?

The Heart of the Matter

  1. Paul said in v.21, for him to live was Christ. Is it oversimplistic to say, “if you aren’t serving Christ, you’re living for self? Do you agree or disagree? Please state your reasons.
  1. In verse 25, we see Paul talking about his decision to stay and minister with the Philippian church for their ‘progress and joy in the faith’. In today's world where everyone is in a race to make their lives better and more comfortable, how are we to apply v.25? How do we live so that our brothers and sisters may be edified? How can we practically strive to achieve that in our local church?
  1. Paul says in 1:20, that the way we exalt Christ is through our bodies. This is a comprehensive and practical concept. It means that we may either exalt Christ or bring shame to His name by our attitudes, our words, and our behaviour. What are some of the implications of “exalting Christ” through our bodies?

More in Philippians - Journey of a Joyful Life

August 27, 2023

The Secret of Contentment

August 20, 2023

Pursuing the Mind of Christ

August 13, 2023

Be an Example of a Heavenly Citizen