Magnifying Christ through Pain and Death
(Here is a great friend of mine--Nate. Nate lives to magnify the Lord in all aspects of his life. I have seen this first hand. This is a picture I took of him while we were on a mission trip in Wyoming. The mountains in the background are the Grand Tetons. May the Lord bless you and your family and the ministries that he has planned for you.)
How can we live a life not wasted while we are going through hardships? This is a question we all will deal with in one way or another. It all goes back to our passion for living….and dying. God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.
SO, how are we to do this in a Pain and suffering and eventually death? What are we to do with statements like; “to die is gain”,” I will honor Christ in my body through life or death”. Philippians 1 answers these questions. In verses 20 and 21 we see the answers.
I. Living a Life that is Unashamed.
This is an unusual statement. Look at verse 20. Paul’s desire is to love a life that was unashamed. He wanted Christ to be honored in his body. He did not want himself honored but Christ. He wanted all glory and praise to be pointed toward the Lord. Notice how he stated that he hopes, and expects Christ to be glorified in His body, whether it be death or Life. Nobody likes shame. We don’t wont shame, because we want honor. Not Paul. Yes, he did not want to be shamed, but he wanted the honor to go to the Lord. He is different because Christ was the burning center of His life. We can learn a lot from Paul. As long as Christ was exalted, Paul could take it. You see what we value most will drive our actions. And if what we value most is anything but Jesus, then we a guilty of idolatry.
What is so different about Paul and the “normal” Christian? What are some things that get in the way of living a Life that is unashamed? Why do we struggle with this?
II. Honoring God in our bodies
The key to honoring God is in the treasure. What do you treasure above all things? Whenever you treasure something or something has tremendous value to you, you cherish its beauty or power or uniqueness, you want to tell others about it and draw their attention to it so they can experience what you have. This is why Paul’s goal was that Christ be magnified. This was so that others would see the Joy that Christ brought to Paul. This is what it means to Magnify Christ…..to show the MAGNITUDE OF HIS VALUE!
Why should Christ be the treasure? What about Christ brought Joy to Paul’s life?
III. Glorifying God in Death
Death comes and interrupts the plans of life. This happens many times. I could not tell you how many people I have seen get caught unexpected by death. It causes stress and sometimes destruction. How can we Glorify Christ even in death? Because death robs us of our earthly treasures and relationships many people fear death. Paul could embrace death, pain, and suffering because his treasure (Christ) rules over death, pain and suffering. This is why Paul could say “to Live is Christ, but to die is Gain” . Paul had resolved that while he was living he would live for Christ. But if and when he died it would be Gain. Why gain? Because he would be with Christ, he would behold his treasure. This is how Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and the like lived their life. FEARLESS……May we live this way. As the song says, “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way HE LOVES US” This would have been on Paul’s IPod. How can we have hope even in death? Why should we live fearless in this life? What have we to fear knowing that the sovereign LORD Jesus Christ controls and Conducts our lives?