Westminster Theological Seminary 1997-07-28 - To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

Philippians 1:21, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

"If all the world was Philadelphia, suicide would be extremely common." So said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Living in Philadelphia, as I do, I might take that personally. But I think Emerson lacked the perspective that Paul had in Philippians 1. While Christians are fond of losing perspective, to live for a Christian is to live for Christ. For some this exemplifies itself in a public evangelical witness, and in others it manifests itself in a constant private-personal life of devotion to Christ, and the degrees of variation between these two are without number. Even Paul himself seemed to struggle between these two positions.

Philippians 1:23-25 "But I am hard pressed from both, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for it is much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake." I have found that the desire, among Christians, to depart, is surprisingly large. I can not count the number of those who profess faith in Christ and yet also have confided that they, like Paul, would prefer to 'depart.' Longing for heaven can be a very Godly thing, the Apostle Paul longed for heaven. But even in his longing, "1:25 And convinced of this, I know I shall remain and continue with you all for you progress and joy in faith …".

He knew he was living for a reason. We are really not different from Paul, we are here for a reason. We are here because God has use for us. In the spectrum of God's kingdom there remains a use for us, his servants, and that is why, and the only reason why, we remain here on earth. Our citizenship is in heaven (Ephesians 2:19), but while we remain here as ambassadors of Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:20) we have a use in God's kingdom!

"Live your life and forget your age." Frank Bering

"Life is not measured by length but by depth. Birthdays tell us how long we have been on the road, not how far we have travelled." Vance Havner

"Let us endeavour so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain

Soli Deo Gloria,