Dying To Live
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” -Philippians 1:20, 21
What can the 21st century church learn from the church at Philippi? In John 12:24, Jesus was referring to dying to living. In verse 25 we are told we must die to self that we will live for Him. Is this not what the Christian life is all about? “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin … Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:4-6, 11.
Paul realized that he had to die to self to live for Jesus. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
The book of Philippians is often referred to as the book of joy or rejoicing. Seventeen times, at least by my count, we find these words in this book. How can Christians joy or rejoice in the Lord if they have not died to self?
Since we cannot cover the whole chapter verse-by-verse in our allotted space, we will look at a few verses of each chapter to see what this letter to the Philippians can teach us today as God’s people.
1. In chapter 1:20-21. Verse 20 teaches us that Christ cannot be magnified in our body if He is not living there … When we die, Christ lives in us. Many are magnifying self, trusting self. 2 Corinthians 1:9.
2. Chapter 1:10-11. This is about fruits of righteousness. Galatians 5:22-24. Only by living for Jesus can we bring forth the right kinds of fruits. John 15:4-5.
3. Chapter 2:5. How do we acquire the mind of Christ? Verses 4 and 5 tell us what and how we should be thinking. Our mind has a great deal to do with our spiritual development. Matthew 15:1 8-19. Paul wanted the church at Philippi to think like Christ, but they had to die to self before this could happen. Will we acquire the mind of Christ in any other way?
4. Chapter 2:14. How often do we complain or dispute when we are the children of God? When a need arises, do we complain and say, “Why did they call me?” What was Jesus teaching us in Matthew 25:42-45? Often, we see and hear Christians disputing among themselves; many times, over incidental things. Jesus taught his disciples a lesson on this. Mark 9:33-35. Some, today, have the same problem. They want to be the greatest. Paul is telling the Philippians if they have died to live, there should be none of this.
5. Chapter 3:10. The only way we can know the power of His resurrection is to die. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Romans 8:6. So, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to die to be made alive.
6. Chapter 3:20-21. We must make a great change in our manner of living when we die. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Many think they can come into Christ and not change their lifestyle. In verse 21, Paul has to be talking about the change after this physical death, or if he is still living when Christ comes. I Corinthians 15:49-53. There will be a great change in the spiritual life. 1 John 3:1-3.
7. Chapter 4:12-13. Living in Jesus and Jesus living in us will give us all the contentment we will ever want. 1 Timothy 6:6. Dying to self will make us realize the world and the things in the world are really worthless. Christ, and Christ only, will give us that strength to overcome and give us that contentment. Matthew 16:24-26.
8. Chapter 4:19. What needs are we looking for? Money, honor, fame, or power? Many are looking for all of these things. This verse is about something far different; not what we want, but what we need. The things one really needs are in Christ. Matthew 6:30-31 and Ephesians 1:3.
The letter to the Philippians teaches us many things if we are ready to do them. Dying to live for Jesus, we can magnify Him in our body. We will be filled with fruits of righteousness. We can have the mind of Christ. Complaining and disputing will depart from us. We will understand the power of His resurrection. A great change in our life will happen. Contentment can be found in Jesus. God does provide all of our needs. Romans 6:3, 16-18. -232 Morningside Dr., Moorefield, WV 26836-1243.
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