INTRO: I would like to propose a sentence into which you will insert two words. Let me say the sentence leaving blanks for the words you will insert. Please do not worry about what someone else may write or say or think ... nor of what one may already have said. I want the two words to be your expressions. For to me to live is _________________, and to die is ___________________. Now, lets see how another filled the blanks. Phil 1:21 - For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. So much might be said here ... but we would conclude that Paul was Unafraid to Live ... Or Die.
I. UNAFRAID OF LIVING ... FOR LIVING IS CHRIST
A. Christ - the beginning of Life for Paul
1. when Paul obeyed the gospel, he began truly to live
2. Titus 3:5 with Jno 3:5 in baptism he was born again
3. yes, he had lived - note Phil 3:4-7 but that mode of life without Christ was refuse, worthless
4. not until being born into union with Jesus did life really begin
B. Christ - the continuing of life for Paul
1. not a day passed that he did not abide in Christ
2. Mt 28:20b with Heb 13:5 every day with Christ!
3. life would never be quite the same as before ... before when the deadlaw was his only comfort
4. how many times was he comforted by the Lord as he ministered and served! (Acts 18:9,10)
C. Christ - the inspiration of life for Paul
1. do not all of us need someone to inspire us at times? we see an act of heroism, of selfless love, of deep sacrifice ... it touches responsive chords in us to be better
2. Christ was Pauls model, ideal (1 Cor 11:1)
3. noblest of principles had been demonstrated in the life and work of Christ .. people no doubt still talked about Jesus with awe, wonder
4. so, to be filled with disposition of this Jesus (Phil 2:5) was motive power
D. Christ - the task in Pauls life
1. everything in his life had new meaning (Col 3:23,24)
2. Ye serve the Lord Christ ... now that pertains in every relationship and activity
3. there are, too, tasks of teaching, of outreaching, etc.
4. Christ gives us something truly to live for
E. Christ - the reward of life for Paul
1. he knew of the applause of men their praise
2. knew, too, that applause could be so fickle
3. but he came to see that the rewards in life were in association with his Lord - Gal 1:10
4. closer and closer fellowship with the Lord was the only reward Paul sought in life
F. Christ - the end of life for Paul
1. all of life moved toward eternal union with Jesus
2. certainly Phil 1:23 was his lifes aim and end
3. with the end of life in constant view he could be in constant readiness for his death
4. Paul was truly unafraid to live because living and serving had great purpose and joy for him; but he was ...
II. UNAFRAID OF DYING ... FOR DYING WAS GAIN
A. Baptism admitted him into Christ ... living in Christ
1. Gal 3:27 baptized into Christ
2. Eph 1:3 in Christ he was assured of all spiritual blessings
3. living in Christ provided the best this life could offer him ... or us (Jno 10:10) ... but ...
B. Death admitted him into rest from his labors (Rev 14:13)
1. and this had been the whole of his life for years
2. it apparently did not matter what kind of death he died ... because he would die to gain entrance to the blessings of dying in Christ!
3. 1 Cor 15:19 dying was truly gain
CLOSE: Christ brings a very different perspective to both living and dying. He makes living worthwhile ... and dying our greatest blessing! If we have lived Christ, death is gain. (Ps 116:15)
Cecil A. Hutson
09 January 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)