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December 14, 2012 / Pastor George Fike

On the 2nd day of Christmas… To Live is Christ


PaulDesk

jesus seated

“I can do all things…” (The apostle Paul)

“…You can do nothing.” (The Lord Jesus)

Huh?

I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH. Philippians 4:13

APART FROM ME (Jesus said), you can do nothing. John 15:5

I guess context really IS important, huh?

My gift on this 2nd day of Christmas is based on teachings from the book of Philippians. The theme of Philippians is JOY IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.  Paul wrote the book from prison, with no expectation of deliverance.  In chapter 1, he rejoices even when rivals are trying to stir up trouble for him because “the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (v. 18).  Paul clearly viewed his frailty and the rigors of his confinement and didn’t know if the end was near or not.  But he made this bold statement: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (v. 21)

What courage!  Paul refused to let the circumstances dictate his frame of mind.  Hear his manifesto carrying him through a horrifying time in his life:

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.(1:20-21; 2:17)

1. AS LONG AS GOD NEEDS ME HERE, I AM INDESTRUCTIBLE! IF I DIE, THAT’S O-O-O-TAY BY ME!  Sometimes I get tired of people acting like heaven is the consolation prize.  There is NO downside to the life of faith.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him,… I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him…  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…  I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize… (3:7-14)

2. HE IS NO FOOL WHO GIVES AWAY WHAT HE CANNOT KEEP TO GAIN WHAT HE CAN NEVER LOSE. (Jim Elliot, missionary martyr in Ecuador)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (4:6-8)

3. EVERY GOOD THING GOD CREATED BEGAN IN HIS MIND.  What would happen if every work of our hands began in our minds? Better yet… what if they all began in the mind of God?

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (4:12-13)

4. IF GOD IS IN YOUR CORNER, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO MEETS YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING!

Enjoy TO LIVE IS CHRIST – one of the happiest songs I ever wrote!  Remember: If you want to sneak a look at ALL your gifts early, you can hear them all here.

On Christmas morning I will upload a link if you want to download the album.

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