This sermon was based on Philippians 1:12-30
The Advance of the Gospel
12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
To Live is Christ
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
What is the Cost of Following Jesus?
- When we think of the word cost in our culture it is often associated with money and finances.
- The cost of following Jesus often involves much more than that.
- Our salvation is a free gift but choosing to accept that gift carries consequences which can be costly to us and may require sacrifice.
To Live is Christ.
- Paul has made the decision to follow Christ and from that point on knows that every decision he makes is to live for Christ.
- Living for Christ involves many choices and decisions, where you live, how you live etc. Each choice we make is an opportunity to grow in relationship with God and to grow in faith and courage.
- We need to make constant conscious decisions to trust God and choose to live for Christ.
Is the Price Worth it?
- In business we often apply cost, value, benefit analysis to the decisions we make in order to work out if its worth the price.
- Sometimes the value of the decisions we make is not where we would expect it to be and we cannot always see it immediately or predict it.
- Whenever we choose to live for Christ there is Kingdom expansion. Kingdom expansion is always worth the personal cost.