A sermon from Philippians 1:18-21 preached on June 19, 2005
Throughout the summer, our focus will be on how you and I are to Treasure Christ in our Worship. My hope and prayer is that the wisdom of godly men and vastly more importantly, God's Word in the Bible will renew our minds and win our affections, causing us to love God as he ought to be loved. This sermon helps us hear God's call to worship that at its essence is an inward experience of our affections that treasures Jesus as gain.
“To live is Christ” means to count everything as loss in this life, in comparison to the value of gaining Jesus. Some of you might have noticed that in both 3:8 and 1:21 there is this language of “gaining” Christ. In 3:8, we gain Christ in our life here on earth when he becomes more valuable than anything and everything else. In 1:21, the reference is to gaining Christ in our death, which simply means this: “Death is gain because it brings more of Jesus to Paul, and more of Paul to Jesus.” We honor Jesus in our dying if we see dying as better than living. And the only way that we believe that dying is better than living is if we believe that Jesus is more valuable than the things of this world.
Based on Paul’s words here in Philippians 1 and 3, I would put this before you: the essence of worship is an inward experience of our affections that treasures Jesus as gain. We worship when we trust and treasure that Jesus is infinitely valuable. Jesus is honored in our living when we think and love and act in ways that are fueled out of a treasuring of Jesus more than people, things, and every other experience available in life. Jesus is honored in our dying when death is seen as the trading in of the things we hold dear in this world for a pearl of infinitely greater price.
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