18. THE POWER OF JOY IN THE PRISON OF PAIN IN PHIL.1:21 (part17)

18. THE POWER OF JOY IN THE PRISON OF PAIN IN PHIL. (part17)

THE PROVISION OF A PERSON PHIL.1:21-30

  A PASSIONATE PROPOSITION V.21-23

    CHRIST IS OUR LIFE V.21

       OUR SUM TOTAL                   for to me to live is Christ,

This phrase “for to me to live is Christ” is more then just an estimation of who we live for.  This isn’t just an assessment of who we’re trying to follow.  Nor is this an appraisal of the one we’re hoping to imitate.

Christ is our life.

We live from Christ as He is our source of existence.

We live on Christ as He is the source of our provision,

He is the one who sustains us and He is the means of our livelihood.

We live in Christ as He is the one who nourishes us by His indwelling.  It is no longer I but it’s Christ who lives in me through the communication of Himself.

We live to Christ, we come from Him being born again spiritually through Him and now He is our aim and our end, which is our real beginning.

Being in prison had to be extremely defeating for Paul.  He was surrounded with pain emotionally, physically and psychologically. Was he overcome, was he beaten and crushed? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us” Rom. 8:37

How could he not be devastated?   The only way he wouldn’t be overwhelmed is “For My strength is made perfect in your weakness” 2  Cor. 12:9; so he gloried in his weakness that the power of Christ would rest in him.

He was living ‘life more abundant’ Christ had come Himself into his being to live there.  Paul is saying, Christ has a deep desire to live His life in us.  Christ is our very source, impetus, and strength.

But how can this be charming if we have to experience various weakening challenges to realize we can’t do life ourselves?  To discover that by these devastating experiences we’re made to wilt and slump in our own ability as our limitations are being exposed in our inadequacy.

What do I find out in my self?  I find that the good I want to do I don’t do.  I find that in me, that is in my flesh there exists no good thing.  I find sin in me that glares out for opportunities to express its self.  I find this sin is stimulated by my greedy insatiable desire to achieve for me.

I know what is right, but I express the opposite and then I feel condemned by the right things I want to do so I can achieve. I feel crumbled by the defeat of my sinful expressions.  I experience an awkward sensation that I’m a failure and a louse.  It’s the guilt of my weakness and failure.  My behavior is baffling.  I loathe my confusion.  It’s draining and depressing.

If I’d do the right things, I’d feel successful and strong.  But my attempts to do what is right end in self-inflating pride.  This is a prison of pain that is agonizing and unbearable.

We dislike weakness, faults, flaws and limitations but it’s in our defeat that we see our need of our Savior.  He doesn’t condemn us but rescues us.  It is not by our own strength but in the power of His life in us.  Our life is not to be lived in the strength of our flesh nature but by faith in Christ’s life.  For us to live is Christ.

There is no hope in feeling bad in our selves.  There is no future in self-loathing and self-denigration.  We can’t get anywhere defaming, deprecating, depreciating or attacking ourselves.  We belittle and slander our failures and faults with derisive abuse.

This is a trick of Satan who is an adversarial accuser.  The title Devil is the Greek term diabolic, which means slanderer and faultfinder.  He lives fully up to his name.  If we live with his hostility ringing in our ears and jangling in our heads we’re allowing him to deny us of the power of Christ living in us.

All our failure, faults, and feeble imperfection are in loving grace forgiven and forgotten in Christ our life.  We can’t earn His love.  There is nothing we can do to deserve His life.  This is where we’ll fall into legalism.  We can only let Christ be our life because He has given His life to us.

Spurgeon wrote: this rich expression “to live is Christ” indicates that Christ is the source of our life. “You hath He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The same voice, which brought Lazarus out of the tomb, raised us to newness of life.

He is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by His life that we live; He is in us, the hope of glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought. Christ is the sustenance of our life.

What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus’ flesh and blood? “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” O way worn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin, you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, except you find it in Him!

Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from Him; and in times of trouble, His presence is our comfort. There is nothing worth living for but Him; and His loving kindness is better than life! Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port, so hastes the believer towards the haven of his Savior’s bosom. As flies the arrow to its goal, so flies the Christian towards the perfecting of his fellowship with Christ Jesus. As the soldier fights for his captain, and is crowned in his captain’s victory, so the believer contends for Christ, and gets his triumph out of the triumphs of his Master. “For him to live is Christ.” Christ is the paradigm of our life. Where there is the same life within, there will, there must be, to a great extent, the same developments without; and if we live in fellowship with the Lord Jesus we shall grow like Him. We shall set Him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in His footsteps, until He shall become the crown of our life in glory. Oh! How safe, how honored, how happy is the Christian, since Christ is our life.

THE PROVISION OF A PERSON PHIL.1:21-30

  A PASSIONATE PROPOSITION V.21-23

    CHRIST IS OUR LIFE V.21

OUR SUM TOTAL                          for to me to live is Christ,

OUR SIGNIFICANT TRIUMPH  and to die is gain.

CHARACTER IS OUR LONGING V.22

OUR PRISON                          But if I live in the flesh,

       OUR PURPOSE                       this is the fruit of my labor:

OUR PERPLEXITY                  yet what I shall choose I wot not.

CHOICE IS OUR LIMITATION V.23

OUR PUZZLE     For I am in a strait betwixt two,

       OUR PARADISE having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ

       OUR PRINCIPLE             which is far better: 

A PERSISTENT PROPOSAL V.24-26

    THE REQUIREMENT V.24

OUR ACCEPTANCE          Nevertheless to abide in the flesh

       OUR APPRAISAL              is more needful for you.

THE REWARD V.25

OUR CERTAINTY              And having this confidence,

       OUR CONNECTION   I know that I shall abide and continue

       OUR COOPERATION with you all for

       YOUR CHANGE        your furtherance and joy of faith;

THE RETURN V.26

       YOUR CHEER      That your rejoicing may be more abundant

YOUR CONTEXT  in Jesus Christ for me

       MY COMING      by my coming to you again.

A PLEASURABLE PROSPECT V.27-30

    APPROPRIATE CONDUCT V.27

CONSISTENT BEHAVIOR Only let your conversation be as it

                                                       becomes the gospel of Christ:

       COHERENT BEHAVIOR that whether I come and see you or else

                                                   be absent, I may hear of your affairs,

       CEASELESS BOLDNESS  that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one

                                    mind striving together for the faith of the gospel

ASSERTIVE CONFIDENCE V.28

THE SHOCK         And in nothing terrified by your adversaries:

THE SECURITY    which is to them an evident token of perdition,

THE SALVATION but to you of salvation, and that of God.

ADJUSTED CONDITIONS V.29-30

THE PROVISION   For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,

       THE PURPOSE      not only to believe on him,

       THE PRIVILEGE

TO SUFFER          but also to suffer for his sake; 

TO STRUGGLE    Having the same conflict

         TO SCRUTINIZE  which ye saw in me,

         TO SECURE          and now hear to be in me.

 

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