To Live Is Christ
Doing the work of the Great Commission should be the main focus of every believer: Matthew 28:16-20: "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Philippians 1:21 says, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Most people focus on the second part of the verse, “to die is gain,” and contemplate the joys of heaven. But we should not overlook what comes before. The importance of the phrase “to live is Christ” cannot be overstated. This phrase should be central to every Christian’s life.
The apostle Paul is saying that everything he has tried to be, everything he is, and everything he looked forward to being pointed to Christ. From the time of Paul’s conversion until his martyrdom, every move he made was aimed at advancing the knowledge, gospel, and church of Christ. Paul’s singular aim was to bring glory to Jesus.
“To live is Christ” means that we proclaim the gospel of Christ. Paul preached in synagogues; he preached at riversides; he preached as a prisoner; he preached as an apostle; he preached as a tentmaker. His message was constant: “Jesus Christ and him crucified”
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2).
He brought the message of Christ’s sacrifice to kings, soldiers, statesmen, priests, and philosophers, Jews and Gentiles, men and women. He would preach to literally
anyone who would listen.
“To live is Christ” means that we imitate the example of Christ. Everything that Jesus did and said, that’s what Paul wanted to do and say. The church benefited from his godly example: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
“To live is Christ” means that we pursue the knowledge of Christ. We want to know Christ better and better each day. Not just a set of facts about Christ, but Christ Himself. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11).
“To live is Christ” means that we are willing to give up anything that prevents us from having Christ. Paul’s testimony in this regard: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:7-9).
We cling to the promise of our Lord in Mark 10:29-30: And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
“To live is Christ” means that Jesus Christ is our focus, our goal, and our chief desire. Christ is the center point of our mind, heart, body and soul. Everything that we do, we do for Christ’s glory. As we run the “race marked out for us,” we lay aside the entangling sin and worldly distractions, “fixing our eyes on Jesus” He is our life.
Hebrews 12:1-2: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
2 Corinthians 6:2: (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
“And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Mt. 24:6-7).
The great tribulation will be a period of devastating wars, pestilences and natural disasters. As a result of it the world and its inhabitants will greatly suffer, and the works of man will be destroyed. A high death-toll, decomposing bodies that remain unburied, and the collapse of medical services will result in pestilence and severe pollution. Unendurable situations will arise, particularly in densely populated areas. Natural resources that have already been rendered useless because of exposure to radioactive pollution, will undergo further damage through earthquakes, droughts and heat-waves. Terrifying earthquakes will occur in which whole cities will be turned into rubble-heaps.
Behind this scene of destruction is the Devil – the great homicidal maniac and destroyer of God’s creation. In the brief hour of the kingdom of darkness, he and his followers will be let loose upon the earth to fully manifest their inherent evil desires. In so doing, the measure of their unrighteousness will be filled to the brim and they will face their final doom. The great tragedy is that the fires of hell that are prepared for the Devil and his angels, will also be the final destination of millions of deceived people.
Christians are admonished in no uncertain way to take note of these warnings. Like Noah, they should make the necessary preparations while at the same time warning others around them against the rapidly approaching judgements. Lot was regarded worthy to escape the judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah and, in accordance with the will of God, took haste to evacuate the disaster area. If he should have cherished any doubts in his mind about the certainty of these judgements and became reluctant to part with his earthly possessions, he would have perished in the flames with them.
We are not objects of God’s wrath, but we must be vigilant and spiritually worthy to appear before Him:
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34-36).
When the people of Israel were redeemed from the Egyptian bondage, they had to take shelter.
God has provided shelter today under the blood of the Lamb: Jesus Christ.