16 February 2022
The apostle Paul, who wrote to the Philippian church from inside the prison, greeted them, prayed for the Philippian church, and reported on his recent situation. He writes that the gospel may seem to be retreating as he goes into prison, but instead, be aware that the gospel is moving forward. And some people are talking about the gospel because of their partisanship, but let’s rejoice. Paul says that Jesus Christ is being preached anyway (Philippians 1: 1-18).
18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 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. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (Philippians 1: 18-26)
All that is needed for Jesus Christ to be preached through Paul is the prayer of the Philippian church and the help of the Holy Spirit (verse 19). What is important for the gospel to move forward in Japan is our prayers, the prayers of the church, and the work of the Holy Spirit, our helper. The mission of the apostle Paul was supported by the prayers of the churches. And despite all the difficulties, the Gospel went forward as the Holy Spirit helped Paul.
Paul’s prayer and wish was to worship Jesus Christ by himself, through his whole being, whether he lived or died. Christ is worshiped by myself, whether I live or die (verse 20). To glorify God was Paul’s top priority.
Paul in writing
And Paul’s famous words come out here. ” For me, living is Christ, and dying is also beneficial.” (Verse 21) . Here Paul said, “Living is Christ,” but in Galatians 2:20 Paul said, ” I was crucified with Christ. I am no longer alive, but Christ is alive in me . ” Paul and Jesus Christ are one. “To Live is Christ” and “Christ is living in me” is more than living for Christ.
At first Paul lived on his own. He persecuted Christians and the church and was an opponent of Christ. However, he met Christ on the way to Damascus (Acts chapter 9). His life has changed dramatically. His spiritual eyes were opened. His life changed from self-centered to Christ-centered. For Paul, Jesus Christ was the “beginning” of his life. In the truest sense, Paul’s life began with his encounter with Christ. Also, Christ was the “continuation” of his life. Paul always walked with Christ. And Christ was the “end” of his life. He was walking his life in pursuit of Christ, aiming for Paul.
Jesus Christ is “alpha and omega”. First and last. Jesus is the founder and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12: 2). Our lives were also changed by Jesus Christ. Like Paul, let us welcome Jesus to the throne of the heart, at the center of our life.
“It is also beneficial to die,” Paul said. we would normally say, “Living is a benefit, but dying is not.” What is death? How does the Bible teach death? Death is the separation of the soul and the body. And death is the punishment for sin. So, in a sense, death is a curse. But why could Paul say here that “death is also a benefit”? Because Jesus Christ died on the cross in place of Paul and our sins, the punishment for sins was over, and the curse that death had was shattered.
Therefore, for those who believe in Jesus Christ, death is not a curse, death is not fear, and death is the gateway to the kingdom of God (heaven). That is why Paul said, “It is also beneficial to die.” This is a word that can only be said to those who have won against death. Through the resurrection, Jesus defeated death and destroyed it. Those who believe in Jesus are also given resurrected life, overcoming death, and eternal life. We too are considered overwhelming victors (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Paul goes on to write in verse 23, ” My wish is to die and be with Christ. In fact, it is far better. ” It is better to die and go to heaven and spend eternity with Jesus than to live on this earth. Paul continued to long for Jesus so much that he wanted to die and be with Christ. Paul can meet Christ directly now if he dies. Then he wanted to go to heaven as soon as possible. This wish came from Paul’s experience. He had his experience of going to paradise and wrote:
I know one person in Christ. This person 14 years ago-I don’t know if he remained physical. Was he away from the body? I don’t know that either. He was raised to the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12: 1) Paul had the experience of being lifted to the Third Heaven, a paradise, and was amazed at how wonderful it was, and that experience was never forgotten. I think that 14 years before Ⅱ Corinth was written was probably during Paul’s mission in the town of Lystra on his first missionary trip. It is written that Paul was persecuted during his mission, where he was stoned and believed to be dead (Acts 14:19). But he wasn’t dead and stood up. Paul may have had the experience of being pulled up to the Third Heaven (Paradise) at this time.
When we go to a wonderful place, we want to go again. I want to go to Israel again. Paul wanted to leave the world and go to heaven sooner, but then the gospel would not work. If he works as a evangelist, many people will be saved and the gospel will move forward. There is no doubt that abundant fruits will be produced (verse 22). He says that there is a board between these two things, going to heaven or staying on the ground (verse 23a).
Paul was in prison, so he did not have the right to decide. He didn’t know if Paul would die or be released in prison, but Paul seemed to believe that God would release him. I know that I will live and be with you all (verse 25). He writes that he never dies in this prison and knows to meet the people of the Philippian church.
Paul was sandwiched between two things, but he concludes. Staying in this body, He lives without dying, is more necessary for you (Philippians) (verse 24). He thought that If I live on this earth, I can help you to advance your faith.
The worship on earth is wonderful, but the worship in heaven is overwhelmingly wonderful. When I was young, when I was in my twenties, I often attended interdenominational praise gatherings. It was a praise rally for about 5-6 hours. It’s a 24-hour once a year, and the best is a 48-hour continuous praise rally. It’s really great and I’ve always wanted to be there. But praise in heaven is definitely more than that. The angel leads the praise. I understand that Paul wants to go to heaven.
But there are things we can’t do in heaven. what is it? It’s evangelism. Because there are only people in heaven who believe in Jesus Christ. Only evangelism can be done on this earth. Our presence on this earth means that we have a mission from God. It is evangelism = advancement of the gospel, and advancement (growth) of faith. Encourage, strengthen, build, and become disciples of other Christians. The apostle Paul wished that the faith of the people of the Philippian church would move forward and grow. It is important for the gospel to move forward, but it is also important for our faith to be strengthened, raised, and moved forward.
We remember that faith is given through prayer and worship praise through listening to God’s Word, but faith is also given through fellowship. It’s hard to meet people because of the corona. If we lose fellowship, our faith will weaken. So let’s pray. May the corona converge as soon as possible, free to meet people, open the way to encourage each other’s faith, and advance our faith through fellowship.