160605 Philippians 1:18b-27

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Philippians 1:18b-27

Theme: The Christian's Motto
1. To Live is Christ
2. To Die is Gain

Clothing companies, restaurants and even cities make use of mottos. For example: Did you know that the city of Oconomowoc makes use of several different slogans or mottos? On the city's web site, the slogan tells us "Life Come Naturally Here." But there is another slogan that I see it each time I come into town from Ixonia on Wisconsin Avenue. Attached to the sign that states the population of Oconomowoc, there is another sign that tells us that our city is "Bird City." Nike has been encouraging you and me to get out and exercise with their motto: "Just do it!" And for years, Kentucky Fried Chicken has told us that their chicken is: "Finger Linkin' Good!" This morning we have a motto before us from God's Word. Today we consider "The Christian's Motto." From our look into God's Word, we will see that this motto is simply divided into two parts. The Apostle Paul, led by God the Holy Spirit, states the Christian's motto when he writes in verse 21 of the opening chapter in his letter to the Philippians, "To Live is Christ and To Die is Gain."

By the grace of God, Paul knows that if the Lord would call him home to heaven this would be a great blessing for him. But he also knows that if the Lord allows him to continue living, that this too will be a blessing for him. It is in verse 22 that we read, "If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me." As you read through his letter to the Philippians, you hear how the Apostle Paul is confident that the Lord of the Church is not done with him yet; that his Lord still has plans on how to use Paul in this life.

So for you and me, the first part of our Christian motto is: "To live is Christ!" But just a few moments ago, you and I confessed that we have not ALWAYS lived for our Savior. You and I have allowed our sinful natures to lead us into doing those things, saying those things, and thinking those things that are only pleasing to the Devil and the sinful world around us. This sin makes you and me guilty, and not deserving of being called a Christian. Rather, what you and I rightly should be called are children of the Devil. But, by the grace of God, you and I have a Savior who came and lived a perfect life in our place. By the power of God's Word, this perfect life is now yours and mine to enjoy. By the power of God's Word, you and I now are able to live a life that gives all praise and glory to Jesus.

How can you and I carry out the first part of the Christian's motto: "To live is Christ"? In God's Word before us we are given many ways that we can live for our Savior. One way is to pray for each other. As we read, "I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." So, as you and I live for Christ, we spend time each day in prayer to our Lord in heaven. Pray for your own forgiveness. Pray that the Lord would lead you to forgive those who have sinned against you. Pray that your faith in your Savior increases as you spend time in his Word. Pray for your fellow believers in Christ who are sick, lonely, or depressed. Pray in thanksgiving to the Lord for his many blessings he gives to you and all of us day after day. As the Philippians prayed for their pastor Paul, I would ask that you pray for all the Called Workers here at St. Matthew's, as well as all the Pastors, Teachers and Staff Ministers in our Wisconsin Synod. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help them to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability, to bless their efforts and to keep them faithful to the Word of God.

Another thing you and I can include in our prayers for ourselves and for others is for the Holy Spirit to give us the courage to speak boldly about our Savior with others. As Paul writes, "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..." Telling people about Jesus can, at times, be something that you and I may be hesitant to do. Maybe we are afraid of how people might react. But, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, you and I are confident of his blessings and that our faithful efforts will bring praise and glory to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Finally, as we carry out the Christian motto, and as you and I live for Christ, there is the encouragement for all of us to stand firm in the Gospel. "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel." Despite those who oppose us, standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with our feet firmly planted on the Word of our God, together you and I contend for the sake of the Gospel. Not only those of us who are gathered here today, or all those who are members of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc, WI, but all our Brothers and Sisters in Christ whom we are united with throughout our Wisconsin Synod. With the help of God the Holy Spirit, as you and I live for Christ, we will live for our Savior-God so that all that we say and do in our life brings him the praise and glory he alone deserves!

"To Live is Christ!" That's the first half of the Christian's motto. But, as Children of our heavenly Father, you and I do not live only for the "here and now." You and I know that there is something far better waiting for us. As you and I live out our day to day lives here on this earth, we know that because of Jesus, and only because of Jesus, "to live is Christ, AND TO DIE IS GAIN!"

You and I will be the first to admit that on our own we can't in any way earn our forgiveness or deserve to have heaven given to us as a reward. Because of our sinfulness, both the sin we are born with and the sins that we commit each day, the only thing you and I earn or deserve from a holy and just God is to die forever in hell. But, from the Gospel message of God's Word, you and I know the Good News that the only way we will enter into the joys of heaven is through the blood of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Through his perfect life, his innocent sufferings and death you and I know that the price for all of our sins is paid for in full. Because Jesus rose again in victory on Easter morning, you and I know that we too will live forever with our Savior in heaven.

Because of our living Savior, you and I are able to say, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far." Far better is to be with Jesus in the perfect joys of heaven, free from all sin and the effects of sin. Our Savior's own promise to us is recorded in John chapter 11 where he says to you and me, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." You and I look forward to that day when we will be at the side of our Savior in heaven forever. We join with Paul as he writes to our fellow Christians in the city of Corinth, "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." When facing death, either our own or the death of a loved one, you and I know that we can turn to our living Lord for the strength, the comfort and the peace that only he is able to provide. Because Jesus our Savior lives, you and I are able to have as our motto: "To die is gain!"

A department store may have as its motto: "No one has lower prices! Guaranteed!" A sports team may use as its motto: "Never quit!" A motto can be important in motivating people to perform at their very best. Today, you and I have seen that we as Christians have a motto which motivates us for our life here on this earth and for the life to come in heaven. Each day of God's grace to us, you and I rally around the Christian's motto, and with the confidence given to us by God the Holy Spirit, you and I say: "TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND TO DIE IS GAIN!" Amen.

 

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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