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Philippians 1:20-26

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review of last week

Last week we looked at verses 12-19.  Let’s take a quit review of this.

I.                   The Marks 0f A Mature Witness, 1:12-19

1.      He Shares The Gospel Regardless of Circumstances, v.12-14

a.       Paul Faced Dark Circumstances: He Was A Prisoner In Rome, v.12

b.      Paul Used His Dark Circumstances To Spread The Gospel, v.13-14


II.        He Holds No Personal Jealousy Nor Desire For Credit or Prestige, v.15-18

1.      Some Preachers In Rome Were Jealous Of Paul and Envious . . .

2.      Not All The Preachers Throughout Rome Opposed Paul.

III.      He Possesses The Assurance Of A Happy Ending:

Deliverance, v.19

1.      There was the prayer of those who supported him.

2.      The supply of the Holy Spirit would deliver him.

I.                  The Marks Of The Great Christian Believer, 1:20-26

(1:20-26) Introduction: If a man has ever lived a life of commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ, it was Paul.

1.      Acts 20:24 cf. 2 Timothy 4:7—this is the kind of commitment we all should have in our lives 1 Tim. 6:12; Jn. 4:34; Acts 13:25;; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:13-14; Heb. 12:1-2; Lk. 8:15; Rev. 3:8,10  

A.   one great expectation & hope: to magnify christ in his body

(1:20) The Believer’s Purpose & Hope: the great Christian believer has only one “great expectation & hope” – To Magnify Christ in his body.

1.      “Earnest Expectation”

a.       It’s to gaze into the distance with the head erect and outstretched just like a watchman.

1) What are you gazing into the distance for?

b.      It’s aiming one’s attention at an object with concentration, eagerness, and intensity.

1)      Who or what has your attention? 

2)      Who or what do you concentrate on with eagerness, and intensity? 

c.       It’s turning the eyes away from everything else and focusing upon one object and one object alone. 

1)      What object has your focus?

a) Hebrews 12:1-2

d.      It is total focus on one person’s desire.

1)      Who or what are the desires of your heart?

a) Psalm 37:3-4

Note what Paul’s “earnest expectation and hope” was…

2.      “To Magnify Christ in His Body”

a.       Paul’s mind was not on his circumstances it was on Christ that is, to “Magnify Christ in his body”

1)      Jesus Christ is no longer on this earth.

a) Acts 1:9; Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us

2)      Therefore, He can no longer be seen unless Paul and others, including us allow Christ to magnify Himself through their bodies (the entire personality)

a)   to the unbeliever, Jesus is not very big.  Other people and other things are far more important

b)       telescope, the stars are distant but much bigger in a telescope

(1)   the believer’s body is a “telescope” bringing a distant Jesus close to people.


c)       microscope, makes tiny things look big

(1) the believers body is a “lens” making a little Christ look very big.


3)      Paul knew this; therefore, he gave his body to Jesus Christ

a.       Romans 6:13; Romans 6:19; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Note the reference was…

3.      “by Life or by death”

a.       Paul was facing death and he did not know whether he was going to die or continue living.

b.      If he was to be executed he wanted to magnify Christ in His death

c.       If he was declared innocent and set free he wanted to continue to magnify Christ in his body.

Note why Paul wanted to magnify Christ in his body:

4.      “that he might not be ashamed in anything”

a.       Paul knew he was going to face the same thing every believer is going to face:


b.      Paul knew we all had to give an account of our lives on judgement day.

NOTE: only 4 years earlier Paul had written these piercing words

·         For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)

NOTE: the horrifying contrast to the unbelievers…

·         Revelation 20:11-15

When believers face Christ in judgment, the experience will not necessarily be peaches and cream.

—       There will be some believer who will be ashamed

·         And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:28 NKJV)

—       There will be some believer’s who will suffer loss and look like a burned out building

·              Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.   If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.   If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV)

So we see that Paul’s “great expectation and hope” was for Christ to be magnified in his body.

Above all, he did not want to be ashamed when he stood before his wonderful Lord.

  •       Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.   "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 NKJV)
  •      And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV).

B.   one great commitment in life and death: christ

(1:21) The Believers Purpose & Hope: the great Christian believer has one great commitment in life and death – Jesus Christ

1.      “For to me, to live is Christ”         What did Paul mean by this?

a.       He presented his body as a living sacrifice Romans 12:1-2; getting his strength from Christ Philippians 4:13

b.      Having the mind (humility of Christ) Philippians 2:5-11

c.       Knowing Christ with the Christian experience Philippians 3:8 and covered with Christ’s righteousness Philippians 3:9.  He struggled to yield the parts of his body—we must yield every member—to Christ as a tool for righteousness Romans 6:13 . . . 2 Timothy 2:21 I desire to be a tool in the hand of God ready for use at any moment

d.      He struggled to control his mind—to control every focus and thought upon Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 . . . Philippians 4:8

e.       He committed himself to work for love and justice within all of society.

Matthew 7:12 . . . Matthew 22:39

f.       He gave his life—every moment of it—to reach and minister to people

John 20:21 . . . Matthew 20:28 . . . Luke 19:10 . . . Acts 1:8


What does life mean to you?  Why are you living?  What is your great purpose in life?

ILLUSTRATION  of a tombstone  “1965-2000” the dash is the duration of your life!

The thing that excites us and “turns us on” is the thing that really is life to us.


Illustration of how I come alive when I see something that I get excited about when Kristi and I go shopping

James 4:14 - For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

1)      Are you living for money and possessions?

2)      Are you living for comfort?

3)      Are you living for a position?

4)      Are you living for a family?

5)      Are you living for recognition, honor, popularity, recreation, whatever?

Remember, when you die there is nothing that you can take with you.  I have never seen a Hurst pulling a U-Haul

Job said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there (1:21)” 


Solomon said, “As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand (Ecc. 5:15).

This bring us to the second point.  Paul declares that…

2.      “to die is gain”                              Paul knew better than to base his life on these things.

a.       1 John 2:17  He knew that everything on earth including man himself was going to pass away

b.      Therefore, Paul reached out for a Savior, who could save him, and give him an eternal world that would never age or pass away.  Have you reached out for Christ? 

c.       Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son whom God sent into the world to reveal the truth of another world to us, a world that is permanent and that has no corruption.

d.      Therefore, Paul grabbed hold of Christ when he found out . . .

—       That Christ saved men from sin, death, and condemnation.

—       That Christ made it possible for men to live forever with God in a new heavens and earth.  DO YOU WANT TO BE SAVED AND LIVE FOREVER?

  •      "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)  DO YOU BELIEVE IN CHRIST?
  •      "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (John 5:24 NKJV)
  •      “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21)

C.   one great dilemna: to live or to depart to be with christ

(1:22-23) the great Christians believer has one great dilemma – to live or to depart and be with Christ.

The word depart (analusai) has a two fold meaning that speaks to the believers heart.

1.      It means to break up; to loosen as in breaking camp and loosening the ropes of the tent.

a.       It is the picture of breaking up; packing up and moving on to a new location.

b.      This is true of the believer when he departs this life. He is not ceasing to exist; he is simply breaking loose and moving on to a new campsite, a perfect campsite (heaven).

2 Timothy 4:6 . . . 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

2.      It means to loosen the mooring of a ship, weigh anchor, and set sail for another port.

a.       The believer is simply loosens the moorings of this life, pulls up anchor, and sets sail for God’s eternal presence.

Luke 16:19-22

Paul says that he is hard pressed between the two:

a.       To live a life of fruitful service for the Lord Jesus Christ

1)      souls won for eternity through “the furtherance of the gospel”

2)      remaining for the progress or furtherance and joy of faith v.26

b.      To depart and go on to be with Christ which is far better.

1)      why is being with Christ far better?

Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Philippians 3:14

D.   one great willingness: to serve sacrificially

(1:24-26) the great Christian believer has one great willingness—to serve sacrificially.

1.      By promoting the believer’s faith, the progress and joy of faith (v.25)

a.       Such progress means growth in…

Love (1:9), knowledge (1:9), fruitfulness (1:11), and obedience (2:12).

2.      By fellowshipping with believers (v.26)

a.       Paul was confident at this point, he was going to be released, which he was, and to continue for a little while yet with them.

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