The Lord’s Message: Life in Christ: “To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain”

The Lord’s Message:  Life in Christ: “To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain”
Date:  November 5, 2023
Where:  Tilghman Methodist Church
Scripture Reference:  Philippians 1: 19-30

            Last week, we started a new sermon series, “Life in Christ.”  We began with an understanding that a Life in Christ is due to the abounding grace that God provides for all of us.  We live into, receive this grace, and pass it onto others.  This grace not only affects the way we live, but also how we view death. 

            Let us pray.

            The leaves are so beautiful this year.  Bright red, brilliant yellow and gorgeous orange colors dot the landscape.  As much as we enjoy these colors, we also must realize that the

leaves are dying.  I am not trying to be morbid, but we must realize that everything in this world dies.  Our pet dies.  Family members and friends die.  Plants and animals all die.  Almost everything in this world dies.  By understanding the abounding grace that God gives us, we also understand how to view death. 

            In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, the Apostle Paul says that we should not mourn as those who have no hope.  Even though we mourn our loved ones, we still have hope, because if our loved ones believed in God, then they are in heaven with Him. 

            Paul understands that he is facing death.  He is in a Roman prison for spreading the Gospel.  Even though he is facing death, he is not scared.  As a matter of fact, he is puzzling about whether it is better to live or to die.  He says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  This may seem like a weird thought. 

            Let us look deeper into what Paul is saying.  “To live is Christ.”  Jesus came to this earth to save us from our sins.  In Romans 6:23, the wages of sin are death.  Jesus came to pay the penalty of death for our sins.  Jesus came to redeem us.  Jesus’ death was the payment.  Jesus became our atonement.  Jesus gave us new life.  That is why Paul can say in

2 Corinthians 5:17. Before we accepted Jesus into our hearts, we were dead, through Jesus, we have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.  So, to live is because of Jesus. 

            If we die, we gain a life that is not filled with trials and tribulations.  We gain a life with God the Father and Jesus the Son forever.  A new heaven and a new earth were as

Revelation 21:1-7.  Can you now understand Paul’s dilemma?

            Now, I am not advising suicide.  If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, please call the hotline at 988 or call me.  We all need help at some point in our lives and it is not something that we should be ashamed of.  We should strive to live as long as God allows us.  We should do our best to take care of this body by eating right and exercising.  After all, this body is where the Holy Spirit resides, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  All of us have a job to do: to show and tell others about this God that loves them so much that He would send His only Son to die for them. 

            You might have remembered that I said that almost everything in this world dies.  There is one thing that never dies and that is our soul.  Our soul is eternal.  Our soul will never die.  But we have a choice where our soul will live in eternity.  The choice is either with God or without God. 

            Now, I do not know what heaven is going to be like, but I remember a story about a Christian doctor that was asked this question.  A Christian doctor told his patient that he did not have long to live.  The doctor asked him if he was ready to go to heaven.  The patient asked him what heaven was like.  Just then the doctor’s dog was scratching and whining at the door.  The doctor let the dog in, and the dog was wagging his tail and so happy to see the doctor.  The doctor told his patient that his dog had never been in this room, but the dog wanted to be in this room because the doctor was in it.  I do not know what heaven is going to be like, but God is going to be there, and I want to be with Him. That will be enough for me.

            Paul must have felt the same way.  To live is Christ, to die is gain.  Amen.

November 8, 2023 4:31 am