Monday, August 17, 2009

Treasure Christ

Three times in the last six days I had the opportunity to preach from Philippians 1:20-21. It hasn't gotten old and I wish I had more opportunities in the near future to continue preaching from this text. I've learned a lot and God has opened my heart to treasure Christ. I was intellectually curious about how treasuring Christ works; thankfully, instead, God opened my heart to it more.

So while this particular expository expression of treasuring Christ is still on my mind, I thought I'd share the key thoughts of this sermon.

"To live is Christ and to die is gain" (v. 21) is a very popular verse and for good reason. But part of the uniqueness of this verse often goes unappreciated. To live is Christ? This is more than saying that life is about Christ, or for Christ, or with Christ. Life is defined in Christ. Consider how else the Bible writers link Christ and life, from 3 passages:

Christ is the Creator of our lives. (John 1:3)

power (Philippians 2:12-13)



Lord (1st Thessalonians 5:9-10)


Treasure ("so that...we might live with him" [v.10])

A lot of people talk about accepting Jesus as your Savior. When this turns into a liscense for godless living, others come along and say that Jesus isn't our Savior unless He's our Lord. So then some will clean up a few things in their life; they'll go to church and stop cussing perhaps. "Now he's my Lord and my Savior", they think to themselves, and thus reduce the Gospel to a pretentious business exchange. This is a silly game to play and it lands us in the lame hobby known as religion. A more biblical view of God and of Christ is that He is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:6). Christ is the Creator, power, worker, enjoyer, Lord, Savior, and treasure of our lives. "Enjoyer" and "treasure" are especially important because these are the results of God's redeeming us: He enjoys us, and we enjoy Him. If you obey Christ out of a perceived obligation, you are missing the point. Consider what Jesus said about the kingdom:

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

(Matthew 13:44-46)

Without this truth of Christ's supreme value, "to live is Christ and to die is gain" collapses into self-righteous, masochistic religion. It makes sense for Christ to define our lives, and for death to be gain, if Christ is more valuable and more great than any other thing. But if He's not, and if you reduce Him to the Lord-Savior business exchange, but still try to claim complete devotion to Christ, you are exalting yourself and not Christ.

So finally we are left with Paul's earnest expectation and hope: That Christ would be exalted in his (Paul's) body, whether that meant Paul living or Paul dieing.

What is your number one expectation and hope for your life? Is it to travel somewhere? Is it to reach some certain place in your career? Don't get defensive. I never said traveling is wrong. I'm asking what holds your heart. If you'd rather defend your pleasures than treasure Christ, that's a huge problem.

Is Christ so great and so valuable to you that expressing His glories means more to you than your life itself? This is the everlasting joy.


William Mckinley Dyer said...

To build up the defense/offensive weapons of the Kingdom so the next generation doesnt come to the Heavenly Jerusalem as find it as Nehemiah did

Post a Comment