“To Live Is Christ” 

Philippians 1:18b-26 (Pt. 1) 

August 6, 2023 

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service 

Pastor Nicoletti 

The Reading of the Word 

We return, this morning, to Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. 

Paul has just recounted his situation – both the good and the bad – and he concludes by saying that because Christ is being proclaimed, he will rejoice. 

And it’s right after that statement that our passage this morning picks up. 

With that in mind, we turn now to Philippians 1:18-26. 

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.  

Paul writes: 

1:18bYes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored 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 live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 

This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.) 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25] 

Let’s pray … 

Prayer of Illumination 

Lord, you are our portion, 

and so we commit ourselves to keep your word. 

We ask you with all our hearts to show us your favor, 

and be gracious with us according to your promise. 

When we consider our ways, 

turn our feet to your testimonies. 

And as we hear your word now,  

give us a sense of urgency to conform ourselves to it,  

so that we act on it without delay. 

Grant this we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen. 

[Based on Psalm 119:57-60] 


We have before us, this morning, another dense and full passage of Scripture. Let’s remember Paul’s situation again. Paul is imprisoned and he is facing trial, and possible execution. In what lies ahead for Paul, in a very stark way, Paul will either live or die. And while that might be frightening to many, Paul says in verse twenty that he has full courage. And why does he have courage? Well, he has courage, he says, that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” 

And then Paul goes on to make the statement that is really at the heart of this passage, in verse twenty-one. He says: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In a sense, everything else in this passage flows out of that statement – that statement is the heart of our text this morning: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  

With those words, Paul is not just giving a reflection here on his own heart and life, but he is calling the Philippian Christians – and with them, us as well – he is calling God’s people to live according to that same pattern. 

There are a number of indications that Paul’s words here are less his thinking out loud about himself, and more his instructing God’s people in how they should view both life and death. For one thing, Paul speaks in this paragraph as if he has a choice to make, when it’s clear that he doesn’t – he’ll be put on trial, and he won’t choose life or death, but one or the other will be imposed on him by the court. But Paul takes this opportunity to draw the Philippian Christians’ attention to the question of both how they should think about life and how they should think about death. [Fee, 127, 147] 

And at the heart of how Paul wants them (and us) to think is verse twenty-one: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

But that’s not how we often think. Instead, our tendency is often to disregard one of those statements, and then to misunderstand the other. [Fee, 150] Here’s what I mean. 

For some, they can get on board with the emphasis on life: To live is Christ! They like their lives. They want to keep living their lives. Death … doesn’t seem like a gain. Sure, they may understand abstractly that death is a spiritual gain. But saying “to die is gain” doesn’t feel true to them, even if they believe it intellectually. And so they tend to disregard the second statement, and focus on the first. 

For others, it’s the second half of this statement that especially resonates with them: to die is gain. They may be weary with the troubles of this world. They may long for the joys of heaven. They see clearly how to die, would be for them, a gain. But how exactly “to live is Christ” is less clear to them. What does Christ have to do with most of the toils and troubles of this life anyway? And so, they often focus on the second statement and disregard the first. 

Our tendency is often to pick one statement over the other. But an implication of this passage is that if we’ve done that, then we’ve actually misunderstood both. If we try to disregard the statement that “to die is gain” then we haven’t really grasped what it means that “to live is Christ.” And if we’re puzzled by the statement that “to live is Christ” then we haven’t fully understood why “to die is gain.” 

And so we need to better consider both halves of Paul’s statement here. And to do that, we’ll look at them over two Sundays. 

So this morning we will focus on what it means that “to live is Christ,” and next Sunday we will consider what it means that “to die is gain.” 

“To Live” 

For today, let’s consider that first statement: Paul says, “to live is Christ.” 

Now, if you’re a Christian, then you probably wouldn’t dispute that statement. It certainly sounds very spiritual. But even as we affirm it, we can easily begin to misunderstand it. 

One way we may do this is by dividing what we consider the “spiritual” elements of life (things like worship and ministry) from every other aspect of life (things like work, or rest, or recreation, or family life). Once we’ve made that split, we can then fall into two further errors. One is that we assume that since worship and ministry are centered on Christ, those must be “real” life, while everything else is really just a distraction. And then, once we’ve had that thought, we can tend to  engage in the rest of life – in work, rest, recreation, and such – as if it has little or nothing to do with Jesus (except, maybe, that we should not break his commandments as we do them). 

But here’s the thing: Paul doesn’t say “to do ministry is Christ.” He doesn’t say “to do worship is Christ.” When Paul here says, “to live is Christ,” he is speaking about life in a wholistic way. And we know this not just by the words he used, but also by the context. Paul is speaking to all the Christians in Philippi. And he wants them to view their lives as Paul views his own. Most of them were not in fulltime ministry. They participated in ministry – that’s true – but their lives were consumed with other things too, beyond worship and ministry. But Paul doesn’t say that just those narrow parts of their lives are centered on Christ – no, he tells the Philippian Christians in a much broader way that “to live is Christ.” That statement encompasses all of life. Paul’s point is that for them, every aspect of life should be about Jesus Christ – that’s what Paul is saying. [Hansen, 81-82] 

Now, it’s true that Paul goes on to explain what that looks like in his life. And as an Apostle in fulltime ministry, it’s no surprise that ministry is a lot of what he describes. But that doesn’t mean he expects it to look exactly the same for the Philippian Christians. No, I think Paul expects the Philippian Christians to consider his words in the context of all of Scripture, and then to reflect on what it means for them that “to live is Christ.” And so, that’s what we will do this morning as well. 

There are many ways we could think about this, but for this morning, I want to approach it by considering five major aspects of life, and arguing that if we are to rightly understand them, we need to see that Christ is at the center of each of them, and Christ is to be honored in each of them. 

Now … we’re trying to cover all of life in half an hour. So we won’t be able to dive deeply into each particular area of life. But our goal this morning is just to get a snapshot of the big picture of how all of life is rooted in Christ. 

So this morning, let’s briefly consider how Christ is to be at the center of our worship, our relationships, our work, our rest, and our endurance. 


First, Christ is to be at the center of our worship. 

Hopefully this is the most obvious of the five. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” [Matthew 22:37] When we worship, and directly express our love for God, whether it’s in our gathered worship here on Sundays, in our time of personal prayer and Scripture reading, in our family devotions, at our Wednesday night prayer meeting, or somewhere else – when we worship, Christ is to be at the center of our worship, and he is to be honored through our worship. 

As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh, to save us from sin and death. We believe that Jesus is the mediator between us and God the Father. If you’re a Christian, this means that you know that you cannot approach God except through Jesus Christ. And as a Christian, this means that you know that you cannot honor God unless you honor Jesus Christ. And so, our worship, whether public or private, must be rooted in, and glorifying to, Jesus Christ. 

If you’re not a Christian, this is why we Christians are so focused on Jesus. It’s why we are unwilling to say that someone can rightly understand God in a way that excludes Jesus. It’s not because we’re trying to be tedious or difficult, or focus on theological minutia, but because for us, Jesus is not a piece of theological minutia. Jesus is at the center of our understanding of God and our relationship with God. We cannot approach God without being rooted in Jesus Christ. 

And so, first, and foremost, when we say that “to live is Christ,” that must include our lives of worship.  

But it’s also not limited to our lives of worship. 

Which brings us to our second point. 


Second, if “to live is Christ” then our relationships must be centered on, and focused on honoring, Christ. 

This is what Paul especially focuses on in this text. In verses twenty-four through twenty-six, Paul writes: “to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” 

When Paul says that “to live is Christ,” he thinks, among other things, of his relationships to other people. Here he thinks of his relationships to other Christians. In the previous passage he thought of his relationships to non-Christians. In both cases Paul speaks about making disciples of those around him. 

And that is fitting, because that is what Christ called his people to. In the great commission, Jesus said to his Apostles: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:18-20] 

And as we said a few weeks ago, that commission itself grows out of the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:39] If it is true that “to live is Christ,” then if we love someone else, we will want them to grow in their relationship with Christ, because he is the center of life. And if Christ is the center of life, we will want to honor him by loving the people he has put in our lives. 

And it’s not just that Christ is the center of our relationships as we serve and love others. It’s also that Christ is at the center of our relationships when other people serve and love us. 

When other Christians care for us, they do so as the Body of Christ. Accepting their care – allowing them to help bear our burdens and build us up – is accepting Christ’s care for us through them. To care for other Christians, is to be Christ’s instrument, to receive care from other Christians is to receive from Christ. In both cases, our relationships with other believers should have Christ at their center. 

But something similar can be said of our relationships with non-Christians as well. When we love and serve non-Christians, we do so as Christ’s ambassadors. But also, when we receive from them, that is not separate from or contradictory to the work of Christ. The Bible tells us that all people bear God’s image – even if they refuse to acknowledge it. And so when we receive any good thing from another person, it’s because of the fact that they bear the image of God. They may deny that image. Their sin may mar or twist that image. But the image is not eradicated in this life. It remains. And so even when we receive good things from non-Christians, it is Christ, the Son of God – the God whose image even unbelievers bear – it is Christ who is at the heart of those good things. 

At the center of all good relationships is Jesus Christ. Every good thing we give or receive in relationship is from Christ. To live in relationship with others, is Christ. 

And we need to remember that. First, we need to remember that so that we know who to give thanks to for every good gift we receive from others. 

But second, we need to remember so that we can be intentional about relating to others in a way that honors Christ – a way that loves others rather than using or degrading them. Because as we love them, so we love Christ. And as we sin against them, so we sin against Christ, whose image they bear.  

Whether we think of it or not … whether we respond rightly to it or not … Christ is present and foundational in every relationship we have. 

When it comes to our relationships, to live is Christ. 

So we see it in our worship. We see it in our relationships. But does it stop there? 

The truth is that many of us spend a lot of time doing things that don’t feel like special focused worship, or like highly relational activities. 

We spend a lot of our time doing other kinds of work. There are jobs. There are domestic tasks. There’s physical labor to do, mental labor, administrative labor, there’s laundry to do, dishes to clean, yards to maintain … how are we to think of all that? 

Well, that brings us to our third point … 

Work & Labor 

Third, if “to live is Christ” then our work and our various labors must also be centered on and honoring to Christ. 

Paul makes this point in verse twenty-two – he says: “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” Now, for Paul, fruitful labor is especially focused on ministry work. But from a biblical standpoint ministry is not the only kind of “fruitful labor” that human beings are called to. And we see this from the very beginning. 

In Genesis 1, God creates humanity. And when he does, he gives them work to do. He says: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion.” [Genesis 1:28] Here God calls humanity to work. That work includes both domestic labor (implied in the call to multiply and fill the earth), as well as labor out in the world (which is included in the call to subdue the earth, and exercise godly dominion over it). 

The world is good as God made it – that is repeated again and again in Genesis 1. But at the same time, God designed the world to be developed further by humanity. On the one hand, creation is not just raw material for humanity to do whatever it wants with – it has a design and a purpose. [Watkin, 104-105] But on the other hand, creation is not made to stay as it is. As Augustine describes it, creation was made with “seeds of inherent potentiality that were to be cultivated and brought to full flowering by human stewardship.” [Watkins, 97 (these are not Augustine’s words, but Watkins, drawing on the work of Andreas Nordlander, drawing on Augustine’s concept of “seminal reasons”)]1 

But human work as God designed it, is not limited to developing creation. It’s also about maintaining order in creation. In Genesis 2, God makes a garden. And then he puts Adam in the garden to “work it and keep it.” The theme there is the work of maintenance, and protecting. Adam is to maintain and preserve the garden. And much human work and labor – whether it’s in the home, in the economy, in civic organizations, or in other places – much human work and labor falls into this category of maintenance as well. 

And Paul taught that such God-ordained work of development and maintenance was a way of serving Jesus Christ. He makes that clear in Colossians 3. There, Paul addresses bondservants. These were men and women who did not get to choose their work or the one they served. They might do a range of tasks, but we would imagine that many of them found their labor toilsome and tedious. And Paul says to them “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, […] You are serving the Lord Christ.” [Colossians 4:23-24] 

Now … Paul isn’t telling them that they should play a nice game of pretend, in which they imagine Jesus as their boss – no, he’s telling them that whatever their work may be, when they go out and do it, they are fulfilling the calling God gave them in Genesis 1 and 2, and so they are serving Christ. Even in the realm of work, to live is Christ. 

And that’s true for us as well. All work that contributes something to the production, development, building, or maintenance of either things, or people, or places, or ideas, or social structures – all such work, whether big or small, whether glamorous or mundane, whether it’s in the economy, in our homes, or in other organizations – all such work is part of God’s calling on humanity in Genesis 1 and 2 … and so all such work is centered on Christ, and done rightly, it is honoring to Christ.  

That’s why Paul tells the Colossian Christians that we should go about our work, “not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart,” knowing that in it we “are serving the Lord Christ.” [Colossians 3:22,24] 

Even in the realm of work and labor, “to live is Christ.” That’s a third implication of this text for us to consider. 

Rest & Enjoyment 

Fourth, if “to live is Christ” then our rest and our enjoyment of good things must also be rooted in Christ. 

We see this truth best exemplified, perhaps, in the Sabbath. The Sabbath is one day given in seven for the purpose of worship and rest. God calls his people to enjoy a day of rest. And then he calls that day his day – the Lord’s Day. It is Christ’s Day, and it is a day characterized by rest. 

Now many of us tend to think about rest as a means to an end. The reason you rest is, primarily, or even solely, so that you can then do more work afterwards. Rest is just a means to the end of work. 

It’s a popular way of thinking. But it’s not a biblical way of thinking. And we know this because in Genesis 2 we’re told that on the first Sabbath Day, God himself rested. God didn’t need to rest in order to do more work. God doesn’t even get tired. And so God’s rest on that first, foundational, Sabbath Day, was not a means to an end. It was an end in itself. It was the rest of enjoyment and of delight. [Watkins, 80] 

And God calls us to imitate his rest – he writes that truth right into the Sabbath commandment. We are to rest, and as we do, we are to delight in and enjoy God’s creation and his good gifts. That reality is rooted in the Lord – because it is a gift from him, and receiving it rightly depends on trusting him. And receiving it in faith honors him. 

And rightly understood, this rest includes delight, and enjoyment. 

God’s creation is full of excess – of gratuitous abundance, much of which seems to serve no pragmatic purpose beyond delight. [Watkins, 59, 71] 

Moreover, when God wants to give us a picture of his blessings, or a picture of the joys of his kingdom, he often chooses the picture of a feast. 

A feast, by definition, goes beyond what we need, and extends to the gratuitous enjoyment of God’s goodness. 

And that goodness is often mediated through human work and culture. Here’s what I mean: Feasts in the Bible are usually not limited to food in its natural state, but includes food shaped by human work and culture. At a feast, we don’t just eat grain, but bread. We don’t just eat grapes, but we drink wine. Both are the combined products of God’s creation and human cultivation. When God blesses us, and calls us to enjoy his good gifts, he includes not just the world as he made it, but the world as it’s been shaped and developed through human work and culture. 

And so we enjoy the world God has made. And we enjoy the good things human beings have created. Because this is God’s will for us. This is Christ’s gift to us. 

We enjoy good food. We enjoy beautiful scenery. We enjoy time with other people. We enjoy hiking, or running, or swimming, or sports. We enjoy art, or literature, or movies, or music. We actively engage in recreation, or we restfully receive what has been made by others. But whenever we enjoy good rest, or recreation, or beauty, or enjoyment as God intends us to, what we are receiving is from Christ, it is given through Christ, and when we call such gifts our delight and enjoy them as he intends us to, then we glorify and honor Christ. 

When Paul says that “to live is Christ” he doesn’t just mean our work and our worship. He also means our rest and our enjoyment of what God has given us. 

But, of course, there’s also a lot of life that is not enjoyable. And there’s a lot of life that doesn’t feel very productive.  

There’s a lot of life that feels instead, just like pain. 

All Christians experience this to some extent. But some feel it more than others.  

And Christians going through a season, or a life, that feel especially marked by trouble and pain, may shrug at some of the previous categories we’ve discussed … because they feel pretty disconnected from work, or relationships, or even restful enjoyment. Instead, their lives may feel consumed by suffering or struggles. 

Which brings us to the final aspect of this truth that we will consider this morning. 

Faithful Endurance 

Because fifth and finally, if “to live is Christ” then our faithful endurance and perseverance through the trials of this life is something that’s also centered on Christ, and honoring to him. 

And this truth is very present in our text this morning. Remember, Paul is in prison. Paul is suffering. Paul spent a lot of his life suffering. Some of those sufferings were seen, and recorded, and we know of them. I expect many went unseen and unreported. Faithful endurance was a significant part of Paul’s life. And Paul did not forget that fact, or set it aside, when he wrote down those words “to live is Christ.” He included his endurance through suffering when he wrote that, and we must include it as well. 

There are a lot of ways to think about how Christ is at work in and honored through our faithful endurance of suffering. If you’re wrestling with those questions, Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering is one good resource to consider. Keller gives several answers to those kinds of questions in that book, but I want to focus on just one. 

In the book, Keller tells a story that comes from Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni has been in a wheelchair most of her life, after a diving accident when she was seventeen left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. Joni is a Christian, and she struggled with why God allowed that injury to happen to her. But as time went on, she also saw ways that God was using her struggle to bless others and to testify to himself. She became an author, a radio host, an artist, a disability rights activist and more. There were many ways to see how Christ had used her suffering to work in the lives of others and to bring honor to his name. 

But Joni struggled in a different way when it came to the life of her friend Denise Walters. Denise Walters was a young woman that Joni shared a room with at a Baltimore area rehabilitation hospital, in the early days after her injury. 

Keller writes: 

“Denise had been a happy, popular, seventeen-year-old high school senior in Baltimore Maryland. One day when she was bounding up the steps at the high school, she stumbled because her knees felt rather weak. By the end of the day, she could hardly walk. She went home and went to bed. When she woke up to go to dinner, she found she was paralyzed from the waist down. Not long afterward, she was paralyzed from the neck down, and then went blind. Just like that. It was a rare form of rapid-progression multiple sclerosis. 

“She lay motionless in her bed at Greenoaks Rehabilitation Hospital, unable to move or see, [and] barely able to talk. It was difficult to have any kind of conversation with her. Her roommates could have brief, fragmentary talks with her, but that was it. It wasn’t long before she had no visitors but her mother. But Denise and her mother were Christians, and every night her mom came in and read the Bible to her and prayed with her dying daughter. Denise knew she was dying, but death was not coming quickly enough to be considered merciful in any way. She lay there in a lonely hospital bed for eight long years. 

“Then she died.” 

Joni Eareckson Tada shares how she found Denise’s life and then death so troubling … because all the suffering seemed so pointless. In her own situation, Joni had seen God use her suffering when others saw it … but nobody else saw Denise’s suffering or her faithful endurance. So what was the point of it all? “Her suffering seemed to be for nothing.” 

Keller continues: 

“When Joni heard that Denise had finally died, she shared her struggle with some of her friends. One of them opened a Bible and turned first to Luke 15:10, which talks about the angels rejoicing in heaven over a repentant sinner. Then she turned to Ephesians 3:10, where it says that the angels are looking at what happens inside the church. If they had thought of it, they also could have gone to the book of Job. There the suffering of Job is watched by a great council of angels and by the devil as well. And suddenly Joni got it.” 

“Someone was watching [Denise] in that lonely hospital room” she later wrote – “a great many someones.” 

Keller then writes this – he says: 

“To understand Joni’s insight, do this thought experiment. What if I told you that tomorrow, for one day, there would be a special camera that was going to put everything you said, everything you did, and everything you thought, on television. It would beam it around the world and probably a billion people would see it. Would that make any difference in how you lived tomorrow? I think it would. It would bestow enormous meaning and significance on even the most fleeting thoughts and minor actions. It would be somewhat frightening, of course, because you would have to be on your best behavior. But it would also be thrilling. […] It would make the day incredibly meaningful. 

“But if Christianity is true – this is already happening. Don’t you see that you are already on camera? There is an unimaginable but real spiritual world out there. You are already on the air. Everything you do is done in front of billions of beings. And God sees it, too. As Joni wrote about her friend Denise, ‘Angels and demons stood amazed as they watched her uncomplaining and patient spirit rising as a sweet smelling savor to God.’” 

“No suffering is for nothing.” [Keller, 178-180] 

For some of you this morning, faithful endurance through suffering, or loss, or loneliness, is a big part of your life right now. Maybe it has been for a long time. Maybe it will be for a long time going forward. What Joni Eareckson Tada reminds us is that even if you can’t see an earthly point to your struggles … even if it seems like not many people in the world see your struggles … even so, Christ is with you in your suffering, and Christ is honored through your faithful endurance. Even as you sit alone in your room, you are not alone. Hosts of heaven are watching – angels and demons are looking on. God himself sees. Christ himself is by your side. And as you faithfully persevere, Christ is honored. Even in our unseen struggles and suffering, as we faithfully endure them, and continue to cling to Christ in faith, Christ is present with us, and Christ is honored through us. 


“To live is Christ.” 

When Paul says that he really means it. Whether in our worship or our relationships … whether in our work or our rest … whether in our enjoyment of good gifts, or our faithful endurance through trials, Christ is to be the center of our life, and he is to be glorified in all we do. 

We can see that calling. But how do we grow in living and thinking this way? 

Very briefly, let’s consider three starting points for that, which Paul points us to in verses eighteen through twenty. 

First, Paul mentions the role of prayer. We see this in verse nineteen. We need to pray for the confidence that Paul has here – the confidence that every aspect of our lives is rooted in Christ, has meaning in Christ, and is honoring to Christ. We need to pray for this ourselves, but then also as Paul highlights here, we need to pray for one another about this. So first, we need to pray. 

Second, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit. Paul highlights this too in verse nineteen. We are not able to live for Christ on our own. We need his help. And a chief way Christ helps us is through the Holy Spirit. So we should seek the Spirit’s help. We should pray for it specifically. We should remember that whatever challenges we may face, we need not rely on our strength alone, but the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen and guide us. We live in and for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Third, we need to remind ourselves of the solid hope we have in Christ. Paul does just that in verse twenty. We need to remind ourselves – to preach to ourselves – that these things are true. 

Maybe begin by picking just one area of life, which you tend to especially think of as being disconnected from Christ. Maybe it’s work and labor. Maybe it’s relationships. Maybe it’s rest and enjoyment. Maybe it’s endurance through hardships. Pick the one area where you struggle most. And then, this week, be intentional about praying, relying, and remembering. 

Pray for God to help you see his rightful place in that part of your life – and ask others to pray for you as well. Rely on the Holy Spirit as you do – seek not your own strength and insight, but his. And then remind yourself, again and again, what we’ve said about that aspect of life this morning: how Christ is at the root of it, Christ is at the center of it, and Christ can be honored through it. 

Pursue those things trusting, that Paul’s words here are true: that for him, and for you, and for me, and for all God’s people, to live is Christ. 



This sermon draws on material from: 

Barth, Karl. The Epistle to the Philippians. 40th Anniversary Edition. Translated by James W. Leitch. Introductory Essays by Bruce L. McCormack and Francis B. Watson. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. 

Bavinck, Herman. “The Catholicity of Christianity and the Church.” Translated by John Bolt. Calvin Theological Journal. 1992. Vol 27, p.220-251. 

Fee, Gordon D. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995. 

Hansen, G. Walter. The Letter to the Philippians. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009. 

Keller, Timothy. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. New York, NY: Penguin, 2013. 

Lewis, C.S. “The Weight of Glory” in The Weight of Glory and Other Essays. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1949 (2001 Edition). 

McDonough, Sean M. Introduction and notes to Philippians in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. 

Watkin, Christopher. Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2022. 

Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. 

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