Spiritual Essentials for a Joy-Full life ~ #5 “Paul’s Enthusiastic Confidence” – Philippians 1:18b-26

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Paul’s Enthusiastic Confidence

Philippians 1:18b-26

Well please take out your Bibles and turn in them to the book of Philippians and chapter 1 in the book of Philippians. If you don’t have a Bible, there should be one under a chair in front of you. You can take that Bible, turn in the back portion to page 154, and you would find yourself at Philippians, chapter 1.

Now I heard a story about a monastery in Portugal. This monastery is perched on the top of a sheer 300-foot cliff. That’s equal to about a 25-story building. The only way you can get up to the monastery is you have to take a little basket ride up the side of the cliff, you know where they sort of swing back and forth. What you have is several rather strong monks who are up there, and they are pulling on this rope, bringing up the basket with them in it, you know. They all strain to get the human cargo up to the side of the cliff and up to the monastery.

Now one of the things they let you do is, they let you actually as a tourist, experience this. So, there was one particular guy who watched that thing move around and how tall it was. He decided he was still going to try it. He gets in there, and he gets in the basket. As the basket starts to move up, he is getting just a little bit nervous because now he is closer to the rope. He is looking at the rope, and he noticed the rope doesn’t look very new. In fact, it looks old.

Then he notices the rope is quite frayed. So extremely uncertain and lacking confidence, he shouts back down to the monk who was at the bottom, and said, “How often do you change the rope?” The monk shouted back up at him, “Whenever it breaks!” Yeah, I’m telling you! That doesn’t make you feel very comfortable on that ride up the side. It doesn’t do much for your confidence does it?

How do you maintain enthusiastic confidence as a believer in Jesus Christ when life is uncertain? If you haven’t noticed that, it is! In fact, you never really know when the rope could break in life. I want to ask you this question…Where is your confidence in life? Now think back on your week. Where is your confidence in life? Is your confidence in life in your job, in the American economy that always bounces back? Is your confidence in life in your IRA or your 401(k)? I hope not because there is not much of that left for those of us who have some of that.

How about your parents? Is your confidence in life in your parents? Are you just trusting in them and relying on them? How about yourself? Maybe your confidence in life is really around you and what you can do? Or even in the government. Part of last week, we were looking at Philippians. We saw something that was very important, and that is that God is large, and He is in charge. He is really the divine Choreographer of everything that happens in life. Nothing happens but that He permits it to occur.

Today we want to look at Paul’s enthusiastic confidence he has in his life. I want to remind you part of what we looked at last time. He has been through more than any of us. We went through that in quite a bit of detail. In fact, he maybe experienced more than most of us combined in his life. Remember he has been arrested now for some four years, and he has now been in Rome under house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier for some two years. How does he maintain perspective through all of that? A lot of his dreams were dashed. His plans went awry. How does he maintain a joyful outlook in life?

Well I think part of what’s involved in that is a personal life purpose statement that he is going to share with us out of this section we’re going to see from Philippians. It may be the most quoted portion of the book of Philippians. But you know what? I’ll be real honest with you. I would really like to experience enthusiastic confidence as I move through life. I would like to be able to have that. Whatever life brings to me at any given time, I would like to have enthusiastic confidence as I walk through that phase of my life. Paul gives us insight here in Philippians 1 to how he experienced enthusiastic confidence.

I would like to read the section we’re going to be looking at. It begins with the second part of verse 18 and goes down through verse 26. I would invite you to follow along in your Bible as I read this section. Paul writes at the end of verse 18, “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.”

Now as we look at Paul’s enthusiastic confidence, today’s plan involves examining three things. Number one, we’re going to see his confidence in God’s provision in verse 18b to verse 19. Secondly, we’re going to see his confidence in future matters. We see that in verses 21 to 24. Then thirdly, we’re going to see his confidence in Christ being exalted. We see that in verse 20 and also verses 25 to 26. So that’s our plan; that’s where we’re going. We’re trying to understand how, with everything he is going through, he has enthusiastic confidence. It involves Paul’s confidence in God’s provision, Paul’s confidence in future matters, and Paul’s confidence in Christ being exalted.

So let’s go to school and learn about how we can have enthusiastic confidence in life no matter what is happening. Let’s begin by looking at Paul’s confidence in God’s provision. If you look at the end of verse 18 again it says, “Yes, and I will rejoice.” The NIV says, “I will continue to rejoice.” Why? Well, in verse 19, the little word for introduces the reason. He says, “I will continue to rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance.” Now again, reminding you he has been under arrest for some four years. He has been in Rome for some two years, chained every day to a soldier as they take their various turns of duty to be with Paul. If you just took a snapshot of that, what’s going to happen after that? Is his imprisonment going to continue? Is he going to be released? Is he going to be executed?

Well, it’s not yet determined. Yet he says, “I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance.” Some people look at that, and they say, “Well he is referring to his deliverance from prison. He is confident of that.” Or, “It could be his deliverance from execution.” But I don’t really think that’s what Paul is talking about here when he says, “I know that this will turn out for my deliverance.” This is one of those times when it’s good to look at the original language. The word here that is translated deliverance is the word soteria in the original language. Most commonly, soteria is translated salvation. So literally we could say, “I know that this will turn out for my salvation.”

Now I think he is talking about more than physical deliverance. We certainly know he is not talking about salvation in the sense of justification where we are declared righteous when we trust in Christ as our Savior. He is not talking about that because that’s a past event. So, what is he referring to when he says, “I know…I’m confident…this will turn out for my deliverance.”? I think the best way to understand what he is talking about here is, he is referring to his ultimate salvation, his ultimate deliverance. He is referring to his safe delivery in heaven one day. He is saying, “No matter what might happen here circumstantially, I know my situation is going to turn out for my ultimate deliverance and salvation in heaven.”

I want you to keep your finger here. Turn with me to the right in your Bible to 2 Timothy, chapter 4, because we see there a very similar statement that is made at the end of 2 Timothy that I think gives us an insight into what he is describing back in Philippians 1:19. He says in verse 18, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely (here we go) to His heavenly kingdom.” The verb here is the verb form of the word soteria. He says, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will save me safely to His heavenly kingdom.”

So he is talking about this. He is saying, “Whatever really happens, you know what my confidence is in? My confidence is in God’s provision for a safe delivery. That I know what’s going to happen. I will end up safely in heaven. Whether it’s going to be sooner or later, that I know will be the case. That is the confidence I have in God’s provision in my life.” That’s a great confidence to have, men and women. No matter what may happen to you or to me, if you know Christ personally, you know there is going to be safe delivery in heaven one day. That’s part of God’s provision. He had confidence in that, and that affected his everyday mental attitude.

Then there is another part of God’s provision he talks about here. That is the prayers of the saints. He says, “I know that ultimately this will turn out for my salvation, my deliverance, my appearance in heaven.” Also, he says, “This will happen through your prayers.” All of us can perhaps tell a story of a time in which our confidence as we lived our life was bolstered by the fact that we knew others were praying for us. I know I’ve experienced that. It just does something when you know there are other believers who are praying for you.

By the way, that is why it is important for us to lift up other people. I mean, think about when you’ve been encouraged by that. That’s why we need to lift up other people, and we need to be praying for them. And not only just to lift them up, but to let them know you’re lifting them up. It just does something for our everyday confidence to know there are people who are praying for me. They need to tell me that. That’s what he was sensing and feeling as a provision from God…their prayers.

Another part of the provision of God he had confidence in was not just that he is ultimately going to end up safely delivered in heaven and not just the prayers of the saints, but also the provision of the Holy Spirit. “This will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The NIV says, “…through the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

I want to just slow down for a moment because when I look over the Christian world today, the people who really even know Christ personally, the followers of Jesus…I believe there is an incredible underestimation of the importance of the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit. That’s why you can go into a lot of evangelical churches, and you never hear them ever talk about the Holy Spirit. You want to go, “How can that happen? How can that happen?”

See, every believer (we know from Romans 8:9) has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The moment we trusted in Christ; we’re indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is a Person, not some sort of power or force, when He comes to live inside of us, we receive all of Him. That’s why when there are people running around, and they say, “Oh wait a minute now! You didn’t get all of the Holy Spirit.” Impossible! He is a Person. When He indwells us, He is there fully. It’s not that we need to receive more of the Holy Spirit. It’s just that really the Holy Spirit needs to receive more of us.

The picture of that in the Bible is the idea of being filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit means we experience the enabling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Keep your finger here and go with me a little bit to the left in your Bible over to the book of Acts, chapter 4. I want to just show you one illustration of the impact of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit as people are filled with the Spirit. If you look at Acts, chapter 4, verse 31, it’s talking about those early believers. It says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Now they had received and been indwelt by the Spirit of God in chapter 2. But now they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Notice the impact of that is they “began to speak the Word of God with boldness.” They experienced the enabling power of the Spirit of God. So what this means is this: when we are dependent on the Holy Spirit, when we are allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us, when we are asking God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we will experience His power and His grace as we face situations in life. Really part of what Paul is saying here is, this is critical if you’re going to have enthusiastic confidence in your life no matter what might be happening. His point is, “My confidence is not in myself. My confidence is in the energizing ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Now I want to ask you a few questions. What I want you to think back on is your past week. I’m not going to ask you to answer this out loud, but just think about your past week. How often were you daily aware of your need to be filled with the Spirit of God? How often daily were you aware of that need? How often daily did you ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit? How often daily were you saying to God, “My confidence is in Your grace and Your power, and that’s what I need to enable me to live and face the issues in life that I have to deal with.”? How often did you say to God, “I can’t, but You can through the Spirit inside of me.”? See that confidence in God’s provision through the Spirit of God is very, very important…very, very important.

So we see that Paul, despite everything he is going through, has this enthusiastic confidence. Part of that was built on his confidence in God’s provision…the provision of his future safe arrival in heaven, the provision of the prayers of other believers, and then the provision of the Holy Spirit. But secondly, I want us to see that part of what built him in to having an attitude of enthusiastic confidence was his confidence in future matters, which leads us to verse 21.

I believe what we have in verse 21 is really a personal purpose statement given by Paul. This is his sort of life purpose statement…his secret to living well and dying well. Look at what verse 21 says. It says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” What is interesting about this is that there are no true verbs in this verse at all. Literally this is what it says, “For me to live…Christ; for me to die…gain. For me to live…Christ; for me to die…gain.”

Now all of us, every single one of us…myself, you included, operate in our everyday life around some sort of a purpose statement. Now if someone asked us what our everyday operating purpose statement is, we might think of something in our mind of what it should be. But the reality is, every single day, I’m operating by some sort of a life purpose statement, around some sort of a purpose. So are you. So again I want us to think about our own life for a moment. Maybe you think about the last couple of weeks of your life. If you had to fill in the blank, what would it say? “For me to live…” What would go in there?

Kent Hughes tells us about an inscription that is found in the ruins of ancient Carthage. It was an inscription carved by a Roman soldier. He was really giving his personal life statement in this little inscription. This is what the inscription said: “To laugh, to hunt, to bathe, to game – that is life.” Now, what was he really saying? He is saying, “To hunt, love it.” When we talk about bathing, he is talking about the spas, the very wonderful spas they had. “To hunt, to go to the spas, to have fun, to laugh, to party…ah! That’s the life!” That was his personal life statement.

How would you fill in the blank, “For me to live…”? What goes in there? I think all of us at some time or another would probably have stuck in money and stuff. “For me to live…money and stuff and more stuff.” Some of us maybe in that blank would say, “For me to live…popularity. I want people to like me. I want people to notice me.” Or maybe, “For me to live…power and influence. I want to be a mover [influencer]. I want to be a shaker [wield power with others].” Or maybe, “For me to live…” We would fill in the blank with be entertained.

What’s really interesting is there are ramifications to how you fill in the blank. See, if you fill in the blank, “For me to live…money and stuff.” I can tell you what that will look like in your life. You’ll be greedy. You’ll never have enough. Then, you’ll be paranoid you might lose it. Or if you fill in the blank, “For me to live…popularity.” that has ramifications. That means…I can tell you what it looks like. You’re out to promote yourself over other people, out to impress people, want people to think highly of me. Or if you fill in the blank, “For me to live…power and influence.” I know what that looks like. It’s very self-serving. Someone who has that as their personal life statement “For me to live…power and influence,” I’ll tell you this. They will be very arrogant.

What is interesting to me is we see that displayed right now in the business community and even in the government. I’m so sick and tired of this whole AIG [large insurance conglomerate that went bankrupt] thing with everybody pointing fingers at everybody else. There is just an arrogance to all of that. I don’t see the humility of saying, “We made mistakes.” or “We should have done this; it was our failure.” But you see, when you have “to live…power and influence,” there is going to be that.

Then if you have, “For me to live is be entertained” what’s that going to look like? Well, you’re going to be into golf and gardening and traveling and television and movies and video games and skiing. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. I’ve done all of those things. I’ve golfed, and I’ve gardened, and I’ve traveled, and I’ve watched TV and movies, and I’ve played video games, and I’ve skied. I stink at skiing, but I’ve done it.

But what is interesting is there are ramifications to all of those things. If you say, “For me to live is money and stuff,” you’d have to say to die is to leave it all behind. If you say, “For me to live is popularity,” to die is to soon be forgotten. I’ve often pointed out that very few of us even know the full names of our great-grandparents. That’s just part of what happens. So if you’re living to be popular and to be promoted, to die is to soon be forgotten. If you say, “Well for me to live is power and influence,” to die is to yield it all up. You have none. If we say, “For me to live is to be entertained,” then to die is to have lived a shallow, self-focused life.

See, here was the attitude Paul had. He said, “For me to live…Christ. To die…gain.” Really what he was saying is this. “Jesus Christ bled for me. Jesus Christ died for me. So, it’s not about me. It’s not about my comfort. It’s not about my will, what I want. It’s rather about serving and honoring the Person of Jesus Christ.” See, Christ was in him, and he was in Christ. That’s why he says in Galatians 2:20, “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” He is saying, “My life is Christ-centered. It is the over-arching, central enthusiasm of my life.” That’s why even though he was experiencing a lot of ups and downs and great difficulty, he had enthusiastic confidence. “For me to live…Christ. To die…gain.” Why? Because he would have the opportunity to see and to touch the Savior who loved him so.

Then something very unusual happens after verse 21. It’s unusual in the New Testament. We don’t see this very often, but really what he does is he welcomes us into his inner thoughts, what was really going on up in his head as he was anticipating, This might happen to me. This might happen to me. Notice what he says in verse 22. He says, “But if I am to live on in the flesh…” The NIV says, “…live on in the body,” to stay here on the planet. He said, “This will mean fruitful labor for me.” “I stay here, I get to serve Christ.”

Then he goes on to say, “I do not know which to choose.” Not that he really had the choice, but he said, “If I could choose, I don’t really know which one to pick because they’re both good alternatives.” Then he says in verse 23, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”

“I’m hard-pressed in both directions” is just an idiom out of that culture of the day. The NIV captures the spirit of that idiom in English very well. It says Paul is saying, “I’m torn between the two. I have two alternative possibilities.” But he gets very honest. He says in verse 23, “I have the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.” “My desire? Oh, I want to go be with Christ. I want that intimate fellowship. I want the eyeball-to-eyeball contact with the One who died for me.”

The word that is translated depart in verse 23 is a very interesting word in the original. It’s the word analuo. It was used in several different colorful ways. It was used of loosening the ship’s moorings when a ship was ready to leave the dock and sail for home. It was used of an army or a group of people who would break camp and then head for home. So that’s the imagery. He is saying, “My desire is to depart, to loosen the moorings and get the ship moving to head home, to break camp here on the planet and head for home in heaven.” You see, when a believer in Jesus Christ dies, he goes home. Some of us have lost some loved ones who love the Lord recently, and that’s important to remember.

Most of you don’t know, but I was born in Montgomery, Alabama. I don’t have that southern accent because I left before I was two. But I understand there is a headstone in a church cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama, and it says this: “Under the clover and under the trees here lies the body of Jonathan Pease.” Then it goes on to say this, “Pease ain’t here, only the pod. He shelled out and went home to God.” That’s what happens to a believer in Jesus Christ. In fact, in 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 8, it says that when as a believer we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. So we leave the pod behind, but we go on home to God.

I’m so grateful for what the rest of verse 23 says. He says, “I am torn between these two things, but I have the desire to depart (to break camp) and to head for home and be with Christ.” Then he says, “…for that is very much better.” I like the translation of the New American Standard because it really shows the structure of the original here. See, he could have just said this, “Hey! To break camp and head for home in heaven, that’s better than being here.” But that wasn’t good enough for Paul. So, he had to notch it up a little bit. He says, “So, for us to let go of the ship’s moorings and sail off for home in heaven, it is much better to be there.” But even that wasn’t sufficient for Paul because he wanted us to really get the message. So he adds one other word. He makes it into an incredible superlative. “To depart and be with Christ is very much better.”

Now it’s so important to realize this guy knew what he was talking about because we learn from 2 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 4, he had been to the third heaven. I know there are a lot of people who claim they’ve been there, and they always want to write you a book. Paul went there, and he says that part of what he heard and saw, he said he wasn’t really permitted to talk about, couldn’t get into specifics. That’s a little different from the people who claim to have been to heaven and then want to write as many volumes as they can and sell as many books as they can. But he had been there! He says to you and me, “I want you to know something. It’s very much better there than it is here.”

In fact, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, verse 9, he says, “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard. It hasn’t even entered into the heart of man. We haven’t even begun to imagine all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” To depart and be with Christ…very much better. No wonder it says in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” I mean, what a win-win situation! “It’s gain! For me to live…Christ; to die…gain.” The battle for the flesh and the battle with all the circumstances of life…it’s over. There are no more trials. There is no more trauma. There is no more pain. There are no more tears of hurt and frustration. You want to talk about a hassle-free existence, that’s it! “I’m torn between the two, having the desire to depart, to break camp and go and be with Christ, and that’s very much better.”

“Yet,” he says, “to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” There is another side to the equation. There is another option and that is to remain on the planet for your sake. Know what just strikes me as just really contrastive is how Paul’s attitude is so different from a “me-first” world in which we live. This world is so consumed with me, me, me, me, me, me. Paul says, “My desire is I want to break camp and go where it’s very much better.” But see, Paul was an others-first kind of a person. Their needs, in his mind, had a greater importance than his preference. He basically says, “To stay here is more necessary for your sake. When I stay here, I will serve you and others.”

Now men and women, I believe it’s very easy to lose sight of our ultimate home in heaven, very easy to do that. But as a note in the Life Application Commentary says, “It’s easy also to neglect the work that He has called us to do while we are here.” So, it says, “So we must work hard now. So we must serve those around us. So we must help the church grow. So we must heal someone’s wounds.” I might add, “So we must share the message of hope in Jesus Christ.”

Are you glad someone shared that message with you? How many people here are glad someone shared that? Let me see some hands. How many people are glad someone shared that message with you? We need to be about that business ourselves. We need to share the message of hope. There are people who we live near, who we work with, who we go to school with…they need to hear what we needed to hear at one point.

So we see Paul’s enthusiastic confidence despite everything that’s happening in life. We see his confidence was in God’s provision. We see his confidence was in future matters, whatever the future may be. Then his confidence, thirdly, was in Christ being exalted. I want you to see this idea of exalting Christ was his personal priority in verse 20…his personal life priority. Then it was also his aim in ministry in verses 25 to 26. Seeing that Christ was exalted was his personal priority.

Notice he talks about “through your prayers (verse 20) according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” “I don’t want to be put to shame in anything.” Basically, what he is saying is, “I want a no-regrets life. I want an un-tarnished testimony.” So he says, “…Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body.” The New Living Translation says, “My life will always honor Christ, whether I experience life or death.”

Here is what he is saying. “It really doesn’t matter what happens.” He says, “Ultimately it really doesn’t matter what happens. The goal is the same: to exalt Jesus.” Maybe you’re here today, I don’t know, and your dreams have been dashed. I don’t know. Maybe you’re here today and your plans have been derailed in a very significant way. Maybe you’re here today and you are in the middle…right smack dab [the heart of] in the middle…of a very hard phase of life…or not! But the opportunity to exalt Jesus is always there.

Do you see the thinking here? This was his personal priority. So, when your dreams are dashed and your plans are derailed and you’re in the middle of the hard phase of life or not, the opportunity to exalt Him is always, always there. That, you see, is part of what gave him enthusiastic confidence as he was living his life. It was his personal priority and also his aim in ministry. Notice in verse 25. He says, “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith.”

Somehow (he doesn’t really tell us) he had assurance that he was still going to be ministering. We know from what the historians tell us that he was later released from his imprisonment about 62 A.D. Tradition tells us he made it back to Philippi. In fact, he made it to Spain, which was one of his ministry dreams. He was re-imprisoned again in 66 to 67 A.D. That’s when 2 Timothy was written. Then the historians tell us that in 68 A.D., he was executed. But he had some sort of assurance that he was still going to minister. But I want you to see his aim in ministry was still the same…to exalt Jesus.

I like the New Living Translation of verse 26. It says this, “When I return to you, you will have even more reason to boast about what Christ Jesus has done for me.” He is basically saying, “When all this happens, you’re going to be able to exalt Jesus all the more.” Because, you see, his aim of ministry was to brag about Jesus. He was interested in Jesus being lifted up and Jesus being exalted.

Here is why this is so important. When my focus and your focus, when our confidence is the same as Paul’s was…they had the same focus, guess what? We too can have enthusiastic confidence no matter what we’re facing, no matter what lies ahead of us. Incredible when you see what he was going through! His confidence in God’s provision, his confidence in future matters, and his confidence in Christ being exalted. See that’s what it’s all about.

Now as we close, I want to talk about some life response. The life response we can have to what we’ve looked at today involves two questions and then it involves an appeal. So the first part of our life response is the first question. “For me to live…Christ.” Can you say that? Can you say that?

You know, one of the things that’s allowing us to intersect with the Scriptures allows us to do an occasional examination of ourselves. Today is a great day just to examine What are we living for? Are you living for money and stuff, or are you living for popularity so everybody knows who you are? Are you living for power and influence? Are you living to be entertained? You know what the problem of all of those things, if you’re living for that is, they all fail to fully satisfy. They won’t deliver. That’s not a purpose for living. “For me to live…Christ.” Can you say that?

Then there is a second question. That’s this: “For me to die…gain.” Do you believe that? Do you really believe that? If you don’t, maybe it would be good to re-wrestle with 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, verse 5. Maybe it would be good to wrestle with Revelation, chapter 21, verses 1 to 5. “To die…gain.” Do you believe that? God says, “To be with Jesus is very much better.”

Then the third element of our life response is an appeal. Here is the appeal. Don’t limit your life to this world. There are people all around us who are doing that. Don’t limit your life to this world. See, Jesus says this: “How can it benefit you if you gain the whole world, if the whole world is handed to you on a platter, and you lose your own soul?” Jesus said this: “Is there anything worth more than your soul?” The answer is nothing! Nothing! Don’t limit your life to this world. Come to know the One who created you, who died for you. I guarantee you this…it’s worth it all.

Let’s pray together: Father, we thank You again for this living Book. Sometimes it’s almost like steam is coming out of it. It’s so real. In particular, I want to pray for those who may be here today or listening to my voice today who have been limiting their life to this world. There is nothing worth gaining things from this world and losing your own soul for all eternity because there is nothing worth more than your soul. I would pray, Father, that if there are any who have never taken the life step to turn to, to trust in, to rest in, and to believe in, the Person of Christ that they would do so right now in their heart…right now where they are.

When we make that life choice, oh the vistas of understanding and relationship that opens up. There is nothing like it. Not only that, not only knowing You in this life, but knowing our future place in eternity is settled when we believe and trust in the Person of Jesus Christ. May every one of us have made that decision. Why would you wait? We just pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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