The Christ of Life and Death
Yes, 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.
DEEP SHEET: Sermon Study Questions
1. How does vv.12-18 and vv.18b-26 function together as a unit? What do they have in common and what are their different focus points?
2. While in prison, what is Paul’s singular aspiration and how do we know this? How might his mention of “deliverance” be misleading?
3. What two things give Paul confidence in his “deliverance” and why? How does this reinterpret shame and failure for the Christian?
4. Why is “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” a universal maxim for every Christian? What do Jesus’ comments in Luke 14 15-33 have to do with this?
5. How can death be gain? How does this help you think of your earthly pursuits, even good ones?
6. What will be the fruit of Paul living and returning to the Philippians, as he expects to do? What does this tell us about our relationships in the church? Are we pursuing relationships like this?
References: Phil. 2:9-11, 3:8; Rev. 5:11-13; Luke 14:25-33; 2 Cor. 5:8