For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, (20) According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Notice the word magnify in verse 20. How can we magnify and make Him greater than what He already is? When I think of magnifying I think of a telescope. We could say that even though the telescope is much smaller, it magnifies the view of others on the moon and stars.
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 1:27
To unbelievers, Christ is a mystery. For many, Jesus is something that they’ve heard of, but not someone they know much about. Where is an unbeliever supposed to see Christ? According to Colossians 1:27 they are supposed to see Christ in the life a believer. We magnify Christ to those who have only seen a glimpse of Jesus at some other point.
Do you remember what John said in John 3:30?
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
As believers we should want people to see less of us and more of Christ. This is what it means to magnify Christ.
Keep in mind that Paul was under house arrest, chained to a Roman guard, and under the threat of impending death. Interestingly, even in this situation Paul did not fear death. He was committed to magnifying Christ in both life and in death.
What motivated Paul to be focused on magnifying Christ? Four reasons that Paul was focused on magnifying Christ.
1. The Prayers of God’s people. (V.19a)
The prayers of God’s people kept him focused on his goal. He was praying for God’s will to be accomplished and so was the church at Philippi. God was in control and that is what Paul rested in.
Notice what he says in verse 19.
“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer”
It’s as if Paul was saying, “I am going to be delivered from Rome or into heaven. Either way works for me.” It is sustaining when a person hears and knows that others are praying for them.
I want to encourage you to pray for your pastor. Statistics tell us:
- 80% of pastors are discouraged.
- 1,500 pastors permanently leave the pastorate every month in the United States.
So I ask you to pray. It is Biblical to pray for each other and to ask for prayer.
Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; Romans 15:30
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
2. The Provision of God’s Spirit. (V.19b)
and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
The word “supply” here means provision. With God’s people praying, and God’s Spirit empowering, Paul knew that He could be confident.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us… Ephesians 3:20
The power that works in us is the Holy Spirit. He works in us, through us, and for us to provide us with everything we need to live for the Lord and serve the Lord. He convicts us of sin, comforts us, illuminates the scripture for us, strengthens us, and directs us through His Word.
Paul is saying that he can magnify Christ because of their prayers, and because of the indwelling Spirit.
3. The Promise of God’s Son. (V.20)
(20) According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
The word translated “earnest expectation” in this verse has the idea of stretching the neck to look. They are looking with anticipation, intent on looking for something. What was Paul looking for? What was his hope?
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13
I will come again, and receive you unto myself. John 14:3
Paul said that “in nothing I shall be ashamed”. He wanted to make sure that whatever He did was in the power of the Holy Spirit and without embarrassing His Lord or himself.
We live life for Christ and not for us. We are looking to be able to stand before the judgement seat of Christ and hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant.
4. The Purpose of God’s Plan.
whether it be by life, or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Paul didn’t know what God’s plan might be, but he was fully surrendered to whatever God’s will was. He was fully surrendered, as reflected in this statement, for whatever God had for him.
Paul was totally committed to Christ.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 21:13
When times are bad, are you still going to lift up the name of Jesus? We are to serve Him in good times and bad.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
How about us today? Are we focused on magnifying Christ?
May the prayers of God’s people, the provision of God’s Spirit, the promise of God’s Son, and the purpose in God’s plan compel us to magnify Christ in our lives!
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