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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1097. For me to live is Christ (11/7/24)

Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional where we are in our Summer Inspiration series. Today, we reflect on what is means to say ‘for me to live is Christ’. 

To watch this devotional, follow the link below:

‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ (Philippians 1:21)

How would you and I end this sentence: “For me to live is….” We all want life to the full. In our search for such a life, we can seek to find it in different places. In fact, sometimes, like the prodigal son (and Paul himself) we have to go astray in order to be brought to our senses so as to seek life from the true well of ‘living water’ - from Jesus. 

This phrase is spoken against the backdrop of Paul’s suffering and possible death. The previous sentence describes the atmosphere of Paul’s context:

‘I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.’ (Philippians 1:20) 

Paul Speaks these words of hope against this dark backdrop. In fact, it’s often the case that the promises of God are most known to those who suffer and become most dear and clear to us in suffering. 

What does it mean to say, ‘For to me, to live is Christ’? There’s much that can be said and today I’ll confine this to two ideas:

Firstly, this is about having present and eternal true life; secondly, this is about the presence of Jesus to sustain us in life.

i. Those who have Christ have present and eternal true life

Paul is contrasting his new outlook with his old approach to life in Judaism. Previously, to live was zealous obedience to the Law; now, however, Paul knows that life - regeneration and justification - are through faith in Christ. He can now say, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1) and ‘Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one…’ (Romans 8:33-34). Because Christ is his life - Christ’s redemptive work is His life - He can say with certainty that ‘to die is gain’! 

Can you and I say that Christ is our life? Can we say with certainty that death is a good thing because we have such a great inheritance ahead of us? 

ii. Those who have Christ have His presence to sustain them

Not only is this about the hope of present and future life in Christ, it’s also about having our lives sustained by His Spirit. Our life and joy comes from Christ.  He is now - as Jesus describes in John 15 - our vine and we are His branches; we now bear the fruit of the Spirit and are sustained because we are joined to Christ.

When we are stripped on the things that give our lives security, significance and self-worth, we truly see if our life and joy is actually in Christ! Even in his imprisonment, and under the threat of death, he can say, for me to live is Christ; he can say this because of Jesus’ life - His presence - is sustaining him; although he has lost many treasures, He still has his true treasure! 

To end let’s reflect on these words from Selwyn Hughes on how Christ is our life by actually taking up residence in us: 

‘Every Christian longs to live a divinely empowered life, a life that rises above circumstances and is not beaten or defeated by problems. This is precisely the kind of life that is offered to us in the New Testament. It tells us that we can have the life of Christ as our life. Those who commit their lives to the Saviour can say with the apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ. This means more than receiving Christ's help, as a flower receives the energy from the sun. It means receiving Christ Himself. He is not saving us from without but actually living within us - thinking, feeling, willing in the life of His obedient servants.’ (SELWYN HUGHES CHRIST EMPOWERED LIVING)

Community group notes and study

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, Rejoice and take refuge. From Psalm 64, we saw that the reality of our Christianity is seen by what we rejoice and take refuge in - a Christian, above all else, rejoices (celebrates) and takes refuge (seeks salvation) in the cross. 

Please read Psalms 64:10 and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What are the various things that people put at the heart of Christianity and what you say is at the heart of Christianity and why? 

  • How do you ‘rejoice’ in the gospel?

  • How do you take ‘refuge’ in the gospel? 

  • What does Ephesians 6:11-15 say about how we are to protect ourselves with the gospel? 

  • SIV - How is this text our message to those outside of faith? 

  • SIV - How will ‘rejoicing and taking refuge’ in Jesus lead us into faithful mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend s

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