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Magnify Christ - Philippians 1:20–26

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1. Because of Paul’s chains, Christ was known - Philippians 1:13

2. Because of Paul’s critics, Christ was preached - Philippians 1:18

3. because of Paul’s crisis, Christ was magnified - Philippians 1:20

4. It was possible that Paul would be found a traitor to Rome and then executed. His preliminary trial had apparently gone in his favor

5. The final verdict, however, was yet to come



I. Paul’s body was not his own, and his only desire was to magnify Christ in his body

A. Does Christ need to be magnified?

1. After all, how can a mere human being ever magnify the Son of God?

2. Well, the stars are much bigger than the telescope, and yet the telescope magnifies them and brings them closer

3. The believer’s body is to be a telescope that brings Jesus Christ close to people

a) To the average person, Christ is a misty figure in history who lived centuries ago

b) But as the unsaved watches the believer go through a crisis, they can see Jesus magnified and brought so much closer

c) To the Christian with the single mind, Christ is with us here and now

4. The telescope brings distant things closer, and the microscope makes tiny things look big

a) To the unbeliever, Jesus is not very big

b) Other people and other things are far more important

c) But as the unbeliever watches the Christian go through a crisis experience, he ought to be able to see how big Jesus Christ really is

5. The believer’s body is a "lens" that makes a "little Christ" look very big, and a "distant Christ" come very close


II. Paul was not afraid of life or death! Either way, he wanted to magnify Christ in his body. No wonder he had joy!

A. Paul confesses that he is facing a difficult decision

1. To remain alive was necessary for the believers’ benefit in Philippi

2. To depart and be with Christ was far better

a) Paul decided that Christ would have him remain, not only for the "furtherance of the Gospel" - Philippians 1:12

b) But also for the furtherance and joy of faith - Philippians 1:25

c) He wanted them to make some "pioneer advance" into new areas of spiritual growth - 1 Timothy 4:15

B. What a man Paul is

1. He is willing to postpone going to heaven in order to help Christians grow

2. He is willing to go to hell in order to win the lost to Christ - Romans 9:1-3

C. Of course, death had no terrors for Paul

1. It simply meant "departing"

a) This word was used by the soldiers; it meant "to take down your tent and move on"

b) What a picture of Christian death! The "tent" we live in is taken down at death, and the spirit goes home to be with Christ in heaven - 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

c). The sailors also used this word; It meant "to loosen a ship and set sail" Lord Tennyson used this figure of death in his famous poem "Crossing the Bar"

d) Departure was also a political term; it described the setting free of a prisoner. God’s people are in bondage because of the limitations of the body and the temptations of the flesh, but death will free them. Or they will be freed at the return of Christ if that should come first - Romans 8:18-23

e) Finally, departure was a word used by the farmers; it meant "to unyoke the oxen" Paul had taken Christ’s yoke, which is an easy yoke to bear - Matthew 11:28-30

f) To depart to be with Christ would mean laying aside the burdens, his earthly work completed


III. No matter how you look at it, nothing can steal a man’s joy, who possesses a single mind

A. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" - Philippians 1:21

B. Maltbie Babcock, who wrote "This Is My Father’s World," has said, "Life is what we are alive to"

C. When Sandy and I go shopping, I dread going shopping, but I often have to go

1. If on the way through the store, I spot the book department or the electronic department, I suddenly come alive!

2. The thing that excites us and turns us on is the thing that really is life to us

D. In Paul’s case, Christ was his life. Christ excited him and made his life worth living



1. Valuable test of our lives - which one applies to you? Philippians 1:21

a. "For to me to live is ———————— and to die is —————————" - Fill in the blanks yourself

b. "For to me to live is money and to die is to leave it all behind"

c. "For to me to live is fame and to die is to be forgotten"

d. "For to me to live is power and to die is to lose it all"

2. No, we must echo Paul’s convictions if we are going to have joy in spite of circumstances, and if we are going to share in the furtherance of the Gospel

3. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"


Are You Saved?


-- Don Treadway, November 2008 --


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