Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We come to Philippians Chapter 1and at verse 19 where Paul now turns to the future. He could soon be in his grave. He is facing death. The Word of God should always be preparing us to face death. This subject is still taboo today, because people are not prepared for death.
Death will either come to you as gain or loss. If you live for money, things, possessions, position – you will lose everything. What are we living for? Until we answer that question, death poses a very real problem.
This put Paul in a terrible dilemma. I am ready to pull up my tent-pegs! ANALUO – to pull up my anchor. But I may live. I do not want to choose.
Verse 23 – You need me more here than I need to go to heaven! It is as if the Lord says, “Paul, stay a while – they need you.” So, I know how things are going to go – just you Christians pray for my release.
This is his prayer letter – I wonder what the next prayer meeting would be like. Can you imagine the big rough Philippian jailor – That is just like Paul, Lord. I remember him that midnight when I was rescued and saved – and he was singing and praising.
Pray – Pray – but be informed. Have knowledge so that you can pray properly – and have this attitude to life – Lord, wherever you want me – that is where I am going to be.
We are reading of this amazing dilemma which Paul had and which he shares with these dear disciples of Jesus Christ – and through these pages with us. I am in prison. I could soon lose my life. I could live. But – I know that I will be saved from this present imprisonment. I shall be delivered from all this – by your prayers – and through the supply of the Holy Spirit by Jesus. I do not want to be ashamed. I want to honour Christ.
Pray that I do not let Christ down – and that I do not fail in my duty. I want to minister with all boldness – as I have always done – to magnify Christ Jesus – whether I live or die.
“Magnify” means to bring the object nearer or to enlarge – to make Jesus larger in people’s vision – to bring him nearer to others. Ah, that is the Christian Faith – that is Christianity – where Christ is living in me, in place of self-centredness.
Christ is in the centre. Life for me is simply a matter of showing forth Christ – magnifying Him – making Him larger – bringing Him nearer to people. That for me is what life is for – what a way to live.
If what you are living for does not contain the word Christ, then life is meaningless. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Paul was mocked, beaten, imprisoned, and yet nothing could destroy his faith in Jesus Christ – and nothing could remove and replace or destroy that deep joy. It does not matter what happens to me – to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
I am ready to pull up my tent pegs, and to strike camp in this pilgrimage. I do not know what to do, but you need me more here than I need to go to heaven.
What did they need from him? What can I do for you? This is the burden of any church leader. The burden is for the progress and joy. You begin to lose your joy when you stop progressing and when you stop growing.
Paul is not concerned about himself but about the Philippians. How can we apply all this to our situation? This letter written so long ago is so relevant. It comes from an Apostle to a Christian Fellowship. It comes from a very Jewish Jew to a Gentile church. It comes from a Roman citizen to a Roman colony – but it is also a Christian colony of heaven in Philippi.
He is correcting their prayers. I am not frustrated in this prison, nor am I fearful of death. All this is stimulating the spread of the Gospel. Paul goes on to reveal even more of his pastor’s heart. Here we see his pastoral desire for this people. His concern is for people.
“Gracious God – our loving heavenly Father – we thank You for the confidence and assurance revealed by Your servant, in this letter written from prison. We pray for those imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ – separated from their churches and families – many wrongly accused and dealt with unjustly. We remember those working to alleviate the pain of believers in prison and those at home who are awaiting developments. We bring this again Father, in Jesus name.” Amen.
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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