To Live Is Christ

Everyday, most of us step out our front doors and engage the world around us. Whether we are at work, school, the grocery store, a restaurant, a friend’s house, etc, we are given countless opportunities to proclaim the gospel of the glory of Christ to the world around us. We are given opportunities to fulfill the call that Christ placed on our lives in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations.

Living life on mission for the sake of the gospel isn’t something we only do when we step foot on foreign soil, it starts when we wake up each morning and it doesn’t stop until they bury us in the ground. It’s living every moment of every day for the sake of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of His name. It’s understanding that we aren’t meant for this earth, we are sojourners here, and all our hope is in heaven and being with Christ in eternity. When we can grasp those things we can understand what Paul was saying in the first chapter of his letter to the church at Philippi.

20…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,…”

Philippians 1:20–25 (ESV)

Within verse 21 we find the meaning and hope of our lives. For us to live, is to live through the atonement of Jesus and to know Him and proclaim the unsearchable riches of His grace. In death we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. As sojourners on the earth and citizens of heaven we look to the day when we are united with our savior in eternity.

“To live is Christ, and to die is gain” is a victorious statement on both sides. While still in our fleshly bodies, we proclaim the name of Jesus. Even in the face of persecution they can’t stop us from declaring the grace and love of the Lord. While most of us in America won’t face the kind of persecution the church in the first century was under, we do face various kinds of resistance. Most of the time in the form of mockery, however when we are ridiculed for the sake of the gospel we should have broken hearts, not bruised egos. We should be concerned less with our reputations and more concerned with Jesus’. However severe the persecution, the only way they should be able to stop us is to kill us, and even then we win because in death we are present with the Lord. So whether living in this life or in our death we are victorious through Jesus Christ. In light of this we can be fearless in this life, for no one can put us to true death, which is separation from God, they can only send us home.

We must remember that this task of living on mission was never meant to be done alone. It was given to the bride of Christ, the church. We must strive together side by side for the sake of the gospel. It’s His church, His hands and feet that He is calling to, as David puts it in Psalm 96, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Inspired by Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, we wrote the song, “To Live Is Christ.” Moving in a progression from the first verse that is the call of God to His people to preach the gospel, to the last verse when we are called home to heaven, this song is meant to remind us of the gospel call in our lives and the promise and hope of heaven. Our prayer is that as you listen and worship through this song the affections of your heart for Christ and His gospel will be stirred within you.

Below is a line-by-line scriptural breakdown of the song.

VERSE 1

Your calling forth, your bride set free (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 13:47, Mark 16:15)

To be fearless in light of thee (Phil 1:27-28)

This foreign land is not our home (Phil 3:20)

We place our trust in heaven’s hope (Heb 6:19-20, Rom 8:23-26, Phil 3:20-4:1)

Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV) — 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 13:47 (ESV) — 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

Mark 16:15 (ESV) — 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Philippians 1:27–28 (ESV) — 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Philippians 3:20 (ESV) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 6:19–20 (ESV) — 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Romans 8:23–26 (ESV) — 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Philippians 3:20–4:1 (ESV) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. 1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

VERSE 2  (2 Timothy 1:8-12)

I will not be ashamed

To tell the story of Jesus’ name  (Romans 1:16)

Who bore my sins on that tree (1 Peter 2:24)

Then rose to life in victory (1 Cor 15:55-57, 1 Peter 1:3-5)

2 Timothy 1:8–12 (ESV) — 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Romans 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) — 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Corinthians 15:55–57 (ESV) — 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:3–5 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

CHORUS

O Worthy is His name (Rev 5:12 & Acts 4:12)

To live is Christ To Die Is Gain (Phil 1:20b-25)

You can take this life of mine

Because I am found in Jesus Christ (Phil 3:9)

Revelation 5:12 (ESV) — 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Acts 4:12 (ESV) — 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Philippians 1:20–25 (ESV) — 20 …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…

Philippians 3:7–11 (ESV) — 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

VERSE 3

You’re sending out, your hands and feet (John 20:21, Rom 10:14-15)

Your church on fire, for all to see (Eph 5:8, Heb 12:28-29, John Wesley Quote)

Your word will not, come back void (Is 55:11)

The devils hold, will be destroyed (1 John 3:8, Heb 2:14) 

John 20:20–21 (ESV) — 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Romans 10:14–15 (ESV) — 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Ephesians 5:8 (ESV) — 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Hebrews 12:28–29 (ESV) — 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” – John Wesley

Isaiah 55:11 (ESV) — 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

1 John 3:8 (ESV) — 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Hebrews 2:14 (ESV) — 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

VERSE 4

When trumpets sound, you call me home (1 Thes 4:16-17)

Before my eyes, I see your throne (Rev 4:1-6, Psalm 103:19)

I long to hear, my savior say 

Well done my child, find rest today (Matthew 25:14-34)

1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

Revelation 4:1–6 (ESV) — 1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:

Psalm 103:19 (ESV) — 19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Matthew 25:14–34 (ESV) — 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.