To Live is Christ

by Mike Ratliff

21 For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

As we have been seeing over the past several months (or is it years?) as we have dug deeper and deeper into the persons of the Holy Trinity, the doctrines of the Church, which is the Body of Christ himself, hasn’t it also been true how in our drawing closer and closer to God that in this that the disingenuousness of the man-centered elements of the visible church becomes more and more exposed to those with eyes of genuine saving faith? On the other hand, those with their self-focused, self-edifying faith in their in their own self-made religiosity simply continue to go deeper and deeper into their self-made deceptions that are based on a world view as shallow and insipid as post-modernity. Those people actually are guilty of saying that Christianity and the Church as formed by Jesus Christ is wrong and they have a better idea. 

What is the Apostle Paul saying in Philippians 1:21 (above)? Jesus Christ was the source and secret of his continual joy even in prison for Paul’s life found all its meaning in Christ. What did he mean that it would be gain to die? Death for the Christian is to be with Christ. For the true Christian his or her most precious possession, both now and forever, is Christ and their relationship to him.

22 But if it means to live in the flesh, this for me is fruit of labor, and what I will choose I do not know. 23 Now I am hard pressed from two sides. The desire to depart and be with Christ is much better, 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake, 25 and having been persuaded, I know that I will remain and will continue with you all for your progress and joy of the faith, 26 that in me you may have ample cause to boast in Christ Jesus through my presence with you again (Philippians 1:22-26 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

In v22 Paul tells us that if it is not time for his death then the alternative will always be “fruit of labor,” that is, the spread of the gospel and the building up of the church. He wasn’t concerned about trying to get the church that our Lord was building to be  “culturally relevant” or “seeker sensitive” or “man-centered” in any way. Paul was never concerned about anything other than preaching the gospel and obeying His Lord.

In vv23-24 we see that Paul sees ether alternative as a good one. To die and be with Christ is very good, but to remain and serve Christ on behalf of the flock of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul was more than willing to do. There are times that I deeply desire for my time here to end so I can be with my Lord Jesus forever, but I also know that when I wake up in the morning, he is not done with me…yet, therefore, I have work to do and I will rejoice in it, even if there are struggles and conflicts with our enemy and his people as Paul says in vv25-26.

My brethren, after God had mercy on me in Tulsa, Oklahoma back in January1986 and I began this Pilgrimage, I remember so many teachings on how our enemy would continually attack the Church from the outside and it would slowly crumble until there would only be a small faithful remnant left at our Lord’s coming. One thing that those who taught that never seemed to grasp was what we are seeing right now in that those who are remaining faithful, never compromising God’s truth and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and are not deceived to follow after the lies like the “social gospel” are looked at as “stick-in-the-mud” or “backward” or “fundamentalists” or some other derogatory expletive when compared to those who are “Progressive,” “Culturally Relevant.” “Post-Modern,” et cetera. Those in the second group use the ways of the flesh or the ways of the world or culture to get and keep their people, not by obeying the Gospel and preaching the Word of God. When our Lord returns, he will find a small, faithful remnant obeying the Gospel and worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth daily, but he will also find a lot of deceived religious people who think they are Christians and they will call Jesus, “Lord, Lord!” However, he will say to them, “Depart from me for I never knew you!”

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 thoughts on “To Live is Christ

  1. Amen brother, Amen. To die is indeed gain, to desire to be with Christ is evidence you truly belong to Him. What can man to do us? If we are martyred, we go to be with our Lord, that’s a good thing!
    It is discouraging to see so much superficiality, but I must stay focused on the broader picture and what it all means. Your teachings help me do just that, bless you dear brother.

    lyn

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  2. Yes, and so be it!

    The false system is a “spiritual ponzi scheme.” “Mother churches” “birth” “daughter churches.” Then the “daughter churches” are taught Peter Drucker’s business models as christianizes by Warren/Hybels et al so they can open branch campuses/daughters, and the “power riches and glory” flow up the pyramid scheme. Each of these assemblies are merely new decks of cards made up of individual cards acquired from other decks. “They will make merchandise of you…”
    Thus they model themselves after cancer! Rapid growth till they reach a point of being able to open branch campuses. In reality this is metastatic cancer in the form of religion.
    God’s Word is absolutely accurate and relevant to our culture today. The problem is most are illusioned by satanic influence, and refuse to be dis-illusioned by Christ Jesus. We need to be dis-illusioned by the masses who claim christianity but are practicing a form of godlyness that denies God’s power to be made born of the Holy Spirit. We must also hold the line against men who preach broadened roads of decisions for a jesus who is then bound to accept them.
    Mike, I continue to maintain that the false system is a planned system and is actively being pursued by evil men and their foundations who promote a religion that will be an opium for the masses.

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  3. Unlike all those relative postmoderners who constantly are needing something outside of them to keep them happy, I like the steady solid firm foundation that has been the same throughout the Church age- the unchanging Character of our awesome God and the word of God. It’s unshakable and yet it really shakes us from those superficial worldly passions to seek the LORD who alone is infinite and able to fill us up with wonder. As we get older, I’ve noticed it takes more to fill us with wonder. A little child is like a sponge filled easily with wonder. Godliness with contentment really IS great gain when we realize that LOVE-God’s love is not about getting and it’s not about needing but it’s about appreciation..

    To live is Christ when we move from that unsatisfied “needing love” to appreciation love with Jesus Christ. I’ve struggled with that wondering why some things I’ve asked for the Lord has not given me… I’ve come to the point that he will give me these things in heaven more than likely and remain on this earth for him.

    I love what lyn said. It really is true that you can know you are saved because you want to go home to be with the Lord. When I read verses such as when Jesus talked about “Do not worry for isn’t life more important than food and isn’t the body more important than clothes”,, It has been such a light-bulb ah-ha moment to KNOW that no food it’s okay I’m going to be with my Lord so why worry about life on this earth?

    I’m like you Mike, I’d like to go home but I get up the next day and the Lord is not done with me yet.

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  4. Mike,

    I had to chuckle reading the words “stick in the mud” as that’s a name put on me by many. To read it on the internet really brought home the matter. Here I thought that was a made up term around those who call me that.

    Anymore it doesn’t matter to me what they call me (as there are many names, so I’ve found out) as my entire life is one that seeks after Jesus and His ways, not this post modern, seeker sensitive, rock-n-roll type of church. Have to admit however, it can be a very lonely walk.

    Praise God that He’s told us that He will never leave nor forsake us and that He will be with us always (Kol Yom-always, all the time, everyday). He’s my refuge and solice more and more as time goes on. I’m so very thankful for God’s Mercies and His Faithfulness. The more closely we stay to Him, the more our eyes are opened. This is what I’m finding out to be something I have never known until just recently in my walk with Him. What a blessing! I’d rather be lonely (as far a humans go) but with the Lord than go along with man in his self centered, self focused delusions.

    Sorry for such a lengthy post but had to voice my Amens to this post.

    May God bless you always.

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  5. Well, If I’m a stick in the mud then I’m a 10″ diameter mahogany stick in the mud and not some tenuous flimsy twig. Remember Jesus said, a bruised reed he will not break”,,,,

    Denise, yes it does get quite lonely but we are never alone sister

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