What is our bottom line? Often we don’t know the answer to that question until it is jeopardized by some threat. Then our unruly emotions scream out loud and clear what we are living for. Paul’s bottom line had been mightily tested and he had gotten his answer, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” How did Paul get to the place where these words rang out true and free from his soul? Pastor Mark takes us into the backdrop of this powerful declaration. Paul had found the beauty of Christ in and through his difficulties and his heart was sealed with a vision of his ultimate destination with Him. When all he had once valued and counted had been stripped away, Paul found great freedom in embracing God’s design and deep sustaining joy in the gospel of Christ Jesus.
“A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” (G.K.Chesterton). Only something alive can make headway against the flow. Pastor Mark explains that Paul uses a similar nautical term when he states in Philippians 1:12 that “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” The gospel of Christ was advancing, despite Paul’s personal suffering, because God was working and Paul was willing. Paul was willing to see beyond his own confined perspective and find his joy in witnessing a big God advancing great gospel goodness, despite the strong opposing current.
With 66 different books written in 5 diverse genres covering thousands of years, the Bible would not seem to be one story. Yet it is. In essence the Bible is a biography, the biography of Jesus Christ. From the creation account in Genesis to the final restoration of all things in Revelation, Pastor Ben Willey explains how the scripture tells the one glorious story of God’s Son and His relationship to His people.