Christ Magnified in My Body
Phillipians 1:20, "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body..."
I used to think that in the second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5, Paul gives
a summary of his theology. He believes that
Dear Keith Green said one day in my office, as we were talking about the roads,
I thought that 14th verse, "For the love of Christ constraineth me," was the motivation, with the obligation to present Christ in all his majesty and glory.
Now Iíve come to this conclusion reading recently our verse in Phillipians, that the motivation
of the apostle in his zigzag course -- in prison, out of prison, in weariness, in fastings, in
painfulness, in tribulations, in distress, in perils of his countrymen, in perils of the deep,
in perils of robbers -- the one thing that motivated him is here in this 20th verse:
The thing that gripped me as I read it this week, Christ may be magnified,
If you turn over to chapter 4 verse 6, this explains his life, I think. He says,
Now, this epistle is very beautiful. You know why? Because it is a love letter.
Some of you know that great hymn, "The sands of time are sinking...." Mrs. Cousins
extracted phrases out of the wonderful diary of the great old Scottish saint, Samuel
Rutherford and put that marvelous, marvelous hymn together. I think itís maybe the
greatest hymn ever written. He said "I have to go into the kingís cellar to find the
You know Romans 12. Iím thinking of places where Paul talks about his body. He doesnít talk about yielding your mind merely. In Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice." Not your brain. Not your emotion. Not your spirit. But if I said to somebody, "Look. Hereís my watch." - Well, this one is a fairly modern one. I donít have to wind it up. But the old ones had "works" in them, you know. They were marvelous old things. They used to call them "stem-winders." Theyíre collectors items now. - If I gave a man my watch, I gave him the works, the hands, the face. I gave him everything.
Well, if I present my body a living sacrifice, surely Iím presenting everything that I have. My spirit, my soul, my body. For which Paul prays in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." So I give my body in its entirety to God.
A girl, in England, years ago wrote a beautiful hymn:
Vision is so vital in the Christian life. On that Damascus Road... I donít believe the apostle
Paul ever recovered from that experience of being blinded. Physically he did. His eye were
opened, sure enough. But I believe he was blinded to all the treasures of this world, as this
Or if you want it in the words of Isaac Watts, after youíve seen Him, "my richest gain I count but loss." As Iíve said so often, we use that phrase, one day after youíve seen Jesus, "The things of earth will grow strangely dim." I like to turn that around and say, when we get to heaven and look back, "The things of earth will look strangely grim."
We live and we spend our time gathering sawdust. Everything we spend our lives to get is
perishable, outside of the spiritual. Paul says we are to present our bodies a living
sacrifice. So the body can be a living sacrifice. In the same verse he said it can be
"holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Now in its normal condition
it cannot be that. The human body is corruptible. The flesh in us is corruptible. But
once He takes us in His infinite mercy, and Romans 5 is fulfilled,
Romans 8 is a fantastic chapter. Verses 1 and 2 say,
Now, how can you harmonize death and life?
A man called me yesterday. He talked, Iím sure, forty or fifty minutes from California. Oh he was in despair about the carnality mastering his life. He said, "Well, Iím a Christian. Iím sanctified." "You are?" I asked. He said, "Yeah, but something carnal dominates me."Well, thatís ridiculous. How can you be carnally dominated if youíre spiritual? This scripture is very clear. To be carnally minded is death. I think preachers are very often the devilís advocates. They defend sin better than an atheist. They tell you, "You canít get rid of sin on this side of eternity. It has to have dominion over you." The scripture says it doesnít!
Oh, this man had just one sin of the flesh that mastered him. He could not, in any
shape or form, get the victory over it. I said, "Well, get it nailed to the cross.
Thatís the answer."
Again, Romans 6, "we are buried with him by baptism..." As I use the illustration so often,
if a man is standing here in the water, and I bury him under the water, heís cut off from the
Somehow preachers love to fall back on Romans 7, donít they?
I heard an amazing Bible teacher. He gave a great message on holiness to about 400 preachers.
But when he had taken us into the heavenlies, he said, "Now, donít think Iím preaching a second
work of grace, or that you can be really holy in this life, because even the apostle finished
up in Romans 7..." He DID NOT FINISH UP in Romans 7! There happens to be a Romans 8! In the
Greek there is no difference, there is no chapter division; we have an artificial division.
Paul says there is no answer in the law. "Oh, wretched man that I am." Sure he said that.
"Who shall deliver me from this...death?" Well, if he stopped there, we would be in trouble.
He says, "I thank God through Jesus Christ, my Lord." Thatís why he starts Romans 8:
I hate planes. As I say facetiously, "Flying is for the birds." Yet, every time that monster takes off, I try to estimate,... there are three hundred passengers in that plane, all the baggage, the many tons of gasoline...off it goes with a roar! Soon you see the land dropping away as you go up. The thrust thatís there is greater than the law of gravity. Well, then, what about the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus?
Oh, I love resurection hymns. "Up from the grave he arose!" I like that! As I said the other day when we sang it: Sing it with a sneer! "Death cannot keep its prey." "Sin shall not have dominion over us." "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free..."
Look at verse 8. "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." "Well, there you
are," some will say. "Thereís your answer." No, the answer is in the next verse: "But you
are not in the flesh." Heís talking about this flesh in one place, and heís talking about the
"fleshy nature" in the other. Verse 9: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so
be that the spirit of God dwell in you." Look at verse 10: "...if Christ be in you." And
verse 11: "...if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you." What
else do you want?
"Knowing this," Paul says, "that our old life, our old man was crucified with him."
In Romans 6:11, he says "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin." In the same verse, he says to reckon your body to be dead indeed unto sin, alive unto God in Christ Jesus. "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death," that Christ may be magnified through my body. (Rom. 8:2)
Do you remember the psalmist? He says, "upon an instrument of ten strings will I praise thee." What kind of a thing is that? A guitar? A harp? You say, "I donít have an instrument of ten strings." Well, suppose you look at it this way: Youíve got two feet, two hands, two eyes, two ears, one tongue, and one heart. Ten strings! Thatís why the girl says in that hymn,
Let my hands perform his biding;
Or, an American hymn, if you like.
Take my feet and let them be,
Take my love, my Lord, I pour,
Take my will (thatís the last area that we yield)... Take my will and make it thine...
Paul isnít even saying that Christ may be magnified by my epistles. Oh, I think he wrote the greatest things that any human being was ever allowed to write. His magnificent epistle to the Romans, the Ephesians, the Colossians etc. If you read carefully through the first chapter of Phillipians,, youíd see the position in life of the Christian. If you read the second chapter, you get the pattern of Christ. In the third chapter, you get the energy that carries the Christian through this world. In Chapter four, the Christianís superiority to our circumstances. In other words, this epistle is the whole character of the Christian life. Paul shows how to walk and work in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, of course, is the fire leader, the best example of it.
I think that Paul was the greatest genius the world ever saw.
So he shows us that man, whatever amount of genius he has, can be complete in God without even being involved in the world outside the prison walls, in its material concept, or its business concept. He is totally Godís man.
I think it was Spinoza who talked about a "God-intoxicated man." That God-intoxicated man is
the apostle Paul, in my judgment. In perils of the deep, he doesnít shake. Everybody else on
the ship is terrified. He stands by. The captain sends for him and Paul says,
I can imagine the captain answering,
"Iíve been at sea for fifty years and never gone through a night like that. I guess youíre like the rest of us, cringing, holding onto your bed, terrified..."
"No," Paul said , "I had a great night. I had a great time of fellowship."
"Fellowship? Is there another Christian on board?"
"Well, there was last night."
"Whatís he called?"
Paul said, "An angel from heaven."
He said, "Last night I had an angel visitor in my cabin. Boy, did we have a time talking about the glory and majesty of God!"
I think that experience he had is typical of the end of the age. Paul got on board that ship as a prisoner and he ended as the pilot. Everybody got the jitters. Everybody was terrified. Everybody was vomiting and yelling and screaming, and there Paul is: glorifying God!
Do you see what strange people Christians are? You know he was so amazing that when they skinned his back until it was raw, he said, "None of these things hurt me." Did he? No he didnít. You know, people say that if you get saved and filled with the spirit, youíll never be hurt, youíll never have any troubles... Well I must be backslidden, because I get a lot of them! Paul did not say none of these things hurt me, he said none of these things move me.