Episode 054: Life is Good!

Here’s a talk I had the pleasure of giving at Mardon Road Church in Hamilton, in December 2017.

Do you really need a sermon to convince you that being alive is being better than dead? Well if you weren’t sure, hopefully I can talk you around!

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Episode 054: Life is Good!

  1. Glad you got this sermon up Glenn, since I was on ‘kid duty’ when you came and spoke at Mardon Road church. Really enjoyed what you shared.

  2. You asked for feedback on whether you should post your recorded talks on your podcast feed. I think you should. I find it easier to listen to podcasts than read blogs. I think you should link to the podcast on Twitter when it is released as well (I’ve found interesting podcasts this way). Thanks for the podcasts so far. I hear they can take a lot of time to do well.

  3. God, I’ve missed these podcasts. Definitely post your recorded talks, Glenn. This one was excellent, as always.

    In response to people who say death isn’t a big deal, or that it is even desirable, I contend that nobody wants to die. Not even people who commit suicide want to die; they just want to escape their pain. If before taking their life someone could magically offer them a pain free existence (curing whatever pain they’re trying to escape), they would immediately say ‘Yes, do it! I want to live!’

  4. Say Hello to My Little Friend has ressurected!
    Excellent podcast.
    I will admit I have had these thoughts in life about death. ‘So what if I die?’… Mostly when things do not go well. I really appreciate the uplifting message, it would be awesome if you could do more podcasts or upload sermons!

  5. Thank you for posting another podcast episode. Just as they have been in the past, this one was excellent! Keep them coming. AS others have commented, I too prefer listening over reading a blog. It makes my drive to work much better and certainly engages my mind over topics worth thinking about.

  6. I just recently began listening to your podcasts and are really appreciating them. God bless you there in New Zealand from here in Texas!!

  7. Thanks for a great message Glenn! I have been wrestling with this topic a lot lately, more specifically in the context of healing and why we should pray for healing if our ultimate hope is in eternal life. This definitely helps my thinking. What I’m still a little tripped up by is Paul’s comments in Philippians that to die is gain? He states that it will be far better to be with Christ. Doesn’t that support your friends view that death is nothing to be frightened of but rather looked forward to?

    1. Hi Vikki. I think there are a couple of possibilities when it comes to Paul’s remark that to die is “gain.” One is that what Paul is looking forward to is not really being dead, but rather to the life that follows, which for him is an immediate experience.

      But I’m inclined not to take that path. I think the gain in question is not Paul’s gain, but rather gain for Christ, or for the church, or God’s kingdom, or something along those lines.

      In Philippians 1, Paul begins talking about his own afflictions in verse 12: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel”

      That sets the scene. The good of what is happening to Paul is the advancement of the Gospel, because “it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” And his imprisonment is good for the church, too, because “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (v. 14).

      So what is the good in Paul’s mistreatment? “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice…” (v. 18)

      And it’s not just Paul’s imprisonment that can serve this end. Even his death would honour Christ in this way: “as it is my eager expectation and hope that 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” (v. 20).

      This is what provides the background to Paul’s thoughts about whether his death would be a good thing. Only after laying that groundwork, he goes on to say:

      “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
      If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
      I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
      But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account” (vv. 21-24).

      Taken in isolation from the context, we might view that snippet as talking about Paul thinking about what is good for him (dying) vs what is good for the mission of the church (remaining alive and working with the church). But the context leading up to this was about the fact that even his suffering and death produces a gain for the work of the church, honour for Christ. That’s what I think the “gain” is.

      As a concession on my part though: It still does leave us with Paul saying that he desires to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. It’s easy to see why the “gain” applies to the earthly ministry of the church and to the spread of the Gospel, but this desire of Paul for something “far better” sounds – to my ears at least – like an anticipation of future glory, because he evidently doesn’t think it’s “far better” for the church if he dies, that would be an overstatement. It’s not death itself that he wants, of course, but what comes after (as you may know, I believe this is after the resurrection, rather than while his body is dead). I could be wrong, and maybe this comment, too, means that his death would be better for the Gospel, but it doesn’t look that way to me.

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