I Just Want To Go Home!
Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
- Paul’s Dilemma – For I am an in a strait betwixt two – vs. 23 (literally; pressed)
- Paul’s Desire – having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ – vs. 23b
- Paul’s Decision – to spend the time he had left doing something to help people – vs. 24-26
I. Because of his Encounter on the Highway
A. A New Nature
- Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
There’s nothing that will change your desires like a run-in with the God of Heaven!
Before Paul met the Lord, he had some wicked desires. (Acts 8:1-4)
- It was his desire to shut down the work of God.
- It was his desire to close the doors of the church.
- It was his desire to destroy every Christian he could find.
- It was his desire to further the agenda of false religion and tradition.
- It was his desire to see the gospel message extinguished.
But after running head on into Jesus Christ, Paul’s desires changed.
- Paul had a desire to spend time with God’s people.
- Paul had a desire to pray and talk to God.
- Paul had a desire to become a part of the local church.
- Paul had a desire to tell somebody else what Jesus had done for him.
- Paul had a desire go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.
- Paul had a desire to depart and to leave this ole sinful earth and to be with Christ!!
I believe one of the reasons that so many church members have the wrong desires is they’ve never had an encounter on the highway and been transformed by the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ!
B. A New Name
When Paul got saved, the God of Heaven became his Father.
His name was changed from Saul to Paul.
Saul means “desirable”. Paul means “little or small”
John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
He had a new identity.
He was no longer known as a Pharisee, but as a Christian.
His new job was no longer to make himself popular, but to make Jesus known to the population.
II. Because of his Endurance of Hardships
The text of this passage is Paul talking about his afflictions and imprisonment.
I imagine Paul was about sick and tired of the suffering!
- II Cor. 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
As Paul wrote this epistle, he was sitting in a Roman prison. See Phil. 1:7; 13-18
There’s nothing that will make a child of God want to see Christ and depart like a life of suffering for His name’s sake.
The hymn writer surely could relate to Paul’s “having a desire to depart” when he penned the words to this old song.
Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.
Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of heav’n – a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.
I can assure you from the Word of God – All they that live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION!
If you’re living godly, you will have a desire to depart!
If you do not have a desire go home, then you’re probably too comfortable living in this old world!
III. Because of his Exposure to Heaven
In II Cor. 12:1-4, Paul reveals that he got a glimpse of Heaven.
- II Cor. 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
The timeline of this event was 14 years prior to the writing of II Corinthians.
Many Bible students believe this coincides with the stoning of Paul in Lystra (Acts 14)
Regardless, Paul at some time got a glimpse of the third heaven, and not sure what he SAW, but he tells us he HEARD.
It made such an impression on Paul, that God give him a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble.
No doubt this exposure to Heaven was on Paul’s mind every day.
He knew what was waiting for him on the other side!
He didn’t view death as anything to fear.
- 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is GAIN.
Death was a DOORWAY to eternal bliss and rest. He couldn’t wait!!
Though we haven’t SEEN Heaven or HEARD Heaven, we have been EXPOSED to Heaven.
The book of Revelation goes into great detail to reveal to us just what is waiting for those that have been saved.
Revelation 21 describes the bliss and wonder of Heaven.
You may say, “Preacher, how do you know that what the Bible says about Heaven is true?”
- Because what the Bible said about me being a dirty, rotten, Hell-deserving sinner was true!
- Because what the Bible said about how I could get forgiveness and peace with God was true!
- Because what the Bible said about the power of the cross to transform lives was true!
- Because what the Bible said about how to find the will of God and serve Him with joy was true!
- Because what the Bible said about the blessing of living for Him every day was true!
- Because what the Bible said about how to pray and get an answer from God was true!
- Because what the Bible said about the deteriorating state of society in the last days was true!
- Because what the Bible said about many, many things have proven to be true!
- Why would God lie to us about what waits for the child of God after they die if everything He said that pertains to us while we are still alive is true?
I’m telling you this tonight –
- … if God said there would be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, then I believe Him!
- …if God said there were gates of pearl and streets of gold in Heaven, I believe Him!
- …if God said there were no need of the sun, or the moon for the Lamb of God was the light thereof, I believe Him!
- …if God said that the gates would not be shut, and there was no night there, I believe Him!
- …if God said that there would be no curse there, nor any sin, nor Satan, or anything that maketh a lie, I believe Him!
Conclusion: Are you ready to meet the Lord? Are you “Desiring to Depart”? Or are you afraid to die because you are not born again? Or because you are not right with the Lord?