Introduction:A. This has been a wonderful portion of Scripture dealing with the life of a saved man and his right perspective both of now and eternity.
1. To live is Christ. Our lives should be sold out for our wonderful Savior. He gave all for us and we should give all for Him. We have been bought with a tremendous price and our bodies now belong to Him.
2. To die is gain. Why should the child of God fear:
a) Being with Christ
b) Being in Heaven
B. Paul said that to go is “far better” but staying was more needful. Sometimes, we live our lives for self instead of for Christ and others without realizing just how important that we are in the Lord’s service.
C. No doubt Paul was tired of the persecutions and prisons that he frequented making heaven a much more desirable option but who would fill his shoes if he died? Most believers have no concept of the dire situation that has been building for several decades:
1. More men of God are quitting the ministry than are surrendering. Bible Colleges that were once filled with mature men who had been saved and surrendered to the ministry are now declining in both age and numbers.
2. More missionaries are leaving the foreign fields than are surrendering to go. It seems that missionaries today only go to the field for 2-4 terms and then remain in the United States in some capacity. They can speak the language and are familiar with the culture making them more efficient in the work but opt to leave their field for home.
3. More workers in the local church are now taking their place on the pews instead of taking on more responsibility. We are all familiar with the old 80/20 rule that has now even gotten worse. It meant that 80 percent of church members do nothing while 20 percent do everything.
4. More and more families that were once faithful to their local church are now in and out. They are inconsistent in their faithfulness to the church because their priorities have changed.
D. As I thought upon Paul’s statement, “Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you,” it struck me that Paul has been dead for almost 2,000 years. Who was it that took his place? Who took the place of those who replaced his replacements when they died? Who will replace the faithful people who once attended Temple Baptist that are with the Lord or who will replace the unfaithful people who once attended Temple Baptist that sit at home now instead of being in their place.
E. Let me sum all of this up by saying that you and I are important!
1. You are important to your Lord. We are important to the Lord. He did not save us to sit and do nothing. We are all important. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 deal with spiritual gifts within the body. They are both diverse and important to the work and wellbeing of the local assembly.
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 For the body is not one member, but many. (15) If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? (16) And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? (17) If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (18) But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
2. You are important to your church.
a. Your presence is important! Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
b. Your abilities or gifts are important! You are needed in Sunday School, the choir, special singing, and filling positions when others are sick, on vacation, or at work. The church is in constant need of work or repair.
c. You faithful giving is important! The bills get paid and missionaries receive their support on a regular basis. Our people are givers but the economy is affecting all of us. Prices keep climbing but the paychecks remain either the same or less as hours are cut at the work place.
d. Your willingness to come visitation is important! Laurens County needs the gospel and I know of no other bible preaching church in this county that has a door to door visitation.
3. You are important to your family.
a. You are important to your spouse. What a joy to see husbands and wives coming to church together. What a joy to see Christian homes where the Lord is preeminent.
b. You are important to your children and grandchildren. If we as parents and grandparents are unfaithful in front of our children and grandchildren, they will certainly follow our inconsistent examples. They need to see us parents and grandparents faithful to the Lord.