|Volume 23 Number 12 December 2021
“…We do not look [“focus” HCSB] at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV). What is our focus in life? It may not be something we’ve written down, like a New Year’s resolution, or even a conscious thought we have as we go about our daily activities. Yet, we do have a reason for what it is we choose to do. Whether it’s something that gives us pleasure in thinking about or doing, provides for a need or comes from our fears, or whatever it is, we all have motives that guide our lives. Paul did as well, and he wrote that his focus was on the unseen, the spiritual, the eternal. It really is hard thinking about what Scripture reveals to us about Paul without viewing him as driven when it comes to eternity.
This passage isn’t the only time Paul expressed that the spiritual, the unseen, the eternal, was his focus in life. In Ephesians 6:12, he spoke of how we face a spiritual battle against the forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. In Philippians 1:21 he said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In Colossians 3:1-4, Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” He taught about what will happen when the Lord returns to take His followers home to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and in 2 Thessalonians 1:10, the apostle penned that Christ “when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” Of course, near his death, Paul comforted Timothy by reminding him that “the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:18).
While we have examined some of Paul’s thoughts regarding his focus on eternity, we could add what the Lord Himself said in the Gospel records, as well as what other New Testament penmen wrote – the writer of Hebrews, James, Peter, John and Jude. Indeed, the whole aim of Scripture is to get us to focus on the unseen. While we live in the flesh today, we must keep uppermost in our thoughts how we live today impacts where we will live afterwards. As Scripture considers it serious to live life from a spiritual perspective, so should we. We must think and live conscious of eternity. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
As you start each new day, be mindful of eternity. As you go through the events of each day, be mindful of eternity. When you end your day, be mindful of eternity. Why? Because one day the flesh will fail, and we will pass into the spiritual realm, to be judged either for eternal life or eternal condemnation. If living for the spiritual, for the unseen, for eternal life, is not your focus today, spiritual bliss and eternal life will not await you in eternity. Do you live for what you see or for what is unseen? “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Think and live today mindful of eternity.
Share the Gospel
“Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only” (Philippians 4:15 NKJV). The church in Philippi was praiseworthy for their participation in spreading the Gospel of Christ. Paul earlier commended them “for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:5). From the time when the church was established at Philippi to when Paul penned this letter, Philippian Christians labored on behalf of the Gospel. They knew the part they had to play if their part of the world was to hear the message of salvation. The Christians at Philippi actively participated in evangelism.
Not only did they have a concern for souls in their region, but they also shared Paul’s concern for souls everywhere. Their contribution to the Gospel was not limited to Philippi, but through Paul, those Christians partnered with the apostle for wherever else the Gospel could go through him. In a very real sense, Paul’s labor in Christ was also their labor. By supporting him financially in his mission work, they were partners with Paul in the proclamation of the good news. While perhaps they were unable to go everywhere Paul went, they provided for his physical needs, allowing him to freely preach the Gospel. They shared with him in his work.
We can and should be involved in the work of spreading the Gospel, in much the same way as the Philippian Christians did. Certainly, we can tell others about salvation in Christ – friends, neighbors and others willing to listen. We must be concerned about souls where we live and worship! Similarly, by supporting other efforts, we can share in the work of taking the Gospel to other places. We share in spreading the Gospel in many places congregationally (and individually through freewill contributions) by providing financial assistance to missionaries, enabling them to labor in the Gospel. To share in these works is a wonderful blessing.
However, while our monetary support of such works is needed, we can’t pay off our responsibility for evangelism locally. Is there someone who could be blessed by hearing the Gospel during Gospel meetings or weekly Bible classes and worship? The Word of God is faithfully and kindly proclaimed in a way that can be clearly understood. The church building provides a comfortable environment to listen to the message of salvation. Everything is ready for them on any of the aforementioned occasions. A personal invitation could open doors for eternity. If people aren’t invited, how will they know to come? How will they know you care?
Are you personally committed – with your time, talents, energy and finances – to participating in the work of the Gospel here and abroad? There is no greater work than that of saving souls. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). The opportunity is ever present. May we willingly and gladly participate in spreading the Gospel good news!