According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always…
I. Every bad man is an injury to creation. God may, it is true, overrule this for the general good. If an unholy man has been of any service he has been made so in spite of himself; he never designed it or desired it. If he has, like a lighthouse, served as a warning to others, that is God's work. Every good man is useful and aims to be. But how is a good man to be useful.
I. BY MAGNIFYING CHRIST.
1. Christ is the most splendid object in existence.
(1) He is highly thought of in heaven. There He is seen as He is.
(2) He is highly thought of in hell. The destruction of the lost comes from His presence and glory.
(3) But while heaven and hell in different ways acknowledge the greatness of Christ there are men on earth who entertain the lowest thoughts of Him, although it was on earth that He displayed His love. But there is a rapidly increasing number who count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Him.
2. While speaking of magnifying Christ it is proper to be reminded that there are some who do all they can to diminish Him.
(1) Such are they who deny him.
(2) But there are some who injure Christ though they deny Him not. They lessen Him as to the Divine dignity of His person, the magnitude of His work, the merits of His sacrifice.
(3) There are those who magnify themselves under the pretence of magnifying Christ.
3. But while some dishonour Christ there are others who magnify Him. How?
(1) Not by making Christ appear greater than He is — that is impossible. The highest created mind has never set conceived that He is so great as He is.
(2) Not by a thoughtless chiming upon His name or by the use of a few phraseologies; but —
(3) By receiving in the letter the truths respecting His incarnation, teaching, death, etc., and the spirit of those truths which give brightness to the intellect, love of righteousness to the heart, vigour and grace to the character, and bind the soul to the Infinite.
4. It was thus that Paul magnified Christ. Not only was the Christian system as a whole confirmed in Him, but its distinguishing doctrines.
(1) That God is willing to pardon the chief of sinners.
(2) That the power of God can make the greatest sinner ask for mercy.
(3) That by the grace of God the greatest sinner may find mercy and be transformed into the greatest saint, apostle, missionary.
II. IN ORDER TO MAGNIFY CHRIST ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE MUST BE SUBSERVIENT TO THAT END.
1. Our active services.
2. Our afflictions.
3. Our life and conduct.
4. Our death.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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, whether it be by life, or by death.