To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
The dictionary defines the word expendable this way: “Of little significance when compared to an overall purpose, and therefore able to be abandoned; designed to be used only once and then abandoned or destroyed.” You might remember the action film series, The Expendables, directed by Sylvester Stallone, which depicted a group of elite mercenaries tasked with a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator. The importance of accomplishing their mission made each person “expendable” when compared to the overall purpose of the mission.
In reading through the book of Acts, it is plain to see that the apostles and the disciples of Jesus saw themselves as “expendable” in the mission and service of their Lord. Self-preservation and self-promotion were as far from their thoughts as the east is from the west. They were completely sold out in the service of their Lord, regardless of the cost or circumstance, and they were willing to die for the cause. Many of them did, in fact, die in violent, excruciating deaths at the hands of the enemies of the Gospel.
Notice how the apostle Paul expressed this truth:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Do you see yourself as an “expendable” disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? How far are you willing to go . . . how much are you willing to do . . . how long are you willing to persevere in accomplishing the mission your Savior has given you? You and I may not be called on to die in the service of our Lord (as many martyrs have throughout the history of the Christian church), but make no mistake, every Christian is called to “die to self.” We are to put the self to death — to crucify our own sinful, selfish desires — in order to live for our Savior.
Think about it this way: We are born again to die to self. That death is both a one-time event when we are saved and a lifelong pursuit as we are being sanctified and conformed to the image of Christ. Please understand that the Bible never gives the impression that dying to the self is optional. It is simply the reality of our new birth and our new calling. And that means we are “expendable.”
Let’s close today with a wonderful word of encouragement from the British missionary to China, C. T. Studd, who said:
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Life is short. Eternity is forever. Let us expend ourselves for the glory of God and the good of others with the one life God has given us to live.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!