In the book, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain, the latest book by Pastor Matt Chandler, the author invites readers to dive deeper with him into the Book of Philippians and discover its uncovered worth.

Chandler acknowledges that many are familiar with verses from the Book of Philippians, yet they’re oftentimes referred to as “coffee cup verses.” A “coffee cup verse,” Chandler explains, is one that is reproduced on all sorts of “witness wear” — it’s etched into kitchen magnets, stitched into t-shirts and yes, painted onto coffee cups. But the book of Philippians is much more than trite sayings. 

In his book, Chandler goes on to explain how the Philippian church actually began with a “Jewish fashionista businesswoman, a demon-possessed slave girl and a blue-collar ex-GI duty bound to the Roman Empire.” Possibly not who you or I would pick to start a church planting program, but God likes to do things differently.

The commentary is built on a foundation from verse 1:21 – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” and continues as an expository on the Book of Philippians. 

“I wrote the book really out of a deep conviction that the church at Philipi is one of the most mature pictures of Christian faithfulness that we see in the New Testament,” said the Dallas, Texas pastor in a promotional video for the book. “In fact, the letter itself, as Paul wrote to the Philippians, has very little corrective work in it. It has some, but most of it is just, ‘I’m encouraged by this, I’m encouraged by this … this is what a Gospel form is to people looks like’.”

“So, I thought the book would be helpful in regards to what it looks like to mature as a believer in Jesus Christ. So really, the book serves as kind of a road map or a path towards Christian maturity. As a pastor of a church I am constantly coming in contact with people who are frustrated where they currently are in their relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought that the book would be encouraging in one sense and it would be helpful in another as we kind of lay our lives or have the word of God laid across our lives so that we can see and understand that we are in process and the Lord is working in our lives.”

Most of us would agree that getting saved is easy, but continuing to walk out that salvation is a lot more work. In his book, Chandler reminds readers that we should be our lives for God fully; that everything should be about Jesus. That might sound daunting or unrealistic at first, but this pastor has a few tricks up his sleeves. To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain offers some realistic ways for readers to develop their faith with results that they can actually see and feel.

Chandler co-wrote the book with the help of Jared C. Wilson, pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont and author of several books himself. In addition, Chandler also wrote a companion book that has an Executive Summary Commentary of Philippians in the back for leaders.

To Live Is Christ has caught the eye of fellow writers as well:

“Matt’s words will kick you in the tail in the best way. We don’t want to live numb, and we often need a kick to remember life isn’t a game and God is no myth. You will find yourself craving God again and craving everything else a little less.” —Jennie Allen, author of Anything

“To know Jesus is the essence of life, and I love how Matt Chandler stirs up our affections for Him … Matt’s beautiful, practical and straightforward unpacking of Philippians will nudge you toward maturity … and a more robust walk with the Savior.” —Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church / Passion Conferences and author of Indescribable.

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