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To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain (a short review and recommendation of Matt Chandler's new book on Philippians)

Matt Chandler (with Jared C. Wilson), To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2013), 224 pp.

I’m privileged not only to be the pastor of a church that is an active member of the Acts 29 Network, but I’ve also been given the honor of serving on its Board of Directors. I’m excited about Acts 29 and the vision it has cast for planting churches that plant churches. Aside from one or two others, I’m probably the oldest guy in the network. I say this only to shine a light on how greatly impressed I am by the maturity of the younger men whom God has raised up and authorized to lead this group of energetic, gospel-centered pastors. One of those young(er) men is my friend, Matt Chandler. Matt is doing an incredible job as president of the network and all of us are excited for the future because of the passion and wisdom he brings to us.

But Matt is first and foremost a pastor and preacher and only secondarily a network president. His heart is for the local church and his passion is for the Word of God. Those who have heard him preach are already aware of this (by the way, has anyone not heard him preach?). This is why I’m so excited about his newest book on Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain. Having myself just concluded a sermon series on Philippians, I was happy to see that Matt had also and was now making it available in this book. I only wish he had published it earlier so that I might have availed myself of his insights and applications.

This book is not a commentary. If you are looking for an in-depth exegetical treatment of every passage in Philippians, this one is not for you. In fact, I don’t recall seeing a single Greek word in the entire book (of course, I may have missed one here or there). But that doesn’t mean Matt writes fluff. If you know him, you know he’s incapable of fluff. There is rich and challenging truth in this short book. He sets the epistle in the context of the founding of the church in Philippi in Acts 16 and proceeds to unpack its most important and gospel-centered truths. Matt not only opens up the argument of Philippians for us, he drives home in penetrating application what we most need to hear.

So, if you love the letter to the Philippians (and I’ve yet to meet the Christian who doesn’t), I highly recommend this excellent and insightful book to you. If you don’t know about Matt, this is an excellent place to begin.

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