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That I May Know Him

Philippians 3:10-11

 

 

"That I may know Him"

 

1.         Knowing Christ is personal.

v. 10    Know whom?  Him!  Christianity is not an 'it,' but a HIM!

 

This is the difference between us and the world of religion.  They are about rules and we are about a relationship.  To really know Him means to know Him as your Lord and Savior.  In Matthew 7 Jesus says He will say to many on judgment day “I never knew you,” and they will be cast into hell.

 

This proves a most scary point:  It's very possible to know ABOUT Christ but not know Christ.  Many know about the historical Jesus, but they do not know the personal Jesus. 

 

ill.--How many of you were saved later in life?  You probably knew about Jesus before you were born again...but now you know Him for real!

 

ill.--Do you know Barack Obama?  Would you like to?  You probably know about him, like simple facts:  Where he was born.  [hold on]  How he helped you.  [wait a minute]  This isn't working as an illustration!  You know about him, but unless you meet him, you don't know him personally.

 

Sadly, most of our nation knows about Jesus, but doesn't know Jesus.

 

Do you have a personal relationship with God, or do you just know things about Him?

 

A second point to ponder: 

You can know Christ personally, but not know Him intimately.  But if we really want revival, then we need to know Him more!

 

This is where Paul stands out.  This is a prison epistle.  Paul wrote this from jail in Rome, awaiting his own execution.  Here he is at the end of his life and he has an intense desire to know Christ more intimately! 

 

"More, more about Jesus!"

 

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We get to know Him better thru His Word and prayer, and from choosing to walk this life with Him hand in hand.  And we can then be conformed to His image.

 

I've been privileged to know Him for 45 years now, but it's in sorrow, loss, and suffering, that I have come to know Him best as my Comforter. 

In times of need I've come to know that He's my provider. 

In persecution I have come to know that He's a friend that sticks closer than a brother. 

In times of attack I've come to know that He is my defender. 

In times of distress I've come to know that He is my deliverer!

 

And I feel I've only touched the hem of the garment of what it means to know Him intimately!

 

1.         Knowing Christ is personal....

 

2.         Knowing Christ is powerful.

v. 10    'power of his resurrection'

Power = Greek dunamis dunamis = dynamite!

 

After we are born again we begin the process of learning how weak we are and how powerful God is.  We find out that we cannot overcome temptation in our own strength / deal with the stresses of life by ourselves.

 

We live in an age of great power in technology, and we are pretty proud of ourselves.

 

ill.--NASA rockets have millions of pounds of thrust - and the amazing crawlers that get them to the launch pad, which get just 35 feet per gallon.  Each of our submarines which carry hundreds of times more nuclear firepower than was dropped on Japan.

    And yet compared to the power of God a NASA rocket is a paper airplane and a nuclear missile is a BB gun!

 

What kind of power?  Resurrection power!

 

We think of God's power at creation, to just speak it all into existence.  With all our scientific knowledge, we can't even study our own sun well enough to know the extent of its power, and yet it's just one of trillions of suns that all came to be in orbits and planes with planets and moons in perfect balance in an instant!

 

We read about God's power in judgment as He stood toe to toe against the false gods of Egypt.  Jehovah God reigned victorious as He rained down judgment on all who would oppose Him.

 

We have heard about the power of the virgin birth, for a perfect Son to be brought into the world without the need of an earthly dad.

 

But Paul didn't say, That I may know His power of judgment or the power of the virgin birth or the power of creation...but the power of His resurrection!

 

It is the greatest display of God's power that there ever was...trumping even the creation of the universe, for resurrection power is power over sin and death, which are the strongest foes which have ever existed in His creation.  His creation is wonderful, but we are a fallen creation, and yet He can pick us up!  Our life results in death, and we need a resurrection…and that takes a greater power than has ever existed outside of the One Who is the eternal life giver!

"Up from the grave He arose...with a mighty triumph o'er His foes!"

 

Paul said, I need access to that kind of power.  I need to plug in to that power source. 

    Why?  Because Paul knew that man can control an entire ship with just a small rudder, but man cannot control his own tongue!

    Today, we can guide a rover to Mars and cruise around on the surface, but we can't guide our own families in our own houses without the power of God!

    We have learned how to cure a lot of diseases, but we can't keep our own mind from lust.  We need help.  We need God's power!

 

Medical science has revealed that the electrical power in the human body [nervous system] is about 100 watts.  How foolish it is to rely on the power of our human flesh when we can avail ourselves of God's resurrection power!  It’s time for the light bulb to come on as we realize we need Him.

    We work, struggle, and strive in our own power - and for what?  Failure!  Let's tap into God's resurrection power!

 

ill.--imagine I walk into tonite’s prayer meeting room, and it is dark.  "Anyone here?"  

"Yeah preacher.  We're ready to start!"

"But it's dark."

"Is the power out?"

"No."

"Are there good bulbs in the sockets?"

"Yes."

"Is the switch broken?"

"We don't know."

"Let me try it."  [it works!]

"That's why you're our leader!"

    It's a ridiculous situation...and it's the one we find ourselves in as weak humans who don't make the simple step of deciding to flip the switch of God's power.

 

1.         Knowing Christ is personal....

2.         Knowing Christ is powerful...

 

3.         Knowing Christ can be painful.

v. 10    'the fellowship of his sufferings'

Isaiah 53:3
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:

Jesus knew pain.

Emotional pain of rejection by His own people / those He came to save / His own disciples who forsook Him / pain of slander as they called Him illegitimate, a drunk, who was demon possessed.

    It hurts to be lied about...and Jesus lived His whole life under that cloud.

Jesus knew physical pain...and not just the cross.  We forget about how much worse every pain of life was for the simple fact that He lived in a sinless body!

    You see, sin has a dulling effect on us / a desensitizing effect on our bodies.

    When they drove the crown of thorns into HIS head, it was worse, because it was a perfect head that had never even thought of sin.

    When His hands were nailed to the cross, they had never done wrong nor handled anything sinfully.

    When His feet were nailed, they had never gone where they should not go.

    When His heart was pierced by a spear, it was a pure heart, that had never once beaten for the devil!

 

And Jesus knew the worst pain of all...spiritual pain...as His own Father separated Himself from His Son on the cross...forsaking Him because our sin was laid upon Him.  That is true death...separation from God.  It is what hell is, in addition to literal fire, darkness and torment...it is separation from God...a spiritual pain that can not be comprehended!

 

"fellowship" [of his sufferings] = joint participation.

    Paul said it was a privilege to know some small portion of what suffering is, for the appreciation it gave him for his Savior!

    It was in Paul's sufferings that he got to know Jesus more intimately.  What are you willing to endure if God can use it to draw you more closely to Him?

 

ill.--as we sing hymns of Fanny Crosby, we clearly see that she knew Jesus intimately.  We can see that.  She could not see.  That blindness was thrust upon her forcefully by the wrong medicine being put into her little eyes as a child.  She could have lived her life as a victim, seeking pity.  But instead, her spiritual eyes were opened.  Why?  Because of the darkness of her physical suffering.  In the furnace of affliction she was purified as gold.  It was on the rack that God stretched her into the spiritual giant she became!

 

1.         Knowing Christ is personal....

2.         Knowing Christ is powerful...

3.         Knowing Christ can be painful...

 

4.         Knowing Christ is purposeful.

v. 10    'being made conformable unto his death'

3 great questions plague the mind of mankind:

Where did I come from?

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

    And the world has no answers, because they refuse the answers in the Word of God.

 

This is the reason that people today are so empty and lonely, and the suicide rate is so high, and those who don't take their own lives meander about like the walking dead, because they have no purpose for living!

 

But this verse makes it clear what is our purpose:  Death!

    It's talking about death to self.

 

When we die to our own ambitions and live for something greater than ourselves - THEN we begin living!

 

You want resurrection power?  Then there has to be a death!

 

Paul said to live is Christ and to die is gain!

 

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

 

    “Then” we will know Him as He is...intimately!

 

Do you know about Christ, or do you know Him personally?  If you know Him personally, do you know Him intimately?

 

Are you willing to experience the fellowship of His sufferings if that's what it takes to know the power of His resurrection?

 

You can find your purpose for living!

 

 

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