02/09/2014 Sunday Sermon – “I Want to Know Him”

15 Feb 2014 by Another Level, No Comments »

I Want to Know Him…Philippians 3:1-10

Pastor Jonathan Hemphill

 heavens

At a recent Bible study I made a point that God changes us through circumstances. The text we were reading was Romans 8:28 that says, “All things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.” I made the statement that just because it does not feel good does not mean it’s not working for my good. I shared a brief synopsis of my life story and concluded that everything I have gone through to date did not always feel good, but it has worked out for my good and I am in a much better place than I think I should be because God works it out.

I have been thinking so much about our lives in relationship to Christ and what does it take for people to dig deeper than the mere surface. How do I empower us toward more? I haven’t the answer, but I do know that your life’s story has to be part of your quest to know God for yourself.

The apostle Paul here in a quick letter to the Philippians church is speaking about confidence we have in our flesh. The challenge for us is we are both flesh and spirit. We cannot serve God in our flesh; we must serve God through our spirit. Flesh is contrary to God by way of our sin nature. For believers the sin nature is always in conflict with our spirit. Our flesh wants what it wants and we often have not exercised our spiritual muscles enough to overcome of our flesh, so our flesh wins.

Paul in Philippians is clear about his flesh. A quick side note too, that our flesh is not just things that are sexual, but also intellectual (knowledge). I often think our own intellect can stifle our faith because we have to reason that which make no sense. There becomes a blockade between that which is reality and that which is not. So, faith struggles in the presence of intellect. Because it has to disengage what I see in front of me to what I believe based on a hunch or an anomaly.

Paul rattles off this list of all the reason he should have confidence in his flesh. He lists accomplishments, his family origin, his education, his rites of passage, his religious heritage and comes to the end of his list to say, “but what was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”

Here are a few thoughts to ponder on…

 

1.) Everything pales in comparison for the sake of Christ

I grown to a place that everything I have means nothing and becomes less important than obtaining Christ. Why is it that we can fight for causes and champion cures, but we don’t even stand for Christ? Why is it we can put up with bad relationship, abusive friendships, but can’t stand for Christ? Why is it that everything else is more important than God and somehow when it comes to the things of God He has to wait His turn. I’ll get to you Jesus, but I have to go and do the other thing first.

Paul lifts up this fact that everything I gained to this point means nothing in my life. Give me Jesus. I need you to know that there is nothing more important that Christ Jesus, period. Paul goes a bit further in the text and says, “even more I consider everything a loss to the surpassing power of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord.

He is speaking now of a two-fold principle, one is of relationship. I’m willing to take a loss to have relationship with Christ. Secondly he speaks positional, Christ is my Lord, and I am submitted under His will. My will takes a back seat to that which Christ desires to do in my life.

 

2.) Desire to Know Christ

Just like we get to know people, we must have that same approach toward knowing Christ. The question is how do I know Christ? Wow the answer is simple yet it is difficult for most people. In his word you get to know his history, mannerism, how he did things, then how he explained what he did. You will find insight to his mission, his purpose and his passion. You will read what made him mad, what him cry and what drove his action. Also, you get to learn about his relationship with his parent both earthly and spiritually, with people, leaders, and the systems and customs of that time.

Paul talks about a righteousness that comes through faith as oppose to the law which is really about works. But then in verse ten, he starts at it again and says, “I want to know Him.”

This word know is to experience, personal knowledge, not mere facts, but a relationship. I want to know Him better. He ends that series with this most powerful statement, “I want to share in the fellowship of his suffering, becoming like him in death.”

3.) To know Christ is to know Suffering

Paul understands suffering. He has suffered a great deal as result of preaching the gospel. As a matter of fact, He is in prison writing this letter by way of preaching. What he is saying here is that there is a correlation between suffering and knowing Christ.

Many of us would not know Jesus if we had not been going through something in our lives that has driven us too him. I’m not encouraging crisis, but that is the very thing that pushes us to God. Suffering then becomes a conduit in which God uses, for us to know Christ. Jesus Christ suffered for us, He died a death that you and I could not even fathom; He was wounded for our transgression and bruised for our iniquity.

Paul is saying here that I want to know it. There then has to become a dying to our old self, our sin nature in order for us to live a resurrected life in Christ. This then becomes the brilliant picture of our Baptism, we go under the water and rise up to new life.

What then is this suffering? This suffering is the wrestle in your flesh to push you toward your spiritual awareness in Christ. The more you go through, the deeper the relationship should become in Christ.  In Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” What we go through produces something amazing on the other end. To know God is to know suffering. If I’m not going through I wonder, how much do I know Christ. This is not to say you are going to always suffer. Even our perception of suffering is jaded. Jesus did not suffer because He was doing the wrong thing. He went through because he was doing the right thing.

I wonder if there is anybody going through a test or a trial in your faith. I wonder if the enemy has assigned haters to your life. I wonder if you have been tried in any area of your life. Because if you have or are in the process then I tell you, you are in the right place, because that is where God does His best work.

Here is the good news, don’t get mad at your hater, Thank God for them, because they pushed you closer to Christ.

Don’t get mad at you terrible situation, Thank God for it, because you now have a deeper relationship with Christ.

Don’t come out of pocket with your enemy, because they have just strengthen your faith muscle in Jesus.

Your suffering produces His glory. So if you reign with him, you got to suffer with him. To know him is to go through with him. I’d rather go through with Jesus on my side than anybody us. Because last time I look in the Bible, Jesus was victorious. We win!

Paul looks at his life and gathers I want to attain resurrection from the dead. He is talking about being regenerated. In other words to spend eternity with Jesus Christ is his goal. He is not looking at this earthly vessel, but beyond this life into the next one.

You have been created to endure circumstances beyond often human ability, you have been created with a desire to know Christ and you have been created to reckon a loss for relationship with Jesus often times you just didn’t know it yet.

 

I want to know Him!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: