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I want to know Christ!
Thoughts from Philippians 3 as it relates to building and growing in our relationship with Christ

This morning we are going to continue our study of the Book of Philippians by taking a look at Philippians 3

A little bit of background as it regards the Book of Philippians

-Church at Philippi about 10 years old at the time of this letter.
-Philippians was written by Paul who was under house arrest. At this point it seems that he had been under arrest for about 4 years.
-Paul writing to the Philippians in response to a generous support gift that they had sent him- that his needs might be supplied. Additionally they had sent Epaphraditus to care for Paul. Of all the churches, the church at Philippi had been one of the most supportive of Paul.
-Primary theme of Philippians is that of Joy. A key verse is Philippians 4:4 which says; "Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice". Paul rejoicing because of what Christ had done for him, because of the blessings that he knew were his in Christ, because of what Jesus was doing in the lives of the Philippians, in God's provision, because of his joy in the Philippians who were true ministry partners in the Gospel with him,

Philippians 3 is filled with memorable verses

Philippians 3:7-9 "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Philippians 3:10-11 I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."

Philippians 3:12-14 "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Holding Philippians 3 and these memorable verses together is the theme of knowing Jesus. As followers of Christ our desire is to know Christ more; as such the object of today's lesson is consider the subject of knowing Jesus and how to grow in our relationship with Him.

READ THE TEXT
LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT

A. THE GREATEST TREASURE OF ALL IS JESUS. NOTHINGS "TOPS" KNOWING JESUS AS SAVIOR, LORD, AND FRIEND v.1-9

In Philippians 3:8 Paul writes "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord,..."

Of all relationships that exist, none is more important than that of being reconciled to Christ, to being at peace with our Creator, to having our sins forgiven.

Of all the treasures that one might collect nothing comes close to the treasure and gift of peace with God through Christ.

An interesting few verses that illustrate how important it is to know Christ- Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

Point: Nothing compares to knowing Christ. The call is to recognize this and to take every step to be right with Him.

Some other notes from v.1-9

a. There is only 1 way to come into relationship with Christ- by faith alone

In v.1-2 Paul warns us that we need to stay vigilant as it regards the Gospel message- there are always and will always be people who alter the way of salvation -- adding to it, taking away from it. In Paul's day it was the Judaizers (who insisted that circumcision was necessary to be saved) Note Paul's warning in v.1-2.

Note how Paul put no stock/value in works, his pedigree, his background, accomplishments v.5-8. These things do not save and have no eternal value

b. Paul's comments ought to make us think about what we value and consider important.

The world values looks, money, power, influence, shiny baubles. We feel this pull. However, we need to remember that all these things are subject to decay. They are all temporary. On the flip side the Bible tells us to be rich in good deeds and to store up for ourselves treasure in Heaven- being done in service to Christ.

A constant prayer that ought to be on our lips: "Help me Lord not to be distracted and enthralled by the material things of this life" "Help me to be generous with what You have given to me" "Help me to direct my energies towards that which has eternal value"


B. TO KNOW CHRIST MEANS BEING 'ALL IN' v.10-11

"I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."

In looking at Philippians 3 this past week, it was v.10-11 that caught my attention the most and in particular the words "I want to know Christ"

Knowing Christ is what the Christian faith is all about. Having a relationship with Jesus is the essence of our faith. To be in right accord, to be walking with Jesus- our Creator, our Lord, our Master, our friend, this is our goal. To be with Christ is our objective.

Even when I think of saying these words "I want to know Christ" I find the mere thought and the saying of it impactful. Let's say it together "I WANT TO KNOW CHRIST"


What does it mean to KNOW CHRIST? What did Paul mean?

First off: Knowing Christ is not having intellectual knowledge of Christ. The Devil knows a lot about Jesus, but he doesn't know Jesus

a. To know Christ is to be in relationship with Him

A relationship entered into by faith, by the repenting of our sins and putting our trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.

In John 17:3 it says; "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent"

b. To know Christ requires an ongoing commitment

Our goal is to get to know Jesus better. We do so by prayer. We do so thru service in His service. We do so through fiery trials as they have can help us grow in our faith (if we have the right attitude).

We come to know Christ more and more as we read, study, memorize, commit to being doers of His Word- the Bible

We come to know Christ by the indwelling work and counsel of the Holy Spirit- the Spirit of Christ who is the comforter, who convicts us, who teaches us, who strengthens us, who empowers us, who prays for us, who testifies to our hearts that we are His

To know Christ and grow in our walk means we can't set our faith on "auto pilot". We have to work the relationship. In any relationship It's easy to have an exciting relationship when you first fall in love, but it takes deliberate effort to keep ones marriage close and growing as the years go by. The same is true as it relates to Christ.

c. Knowing Christ requires prayer and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. Note Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:17-19

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."

d. For a better relationship with Jesus we need to bear in mind Jesus' intentions and present heart for us

Jesus loved us. Jesus loves us. In Christ we are the possessors of some amazing blessings. Though God's ways seem mysterious to us, we are mindful that we are loved more than we know and always Christ's intention is this: To fit us for Heaven (Ephesians 5 and the discussion of the church as the bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle)

Jesus is not against us, He is for us. Jesus is not out to get us- He is shaping and building us and preparing us to be with Him.

e. To know Christ entails a desire to get in on everything as it relates to Jesus- even the tough stuff. To know Christ requires an "All in" attitude!

This is where Paul shines the most- and scares us a little bit at the same time
Note what Paul says; " I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."

Paul doesn't shy from the tough stuff. Note his words.

-Jesus suffered, I have no problem suffering for Jesus.
-Jesus died and rose to life- I have no problem dying because I have faith that Christ will raise me to life

Paul doesn't stick to a prosperity Gospel message. He doesn't say "I want to know Christ from a position of comfort and health and wealth." Paul says; I want the road Jesus took. My goal is Jesus. The object of my faith in Jesus. I want to please Jesus. I want to be with Jesus. Whatever Christ has for me, I'm good with that.

Our goal: To know Christ. To grow in Christ. To have a life lived for Christ. To lift up Christ. To point people to Jesus- the only Savior, the Lord.

C. TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO GROW IN CHRIST REQUIRES A 'PRESSING ON' MINDSET v.12-14

It's good that we have v.12-14 for Paul reminds us that he is just like us- he had not "arrived" He wasn't perfect.

While Paul confesses to still being in process he does set out for us a very important attitude we we are to have as the followers of Christ---- To know Christ and to grow in Christ necessitates commitment, stick to it ness, perseverance, desire, single mindedness, an eye fixed on the finish line, a pressing on mindset-- twice in v.12-14 Paul talks about PRESSING ON

We need to press on! Pressing on means moving forward. To press on means that past accomplishments mean little. To press on means present sacrifice and ongoing zeal. To press on we must fight against getting 'stuck' on dwelling on the hardships of life.

As Paul exhorts "We are to press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of us" We are to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus"


D. THE END GOAL OF KNOWING CHRIST IS TO BE WITH HIM

Tying everything together in chapter 3 are Paul's words in v.15-21. In these verses Paul reminds us of that as the followers of Jesus that this world is not our home. Philippians 3:20-21 says; "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Since this is not our home, we are not get to attached to the things of this world.

In reminding of the beautiful truth that Heaven is the home of those who know Christ, Paul also reminds us that 2 eternal destinations exist: HEAVEN AND HELL

Heaven and Hell are real places.

a. Those who are the enemies of Christ are under judgment, doomed to destruction lest they turn in faith and repentance to Christ.

Paul is in no way cavalier about this "For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ". We are to have this same attitude for God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Furthermore, we are to warn people of the danger they are in, exhorting them to turn to Christ that they may be saved from their sins and the judgment to come.

CONCLUSION

A. THE GREATEST TREASURE OF ALL IS JESUS. NOTHINGS "TOPS" KNOWING JESUS AS SAVIOR, LORD, AND FRIEND

B. TO KNOW CHRIST MEANS BEING 'ALL IN' v.10-11

C. TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO GROW IN CHRIST REQUIRES A 'PRESSING ON' MINDSET v.12-14

D. THE END GOAL OF KNOWING CHRIST IS TO BE WITH HIM

We are to call those around us into relationship with Christ, that they may join us around His throne and as members as His eternal and blessed Kingdom


closing song: All I once held dear

Please read and meditate upon Philippians 4 this week.