That I May Know Christ: Philippians Series #17
The Apostle Paul was on a journey one day on the Damascus Road, and on that road, he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, “Who art thou Lord?” The Lord replied, “I am Jesus.” The day the Apostle Paul met Jesus; his life was forever changed. It was never again the same.
I wonder if you have met Jesus. Have you had that wonderful experience of meeting Jesus? If you have met the Lord Jesus Christ and have become personally acquainted with Him, it has changed your life forever. In John 17:3, we read, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Paul met the Lord Jesus and could say, “I know Jesus.”
It is possible to know about a person and not really know that person. There is a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. You can have knowledge in your head, but you may not have knowledge in your heart. In Romans 10:9 we read, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
You can have the knowledge of Jesus in your head, but you do not have the knowledge of Jesus in your heart until you have that personal relationship with Jesus. We are reading the words of this man Paul who had met the Lord Jesus. He knows Jesus as his personal Savior. It is very interesting in Philippians 3:10 that he begins the verse by saying, “That I may know him.”
Wait a minute, Paul. I thought you already knew Jesus. I thought you met Jesus on the Damascus Road. I thought you had that personal experience with Him. Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, and yet now he is saying, “That I may know him.” Now, of course, you and I know that when you first meet someone that’s just the beginning. You don’t know everything there is to know about an individual on the first acquaintance. You learn more about people as you go along.
If you are married, when you met your husband or wife, you certainly didn’t know everything there was to know about him or her. There are many surprises that come along the way. When you are getting to know someone, there is the beginning experience. But then as that relationship grows and develops, you learn more and more about that individual.
That’s what Paul is talking about. Paul is saying, “I want to know Jesus better. I want to know more about Jesus. I want to know more about what it means to know Him.” Verse 10 opens one of the greatest passages in the Bible on the subject of knowing Jesus in a personal and powerful manner.
I. Our Relationship With Christ
Brings Empowerment To Our Life
We will notice in verse 10 that knowing Jesus brings power into our life. He says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” Wow! This relationship brings power into our life.
A Desirable Power
We learn from our text that this power of God is desirable. We need and must have the power of God. Mankind has great power in many ways. Yet, for all of the great power we have, we still understand that we are very weak individuals.
Imagine a strong man who knows how to operate earth moving equipment. He can get into a machine and he can operate that earth-moving equipment. He is strong in that way, yet when he gets home at night, he can’t control his temper and he can’t control his tongue or his foul language. Strong in one way but weak in another way.
Here is another idea. We have the power to put people in a rocket and to send them into outer space. Yet, many do not have the power to take a family and grow that family to be a strong, productive family in our society.
Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” We know that we need power because we are so weak in and of ourselves. Paul is writing about how we can know the power of His resurrection. The power of God is desirable.
A Demonstrated Power
Think about what Paul says: “The power of his resurrection.” That’s the greatest manifestation of the power of God ever demonstrated: When God raised Jesus from the dead. The fact is that Jesus died, and yet according to the Bible, He rose again! Men and women don’t have that kind of power.
Men and women, for all their power, can’t raise anybody from the dead. We can do many things with our technology, a lot with our ability, but we can’t raise people from the dead. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily put Himself in the icy grasp of death and three days later He rose again from the dead. That is incredible power!
The power of God is desirable. When we need power it’s available. Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” We see the power of God demonstrated in many ways. We see God’s power demonstrated in creation. We see God’s power demonstrated in the sustaining of the universe. But the greatest display of power is the resurrection of Jesus. This power is available to us. Paul says, “You can know the power of the resurrection of Jesus.” It is because of the resurrection that you can know Jesus in a personal way.
You can’t come to know dead people. They are already dead and you can’t have a personal experience with them. I can’t introduce you to Buddha because he is dead. I can’t introduce you to Muhammad because he is dead. But I can introduce you to the Lord Jesus Christ because 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ rose again from the dead and He is alive forevermore. His presence is with you while you read this book. We can have a personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you need this power? Would you like to have the power of God in your life?
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul writes about this same kind of power. He uses very similar terminology. He prays “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
In verse 19, Paul states, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” That’s the kind of power God says we can know! When you receive the Lord Jesus, when you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the power of the resurrected Christ is in your life and is available in your life.
Would you like to have the power to overcome temptation? Having received Christ, even though you may have the same temptations, you will realize that you have the power to overcome temptations. You may have discovered that not only do you have the same temptations, but you have the same problems. You went back on the job with the same problems you had before you met Jesus. However, you now have power to assist with these problems. The good news is that there is now the power of the resurrected Jesus available in your life to meet those temptations, to cope with those problems and to encounter those crises and come out victoriously. The power of God is available.
How is the power of God available? Would you like that power of God in your life?
I read some time ago that the average person, in our nervous system, has about one tenth of a watt of power. That’s not a whole lot of power. I don’t think that would even turn on a light bulb. Why is it that we think we can meet the issues of life and deal with the problems of daily existence in our own strength and in our own ability? Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.”
Here’s a guy and he’s got one tenth of a watt. He walks into a darkened room. He is trying to survive on that little, one tenth of power. He says, “I can’t make it. I can’t overcome the darkness in this room.” Right over on the wall, in that darkened room, is a switch. If he will just walk over to the switch and just flip the switch on, all of a sudden, that darkened room will be bathed in light.
Wouldn’t it be foolish for us to just stand there and moan about the darkness and our own weak strength when there is available power in that room and all we have to do is just flip the switch? Of course!
God has given you a switch. The switch which brings the power of God into your life is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just trust Jesus. Just turn to Jesus. Every day of our lives we should begin by claiming the power of the resurrected Jesus in our lives.
Start your day off by saying, “Dear Jesus, live through me today. I need Your power to face this job that I can’t stand. Lord Jesus, I’ve got a family problem. I don’t know how to deal with it. I want Your power.” The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available in your life. “That I may know him.” It brings power into your life.
II. Our Relationship With Christ
Brings Endangerment To Our Life
Not only does knowing Jesus bring power into your life, but secondly, it brings pain in our life. Isn’t that strange? We are not prepared for this truth.
Read carefully what Paul states: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.”
“His sufferings:” Let’s dwell on this thought. Think about how Jesus suffered. Go back in your mind about what you know about the life of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:3 we read, “He was a man of sorrows.” The Hebrew word should literally be translated that He was a man of pains.
Think about the pain that Jesus encountered. Jesus encountered social pain. Think about the hometown of Jesus. He was brought up in a little hill town. They talked about Him and made fun of Him. Can you imagine the pain of being rejected by your own hometown?
Think about His family. At the height of His ministry, His family came to get Him. They thought He was crazy. Think about the social pain of your own family thinking that something was mentally wrong with you.
He encountered emotional pain. Think about the things that people said to Jesus. They called Him insane. They called Him illegitimate. Do you know how terribly painful the things that people say to one another are? Jesus went through emotional pain.
Jesus went through physical pain. Jesus had a perfect body. His body was the only body ever brought into existence, on this earth, that was not tainted by human sin. Our bodies are weakened by sin. Drugs weaken the body. Alcohol weakens the body. All of these things weaken the body. We become jaded because of sin.
But His body had its sensitivities to the highest degree. Think about what pain the thorns brought. Think about the pain of the nails. Think about the pain of the spear. He knew physical pain like nobody ever has on this earth experienced.
Jesus experienced spiritual pain. That’s the worst kind of pain Jesus felt. The worst pain that will ever be known is for a soul to die and go to hell. Jesus, on the cross, endured the pains of hell. Think about the pain, His sufferings.
Paul said, “I want to know the fellowship of his sufferings.” What is he talking about? What do you mean by sharing in the pain of Jesus?
In Colossians 1:24, we read, “ Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am supplementing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions in behalf of His body, which is the church.” Paul is saying, “I want to fill up that which is behind the afflictions of the sufferings of Christ.”
In 1 Peter 4:13, we read, “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed.” He’s saying that believers partake in the sufferings, the pains of Christ. As Christians we experience the same kinds of things Jesus experienced were He continuing to live on this earth. We share in those pains.
We read in Isaiah 53:5, “But He was pierced for our offenses” That’s His pain. “He was crushed for our wrongdoings.” That’s His pain. “The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him.” That’s His pain. “And by His wounds we are healed.” That’s His pain. We can’t enter into those kinds of pains. He suffered in order that souls might be saved.
But there is something about the Christian life that brings pain into our existence because of our relationship with Jesus. Let me illustrate it this way. You fall in love with someone and they become your mate. You love them dearly. From that point on whatever pain they endure, you endure. If your wife gets sick and hurts, men, you hurt. If your husband suffers, you suffer. When you love someone and know someone, you enter into their pains.
We don’t like pain. I don’t like pain. I just don’t want to be around when it happens. When I go to the dentist, I want my gums numb because I don’t want to feel pain. We want to do anything we can to kill the pain. But I have found out that it is the painful experiences in life which draw us closer to Jesus and teach us more of who Jesus is and what He can do in our life.
III. Our Relationship With Christ
Brings Enlightenment To Our Life
For many people life has no purpose. Many people are just living their existence and it is totally meaningless. They have no sense of direction or purpose. They have no goal or motivation in their life. That’s why they turn to all kinds of things. They try all kinds of things like alcohol and drugs. They look for all kinds of amusements. They wrap themselves up in material things because life has no meaning. But when you come to know Christ as your Savior, He gives you a purpose in life.
Our Immediate Purpose
What’s the purpose? In the rest of verse 10, he tells us what God’s immediate purpose is for our life. Then, in verse 11, he will tell us what God’s ultimate purpose is for our life. What is God’s immediate purpose? Read carefully the end of Philippians 3:10: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Jesus says, “If you give your life to me and come to know me, I will give you a purpose in your life.” Visions of romance and visions of adventure come into our minds. “That’s wonderful Lord. You’ve got a plan for my life. What’s it going to be? I can’t wait to find out what it’s going to be. What’s your purpose for me?”
He says, “I want you to die.” You say, “Lord, that’s not exactly what I had in mind.” But that’s what Paul says. “That I may know him, being made conformable to his death.” God says, “My immediate purpose for your life is that you may die.”
In the New Testament, there are two crosses. There is the cross of our Savior, but then there is our cross. Jesus said, “If any man come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.” Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ.”
Crucifixion is not something you can do to yourself. If you have a hammer and nails, you can drive the nails into your feet. You can drive the nail into one hand, but the other hand you can’t. That means that every day of our life we come to the Lord, and we say, “Lord, let’s have a funeral this morning.” Paul says in I Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”
The immediate purpose for your life is that every day of your life, you die to your own desires. You die to your own plans. That’s the only way to become useful in life. That is the only way to fulfillment in life. The only way to be helpful in this world is to learn to die to yourself. You can’t have a resurrection until you have had a crucifixion.
Our Ultimate Purpose
In Philippians 3:11 we read, “If by any means.” He’s not expressing doubt, but a spirit of humility. Paul is saying, “I don’t deserve it.” He says, “If by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Literally this passage means to experience resurrection from among the dead ones. God is saying, “You come to know Jesus as your personal Savior, then one of these days I’m going to raise you again from the dead.” Hallelujah!
You may die physically but there is going to be a resurrection. One of these days God is going to take you out of the grave. One of these days God is going to deliver you. You are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and you are going to be eternally with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote it this way: “Then shall I know even as also I am known,” and forever you will get to know more and more of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Would you like to meet someone like this? From among the dead ones there is going to be another resurrection. Jesus talked about it in John 5:29. He talked about the resurrection unto life and the resurrection of condemnation.
The Apostle John in Revelation 20:5, talks about the first resurrection. If there is a first resurrection, then that suggests there is going to be a second resurrection. But in order to be in the resurrection from the dead ones, you’ve got to know Jesus as your personal Savior.
I met Jesus when I was a 12 year old boy. It was on a Sunday morning. I gave my life to the Lord Jesus. I invited Jesus into my heart and into my life. As a 12 year old boy, a new person came into my life, someone I had never known before. I had known about Him. But that morning I came to know Him in a personal way.
Some people when you meet them, the more you know about them, the less you like them. The more you know about them the more inconsistent they are, the more you realize all of their faults and their failings. But I want to tell you something that has happened in my life and it’s happened in the lives of billions around the world. The day you meet Jesus, from that day on, the more you know about Him, the more you love Him. You can truly sing, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more.”