Knowing Christ

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Knowing Christ

Knowing Christ

Philippians 3:7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

The Bible shows us over and over again of the change that God makes in the true saint’s life. There are different priorities. Primarily, the change takes place in our theology. The Christian is built upon a new foundation. He or she is saved through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is given a new heart that has Christ as its foundation. The true Christian sees things differently.
Carnality was a problem in Corinth, and it is still a problem today. Paul was a God-fearing man who obeyed God. He wrote exactly what God told him to write. Paul did not need to know what the recipients were doing. He needed to know the true God.
A true pastor does not need to follow his people around to see what they are doing. He just needs to be a humble servant of the Lord and preach the whole counsel of God. If he does that, God will use that man to address the needs that people might want to keep secret, but they will be addressed.
In verse 7 Paul continued from where we left off yesterday. He had been part of the Pharisees. He had been very zealous. He would have spent several years in training with the Pharisees. We do not know how much that would have cost him, but it would have kept him from earning a greater amount of money because his time was occupied in learning the Pharisaical false doctrines. Paul did not look back at that and think he had too much invested there. When he was saved, he cast that all off for the sake of knowing Christ. He needed to be retrained. As we see, when Jesus was on earth, He did not work with the Pharisees. He exposed them. He taught the truth, which was diametrically opposed to the false teaching of the Pharisees. Truth has nothing in common with lies.

Romans 4:14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Paul willingly discarded the false teaching he had been trained under. He willingly accepted the truth that he was taught directly by the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 8 we see that he saw all things but loss for the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” There was nothing that Paul had received prior to salvation that equalled knowing Jesus Christ. Notice here that he acknowledged Jesus Christ not just as his Saviour but also as his Lord. That is important and often downplayed. Jesus Christ becomes the master of the true child of God. The true child of God understands he needs to be directed in all things, by the Lord Jesus Christ. He still has a mind to think. He still has desires. He humbly submits to God’s Word and with that in Its rightful place, the rest will fall in line.
Paul could leave his home and go travelling for long periods of time because serving God was of greater importance to him than the luxuries of life. It seems that Paul did not have a wife. He was not abandoning his responsibility to his wife. He did not have children that needed a father. He had fellow believers that needed teaching. He also knew that there were many lost people who needed to hear the Gospel of Christ.
It was more important to know Jesus Christ. He had suffered the loss of all things. He was writing from prison. He was not a free man. The things that Paul lost were not causing him to be depressed. He saw all that he lost as dung. He saw that as a hindrance to his ability to know Christ better and more.
In verse 9 he showed that he wanted to be found in Him. He could now identify with the testimony that Peter and John had in Acts 4. They were seen to be ignorant and unlearned men, but they were also identified as having been with Jesus. That was very important to Paul now. He was finished with his own righteousness. His righteousness was of the law. That was a vain righteousness. It was actually unrighteousness. Paul now understood that true righteousness is found in Christ. It is found through faith in Christ and of God. We see again the connection here between God the Father and God the Son. It is so clearly seen all through the Scriptures.

Romans 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Law keeping has never been the means of achieving righteousness. The motivation for the child of God is not the law. It is the love of Christ that indwells the true child of God. The true Christian does not have a checklist of the Ten Commandments on his wall that he checks off every day. He keeps God’s law, but he does that because the Holy Spirit dwells inside him.
Jesus Christ did not need to check the scrolls to make sure He was not breaking any laws. The Pharisees accused Him of breaking the Sabbath law. They had distorted that law so that they could not even keep it. Jesus Christ honoured the Sabbath. He was righteous all the time. He did not break any law when He cast the money changers out of the Temple. He restored the law to the Temple.
Paul was living by the faith of Christ and of God and that is what guided him in his writing and his living. He wrote every Word that God wanted him to write. He could not be condemned as a hypocrite. He was able to be a blessing to many people because his words added up to his actions. Kings and governors could not discount what he said. The Judaizers tried to expose him, but they were the fools, not he.
Paul continued to show us his motivation in verse 10. He wanted to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. That power was a power that is not known to the natural man. Paul had been given life in salvation. He still needed to know how to function more in that life that he had been given. He needed to know how to be completely surrendered to the authority of Jesus Christ; that his every breath and his every action would be according to God the Father.
Paul also wanted to know the fellowship of His sufferings better. He wanted to be content in serving God and not having any fear of death. When we look at Paul, we see a man who was not threatened with beatings or imprisonment. He was a very bold man. However, Paul needed to grow in his understanding and acceptance of that life. Christians do not go out looking for trouble. There are professing Christians that love to get in the news. They think they are just defending their rights. True Christians are commanded to be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what we are told to do. We need to stand strong on that ground. There are many things in this life that we used to be accustomed to having. We are losing them rapidly. We are wasting our time if we join the protests for those things. We need to keep our eyes set on the prize that Paul speaks of further in this text.
Paul knew he had not arrived. I believe his testimony puts many of us to shame. I know I have much to learn in this area.
When a true saint forgets about himself and just serves the Lord, God can bless. It does not mean we will have large crowds of people coming and many souls saved. It means that we will be a blessing to that individual that God sends our way. When we are given the opportunity to speak, we do not weigh the response of the people in our decision making. We listen to God’s direction and we trust Him to be glorified as we obey Him. If people do not like what He wants us to say, they will answer to Him. We need to just get to know Him better and serve Him more faithfully. As we see in the apostle Paul, he had a great impact on many lives. He is still having an impact on us today. His testimony did not die at his death. It carries on. Every true saint can have a testimony that reaches beyond his or her lifetime. That is a great blessing.
Pastor Bartel

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