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I Want to Know Christ

 

Philippians 3:1-11

Key Verse 3:10

 

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..."

 

We thank God for blessing us with powerful messages last four days through wonderful 2010 NJ summer Bible conference. Not only that, we had heart-moving testimonies, gracious group Bible study, joyful dancing, drama, music, and even delicious food. The Holy Spirit has been working among us and helping us from the beginning of the preparation of the conference till now. I am really afraid to say that it is time to close the conference because we do not want to leave this beautiful place and want to stay more. Before we leave, let us remind ourselves of what we have learned. What was the title of our conference? That’s Jesus is the way. Amen. All of you are A students. As all we know well, we attended the conference not to have a rest with delicious food, but to know who Jesus is with our hearts’ desire, which is a true rest for our soul. We have come to know who Jesus is personally. If asked, some might say Jesus is the living water; others the light of the world; still others the Christ. Actually, knowing Jesus is not a one-time event. It must be our life-time prayer topic and goal. In this closing message, I want to encourage you to keep finding who Jesus is in your daily life, and to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ every day throughout your life time.  In the passage of the closing message, Paul shares how much he struggled to know Christ. To Paul, knowing Christ was the reason and the purpose for his life. May God bless us to harden and firm up a strong desire and zeal in our hearts to know Christ personally and thoroughly in our mission field even after this conference through this message!

 

Look at verse 1. “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” Here Paul seems like a gentle father who keeps saying the same things to his children for their safety; “Hey, junior! Be careful! Watch out!” What does Paul keep saying in particular to those in Philippians church?  “My brothers, rejoice in the Lord!” Paul was in Roman prison in his old age as he wrote this letter, thus he must have been encouraged by other believers outside as a matter of fact. Ironically Paul, however, did encourage others, who were not in prison, in his great confidence to be happy and glad. Wow, how is it possible to be happy and glad regardless of any given situation, even in prison like Paul? Paul shows that it is possible “in the Lord.” That means, even though our current situations are tough, we have to think about what our Lord has done for us: his amazing salvation grace upon our life. And we have to think about who our Lord Jesus is. He is our good friend, shepherd, father, redeemer and even the sovereign ruler all over the universe. Our Lord Jesus still leads us to the best of all in his guidance. Amen.  

 

Look at verse 2-3. “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.” There were some people who did rejoice not in the Lord, but in something else. They were proud and glad and put confidence in the flesh because they thought they did circumcision according to the Jewish law. They might say, “What? You are not circumcised. Then, you are not a child of God,” “Believing Jesus by faith is not enough. You have to be circumcised to be saved in perfect according to the Jewish tradition.” It was not in the line with the true gospel at all. So, Paul used very strong words that are the same as curse words—dogs, evil, and mutilator in order to rebuke the circumcision party and protect other believers from being glad in the flesh. I know all of us here rejoice in the Lord, and yet in our times, we must watch out for those who rejoice and put their confidence in their good education background, job, house, car, money and all the material stuffs and even girl or boy friend and teach others to pursue them only. These kinds of things will not save us and grow us in spirit. In other words, if we are not glad or happy right now, it means we try to rejoice in something else in the world, not in the Lord. I pray that we may rejoice “in the Lord” at all times. 

 

Look at verses 4-6. Before meeting Christ personally, Paul was known as a man of great achievement. He had so many amazing things to show off. Paul was circumcised on the 8th day, just as God had commanded Abraham. He was an Israelite by birth, from the tribe of Benjamin—the tribe of Israel's first king, Saul. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, which means that he was a Hebrew-speaking Jew, in contrast to other foreign language-speaking Jews. He was a Pharisee who kept all the traditions and rules of Judaism. He was eagerly persecuting the church of God, not knowing what he was actually doing before God. He said that when it came to legalistic righteousness, he was perfect. Outwardly Paul was great man and he could be our successful role model or mentor. However, Paul’s outward greatness did not save him from the power of death. Inwardly he confessed “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Ro 7:24) One day he met the Risen Christ on the way to arrest Christians in Damascus. When he saw Jesus, he realized that Jesus is the glorious Son of God. He also realized that he was full of self-righteousness and sins. He repented of his sins and accepted Jesus’ forgiveness and became a servant of Christ Jesus.

 

Let’s read verses 7-9. Paul considered all things that he pursued in the past loss and rubbish. Why and how did Paul do so? Is it because everything was meaningless to him as in the verse--Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2)?  Personally I realized that the reason why he considered all things in the past loss is that Paul was really, truly and indeed crazy about Jesus. To be honest, I couldn’t find any other reason for his “abnormal, or somehow self-abasement behavior.”  If you are crazy about something, you definitely, naturally pay your full attention to it and want to know and have it at any cost. Then, nothing except for the thing you are crazy about comes to your mind. Likewise Paul’s heart and mind was full of Christ and wanted to know and gain Christ without being forced, considering all things rubbish simply because he was crazy about Jesus with his thankful heart. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Ro 7:25)  Paul even considered his life worth nothing to himself. Acts 20:24 says “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” In UBF, there are many young men and women are willing to abandon what is profitable to them in order to follow Christ alone. Also many missionaries here gave up their stable position, job, and family back in Korea and back in Ukraine. Do you think it is easy to give it up? No, not at all! It’s so painful. They are also human beings who want to enjoy their life to the maximum degree. They want to visit their family members on holidays such as thanksgivings and Christmas and have good time with them. However, they considered all their human pleasures and happiness loss and rubbish. You know why? Yes. They are also crazy about Jesus like Paul was because Jesus saved them from the darkness of sins and all their life problems, and what’s more, the power of death and Jesus promised eternal life. Thus, they want to gain Christ and live for his name sake. When you meet Jesus personally as your Savior you can be also crazy about him with thankfulness and want to know and gain him, considering all things loss. Let us pray to God that we may have a strong spiritual desire to continue to follow Jesus above all things in this world.

                                                                                                

Look at verses 10-11. Here, Paul speaks of his heart’s desire. To know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings and to become like him in his death is the highlight of Paul’s personal testimony. After meeting Jesus personally, Paul's greatest desire was to know the very person of Christ, because Paul wanted to be like Jesus. Once he was proud of himself but now he was no longer proud of himself. He had a single desire to grow to be like Jesus—his grace, his truth, his love, his faith, his hope, his faithfulness, his suffering, his death, his resurrection and his everything. Jesus is everything to Paul. Paul particularly wanted to know the meaning of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection which were the core of the gospel. Therefore, when we say, “I want to know Christ,” we must mean, “I want to know Jesus’ suffering and death and resurrection more and more.” Particularly we can know Jesus very well in that sense by feeding and raising up his sheep with the word of God because that’s the reason why Jesus suffered, died and rose from the dead.   

 

Look at verse 11. “…and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” What was Paul’s ultimate hope for knowing Jesus more and more? His ultimate hope was in the resurrection. He hoped to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Paul had a future hope in the Risen Jesus for himself and for all men. Because of this great hope, he gave up all his privileges and human ambition. He eagerly anticipated in the resurrection of the dead. With this ultimate hope he was willing to endure hardship. Paul wanted to taste everything Jesus tasted to obey the will of God. In this way, Paul knew Christ very personally and became one of the most fruitful missionaries in the Christian history. Like Paul we Jesus’ people should know Jesus deeper and wider. We should know Jesus, who is everything to everyone. If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was salvation and eternal life, so God sent us a Savior who is our Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many things we should know while we live on earth, and yet we should know Jesus above all things. May God bless us to continue to know Jesus more deeply and personally by serving our campus evangelization ministry so that we may attain to the resurrection from the dead in our mission field!

 

No. Subject Author Date Views
» 2010 SBC Closing Message (Philippians 3:1-11) by M. Joseph Sohn [8] file Joseph 2010.08.25 23218
24 THE OUTLINE OF THE WHOLE SCRIPTURES by Nehemiah Kim (Gwangju I,IV) - 05/10/10 [2] file admin 2010.05.17 23495
23 2010 New Year Conference 2nd Day Message (Acts 2:42-47) by M. Joseph Sohn [2] Joseph 2010.01.02 23237
22 2009 ESBC Closing Message by M. Dr. John Jun: Make Disciples of All Nations [2] admin 2009.08.31 24701
21 2009 ESBC Main Message VI by Shep. Bruno Aussant: The Word of the Lord Grew in Power [2] admin 2009.08.31 24834
20 2009 ESBC Main Message V by Shep. Georgi Kumanichliev: The Risen Christ Gives Great Commission [1] admin 2009.08.31 19565
19 2009 ESBC Main Message IV by Shep. Joachim Dietzel: Jesus Said, It is Finished admin 2009.08.31 12885
18 2009 ESBC Main Message III by Shep. Titus Keller: But Seek His Kingdom [1] admin 2009.08.31 12951
17 2009 ESBC Main Message II by Shep. Abraham Kaier: Your Sins are Forgiven [2] admin 2009.08.31 15055
16 2009 ESBC Main Message I by Shep. Eberhard Groß: Jesus, the Spring of Living Water admin 2009.08.31 13231
15 2009 ESBC Opening Message by Shep. Dr. Samuel H Lee: The Hope of God [2] admin 2009.08.31 12379
14 2009 SBC 1st Day Message(Exodus 19:1-6) by M.Matthew Kim [2] kimmatthew 2009.08.03 14290
13 2009 SBC 3rd Day Message(Acts 19:1-22) by sh. Jason Perry [2] file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 12839
12 2009 SBC 2nd Day Message(Mt 28:) by 2nd Gen M. John Park Jr. [2] file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 13016
11 2009 SBC 2nd Day Message(John 19:16b-42) by M.Barnabas Moon file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 12696
10 2009 SBC 2nd Day morning devotion Message(John 4:1-14) by Dr. Jun Hee Lee file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 12978
9 2009 SBC 1st Day Message(Mark 2:1-17) by M.Martin Ahn file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 14378
8 2009 EBC 3rd Day Message(John 21:1-25) by Dozie Uzoma [1] file admin 2009.06.30 12550
7 2009 EBC 2nd Day Message(Ezekiel 37:1-14) by Abraham Moses Kim file admin 2009.06.30 13037
6 2009 EBC 2nd Day Message1(John 11:1-44) by M.Moses Kim file admin 2009.06.30 12566