THAT I MAY KNOW HIM
Philippians 3:4 ¶ Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 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,
Philippians 3:9 ¶ 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. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
The most glorious thing that can happen to a human being is to have The Eternal, Almighty God reveal Himself to them. For that human being shall remain just carnal and naturally minded, with no thought above his own consciousness, without that revelation. Although he dwells in the creation of God, he knows not the Holy Being without God’s purposed revelation of Himself. Yet there is so much of the invisible things of him (God) revealed in that creation, that it renders mankind without excuse in their failure to know God! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
But if the Lord God chooses to reveal Himself to any human being, that being is translated instantly from a self-conscious sinner, to a God-conscious, spiritual, and heaven-conscious saint. He is, upon this divine revelation, changed into a newness of life which he had never imagined. Listen to the testimony of Saul, the persecutor, as he was immediately changed into Paul, the Apostle. Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
It is the personal revelation of the God-man, the Eternal Son of God, at the end of the age which shall be the cause of the glorification of the entire Body of Christ. For the only reason as to why they are said to be like him is because he shall reveal himself to them in his glorified state. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
For even the effectual hope of this truth purifies the souls of those within whom it is a present grace. 1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. One cannot know God without it totally changing his own nature.
Now the words of our text, on the surface, are readily understood. There are no words in verses nine through twelve of Philippians chapter three that we do not understand. But that of which these collective words regard is a far different matter! Do we really understand the difference between the phrases, “the righteousness of the law,” and “the righteousness of faith?” And can we honestly assure ourselves that we can follow the Apostle Paul as he speaks of “the power of his resurrection?” Aren’t we just sure that he is referring to the bringing of our bodies out of the graves at the second coming of the Lord? – But that is not of which he speaks!
And what of “the fellowship of his sufferings?” Have we ever, in our entire religious experience, contemplated such a subject? Do we not always shy away from the slightest thought of our sufferings? Do we not always assure ourselves that it is only Jesus who should suffer so that we can “go to heaven?” Oh we sing, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?” And we go on to imply that, “There’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.” But no sooner than our songbooks are closed, we hurriedly remove that thought from our minds.
We even sing, “I must needs go home by the way of the cross. That there’s no other way but this. I shall ne’re get sight of the ages of light, if the way of the cross I miss!” Do we realize what we’re singing? That if we don’t go by the way of the cross, we won’t ever see, much less, get into ‘Heaven?’ And then we try to hurriedly get out of the church parking lot in order to be first in line at the steak house for lunch.
Then, when the slightest disappointment arises in our lives, we turn on God and cry, “Why did this happen to me?” Those excitable, emotional songs don’t seem to come to mind when everything isn’t according to our liking. Little do we consider that our perfect Master wound up on a horrible, cruel, humiliating cross, exposed to the public in three languages that he most certainly was a criminal. But we hide every one of our infractions of God’s will, so that no one is ever allowed to think ill of us.
We have not the slightest thought in allowing ourselves to be ill thought of, even though our Master “made himself of no reputation!” That is, he ‘emptied himself’ of all claim to perfections, even though he was the only man on earth ever to be absolutely perfect!
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
But just what is meant by that phrase, “the power of his resurrection?” Basically it means that we cannot please God by reacting to life in the energy of the religiously trained flesh! We can only please God by living in the Holy Spirit. Therefore we are dependent on Him to resurrect us from the deadness of our fleshly man, into the liveliness and spirituality of the spiritual man.
That is what the apostle was also speaking of to the Colossian believers. He was most assuredly speaking to earth-dwelling believers. But he referred to them as having “risen with Christ.” Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
For if they were “to know him,” they had to be raised up from the carnal life into the realm of the spiritual as He was! For we cannot think to know him while only practicing carnal religious traditions. If we are not raised up into the spiritual realm for the accomplishments of the tasks in the believers lives, we will then only fulfill the dictates of the fleshly man! Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
This was necessary for the Apostle John to be enabled to receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. God commanded John to be resurrected to the higher degree of the experiencing of Christ, – to Come up hither! For the old economy of the law based on animal sacrifices could not effect this. And immediately he was not in heaven! He was still on Patmos, only in the spirit! For this was not ‘the rapture of the church!’ It was the spiritual elevation of this believer into the heights of the revelation of the Holy Spirit!
The true believer is not a man on earth looking up towards heaven! That’s just a religionist! The true believer is a man in heaven looking back towards earth! Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
Sardis was a church which was not entirely depending on the Holy Spirit to raise them up to accomplish their works for the Lord. We would do well to take careful notice of their evaluation. Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
And then, what is it to know the “fellowship of his sufferings?” In this generation we are most assuredly acquainted with the matter of Support Groups. Whatever be the trials and afflictions we have endured, we seek out those who have also endured the same experiences to find comfort and instruction for endurance from them. And what we learn is that we can become so much better acquainted with these Support Group “brothers” or “sisters” than we can with our own family members who have not shared such trials. And that is the fellowship of sufferings.
“Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.”
D. W. Whittle
This experiential acquaintance comes to be so powerful in the life of the true believer that he can come to see and believe, and truly state the following with the Apostle Paul: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. “It’s not my life you are seeing, but Christ’s life in me. For I am dead to carnal efforts and abilities! For it is not just my faith ‘in’ Christ, but it is the faith ‘of’ Christ that pleases God with my heart, mind, soul, and life!”
Consider these words of the Psalmist concerning his personal experiences with the Lord’s afflictions: Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. 75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
And here are the apostle Peter’s words concerning his own sufferings: 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
If you seek good evidence that you are, indeed a true believer, look no farther than the appearance of the cross in your life. Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
The Apostle Paul stated that he could be made aware of a believer’s election by seeing the cross working in their lives. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
Christianity is not a religion! It is a way of life. It can be presented by example. 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (lives) of the wives;
Pastor Gene Breed
December 17, 2020