IT IS WHO YOU KNOW
Th: Toward the Goal
Pr: Personally know and follow Jesus.
CV: “We will passionately pursue full devotion to Jesus Christ.”
I. REJOICE (1)
II. WATCH OUT (2-3)
III. PROFIT (4-6)
IV. LOSS (7-8)
V. FOUND (9)
VI. KNOW (10-11)
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Focus on the Lord to keep your perspective.
• Be on your guard for those twisting the Word.
• Realize the weakness of works.
• Place your faith in Jesus alone.
RMBC 06 July 08 AM
You have probably heard the saying…
1. Who do you know?
It is often an important question when you are looking for a new job or position, isn’t it?
If you have a connection with someone the other person knows, it can help you get noticed and perhaps even interviewed.
All because you know someone…
As many of you know, our son JJ has taken the director position at LeTourneau Christian Camp.
Not long after he arrived, he received a call from the pastor of First Baptist Church of Naples.
And this pastor wanted to know what was going on with the transition there at the camp.
JJ then explained that he was the new director.
And the pastor was peppering JJ with questions about himself and his experience.
And then, the pastor asked JJ, “What was your last name again?”
“Oh, I have a pastor friend whose last name is Decker – Paul Decker. You don’t happen to know him?”
“Yeah, that’s my dad.”
And in that moment, the pastor relaxed, “And your grandfather is Jim Decker?”
“Yes, that’s my grandfather.”
This pastor and JJ became immediate friends because of who they both knew.
Sometimes, it is who you know that will give you credibility.
We have been studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians under the theme “Toward the Goal.”
And for Paul, getting to that goal, well, it is all in who you know!
Paul’s first command in this section is to…
I. REJOICE (1)
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2. Joy is a priority.
Paul sees that joy is a priority because if you are always rejoicing, you will not go astray.
Your heart will be centered on the blessings of God.
You will always be seeing God at work in your life and surroundings.
ILL Perspective (S)
Rejoicing in the Lord gives the Christian believer a different perspective of life than what the world offers, for example:
"A Coloradan moved to Texas and built a house with a large picture window from which he could view hundreds of miles of rangeland. ’The only problem is,’ he said, ’there’s nothing to see.’
"About the same time, a Texan moved to Colorado and built a house with a large picture window with a great view of the Rockies. ’The only problem is I can’t see anything,’ he said. ’The mountains are in the way.’"
Rejoicing in the Lord will bring contentment — no matter where you are or what is happening to you.
3. Joy gives perspective.
When you see God at work in you, you see that God is blessing you.
And so, you find contentment no matter what the situation is.
Paul leads this section with the command to rejoice, because he knows that potential trouble is about at Philippi.
So, he tells them to…
II. WATCH OUT (2-3)
Watch out, guys.
Don’t let them steal your joy.
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.
Paul’s warning is…
4. Be on your guard for those that twist the meaning.
Be on your guard for those that twist the meaning of the good news.
Paul’s warning here is meant to be no compliment.
When he uses the word dogs here, he is not talking about our domesticated pets.
No, he is referring to wild dogs that run the street.
They are mangy, flea-bitten, and vicious scavengers, who will attack humans.
Paul is referring to the Judaizers.
They were snapping at Paul’s heels, following him from place to place, barking their false doctrines.
As far as he was concerned, they were carriers of a dangerous infection.
He did not like the Judaizers because he was convinced that they were distorting the good news of the gospel.
They were requiring Christians to keep the letter of the law – including circumcision and the dietary law.
Their confidence was in the flesh.
In other words, they believed that what they did pleased God.
So Paul uses an interesting argument here.
He says if you believe that your circumcision is what brings you close to God, it is in reality spiritual mutilation.
Because physical circumcision was supposed to bring something much more profound into your life.
Physical circumcision was to lead to real circumcision – a true devotion of heart, mind, thought, and life.
Paul writes it this way…
For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh — though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
See what he says at the end there.
Paul knew what it was to have confidence in the flesh.
He knew what it was to consider your life all for…
III. PROFIT (4-6)
…in the sight of God.
5. If being religious impresses God, Paul was the best!
Paul knew it.
When it came to doing everything right, no one compared to Him.
He had the pedigree.
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless.
Paul, right from his beginning, had the ritual down.
He was circumcised on the eighth day according to the law.
He was the right race – born of the nation of Israel.
He was born a Jew.
He was not some lowly Gentile convert.
He had a superior rank – coming from the tribe of Benjamin.
The tribe of Benjamin had a distinguished history, including the fact that it was the one tribe outside of the tribe of Judah that was consistently loyal to the line of David.
He was a master of the Jewish tradition – a Hebrew of Hebrews.
He was the best of the best.
He studied under the famous rabbi Gamaliel.
He faithfully kept the language.
He faithfully kept all the traditions.
He was religious – as to the law, a Pharisee.
He came from the most respected sect in Judaism.
They were the most separated.
They were the most demanding.
They were the most popular with the people because they were unafraid to take a stand against the Roman occupiers.
When it came to sincerity, Paul had it.
As to zeal, he was a persecutor of the church.
He believed he was doing meritorious work, work that would gain God’s favor.
He was determined to love God and hate what offends Him.
When it came to works, he had them.
When it came to establishing righteousness via one’s works, he was under the law blameless.
He was perfect before men.
He kept the letter of the law.
Paul had been a man on the rise.
A promising career was before him.
But there was a problem.
He was measuring righteousness against the wrong standard.
For him, his righteousness was a…
IV. LOSS (7-8)
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…
You see, Paul understood that…
6. Works are worthless if you don’t get Jesus.
Interestingly, his qualifications were not neutral.
In fact, he considers them a disadvantage because they kept him from Jesus.
So he gives them all up.
He uses a very vivid word here to get the point across.
When he says the word rubbish, it is stronger than that.
He says that it is dung.
It is complete waste.
Because the only thing really worth having is Jesus.
That’s the only thing.
In comparison, everything else is of no value.
For all Paul wants is to be…
V. FOUND (9)
…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith —
7. Faith connects us with Jesus.
Paul’s goal is to be found in Christ.
He wants to belong to Jesus.
He wants this because he has learned that self-righteousness doesn’t make it.
He wants to be in Christ because any kind of works righteousness has proved to be worthless.
I have often confessed to you that I am not a good swimmer.
In fact, I am more of a sinker than a swimmer.
One Monday morning, my sophomore year of high school, I was taking a swimming class.
It had been a tough morning as I had learned that one of my best friends had been foolishly murdered in a gas station robbery.
It was an awful day.
And I was in the pool, treading water, very much distracted, thinking about my friend.
I had gotten too far out into the middle of the pool and was really exhausted, for treading water is not a simple feat for me.
And I went under.
That was a scary feeling.
I can’t even describe it to you.
The only thought I had was that I would soon be joining my friend.
In my panic, I pushed my way back to the surface and came up into a lifesaver.
What a feeling that was.
The teacher had thrown it into the water when one of my friends had called for help.
And I have always felt that I did not have that lifesaver, but that, it had me.
I think the righteousness of Jesus is like that.
I need it to have a hold of me.
Because my works righteousness is me treading water, and eventually I am going down.
It is inadequate.
So, how does this happen?
Paul tells us that it happens by faith.
It happens when you trust your life with Jesus.
It is letting Him be the lifesaver and letting Him hold you.
It is a total commitment to Jesus.
It is giving all one has and is to Jesus.
I like how this is translated in The Message…
I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ — God’s righteousness.
You see, our hope is not in our in doing, but rather in who we…
VI. KNOW (10-11)
…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Paul says knowing Him is everything.
And it is an intimate knowledge.
It is the knowledge that comes with a personal relationship.
It is discovering and experiencing that the omnipotent God of the universe is Friend, Master, and Companion.
8. Knowing Jesus is a powerful experience.
When we become Christians, Jesus comes to live in us, and thus, we experience the living and life-giving Christ.
This is the power of the resurrection.
For Jesus has established His power in both the physical and spiritual realms.
He proved once and for all that our ultimate enemy, death, had no hold on Him whatsoever.
This means then that we have the power to live a different kind of life.
It is a life that can defeat the temptations and trials that come our way.
It is a power that helps us to lead a holy life.
It is a power that enables us to boldly proclaim the gospel.
But note this as well…
9. Knowing Jesus is also a painful experience.
It is the fellowship of His sufferings.
So, we share the life He experienced.
We share the way He walked.
We share the cross He bore.
We share the death He died.
We are, as Paul puts it in Galatians, crucified with Christ.
None of us really want the ridicule, questioning, and abuse that come with standing with Christ.
We only want the blessings.
But we prove that we truly belong to Jesus, when we are willing to live out our faith to the very end, regardless of the personal cost.
10. As a believer in Jesus, don’t settle for where you are in the relationship.
Sometimes we can allow ourselves to be comfortable with a Christian lifestyle.
We just settle in and let it happen to us.
We fail to be deliberate in our relationship with Jesus.
But if we truly are a believer in Jesus…
We will passionately pursue full devotion to Jesus Christ.
How can it be anything less?
It is no less than full devotion.
Full devotion is submission to Jesus as Lord.
It is fulfilling God’s mission for our lives.
It is growing in Christlikeness.
Full devotion is employing our resources for His use.
Folks, please don’t settle.
The greatest relationship in the universe is right before you.
Don’t waste the opportunity.
If today, you know you are not a true believer in Jesus, or you are just not sure, please understand this…
11. The greatest decision that one can ever make is to personally know and follow Jesus.
In a moment, I am going to share with you how you can personally know Jesus.
But first, I want to share with you what does not save you.
A prayer with just the right words does not save you.
Neither does going forward at an altar call.
Raising your hand or signing a card does not guarantee a relationship with Jesus.
A lot of people think that living a moral life will get you to Jesus.
The truth is, though, that many a person lives a commendable life, characterized by honesty, kindness and generosity.
But no matter how good you are according to the world’s standards, it does not give you confidence regarding one’s spiritual state
A lot of people know the facts about Jesus.
They know that He lived and died and rose again.
But getting the facts right does not guarantee anything.
After all, the demons also have the facts right.
Some people think that if they faithfully attend church that will mean they are in.
If they do just all the church tells them to do, everything will be okay.
So, they get baptized, take communion, and participate in all the rituals of the church.
But that does not do it either.
The only thing that does it is a personal relationship with Jesus.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Jesus knocks at your heart door today, waiting for the invitation to come in.
Will you ask Him in?
Will you take the gift of salvation He offers?
Will you take the relationship He promises as you trust and follow Him?
For Further Study: Acts 9.1-31; 15.1; Romans 4.1-8; Galatians 2.20; II Timothy 3.12; Hebrews 11.6; James 1.2; I Peter 4.14
If you already have or need to make a decision about knowing and following Jesus today, I will be happy to speak with you. I will be remaining down here in the front and will be available to you after the worship team finishes their last number.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Two weeks ago, we studied these words…
Read Philippians 2.1-11
So, if you know Jesus today, you are invited to share in the elements of the table.
You do not have to be a member of our church, but we do ask that you know Jesus and have a relationship with Him.
We practice “communion” because we are to remember the death of the Lord Jesus.
We take the bread to remind us that it was by the body of our Savior that our salvation came.
He died in our place.
He became our substitute.
We take the cup to remind us that it was by the blood of our Savior that our salvation came.
He died for our sins.
He became our sacrifice.
The apostle Paul writes, "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
Let’s partake together.
Again, the apostle Paul writes, "In the same way, after supper he took the cup saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
Let’s partake together.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Bond, Steve The Highest Priority
Drake, James Pressing On: Guarding Oneself
_____ Pressing On: Paul’s Personal Testimony
Gillespie-Mobley, Rick Do You Have Works or Relationships?
Barclay, William. The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1959.
MacArthur, John, Jr. Philippians. The Macarthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 2001.
Stern, David H. The Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., 1992.
Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament. Colorado Springs: ChariotVictor Publishing, 1989.
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. 3 vols, vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978.