Summary: It doesn’t matter what we know or how much we know, unless we have an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ we are nothing and have nothing. Paul shows us how to gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
Christ Our Goal
Reading - Philippians 3: 1-14
When a little boy fell out of bed and his mother asked him how it happened, he replied, “I stayed too near where I got in.” For many Christians they conduct their lives in the same way. They become satisfied that their sins are forgiven and they become satisfied that there is a place for them in heaven. In other words, they stay near “where they got in” and as a result they experience spiritual boredom and ineffective lives.
Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles could never be accused of settling for where he got in. His life was revolutionized through getting to know Christ. Paul believed that the greatest thing that ever happened to him was getting to know Jesus Christ. He said to the Philippian believers, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (v.8).
Knowledge is a tremendous asset to have. Without knowledge we wouldn’t be able to accomplish much. But too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially if our knowledge is grounded in the wrong areas.
A young university graduate crossed a large river on a barge. An elderly, worn, gentleman was driving the barge. The university student asked the old man three questions: 1) “Do you know anything about physics?” “Nope”, replied the old man.
“Then 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” 2) “Do you know anything about philosophy?”
“Nope”, replied the old man. “Then another 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” 3) “Do you know anything about social sciences?” “Nope”, replied the old man. “Then another 1/3 of your life has been wasted!” Suddenly, the barge hit a large object, took on water rapidly, and overturned. Both men were thrown into the water. The old man cried out to the young student, “Do you know anything about swimming?” The young man replied “No.” “Then your whole life is wasted!” replied the old man.
We may have a tremendous amount of knowledge, but without a knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are nothing (cf: John 20:31).
If anyone knew what he was talking about, it was Paul. He had tremendous credentials (vv.4-6). He had a background which pointed to him being the “cream of the crop” in the Jewish world. He had everything a Jew could wish for, but on the road to Damascus Paul found something far better – Jesus Christ.
When Paul came to know Jesus Christ, he received:
1) A New Perspective – “..he counted all things but loss..” (Phil. 3:8)
Although Paul had a great reputation, a tremendous Jewish heritage and high religious achievements he counted “all things but loss” (v.8). He measured all these things against what Jesus Christ had to offer and considered them to be “rubbish”. All of his achievements were actually a hindrance to gaining a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Some would have thought Paul to be a fool but someone else once said, “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose”. Paul lost his religion and reputation, but he gained far more than he lost. His life was now governed by eternal values instead of temporal values.
2) A New Position - “..and be found in him..” (Phil. 3:9; cf: 2 Cor. 5:17))
Paul’s knowledge of Jesus Christ was an intimate knowledge. To be in Christ, united to him, was his goal. Paul’s desire was that others might recognize that he belonged to Christ. That’s why in most of his letters he wrote that he was a “bond-slave” of Jesus Christ.
3) A New Possession – “..the righteousness which is of God” (Phil. 3:9)
Paul received a right standing before God. He no longer stood in his own righteousness.
For Paul, the greatest thing that ever happened to him was coming to know Christ (Phil. 3:7). But, the greatest thing that is going to happen to him during his lifetime is getting
to know Christ better (Phil. 3:10). Paul did not “stay where he got in”. His desire was to know more.
4) A New Passion – “..that I might know him..” (Phil. 3:10)
This is Paul’s crescendo. This is Paul’s ultimate desire. This is Paul’s supreme goal, to know Christ personally and intimately.
Q. How do we gain a better knowledge of Jesus Christ? How doe we get to know someone better?
To get to know someone really well takes time.
A marriage can only develop and mature as the partners take time to get to know each other. I know John Horton as one of our elders and others of you know John as well. But there is someone here in our midst who knows John better than all of us put together – Joanne Horton!!! Why? Because she has spent more time with John than anyone else and therefore knows him better than us. A person who spends more time with another person will know that person better than anyone else.