Summary: Three part series based on Paul’s great goals in Phil 3:10: "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."
God’s Greatest Goals for Your Life Part 1: To Know Him
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Oct. 25, 2009
*One of God’s greatest goals for our lives is to know Him. The greatest believers in history are those who had great passion to know God.
-In Exo 33:18 Moses pleaded with the Lord, “Please, show me Your glory.”
-Psalm 42:1 cries out to God: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”
-Here in vs. 10, though Paul has known the Lord for 25 or 30 years, he longs “to know Him” more!
*And God wants us to know Him better -- understanding that this word “know” does not mean just knowing facts about God. It does not mean knowing God in a casual way. This word “know” is talking about experiencing God in a close, personal relationship. When Paul said, “I want to know Him,” he used the same word the Bible uses for the close relationship between husband and wife. That’s how much Paul wanted to know God. And that’s how much God wants us to know Him.
1. Jesus wants you to know Him first of all, because He can give you an excellent life.
*As Paul said in vs. 7-8:
7. What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
*Paul talks about the excellence of knowing Jesus. The NIV calls this the “surpassing greatness” of knowing Jesus. Paul is telling us here that nothing could be better than knowing Jesus.
*Here’s the background: Paul opened this chapter with a world class religious resume. Listen to vs. 4-6 from the New Living Translation. Paul said:
4. I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
5. For I was circumcised when I was 8 days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What’s more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.
6. And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.
*Paul had a first class religious resume. It was his security, his source of confidence and well-being. But then Paul met Jesus Christ, and his life was changed forever. Paul saw that his self-confidence was nothing compared to the Savior! So in vs. 7&8, Paul said:
7. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss (or worthless) for Christ.
8. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish (or garbage), that I may gain Christ.
*Paul saw that everything he had was trash compared to the treasure of Jesus Christ. And what Paul found out in vs. 7&8 is true for any kind of human achievement.
*James Dobson was reminded of this in a remarkable way.
-The story started when he was in high school.
*Jim’s great ambition back then was to win the school’s tennis championship.
-He worked and practiced until he finally won. -It was a great success, and Jim was very proud to see his tennis trophy in the school’s trophy case.
*But years later, much to his surprise, the trophy arrived in the mail. -- The school was being remodeled, and someone had found Jim’s trophy in the trash.
-Dr. Dobson said, “Given enough time, all your trophies will be trashed by someone else!” (1)
*Now is the time to understand that no earthly achievement can compare to the excellence of knowing Christ. Jesus wants you to know Him, because He can give you an excellent life.
2. And because He can give you eternal life.
*In vs. 9, Paul was thinking about God’s gift of eternal life. Here he talked about being found in Christ “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”
*Paul gave up on having his own righteousness, because our righteousness can never measure up to God’s perfection. Yes, Paul kept the Old Testament ceremonial law better than most, but his heart was filled with bitterness and hatred. Paul was so aware of his own sins that he once called himself the chief of sinners. So vs. 9 in the New Living Translation says: “I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.”