Summary: Continuing in study of Philippians -- Knowing God comes through an intimate relationship with Christ.
“Intimacy: Knowledge or Knowing”
Last time we looked at Philippians, we saw that Paul recognized the basis of his salvation – faith in Jesus Christ. “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ”. The salvation of Jesus Christ comes by faith in Christ’s work on the cross, not by our own works. Paul gave his Savior, Jesus Christ, all the credit, and counted all he knew, all he had achieved, and all the religious positions he had attained as rubbish—having absolutely no value.
In our human nature we want to do something that is measurable – something that can be checked off our mental list as being completed in order to know we possess salvation. We want something that is observable that confirms our salvation—usually something we’ve done or position we’ve held; but, God’s word says in Ephesians 2: 8-9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. “
Paul had come out of a life of dead works - had received salvation in Christ by faith, and had moved on to possess the relationship with Christ that salvation initiated.
In Phil. 3:8-9 “…For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, And that I may actually be found and known as in Him, not having any self-achieved righteousness that can be called my own… the truly right standing with God, which comes from God by saving faith.
In the verses we are looking at this morning, Paul speaks to us about his relationship with Christ. He passionately presents what is needed to have joy. He presents what is at the core of a mature life in Christ—what should happen in a life that has received salvation. What kind of life is that?
It is a life that is growing in intimacy with Jesus Christ.
It is a life that is maturing.
It is a life that is becoming like Christ.
It is a life that identifies us with Christ.
It is a life that possesses security for eternity yet makes a difference in this world today.
It is a life that strives for a heart-intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Can you say that your life is that kind of life?
A story is told about a little boy who fell out of his bed one night. When his mother was helping him back into bed, she asked him what happened. His reply was “I guess I stayed too near where I got in”. For some of us, our relationship with Christ is too much like that little boy…..we have become too content with knowing we have made our reservations for heaven and therefore “stay too near where we got in”.
This could not be said of Paul. He could never be content with being just saved. It would have been inconceivable. Look at what he says in v 3:10 in the NIRV, “I want to know Christ better. I want to know the power that raised Him from the dead. I want to share in His sufferings. I want to become like Him by sharing in His death.” For Paul, salvation was just the beginning.
As we move on in this passage to verses 12-14, Paul makes sure we know that he hasn’t arrived. He doesn’t want anyone to think he is bragging or that spiritual maturity isn’t attainable. He desires that His spiritual children know the secret to a joyful life that could be experienced no matter what the circumstances…. whether those circumstances are pleasing or the most challenging in life, and no matter what may have occurred in their past.
Paul wanted more than assurance of salvation and knowledge of Christ. He wanted to completely grasp, to grab hold of, to personally possess everything that Christ intended for him to possess when he was taken hold of by Christ. Philippians 3:12 NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Paul’s desire was Christ’s desire for us. We were saved to have a relationship with Him. Christ desires that He Himself be so important—so all consuming that He and nothing else overwhelms us. What does that say to you? He is everything to me. Our relationship is my driving motivation in everything I do everyday of my life.
In Colossians 1:27niv Paul tells us that Christ in us is our Hope of glory. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” His presence in us is our confidence of being with Him in heaven one day—we know that we know!