Summary: This is the second in a series of sermons looking at developing a deeper walk with Christ. It addresses the most important issue in the process, getting to know Christ personally.
Pt 2 - Knowing Christ
I want to start this morning with the same question I started with last week. How many of you want to find a deeper walk with God? Two reminders I would give you from last week. One, is that God wants a deeper walk with you. Two is the quote from William Law he writes “if you will here stop and ask yourself why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.” This morning I want to speak intently to you who are here who thoroughly intended it in your life. Last week we talked about what this deeper life looks like. Surrendered, Christ Centered, Integrated, and enduring were the characteristics we talked about. I want to share with you over the next couple of weeks the How of this deeper walk. How do I find it, how do I live it? How does my life become surrendered, Christ centered, Integrated, and enduring? For that I want to look at this passage in the letter to the Philippians. Let’s look at how Paul became these things.
Paul makes a critical distinction in these opening verses. We need more than to know about God we need to know Him. Paul takes these opening verses and tells his listeners that He knows all about God. He was a Jew - one of God’s chosen, one of the keepers of the true knowledge of God. He was of the tribe of Benjamin- His family had preserved it’s line; he came from the tribe that gave the first king to Israel, the tribe that never wavered in it’s support of David. He was a Hebrew - not only Jewish - his family had preserved its heritage. He spoke the Hebrew language and kept its customs. He was by birth a Jew, by education a Hebrew, and by choice a Pharisee - of the strictest of Jewish sects in knowing and obeying the law of Moses. Paul knew all about God, from his earliest moments to his lifelong training he knew about God. Paul, however, says all this stuff - all He knew - was just loss “in the view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.” The truth that Paul is conveying here is that if you want to trust God more, love God more, or honor God more in life - all you have to do is get to know Him more. The more you know Him the more you will trust Him, love Him and honor Him because of who He is. So How do I get to know Him better?
• You have to want to. To the degree that you want to know Him you will. Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” Notice the similarity with what William Law wrote - we are not there because we never really intended to be. God is found in personal relationship when you want to find Him.
• Be committed to spending time with Him. Brother Lawrence writes to a friend “I honestly cannot understand how people who claim to love the Lord can be content without practicing His presence. My preference is to retire with Him to the deepest part of my soul as often as possible.” During our time away Lea and I got to spend a lot of time just talking - something we all too rarely spend time doing during the regular course of life. It’s the time of close communion that brings our hearts together. Spending time with Him does not consist of meaningless prayers, or habitual work - it consists of time spent in His presence.
• Be committed to worship - In His presence worship is the only possible response of the heart. Isaiah is standing in the courtyard of the Temple - there He see’s God lofty and high exalted with the train of His robe filling the Temple - His response is a broken spirit before a Holy God “Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips.” Throughout scripture when God shows up - men fall on their faces before His majesty. We stand too proud today in the church - rather than being found weeping at His feet and clinging to His garment we are found negotiating for favors. Bargaining with God to get what we want or to justify our behavior.
• Be committed to following - Jesus said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus desires that we become His disciples - that means He is in the lead - we follow His plan, His purpose, and His desire.
Going deeper is a commitment to knowing Jesus more and following Him more closely. Are you committed to this or is this just a passing fancy?