Summary: Philippians 3:7-11. What does it mean to know the power of the resurrection rather than merely knowing about it? Find out from the Apostle Paul...
KNOWING THE RESURRECTED CHRIST
- We've all heard stories of people who have found out that they possess an item of tremendous worth and value that they thought was worthless. We are fascinated when we watch a program like Antiques Roadshow and see a person burst into excitement when an expert appraiser tells them they have a valuable item. Most of us have, at least once, cleaned out our homes, our garages, or our barns, and found something that we look at twice, wondering if and perhaps hoping against hope that the old worthless nicknack that has been taking up space for so many years could make us millionaires; or even put a few extra thousand dollars in our pockets. Hidden worth is hot stuff.
- Yet every spring there is a celebration, or semi-celebration in some cases, of an event, the worth of which goes largely unnoticed. That event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Today, we need to be made aware of and reminded of the value and worth of the resurrection of the Messiah. Because hidden under the rubble of Reese's peanut butter cups, marshmallow peeps, and Easter egg hunts (all of which have their proper place), is a treasure beyond all treasures. This day, we celebrate the God-Man dying and then living again. But the celebration of this day should impact how we live each and every day.
- So let's take a look at Scripture and see, in more detail, what this treasure is and how it should be influencing every breath we take. Let's find out what it means to know the resurrected Christ.
[READ PHILIPPIANS 3:7-11]
- This passage has everything to do with our Easter celebration; with our Resurrection Sunday celebration. Because in this passage, the Apostle Paul lays out for us the value of knowing the resurrected Jesus, how one comes to know the resurrected Jesus, and what knowing the resurrected Jesus does in a person's life.
- The gospels give us the accounts of his resurrection. They tell us the historical story. They give us the Easter content, so to speak. And the letters of the New Testament begin to flesh out the meaning and importance of that historical content. For example, Paul writes of the importance of Christ's resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-21 when he says: Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
- The argument is that the resurrection is the centerpiece of our faith, because without it everything else is useless. Now this passage in Philippians is similar to 1 Corinthians 15. There is a fleshing out of the importance of the resurrection. Let's work our way through it. First, we lay the foundation. Here is the first principle we should take note of:
[KNOWING THE RESURRECTED JESUS IS WORTH MORE THAN ANYTHING]
- In vv.1-6 of this chapter, Paul has listed his extensive credentials for self-earned righteousness. If there was ever a man who lived by the letter of the law, and even beyond, it was Paul. He, of all people, had the most to brag about when it came to religious fervor. His list includes his religious ritual, his ethnic background, his prominent position, his religious affiliation, and his sincere and zealous motives.
- He makes a transition then, in v.7. In essence he writes, “Take that list and rip it to shreds.” He says that he counts all of those things as loss. Why? He tells us plainly in v.8: because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
- Here is a man who understood the value of a relationship with Jesus Christ. So many of us today have this backwards. We think we know value if we have a crystal clear, high carat diamond on our finger. Or if we drive a late model car, or if our house is fancier than our neighbor's. Or to bring it a little closer to Paul's words, we think we're somebody if we were born into the right family, or on the right side of town, or grew up going to the right school, the right church, the right this, the right that. The things we tend to value as meaningful in all actuality have far less meaning than we assign to them.