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Paul Changes Ambitions
"That I may know Him"
1. Knowing Christ is personal.
v. 10 Know whom? Him! Christianity is not an 'it,' it's a HIM!
This is the difference between us and the world of religion. They are about rules and we are about a relationship.
This proves a most scary point: It's very possible to know ABOUT Christ and not know Christ. Many know about a historical Jesus, but they do not know the personal Jesus.
ill.--How many of you were saved later in life? You probably knew about Jesus before you were born again...but now you know Him for real!
ill.--Do you know Barack Obama? Would you like to? You probably know about him, like simple facts: Where he was born. [hold on] What he does. [wait a minute] This isn't working as an illustration! You know about him, but unless you meet him, you don't know him personally.
Sadly, most of our nation knows about Jesus, but doesn't know Jesus.
Do you have a personal relationship with God, or do you just know things about Him?
A second point to ponder:
You can know Christ personally, but not know Him intimately.
This is where Paul stands out. This is a prison epistle. Paul wrote this from jail in Rome, awaiting his own execution. Here he is at the end of his life and he has an intense desire to know Christ more intimately!
"More, more about Jesus!"
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We get to know Him better thru His Word and prayer, and from choosing to walk this life with Him hand in hand.
I've been privileged to know Him for 38 years now, but it's in sorrow, loss, and suffering, that I have come to know Him best as my Comforter.
In times of need I've found out He's my provider.
In persecution I have learned He's a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
In times of attack I've come to appreciate that He is my defender.
In times of distress I've seen that He is my deliverer!
And I feel I've only touched the hem of the garment of what it means to know Him intimately!
1. Knowing Christ is personal....
2. Knowing Christ is powerful.
v. 10 'power of his resurrection'
Power = Greek dunamis = dynamite!
After we are born again we begin the process of learning how weak we are and how powerful God is. We find out that we cannot overcome temptation in our own strength / deal with the stresses of life by ourselves.
We live in an age of great power in technology, and we are pretty proud of ourselves.
ill.--NASA rockets have millions of pounds of thrust - and the amazing crawlers that get them to the launch pad, which get just 35 feet per gallon. Each of our submarines which carry hundreds of times more nuclear firepower than was dropped on Japan.
And yet compared to the power of God a NASA rocket is a paper airplane and a nuclear missile is a BB gun!
What kind of power? Resurrection power!
We think of God's power at creation, to just speak it all into existence. With all our scientific knowledge, we can't even study our own sun well enough to know the extent of its power, and yet it's just one of trillions of suns that all came to be in orbits and planes with planets and moons in perfect balance in an instant!
We read about God's power in judgment as He stood toe to toe against the false gods of Egypt. Jehovah God reigned victorious as He rained down judgment on all who would oppose Him.
We have heard about the power of the virgin birth, for a perfect Son to be brought into the world without the need of an earthly dad.
But Paul didn't say, That I may know His power of judgment or the power of the virgin birth or the power of creation...but the power of His resurrection!
It is the greatest display of God's power that there ever was...trumping even the creation of the universe, for resurrection power is power over sin and death, which are the strongest foes which have ever existed in His creation.
"Up from the grave He arose...with a mighty triumph o'er His foes!"
Paul said, I need access to that kind of power. I need to plug in to that power source.
Why? Because Paul knew that man can control an entire ship with just a small rudder, but man cannot control his own tongue!
Today, we can guide a rover to Mars and cruise around on the surface, but we can't guide our own families in our own houses without the power of God!