Summary: Among the resolutions we can make, resolving to know Christ better is one of the best things we can do for ourselves
To Know Christ Better
Text: “...that you may know him better.” (v17)
I have more than 200 Facebook friends which is quite moderate to some people I know who have over 600! I would like to say "I know them all”! Actually, I know some things about all of them, some of which I know only because it’s written in their profiles. I am familiar with all of them to some degree or another but when I consider that a friend is someone to whom I have an attachment by feelings or affection or personal regard, some people on my Facebook are not actually friends but are more like acquaintances. When I chat with my daughters, parents or siblings, my conversations and interaction with them is quite different than chatting with someone I am acquainted with.
If I spent time chatting to some of those acquaintances they could become friends as far as I allow myself to get to know them and become more familiar with who they are, their lives and situations, families and so on.
In the text, Paul is concerned that we get to know Jesus better, that we move past an association with him that may be more like our relationship to acquaintances on Facebook. What a great New Year’s focus 5 days in!
Why is it important to know Jesus better? Why isn't the measure of my present knowledge of Jesus enough? (I.e. Christmas and Easter stories). Because so much of what I know may only be informational rather than relational. As a result the extent to which I know Jesus has a direct impact on how I understand life; how I understand my purpose in the world and how I respond to the circumstances I face every day.
Pick up the account in verse 15 – “For this reason…
What reason? Specifically, the fact that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ provides Salvation. Paul highlights this message with particular emphasis on key elements of salvation in verses 1-14 such as "he chose us" in verse 4, "he predestined" us in verse 5, or "you were marked in him with a seal" in verse 13.
For this reason, Paul prays for the Spirit (God’s Spirit, not a spirit or the spirit of our human ingenuity) of wisdom and revelation. Purpose: “to know Christ better.”
When Paul says he prayers that we will know Christ better he is wanting us to
1. KNOW THE HOPE JESUS OFFERS
- “Know the hope to which he has called you” (verse 18). That hope is Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who are the called, according to his purpose.” Facing life with confidence that God has a Master-plan in motion significantly impacts how we work through what comes to us.
Margaret Somerville, Ethicist for McGill University said, “Hope is the oxygen of the human spirit; without it our spirit dies.” Case in point:
Millionaire Eugene Land was to provide a motivational message to 59 sixth-graders in East Harlem. The predominantly Black and Puerto Rican children didn't look his way. Scrapping his speech he said to them, “Stay in school and I’ll help pay for your college tuition for every one of you”. At that moment their lives changed. One student said, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Almost 90% of the students went on to graduate from high school. The power of hope changes outlook!