Summary: Spiritual growth, knowing Christ

What You Need to Know to Grow

Philippians 3:12-16


Somewhere up in the north east, on an Ivey League campus, was a young man, who had experienced “infantile paralysis” at a very young age. He was destined to live his life on crutches. Even though his crutch dependent destiny was sure, this young man still had a positive outlook on life. He was a very friendly person as well as optimistic. He won many scholastic honors and respect from his classmates.

One day a classmate came up to him and said, “It is too bad that you have to spend the rest of your life on crutches. With such a misfortune, how do you approach life so confident and optimistically?” The young man responded to his classmate, “The disease may have touched my legs, but it never touched my heart.”

As we continue a series of sermons called “Whatever it takes”, I believe it is important that I stress again what it is all about. “Whatever it takes” is not a program, nor is it a ministry. “Whatever it takes” is an attitude.

The great need within in our church is not a new ministry or program, but a new attitude. An attitude that says “First Baptist Church must do whatever it takes to be all that God wants us to be.” This attitude is an attitude that must reside in the heart. My prayer is that God would touch his church at First Purcell with a “Whatever it takes” type of heart.

When a church has a whatever it takes type of heart you will see a determination on the part of its members to be all that God wants the church to be. You will see a church that is determined to be a praying church, a church determined to be a reaching out church, a church determined to be a Spirit-controlled church, a church that will do whatever it takes to make Jesus known to a lost and hopeless world.

Our attitude should be as a church, “We will do whatever it takes to make Jesus known to the world.” That attitude must reside in our hearts before it resides in our activities. Our activities or lack of activities for making Christ known reveals the attitude that touches our heart.

I believe a key element for having a heart that wants to make Christ known is first and foremost a heart that wants to know Christ. By this I mean a heart that wants to grow spiritually in knowing Christ more and more each day. When people are striving to know Christ and are growing in their knowledge of Christ their heart will be touched with an attitude that wants to make known the one they know intimately.

If First Purcell is going to be a “whatever it takes” type of church, then we will need to do whatever it takes to grow spiritually, to become mature in our walk with the Lord.

This morning, I want to continue looking at the life of Paul and the philosophies that governed his life. Paul summed up his life philosophy when he penned the words in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Paul’s life was a life lived for Christ. What did this entail? According to our passage from last week in 1 Corinthians, living for Christ means that you do whatever it takes to win people to Christ. That is, you do whatever it takes to make him known. That was one of Paul’s philosophies that governed his life. That is what Paul meant when he said, “to live is Christ.”

But there is more to living for Christ than just making him known. Living for Christ is also living to grow in Christ. If a person is truly striving to live for Christ, then that person will be striving to grow in Christ. The apostle Paul shows us this truth from the example of his own life in Philippians chapter three, verses twelve through sixteen.

Let me prepare you for these verses by looking at what Paul has already discussed in the previous eleven verses. In the first three verses of chapter three Paul warns the Philippians about legalism. Then in verses four through six he reminds them of his own experience before he came to Christ. If anyone had an occasion to boast about being a good religious person, Paul had it. Paul then goes in verses seven through eleven to declare how Jesus changed his life and how he has found a righteousness not from the Law, but from the Lord. After Paul met Christ as his Lord and Savior, his values changed. And that is where we find his personal testimony about spiritual growth and the need for all Christians to have a “whatever it takes” attitude concerning growth and maturity.

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