to know God
Topic: Know God. Bible Scriptures: Philippians 3:10-11 Philippians 2:5-11 Philippians 4:4
Do you really know the person closest to you? Know their hearts desires including their successes and failures? Do you know what they think and what motivates them with every action? Do you truly know them?
Turn with me to the book of Philippians, a letter written by the Apostle Paul to believers in Philippi. This is the Apostle Paul speaking his heart’s desire.
Philippians 3:10-11 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Due to living in a world that was violently opposed to Christ Jesus, both the Apostle Paul and the believers of Philippi were severely challenged, suffering heavy persecution. Yet Paul’s desire was that all believers live in the transforming power of the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Christ means the anointed one and Jesus means saviour. Paul urged that the believers in Philippi have the mind of Christ. He said turn your eyes to Jesus. Give your attention to Jesus. Since God Himself in Jesus became human, the saviour of the world.
To know Him, to know Jesus, is the root of all fruit.
Now Paul was not talking about head knowledge alone. Paul was talking about a personal, intimate experience and relationship with the living God.
to know jesus personally
Knowing Jesus begins at the point of salvation. When we give our allegiance to Him, we receive His free gift of Himself and His Spirit within. At that moment in time we know Him as our personal saviour. We begin the journey of knowing and experiencing the power of His resurrection through our ongoing relationship of Christ Jesus as Lord.
While the journey is to know and experience Jesus intimately and personally in His human form, His life, death and resurrection. Knowing the full dimensions of Jesus’ human experience, when He became one with our experience, brings the power of His resurrection into our present situation as an active force of transformation. This is a transformation of heart and mind in our everyday lives.
know the king of glory
Therefore to know the Jesus of the resurrection, we first must know the Jesus of the cross, the man of sorrows who became acquainted with grief. To know the Jesus of the cross we must first know the Jesus of the heavens. In Philippians 2:5-11 the Apostle Paul reveals the King of glory, the Jesus of the cross and the Jesus of the resurrection.
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Humanity gave power to evil and selfish desires, resulting in bondage to both self and evil with the ultimate cost being death.
The thing that humanity tried to control became the thing that controlled humanity.
God Himself became human, paid the cost of death to set humanity free.
know jesus of the cross
The Jesus of the cross is also the King of glory. Through Him and by Him all things were created, heaven and earth and all things good. The King of glory was falsely accused, suffered public shame, rejection and torture. He endured the cursed execution of the cross and took on His human body all the selfish offences of humanity and evil. He paid the cost and defeated evil, selfish desires and death for us. Jesus committed no offence, nor did He use power for self or evil. He was right, just, correct and innocent. The King of glory chose to pay the cost, to become our ransom, our advocate, our substitute.
The King of glory became one of us, so we could become one in Him.
Salvation from self, evil and death can only be received in receiving Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself. As a result when we receive Jesus sacrifice of Himself, we are declared innocent. We are free from the cost, guilt and shame. Most of all the ultimate penalty of death has been paid in Jesus’ human body and His victory attained in His resurrection. In Christ Jesus we receive His rightness, His justness, His equality, His glory.
know jesus of the resurrection
Each day is a journey in the process of transformation. Knowing and participating in Jesus’ power of His resurrection, in this world damaged by evil is having the mind of Christ.
Paul knew Jesus as His Lord. He was surrendered to the Father’s will. Paul experienced an intimate personal ongoing relationship, being transformed in his heart and mind to that of Jesus. All to the glory of the Father.
This is the heart of God, of Jesus and the Father. This is God’s will for us, to be transformed by His Spirit having the mind of Christ. Also through His transforming power of His resurrection our hearts desires become one with the Living God.
Paul emphasises that the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of God is experienced in the acknowledgement and surrender in Christ Jesus being his Lord.
The Power of His Resurrection
Most of all Jesus identified with our sufferings and death, so we could identify with His victory and life.
Paul identified with Jesus’ sufferings because he was conformed to Jesus’ death. Paul identified with Jesus’ resurrection because he was being transformed each day into the character of Jesus.
Paul’s desire of living in the power of the resurrection of Jesus in this life is having the mind of Jesus.
Hence Paul admitted there is no confidence in self or the flesh. He knew those achievements are worthless. He knew everything he strived for and had done in the flesh was of no value. In fact he testifies they are garbage.
Even the supposed good things of the flesh are worthless. They are not only worthless but they are a deception to lure us into putting confidence in the flesh and not in God.
Consequently when we have confidence in the flesh and not in God a stronghold is formed over the mind. This can become a blockage from experiencing His transforming resurrection power in this life journey.
identity found in knowing Him
Paul knows his identity is found only in Christ Jesus as his personal saviour and Lord.
Knowing Jesus, the King of glory, the Christ, the risen Lord is this life journey and the eternal destination.
Knowing Jesus we can rest in the present experience of being found in Him as Lord and live in the future expectation that is found in Jesus at the resurrection. Since we have confidence that Jesus’ death cancels the penalty or debt of all offences of self or the flesh and Jesus’ resurrection cancels the power of evil and death for all eternity.
No one can attain rightness. It is a gift of God Himself, to be received in this lifetime by all who are willing. No one can be declared innocent. All have been found guilty and fallen short of God’s glory.
For Paul knowing Jesus gave him a new depth of reason and an eternal perspective. Paul could see, understand and experience the true value of His life is in oneness with Jesus.
When we know and experience Jesus personally and intimately more and more each day, we too can testify everything of the flesh is worthless and temporal.
While being transformed, having the heart and mind of Jesus, our selfish desires or the flesh have no power over us. We tear down the strongholds of confidence in the flesh. Then we are doing life with a different value system and desires to those that our self or flesh have formed. We live in a different reality of heaven on earth in this world damaged by evil.
Knowing and experiencing Jesus changes everything and surpasses and excels all things.
Consequently knowing and experiencing Jesus as Lord, personally and intimately is to know and experience the living God, to know the Father.
Furthermore in Jesus this journey does not end with physical death. We have a future hope, the resurrection of the dead. When Jesus returns in all His glory all evil will be eliminated. All those in Jesus will receive their resurrected glorified bodies that never wear out, never get sick and never die. Just as Jesus experienced and now exists in His glorified human body, so shall we be.
Until then God in His great love, from the Father through Christ Jesus, sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in everyone who receives Jesus.
There is no doubt about our future inheritance because it is a gift from God, intricately woven into the tapestry of the human form of God in Jesus Christ. In His life, suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus attained all this for all who are willing to receive.
Fellowship With His Sufferings
When we receive Jesus we enter into fellowship in His sufferings. Which is identification with who Jesus is, what He has done and will do. Knowing Jesus as our personal saviour and Lord is a daily journey of fellowship. As we live in continual surrender of selfish desires, selfish ambition and self-glorification, He will transform us into the mind of Christ. We become one with Him.
True identity is found in His identity.
As a result we have victory over selfish desires and the fear of death. With a transformed heart and mind those desires no longer have power to rule and reign in our life. This transformation is a daily life journey. Since it is the work of His Spirit, in His name as we have fellowship in Him, this transformation brings glory to the Father.
Furthermore the Apostle Paul testifies that true life is to be finished with religious striving, to trust wholly in the Living God. Trust that who He is and what He has done has given us right standing and perfect relationship with God. Such a relationship of intimacy and transformation is the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. One with Him we experience His resurrection power in being transformed in heart and mind of Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Ultimate Prize – To Know God
Therefore Paul is saying to know God is greater than any present suffering. To know that God became one of us so we could become one in Him, is the ultimate prize. Doing life together with Jesus, surrendered to Him, listening to Him, responding to Him, experiencing Him is living now. So as we live in a world totally opposite to God’s Kingdom, we are empowered to rejoice.
Paul says in knowing Christ he might somehow attain to the resurrection of the dead. He was aware that everything of value to attain has been attained by Jesus. As a result becoming one with Him is to receive what Jesus attained in His death and resurrection. Jesus will return. Those in Him will receive their eternal resurrected glorified bodies. In addition evil will be totally eliminated. Consequently God’s entire salvation and restoration plan comes into its final fulfilment with a new heaven and a new earth. Come Lord Jesus, come.
The focus in this life and indeed the next is knowing Jesus. That is the journey. That is the prize. Jesus Himself.
There is no greater worth than knowing Christ Jesus as saviour and Lord intimately and personally. Daily experiencing the transforming power of His resurrection in all situations, through the surrender of self, we can rejoice. As the Apostle Paul exhorted in Philippians 4:4 Rejoice always and again I say rejoice!