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About-Him.Com Devotional 09-06-2014
That I may Know Him!
Philippians 3:4-14 is a powerful text in which the apostle Paul begins by talking of his attainments in the secular and religious world. He had social and religious position, but he counted them as nothing compared to knowing Christ. Our last devotional dealt with Paul stating that he had exchanged all of these earthly privileges and attainments for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.
Philippian 3:9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
I believe most of us have a life long battle between our own righteousness and the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Our righteousness is often based on how we think we are perceived by others or trying to impress God by our good works and conduct. Good works and good conduct are absolutely necessary but these must be motivated by the life of Christ within, rather than from our own self will. We only obtain His righteousness by faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on Calvary. The righteousness of Christ is consistent, mine changes from time to time.
Our self-righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God.
Isaiah 64:6 ¶ But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Philippian 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Verse 10 contain four powerful and distinct phrases:
That I May Know Him
And the power of His resurrection
And the fellowship of His suffering
Being made conformable unto His death
That I may know Him:
Paul had been struck down on the road to Damascus. He had seen Jesus and heard Him speak. He spent several years in the desert, obtaining the gospel that he preached by direct revelation. At some point he was caught up into heaven and saw things that were unlawful for him to utter. And yet he did not feel that he really knew Christ.
I believe that throughout scripture we see a progressive revelation of Jesus. He is shown from the time of His birth until he speaks with power and majesty from the throne of heaven. The scene at the transfiguration gives us a glimpse of an added dimension, His Deity. I believe that when Peter and James and John came down from the mountain, they viewed Jesus a little differently. This is shown again in Revelation when John saw "one like the son of man" and yet he fell to the ground as dead. John had just seen Him in a different light.
When I try to comprehend Him, I realize that I really don't know Him! I certainly know Him better than I used to, but I really don't know Him. No matter how much I learn of Him, there will always be more to learn. When I read of Him in the Word, I get a glimpse and a glimmer of Him and yet I know that the writer has just scratched the surface. How can a mere man, even with inspiration, describe a God who spoke the world into existence from nothing? How can He describe a Creator who made man from the dust of the earth? Most of all, how do we describe a God who robes Himself in mortal flesh so that He could die on a cross?
We read of Him turning water into wine, but is this the limit of His power? When we see all His mighty miracles described, we must realize that we are being given only a glimpse, not the whole story. We often, as they say, try to put "God in a box." Because He answered prayer in a particular fashion in 1950 doesn't mean that He must do the same in 1999. Perhaps He'll chose to answer my prayer in a different way, just to show me a different aspect of Himself.
The power of His resurrection:
Jesus told His disciples to wait until they had been endued with power from on high. He said that after the Holy Ghost came upon they would be witnesses unto Him (NAS- My witnesses) to the uttermost parts of the earth (Ac. 1:8). The disciples did not leave Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Ac. 2:4). Jesus said the Comforter would teach us all things and bring His commandments to remembrance (Jn. 14:26). We cannot substitute anything for the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost.
And the fellowship of His suffering:
We don't like to talk about suffering. It's not a popular theme that arouses our emotions but it is a necessary theme. What Paul is saying is that "If I want to know Him, I must choose to suffer with Him." It has often been said, "No Cross, no crown." Paul had certainly suffered for the gospel. We read where he was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, betrayed and forsaken. We read in Acts where the apostles counted it joy to suffer for the name of Jesus. Peter tells us that "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." Jesus also had something to say on the subject.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
I'm certainly not looking for suffering, but I can't run from it either. I get very concerned about popular themes that substitute power and prestige for the suffering of the cross. The next time you hear someone preaching about using the gospel to get rich, ask yourself this question. Will I use the cross to obtain the riches of this world, or will I use the cross and all it's sufferings to obtain the riches of the world to come?
Being made conformable to His death.
Paul said that he bore in his body "the dying of the Lord Jesus “ so that the Life of Jesus might be made manifest in his mortal body.
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
That says it all and can hardly be amplified upon.
In summary, I can simple say with Paul "I haven't attained." I can also say with Paul, "I'm pressing on towards the mark to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Yes I know Him, but there is still much more to know of Him. If I would know Him, I must share in the suffering of His cross. This is accomplished by the infilling and abiding presence of the Holy Ghost, which is the power of His resurrection.
Next: Pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Song:/ Wash Me and Cleanse Me
For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves, which does not arise on earth but comes from heaven. - Martin Luther
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