In this sermon, we are going to answer the FAQ in Christianity, what does it mean that I may know him?
Let’s start first by outlining the bible verse for this sermon before we move further.
Bible verse about that I may know him.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.(Philippians 3:10).
To me, this is the most touching passage I have ever come across in the scriptures. And whenever I reflect on it, I always put myself in the writers position; in order to tap the exact feelings he had when he was trying to truly know Christ.
What that I may know him means.
In today’s world, many people have known, and many still want to know Christ for so many reasons.
And it is common knowledge that majority wants to know Christ in order to gain His blessings; especially that of material possessions, or call it all the good things that life could afford.
They do this because they think this is the true blessings that comes from Christ; and that it will bring them peace and joy.
That is why we see so many ministers of God today wallowing in riches; acquiring earthly properties: mansions in diverse places, private jets, fleets of cars etc.
And if anyone dares to question it, their followers will be quick to defend them by claiming they have suffered enough for Christ; until He finally decided to bless them with worldly riches.
They say this because these ministers have been able to mislead them by misquoting several scriptures which seems to support the fact that Christ suffered and was made poor in order for them to have liberty and worldly riches. Forgetting the very words of Christ in Mathew 10:38:
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
From here we can discover that according to the writer of our main passage; we can know Christ through the following ways:
- The power of His resurrection
- The fellowship of His sufferings and
- Being conformed to His death.
Before we proceed; let us first and foremost check out the definition of the word ‘conform’ to discover its effect as used in this passage.
According to the dictionary, ‘conform’ can be defined as:
- To act in accordance with expectations; and behave in a manner of others, especially as a result of social pressure.
- Be in accordance with a set of specifications or regulations, or with a policy or guideline.
- To make similar in form or nature; make suitable for a purpose; to adapt.
From here, we discover that what the writer exactly meant was that he wants to know Christ by behaving or living like or exhibiting the characters of Christ. And finally dies like Christ.
With this knowledge, he abolished the mentality that Christ had paid the price to set him free from all the miseries of life; and in its place choose to hearken to the words of Christ to carry the cross and follow after Him.
How to truly know Christ.
But it is hard to accept this reality in today’s Christendom. Because of the false teachers who rose and twisted the real reason why Christ came to die on earth; and in so doing destroy themselves as well as others even as Peter noted:
And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the scriptures.(2 Peter 3:15-16)
So in wanting to become like Christ for real; a true believer must keep in mind the true nature of Christ which can be found in Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah chapter 53) to be precise.
Worshipping the devil for material possessions.
But Jesus who knew that whatever He might gain in this world is ‘“Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher; “vanity of vanities, all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
You need to overcame the devil by telling him that it is only God we must all worship and serve; and later warned us also never to fall into such temptation when He taught us:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures on heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.(Mathew 6:19-21).
From here we can discover that most of our Christian brothers and sisters, especially the ministers; who have acquired and stored up for themselves earthly properties have fallen into the devils temptation and are indeed worshipping him.
And for that reason our main writer took the time to forewarn us:
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame-who set their minds on earthly things.(Philippians 3:18-19)
And afterwards revealed to us where we will receive our reward:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.(Philippians 3:20-21).
He also used himself to set an example for counting every worldly thing he gained as loss for the sake of Christ.
Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so; circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, concerning the law a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law blameless.(Philippians 3:4-5).
Jesus encounter with the rich young man.
Again we must always keep in mind that Jesus, in His encounter with the rich young man (Mathew 19:16-24); who couldn’t heed His words to give up His riches and follow Him, reveals to us that it will be impossible for those who will enjoy and devote their life to riches, while here on earth; to enter into heaven, wherein awaits the rewards for all good earthly labors.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”(Mathew 19:23-24)
And please note what He said to His disciples when they asked Him what will be their reward for rejecting the riches of the world to follow Him:
So Jesus said to them, “assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.(Mathew 19:28)
Also, we should not forget that Jesus took the time to tell the disciples what will befall them while here on earth.
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. “they will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God’s service.
“and these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. ‘but these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Most assuredly, I say that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. ‘a woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing.
Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:1-4, 20-24)
Now most people misquote the last two verses of the above scripture; to ask Jesus for worldly things. because they do not understand that He was speaking in parables as the follow up verse helps us to understand:
‘These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.(John 16:25)
So we discover that what Jesus really meant was that if the disciples endure to the end and die, they will be able to receive whatever they want from the Father in heaven as James would later reveal to us:
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him.(James 1:12)
That was why Jesus earlier said to them:
“In My Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. ‘and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may also be. (John 14:2-3)
And of course we do not have any scriptural proof of Jesus’s disciples being rewarded with earthly riches.
The last reward for knowing Christ.
In the scripture below, Jesus reveals the last reward to those who will be able to follow and emulate Him.
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My names sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and inherit eternal life.(Mathew 19:29)
Thus, in the last passage above we discover that we need eternal life in order to receive our last reward.
And our main writer knowing about this said in the follow up verse of our main text:
If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.(Philippians 3:11).
And he went on to show us that he will never think that he has already been perfected; because he has rejected all the things of life to follow Christ. Neither will he look back on how rich and rewarding or pleasing his life was before.
But will rather struggle hard to live a good life so that he can finally obtain his reward in heaven:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do is, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:12-14).
Why God does not want us to fall in love with riches and pleasures of life.
Finally, it is very important for us to know that the reason God does not want us to fall in love with the things of the world is because they will make us be overcome with pride. And in so doing, cause us to rebel against Him as did Lucifer, the fallen angel:
“Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘thus says the LORD God: “because your heart is lifted up, and you say I am a god, I seat in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas, yet you are a man, and not a god. Though you set your heart as the heart of a god (behold you are wiser than Daniel!
There is no secret that can be hidden from you! With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches and your heart is lifted up because of your riches),”(Ezekiel 28:2-5)
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart; I will ascend into heaven, and exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; and ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most high.’(Isaiah 14:12-14)
And as Satan became God’s enemy because He was rich, the scripture also shows us that if we follow that path we are also making ourselves God’s enemies:
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.(James 4:4)
So in order to please God, Jesus did the opposite of what Lucifer did, as our main writer observed in the previous chapter that led to the chapter where we took our main text:
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 servant, 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.
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.(Philippians 2:6-8).
And for that reason He was given a higher position by the Father:
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every other 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.(Philippians 2:9-11).
And so our main writer earlier called us to emulate this attitude of Christ so we can also receive the same reward:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus(Philippians 2:5).
We are sojourners on earth.
Finally, the scripture shows us that we are only sojourners and pilgrims on earth;
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope.(1 Chronicles 29:15)
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.(1 Peter 2:11)
It uses father Abraham to set an example for us:
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.(Hebrews 11:9-10)
And goes on to show s that all who followed the steps of Abraham had this same mindset:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.
For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had the opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.(Hebrews 11:13-16)
Therefore those who belong to and believe in God through Christ Jesus; do not look for a permanent home here on earth; by piling up and believing in worldly possessions and pleasures.
Rather they take their minds off these things; and journey towards arriving that great and everlasting city where they rightfully belong.
What we should give up for the sake of Christ.
There is a very important remark I want to make here. Because I have heard about cases where people burnt their certificates, gave up their jobs and possessions and ended up poor and begging; all in the name of giving up everything to follow Christ.
And when life begins to treat them bad, they or other people; will blame it on the Christian teachings. Not knowing that these people misquoted the scriptures and destroyed themselves.
Therefore, I want us to understand that rejecting the world to follow Jesus means that we should not pile up riches for ourselves.
That is to acquire material possessions. For instance, building mansions in several places, buying private jets and planes and fleet of cars; saving large sums of money in bank accounts etc.
Instead, our money should be used for such things as spreading the gospel that Christ has entrusted unto us as well as helping those in nee;, the poor and the lacking, never failing to give to anyone who approaches us for help.
And I want to reveal to you at this point that Jesus Christ was rich while here on earth; that was why He had Judas Iscariot as a treasurer.
People did not know this because He didn’t show up; but instead channeled His money into helping those who were in need. You can have this knowledge in the scripture below:
Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard; anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “why was this fragrance oil not sold for three hundred denari and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.(John 12:1-6)
I also want us to note that it is not as if some of our rich Christian brothers and sisters are not investing in the spreading of the gospel or helping the needy; they are doing so, but they shouldn’t think they have done it enough to start using the remaining part of the money to acquire luxuries, they need to understand that we still have more helpless people out there that needs to be helped.
Saving up riches for the next generation.
For those who think they are investing or saving for their next generations; they should remember what Solomon, who gathered much wealth and built the most expensive temple ever on earth said:
For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. (Proverbs 27:22)
And in 2 chronicles 36 verses 13 to 21; we can see how this prophecy came true, when all he worked for was destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar; during the reign of one of his descendant ‘Zedekiah’ who did not obey God.
If we could all learn from this example, and instead of piling up riches for our generation, we spend our time inculcating good characters and the fear of God in our children; they will then pass it down to our generations.
Remember that the same God who blessed us, because we obeyed Him; will also bless our descendants long as they follow that trend.
In conclusion, after coming to this knowledge of truth; it is left for you to decide whether you truly want to know Christ according to how you see in this sermon.