KNOW CHRIST, KNOW GOD
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I want to pose a question to you this morning. What would life really be like without God? I know that for me that is not an option, but I just wanted to make us think about the importance of that question, because there are millions of people waking up this morning holding on to the fact that there is no God. They also hold to the belief that the life of Christ did not matter and so each and every day has no real purpose except to wake up, get dressed, eat, go to work/school, eat, come home, eat, go to bed, and wake up the next day to start the cycle all over again. Their only aspirations is money and advancement or graduation and the next steps either into the workforce or higher education. So what does it really look like if we don't know Christ and we don't know God? My heart even hurts writing those words, but that is a reality for so many people in the world. They have NO identity in Christ and because they have no identity in Christ they have NO understanding of God's love, mercy and grace. It will be like waking up each day in complete darkness because we don't understand the power of the Light. Wow, that just made me pause for a second.
To KNOW Jesus means that we have an insight to KNOW God. Jesus is God incarnate and provides for us the fullness of God's love, grace and mercy. Jesus was someone that we could touch and physically see and hear. Jesus was one that spoke with great wisdom and knowledge, but did not make it His goal to be in authority. He was given authority because of His humility that drew so many people to Him. To KNOW Christ was to be able to feel the fullness of God and watch as TRUTH was being revealed on a daily basis. So to KNOW God was just to be able to step into a relationship with Jesus. You were able to experience a relationship with the Father because of the actions of the Son. If only we had that same
ability to see Jesus today, I wonder if we would treat Him the same way that the world treated Him thousands of years ago. I wonder if we would be more interested in telling the world that Jesus was coming to preach in our sanctuaries rather than us leaving the Church behind and striving to meet Jesus where He was. I remember my grandfather never really being a member of a church. When I asked him about that, he always said that Billy Graham was his pastor and that he was able to be at church every day in his sitting room with God. Now, I want to say that first those words have stuck with me for a long time and yes I believe in the importance of the Church and growing together in the faith and being able to have accountability. But, I also saw the genuineness in his actions as my grandfather spent hours each day in the Bible and prayer. He definitely KNEW CHRIST, and through Christ, my grandfather KNEW GOD.
We see this once again through the teachings of Paul to the people and leaders of Philippi. We enter into the inner realm of desiring a relationship with God through Christ that is unshaken. Look at his words once again, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." Paul had experienced transformation through his encounter with God. With this transformation, Paul began to desire to have a closer relationship with God. How would he be able to attain this? Through digging deeper into having a relationship with Christ. As far as I know, Paul never met Christ personally. Now I may be wrong, but in my studies, I never saw or heard anywhere where Paul physically encountered the living Christ. So as he is writing these words, he is providing for us an insight to spiritual growth. Paul wanted to be like the disciples and to have walked with Christ and experience what they were able to experience and probably took for granted. Paul is showing a desire to grow deeper in his faith and he knows that the only way to get closer to God is to have a closer connection through Christ. As we grow in our faith, we too should have a passion and a desire to grow in Christ. To experience the same sufferings and participate in the journey from birth to the cross and out of the grave. Even though we cannot physically relive the steps of Christ, we are able to walk with Christ through our journey. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can step out of death into life through the baptism and Holy Communion. We have been given these opportunities to unite with Christ so that in death we can be resurrected through the power of God. Resurrected to live a life of eternity with God.
So as we look at the happenings of the days that will come, may we all be reminded of the future that we hold in Christ Jesus. May we take a moment and right now remember the sacrifice that was given through the blood of Jesus that opened the door for us to spend eternity with God. The way is pretty simple and I know that from time to time I spend a moment reminding us all just how simple it is to assure each of our places in eternity. All you have to do is ACCEPT Jesus as your Lord and Savior. BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God and that through the love, grace and mercy of Christ we have the opportunity to be saved. Finally, CONFESS that we are sinners and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we may receive the gift of grace. It is the basic ABC's to KNOW CHRIST means that we KNOW GOD. So I pray that you are able to accept that truth for yourself today. Not for anyone else,
because none of us can make that decision for anyone else. We can only continue to testify to the power of Jesus and help others to find Christ for themselves. I just really believe that we would not be in this whole mess if we as the CHURCH would have found a way to step up and be the representation of Christ better. We are doing the best we can in some ways, but I just believe that maybe we dropped the ball this time. Anyway, we don't hold on to the past, but we look forward to the future that God has called us to participate in with Him. So please... if you don't do ANYTHING ELSE... let the world hear this truth. If we KNOW CHRIST we KNOW GOD and without Christ we have NO ability to fully KNOW GOD. The time is NOW for us to stop playing the games and truly profess to the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ.