In Philippians 3:10, the Apostle Paul reveals a deep desire of his heart – “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, (vs. 11) so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.”
I really like what Chuck Swindoll wrote with regards to this verse. “In 1958, I chose Philippians 3:10 as my verse for the year. I was away from my wife in the Marine Corps, and I longed for a closer walk with the LORD. I had never considered embracing suffering in the way Paul describes in this verse. What deep truth is here! Life isn’t learning a quick secret and then sitting in the stands, watching the game being played, secure in the knowledge of eternal life. Life is in fact, a daily crushing. It is an experience in the classroom of hardship. I’ve discovered that the way I grow closer to Christ in it all is by pressing on and hanging tough, regardless.”
Chuck expressed pretty much what the Apostle Paul expressed – a desire for a deeper walk with the LORD no matter what he had to go through to arrive there.
I accepted Christ when I was nine years old. I am in my sixty-first year of pastoral ministry and I am more hungry and thirsty to know my LORD at the deepest level possible. That is one of the reasons I wrote my second book – “Learning to Live.” Jesus and the Holy Spirit are still teaching me lessons today that are so rich and meaningful. I long for every believer to be drawn closer and closer to the LORD.
It is one thing to experience God’s salvation through faith in Christ. But it doesn’t stop there. Our Lord wants us to experience sanctification. That word describes a process called growth. The word means “to be set apart” just for the LORD. It also means “to be made holy” or to become more and more like our LORD. The key to really experiencing the resurrection power of our LORD is found in the words — “That I may know Him.” If we don’t have a driving desire to really know the LORD, it will never happen.
In 2 Timothy 1:10, the Apostle Paul wrote – “Our Savior Jesus Christ, has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” Please take time to meditate on what Paul wrote. It is huge. Jesus Christ has “abolished death” and has brought “life and immortality.” These two factors make Jesus Christ the greatest figure of history and the most important thing is to know Him. The word “Life” here refers to the spiritual life which Christ brings to us and the word “Immortality” refers to the body.
Notice something else in our text. Jesus brought “life and immortality to light.” We live in a world immersed in spiritual darkness. Satan the prince of darkness will do everything he can to keep us in the dark. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and He wants to flood our lives with spiritual light. Satan does not want us to come to the Light or see the Light. It is amazing how clear life becomes when Christ comes into our lives.
In 1 Timothy 1:15, the Apostle wrote: “This is a trustworthy saying and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” ….”
If He came (and He did) then He must have existed elsewhere before He came. He is the eternal Son of God and He left heaven to come into our world to seek and to save us. Only He can do that.
In 1 Timothy 1:12-14, Paul described himself as –
· Formerly a blasphemer
· Formerly a persecutor
· Formerly an arrogant man
· Worst of sinners 1 Timothy 1:15
· The least of the apostles 1 Corinthians 15:9
But Paul received grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 1:14, 16)
Talk about God’s transforming power – Dr. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The grace of God turned the persecutor into a preacher and the murderer into a missionary. God not only entrusted the Gospel to Paul, but he also enabled him to minister that Gospel because He saw that Paul was faithful.
God gave Paul the strength to face death but also to embrace eternal hope and life with his Lord. In 2 timothy 4:6-8, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is close. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but to all those who have loved His appearing.
Paul had tapped into the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ who tasted death for all of us and triumphed over it. He had truly gone deep with Christ and has become an example to all of us who really desire such a life with Christ.
Folks, this world is not a playground. It is a battleground, especially for Christ’s followers and we can prevail just as Paul did. In 1 Corinthians 4:12-13, he wrote “We labor, working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we respond graciously. Even now, we are like the world’s garbage, like the dirt everyone scrapes off their sandals.”
Are you going through anything like this? Could it be that you are just playing it safe?
I close with what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 …
“Now, we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are pressured in every way, but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our bodies. For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.”
Lord Jesus, move upon our hearts and minds, reminding us of all you endured for us. Help us Lord to avoid taking the easy way. Strengthen our resolve by Your Word and Your Spirit to persevere in the faith regardless of the cost. Amen.