Philippians 3:8-11 - What is Involved In Knowing Christ?

Dr. Steve Viars October 21, 1995 Philippians 3:8-11

- Though the Philippian church was a good church in many ways, Paul
    wanted them to beware of self-righteousness.
     - for a couple of reasons:
         1) Because the false teachers (Judaizers) were teaching "works-
              righteousness as the only way to heaven.
         2) because, even as believers, we struggle with "self-righteous"
              tendencies, attitudes.

- last week we began talking about the "put on" that follows "putting
    off" self righteousness.
      - the Lord does not ever tell us to stop doing/being something
        without also telling us what to put in its place.
      - INPUT - What was the "Put on" we studied from verses 7-11?
                 (knowing Christ)

     - we saw that the more we put off self-righteous tendencies, the
       better prepared we are to grow in the knowledge of Christ, and to
       consider that possibility to be something of "surpassing value."

- we're going to continue to study this idea by thinking about the
   question, "What is involved in knowing Christ?"
- we're using that title because that’s what the following verses
    essentially do -- they expand the idea of "knowing Christ" that Paul
    raised in verse 8.

- read 8-11

I. Those Who Know Christ Rejoice Because They Stand In His Righteousness

   - part of "knowing someone" is coming to a fuller understanding of
      what they have done for you.

   - many of us would say that, as we get older, we get to know our
      parents better and better
   - one of the reasons that's true is because as we age, we have a
      better idea of how much our parents sacrificed to raise us, (at
      least in most cases) because we see what's involved in raising our
      own children.

   - a sign of immaturity (which leads to distancing in a relationship)
      is the failure to realize what someone else has done for you
   - a sign of maturity, (which leads to knowing someone better), is
      working to consciously remember what they have done for you.

   - cf. Al Poll - bonus at the end of first summer -- helped pay my
      college tuition bill my freshman year
       - tried not to take that for granted
       - tried not to forget it
       - tried to remember to thank him often at later times
       - tried to work hard for him to show my gratitude
       - caused me to want to get to know him more

- that’s the way verse 8 and verse 9 are related
    - people who are growing in their knowledge of Christ are people who
      are reflecting on the great truth that they stand before God in the
      righteousness of Christ.

   - the purpose of verse 9 is to demolish "self-righteousness" (and
       that’s really what it does)

        1) anyone who believes they can be saved by their works needs to
           meditate on verse 9.

        2) anyone who believes they have a right to be proud or
           condescending to others because of their lifestyle as a
           believer needs to meditate on verse 9.

        3) anyone who believes the satisfaction of their righteousness
           will sustain them in tough times needs to meditate on verse 9.

   - there's great joy, security, and freedom that comes from knowing for
       sure that you stand before God in the righteousness of Christ.

   - this verse is addressing the doctrine of "imputation."

      - the idea is that, when we trust Christ, not only are our sins
          forgiven -- but we also have the righteousness of Christ placed
          on our "accounts."

      - His righteousness is imputed to us.

- in financial terms, it would be like getting a statement in the mail
    this week that said
      1) all of your bills (your mortgage, etc) were paid
            -- and not only that, but:
      2) you had a million dollars cash in your account.

- before saying -- Oh, that would be the greatest thing ever
    - no, the greatest thing ever has already happened if you are a
          1) the price of your sin has been paid forever, and...

          2) you have received the righteousness of Christ (you stand
              before God the Father clothed in the righteousness of His

  - there are some great passages in the Scripture on this subject:

  (let's read each one and then answer the question -- What do these
    verses tell us about the doctrine of imputation?)

             1) Rom. 4:1-8 (if time, read further)

             2) II Cor. 5:21

             3) Rom. 9:30-10:13


- now, let's see if we can make some practical applications of this truth.

    INPUT - what are some times when it would be especially helpful to
            know that, as believers in Christ, we are "found in Christ's

            1) After we have failed.

            2) When we get older, and are not able to do as many things
                for the Lord as we once did.  (our security in Him is not
                based on performance)

            3) During corporate worship -- self-righteous people have
                little reason to worship.

- let's push this one step further:

   INPUT - what are some times when it would be especially helpful to
           know when one of our loved ones stood in the righteousness of

           1) When someone was traveling.

           2) When a loved one is injured, or is ill.

               - cf. cousin Nancy (39 year old mother of four dying of
                  Lou Gehrig's disease) -- able to rejoice
                     -- able to be thankful

           3) When a loved one dies.

- another idea we could add to this is that the more we understand this
   concept, the more significant it is that Jesus Christ was absolutely
   sinless -- He was perfectly righteous:

   - Acts 3:14

   - I John 2:14

(the whole theme in Scripture of the "spotless Lamb becomes much more
  significant//appreciated when we realize that our salvation does rest,
  not in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ)

(could also hit the fact that the verse mentions twice that this is "by
   faith" -- in contrast to self-righteousness)

II. Those Who Know Christ Are Learning of His Power

    - read verse 10 - "so I may know Him, and the power of His

    - Paul knew that his self-righteous approach to life was powerless.
        - But growing in the knowledge of Christ puts us in the position
           of learning about his power.

        - Eph. 1:15-23

        - Eph. 3:13-21

    INPUT - How might someone in our class be in a position of learning
             more about the power of God?  (or needing to learn more
             about the power of God)

               1. Needing to forgive someone who hurt you, sinned against
                  you.  They have asked forgiveness--you don't "feel"
                  like forgiving them.

               2. Trying to overcome a sinful habit you've had a long

               3. Praying for someone who is unsaved.

               4. Trials, etc.

      cf. Brian Purcell -- injured, able to joke
            - offered to drive him to Indy in the Honda
            - "I guess I could push with my good hand."

- the point is that part of growing in our knowledge of Christ is
   learning more and more about His power.

     - that means that one way we could evaluate ourselves this morning
       on whether we are "growing in the knowledge of Christ" would be
       with questions like:

         1) Am I more convinced today about the omnipotence (all-
            powerfulness) of Christ than ever before?

         2) Could I give concrete examples of how I have believed that
            God is powerful, and therefore I confidently followed His
            Word by faith?

- one last facet of knowing Christ that Paul speaks about in this verse

III. Those Who Know Christ Are Willing To Suffer In His Name

     - Paul has already communicated to the Philippians in this book that
       they must be willing to suffer in the name of Christ if they are
       called upon to do so.
     - cf. Phil. 1:29

     - it goes back to the theme of "furtherance of the gospel" that we
        studied in chapter one.
     - I trust that all of us have the attitude that, if suffering in a
        God-honoring way would do the most to further the gospel in my
        life, and my sphere of influence, than I am ready to suffer for
        Him in whatever way He desires.

        - cf. Acts 9:16

        - Col. 1:24


- this has been a different kind of passage.

- but our level of interest in this topic says a lot about the kind of
   people we are.

- Paul is really getting at some of the basics of what should be
   motivating us, or driving us...
     - "that I might..."

     - we all have things that would complete that phrase which says a
        lot about what's important to us.
           - that I might .......

     - for Paul, his "that I might" was ----
         - that I might know Him
         - that I might gain Christ

     - If that is a high priority to you and me, we're going to:

          1) Find greater joy in the fact that we stand in the
             righteousness of Christ.

          2) Be more and more convinced about the power of Christ.

          3) Be willing and able to suffer for Him if that’s what could
              potentially bring Him the most glory.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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