Getting Ready to Gear Up

December 31, 2005 Philippians 3:7-16

Introduction:
1.  Many of us have faced situation where we wanted to get better at what we are doing
- we want to be more efficient in our work, more productive, better organized
- Getting better at something often comes down to who you know and are you willing to listen to that person?
Example:  Baseball coach – Vern Gray – taught we how to hit the ball – step toward the ball, NOT away from it – when you have 2 strikes, and the ball is close, hit it – don’t go down looking  . . . ‘you’ll never get a base hit by looking at the ball’ – he would rather I strike out swinging, then to watch a strike go by!
2.  Those same principles are true in ministry life as well:
Example: Ken Collier – the Wilds – taught me about being a servant – because I knew Ken, and interacted with him, he helped me take some steps of growth
Example: In 1989, I came in contact with some other men that have significantly influenced my life, and continue to influence me . . . Pastor Goode, Viars, Randy Patten, Doc Smith – taught me about pasturing/counseling (still have a lot to learn!) – they taught me things like:
- telling the truth is the best thing to help a person – but do it in love
- giving hope to a person in difficult situations
- always go last when you’re doing a joint funeral outside the church
- word of God has answers for all things that pertain to life and godliness (truth is practical)
> again, a lot of times it comes down to (1) who you know and (2) are you willing to listen to that person?
3.  The Apostle Paul recognized this same truth when he wrote the words of Philippians 3 – where he communicated his desire to ‘know Christ’
[OPEN your Bible to Philippians 3 – p. ___ of the bible under the chair in front of you, and p. ___ of the Chinese Bible]
- These words come right after chp. 2 and Paul’s comments about Timothy and Epaphroditus, – wonderful men of God that Paul loved . . . and the church at Philippi loved
> it’s because they were so much like the God-man (incarnate Christ) mentioned in 2:5-11!
> what we need this year is some men who are willing to be a Timothy or an Epaphroditus – i.e. men and women who will have the ‘mind of Christ’ for ministry!
- if we are, it will help us better handle the words that Paul gives us in Phil. 3 – and what Pastor Viars will say to us next week!!
4.  Paul is not afraid to be direct with this church – he’s writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit – but the whole tone of the letter shifts to some critically important issues
5.  As a church, we are facing some important issues – at a critical time in the history of our church
- Next week, our Pastor is going to present to us a new theme for this year: Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness
 we want every person who is a member of FBC to be here //
 we want every person who is thinking about being a member of FBC to be here //
 we want every person who wouldn’t even think about becoming a member of FBC to be here (cause maybe, you’ll change your mind – realize there’s a little something going on around this place and you want to be a part of it!)
6.  My point this morning is this – What is going to help us accomplish what our Pastor lays out before us next week?
- i.e. if God allows us another year of serving Him – what will it take for us to be effective and get something done for the glory of God that puts us in a better position to minister effectively when the community center opens in May of 2007?
- can I suggest something from the Bible? – How about a verse like Daniel 11:32
 “. . . but the people who know their God shall be strong, and take action!”
- in a time where God was revealing, through Daniel, some ‘not so good news’ prophecy, the Holy Spirit inspired Daniel to pen those words!
- and powerful words they are – [repeat the verse – emphasize ‘. . . who KNOW THEIR GOD’]
[Explain the events of Daniel in the Lion’s Den – the 3 Hebrews boys in the fiery furnace]
7. This is a common concept in the OT:
 Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
 Psalm 36:10 Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
(notice that character has something to do with God’s blessings)
 Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
8.  The idea/concept of knowing God is continued in the NT – Paul especially points this out in number of his epistles
- we titled our study this morning:  Knowing Christ: The Key to Effective Service
9. As is the case in learning from others, we have to recognize that the way we are doing things are not as effective as they could be – and we need to . . . CHANGE
Q: But what often prevents that change? – it’s not a lack of resources!
Answer:  Our PRIDE – our stubbornness and/or unwillingness to admit we were WRONG – or that what we have or what we done is not enough to bring glory to God that He is due!
- in fact, in Paul's case, the "things" he was living for, before he knew Christ, seemed to be very commendable:
>he lived a righteous life, he was obedient to the Law, and he defended the religion of his fathers
- but here was the problem:  None of those things earned him any acceptance with God
10.  Like most "religious people," Paul had enough morality to keep him out of trouble, but not enough righteousness to let him into heaven [no man does – it’s not even possible!]
7.  The KEY WORD in 3:1-11 is "count" = (lit.) to evaluate, assess
* (practically) = to weight seriously the values that control your decisions and directions
* in the context:  especially regarding salvation
[READ Phil. 3]
- let's consider . . .


I.  The Character of Someone Who Truly Knows Christ – 3:1-3


- the idea of knowing Christ has judicial implications (i.e. knowing Christ as your Savior and Lord) and it has experiential implication (progressive sanctification) as you live your daily life and “WALK with the Lord”
-  when Paul used the word "finally," he was simply saying   "furthermore" or "in addition" to what I have already said about unity, being a servant, about the life of Christ, etc. . . .
-  There are 5 qualities of someone who truly knows Christ:
A.  A person who knows Christ rejoices in the Lord – 3:1
>  At the heart of the attack of false teachers is an attempt to undermine Who our Savior and Lord is and what He has done
Point:  We as believers should acknowledge our oneness in Christ and should not permit our unity in the body of Christ to be undermined by enemies of the Truth!
- Our joy is rooted in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ – the Psalmist put it this way:
• Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
- One of the problems is that people want to find their joy in things that are temporal – that pass away with time – rather than in the eternal Son of God!
- it’s not logical is it?
- 2006 ought to be a year where people learn to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ --
B.  A person who knows Christ exercises discernment – 3:2
- we are to beware = to continually be on the lookout for false teaching
CAUTION:  A stern word of rebuke to help prevent spiritual failure is not necessarily a sign of a lack of love – instead, it can be the most loving thing to do (Jesus spoke the truth/rebukes)!
- the enemy Paul is referring to in this passage is the Judaizers
>  they were Jewish legalists who denied the gospel of grace & taught that circumcision & keeping the Law of Moses were necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1)
- Paul calls them: dogs // evil workers // false circumcision – strong words!
- the Jerusalem Council condemned their heretical teaching (Acts 15:2-29)
- God’s words clearly teaches that . . .
> Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!
- I hope some other verses come to your mind when we make a statement like that:
 Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace you are saved through faith . . .
 Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy…
C.  A person who knows Christ worships in the Spirit – 3:3a
- he does not depend on good works – that's only of the flesh
- true Christian worship is Holy Spirit-guided – i.e. the Spirit's work on the heart (inner man)
- we have to connect v. 3 w/ v. 1  because they could only rejoice in the Lord as a result of the Spirit's work – that’s one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit – JOY!
- that ought to be expressed in your voice AND ON YOUR FACE – because it is FROM THE HEART!
- 2006 ought to be year of REJOICING as we ‘Gear Up for Greater Effectiveness”
D.  A person who knows Christ glories in Christ Jesus – 3:3b
‘glory = boast, take pride in; rejoice, be glad . . . IN CHRIST!
Q: Why?  -- go back to 2:5-11explains it all!!
- proper boasting focuses entirely on Jesus, the Anointed  Savior -- on His person and work - they glory in the cross and the free gift of salvation
- their "religion" is Christ-centered and grace-centered not man centered and works centered!
 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
 Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Q: What are you going to boast in for 2006?
E.  A person who knows Christ puts no confidence in the flesh – 3:3c
- i.e. the "flesh" cannot, does not, will not ever be in a  position to give us confidence regarding any spiritual  issue
• John 6:63 It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing . . .
- Paul goes into an in-depth explanation of the ‘confidence in the flesh’ issue – if anyone could do that, it would be him, not the Judaizers – he lays out . . . .


II.  People Who Know Christ Evaluate Themselves Properly – 3:4-11


A.  Regarding personal accomplishments! – v. 4-6
1. Circumcised the eighth day – just as the Law commanded (Lev. 12:3) – just like Isaac (Gen. 21:4 – just like Jesus (Luke 2:21)
- that’s what the Judaizers emphasized as a very important "work" to earn salvation.
- of course that wouldn't have been true of some of the Judaizers
- some of them would have been "converted" to Judaism as adults, and therefore would have been circumcised as adults...(he was circumcised of the eighth day)
2. Hebrew of the Hebrews
- if anyone had a right to throw around the issue of heritage and birthright... - it was Paul.
- he qualifies/explains that with the following statements: He was born . . .
a.  of the nation of Israel (he was no proselyte Jew - HE WAS THE REAL THING)
b.  of the tribe of Benjamin (the son of Jacob & his wife Rachael, the tribe were strong warriors, Mordecai who advised Esther was a Benjamite!
3.  A keeper of the law – a Pharisee (positive use here – he was communicating the fact that he was not rebellious, or lawless)
4.  A persecutor of the church
- many Jews could boast of their heritage, but Paul could even boast of how he fought against Israel's enemies, those "Christians"
Warren Wiersbe:  It is not enough to believe the truth; a man must also oppose lies. Paul defended his orthodox faith by persecuting the church….Every Jew could boast of his own blood heritage. Some Jews could boast of their faithfulness to the Jewish religion. But Paul could boast of those things plus his zeal for persecuting the church.
5.  Blameless when compared to God's law.
Point:  Humanly speaking, Paul was the complete package . . . but keep reading!
- Now he's going to tell us what he did with those reasons – from an accounting perspective:
B.  Regarding what they truly need – 3:7-9
- Paul illustrates the ‘put off’ // ‘put on’ dynamic – or what we call ‘the principle of replacement’
- v. 8 (twice):  "I count all things to be loss..."  /  "I count them but rubbish..."
> that’s why Paul emphasizes in v. 8 “. . .in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!”
- in one statement, Paul completely changed the way he thought about those things he had used as a defense of his righteousness – here’s why:
Man at his best is at best a man!
>  that’s one of the reasons we place such an emphasis on sin, to jar men and women out of their self-righteousness
>  that’s why we want to have events like the Passion Play / Living Nativity / Christmas Eve services // Christmas Day Worship Services
>  that’s what’s motivating the Community Center – to help us focus on the cross...and remember that that there is only ONE WAY to be reconciled to God.


III.  People Who Know Christ Live in a Practical Way – 3:10-11


- Paul says, “that I may know Him” [a knowledge based on personal experience]
- Paul had spent so many years being "full of himself," now it was time to empty himself and be filled with the knowledge of his Savior.
- that's what he counted as worthwhile // that's what he wanted to learn about, and focus on
Warren Wiersbe said of these verses - "When he was living under the law, all Paul had was a set of rules. But now he had a Friend, a Master, and a constant Companion."
- Paul develops this idea in verse 10 – I want
A.  The power of his resurrection (the most significant event in history – grand demonstration of the deity of Christ and the power of God – to overcome death, hell, and the grave!)
Q: How big is your God? – Big enough to help us get done whatever our pastor presents to us next week?
- some will say, “That’s impossible” – but NOT for a God who is the author of life, and can raise His Son from the dead
- J. Hudson Taylor, a great missionary, said there are 3 ways to describe what God can do:
 Impossible // Difficult // Done
B.  The fellowship of his sufferings (same word: to share in, participate in His sufferings)
- remember the context in which Paul is writing – this is a prison epistle – he’s not in some palace in luxury
- we can expect some ‘fellowship of His sufferings’ in 2006 – Examples
C. Being made conformable to his death – described in 2:5-11 [that is a process – not a one time act – progressive sanctification]


III. People Who Know Christ Pursue the Right Goal – 3:12-16


A.  Starts with forgetting the past
- he probably has in mind all the things he mentioned in verses 4-6, and even the good things he's done since coming to Christ.
- he's not talking about passively forgetting them... instead, he has a conscious refusal to let his past accomplishments absorb his attention and impede his progress (Homer Kent)
Point: 2005 is OVER – it’s in the record books and it’s time to move on to 2006 . . .2007
B.  Continues with personal responsibility
- this emphasis comes through in several places is Paul’s involvement in the process:
 v. 12  press on so that ....
 v. 13  reaching forward ...
 v. 14  I press on toward ...
prize = the crown of righteousness – not of salvation, but of conformity to Christ!
C.  Grow, and keep on growing!
1.  Nobody ever ‘arrives’ – v. 15
- never get to the place of not needing to grow (apply this to individuals/family/church)
- Romans 6 – positional holiness vs. practical holiness (the process of being conformed to the image of Christ is never ending
Q: How can I get there?
2.  Act on the truth you know – v. 16 [quote James 1:25]
Important Verse: Hebrews 5:12-14  12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
[describe our ABF a few Sundays ago – Mt. Jack’s steak or a baby bottle/baby food]

Getting Ready to Gear Up
Knowing Christ: The Key to Effective Service

Introduction:
1.  Getting better at something often comes down to who you know and are you willing to listen to that person?

2006: Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness

2.  What is going to help us accomplish what our Pastor lays out before us next week?
Key Verses:


I.  People Who Know Christ Trust in the Right Source – 3:1-3
A.  A person who knows Christ ____________ in the Lord – 3:1
* Our joy is rooted in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ!

B.  A person who knows Christ _____________ _________________ – 3:2
> Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!
Other Verses:

C.  A person who knows Christ _____________ in the ______________ – 3:3a

D.  A person who knows Christ ___________ in Christ Jesus – 3:3b
‘glory = boast, take pride in; rejoice, be glad

Q: What are you going to boast in for 2006?

E.  A person who knows Christ puts no confidence in the _____________ – 3:3c

II.  People Who Know Christ Evaluate Themselves Properly – 3:4-11
A.  Regarding ______________ _________________! – v. 4-6
1. Circumcised the eighth day
2. Hebrew of the Hebrews
3.  A keeper of the law – a _______________
4.  A persecutor of the church
“It is not enough to believe the truth; a man must also oppose lies. Paul defended his orthodox faith by persecuting the church….Every Jew could boast of his own blood heritage. Some Jews could boast of their faithfulness to the Jewish religion. But Paul could boast of those things plus his zeal for persecuting the church.”  W. Wiersbe
5.  ________________ when compared to God's law.
B.  Regarding what they __________ ___________ – 3:7-9
Man at his best is at best a man!

III.  People Who Know Christ Live in a Practical Way – 3:10-11
A.  The ____________ of his ____________

B.  The _____________ of his _____________

C. Being made ______________ to his death
III. People Who Know Christ Pursue the Right Goal – 3:12-16
A.  Starts with forgetting the ____________

B.  Continues with _____________ _____________
 v. 12  press on so that ....
 v. 13  reaching forward ...
 v. 14  I press on toward ...
C.  ___________, and keep on ________________!
1.  Nobody ever ‘____________ – v. 15

2.  _________ on the truth you know – v. 16

Important Verse: _____________________


The Joy of Serving Our God – Philippians 1-4
Joy of Knowing Christ – (Part 2)3:1-16
Introduction:
[Review]
I.  The Character of True Believers – 3:1-3
A.  True believers REJOICE in the Lord – 3:1
* Our joy is rooted in the Person and work of Jesus Christ
• Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
B.  True believers EXERCISE DISCERNMENT – 3:2
beware = to continually be on the lookout
- the enemy:  Judaizers
C.  True believers worship in the Spirit – 3:3a
D.  True believers glory in Christ Jesus – 3:3b
glory = boast, take pride in; rejoice, be
glad in
cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
E.  True believers put no confidence in the flesh – 3:3c
• John 6:63 It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing . . .
II.  The Reality of True Righteousness – 3:4-11
A.  Impressive profiles don’t matter! v. 4-6
1.  Circumcised the eighth day
2.  Hebrew of the Hebrews
3.  A keeper of the law – a Pharisee
4.  A persecutor of the church
Wiersbe:  It is not enough to believe the truth; a man must also oppose lies. Paul defended his orthodox faith by persecuting the church….Every Jew could boast of his own blood heritage. Some Jews could boast of their faithfulness to the Jewish religion. But Paul could boast of those things plus his zeal for persecuting the church.
5.  Blameless when compared to God's law.
B.  True righteousness is found only in Christ! – 3:7-9
Man at his best is at best a man!
C.  We can know Christ in a personal and practical way – 3:10-11
Wiersbe:  "When he was living under the law, all Paul had was a set of rules. But now he had a Friend, a Master, a constant Companion."
1. the power of his resurrection
2. the fellowship of his sufferings
3. being made conformable to his death
III. The Pursuit of the True Prize – 3:12-16
A. Starts with forgetting the past
B. Requires a high priority
prize = the crown of righteousness
C.  Even if you are maturing, keep heading down this path
1.  You are never too mature – v. 15
2.  Live up to the truth you already know – v. 16
Hebrews 5:12-14