Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I know Jesus! I know Jesus! I know Jesus!

I have quoted several times in my blog about only boasting that we know the Lord.  I always posted is as assumption as it is what is commanded to us in God's Word. 
Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV
This command is reinforced several times in the New Testament.  So we know that God wants us to only glory (or boast) that we know Him, today I want to answer why and that answer comes by way of Paul.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  Philippians 3:7-8 NKJV
The  "what things" Paul was referring to was his heritage and standing in the world before knowing Christ.  These things excelled him in the flesh, but were a loss for Christ.  Anything Paul had was only serving to keep him away from knowing the Lord.  Paul gave everything up to serve the Lord.  Did he miss any of it?  Well, do you miss you garbage when the garbage men take it away?  Paul counted everything he gave up to be nothing but trash anyway.  Christ is more valuable than anything we can ever own and so no matter what you lose to gain Christ, you gained in the end.  There is nothing in this life that we have or have had or can have that can measure having the knowledge of the Lord. 
and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  Philippians 3:9 NKJV
And now Paul is going on to explain the excellence of knowing the Lord.  If we know Him to be our Lord, we are found in Him.  What this means is that our unrighteousness is replaced with His righteousness through faith in Him.  We know Jesus and in that knowledge we have faith in Jesus and that faith allows God to impart His righteousness upon us. 
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3:10-11 NKJV
We love to proclaim the first part of this, but probably mumble the second part.  Knowing the Lord means knowing His power.  Who does not love that?  The power of Christ can be experienced by us through knowing Him.  What on this earth that you can ever had can ever compare with that?  That power comes with something else, though, that power comes with suffering.  I know what you are thinking, how can suffering be part of the excellence of knowing the Lord?  It seems to really go against excellence, and I think that view is where so many Christians fail.  First of all, Jesus suffered and in our sufferings for the Lord, we have fellowship with the Lord.  We have the comfort that no matter what we are going through, the Lord went through worse.  Suffering is also diminished when we realize the last part of knowing the Lord, and that is death.  To experience the resurrection into the newness of our lives in Christ, we must first experience death.  You can't be resurrected if you never died.  That resurrection is symbolized in baptism when we proclaim that we have died to the world and rose again a new creation in Christ.  Just like Jesus, we must allow our flesh to be crucified to experience the resurrected life in Him.  Suffering is a product of the flesh and self.  Knowing Christ means denying ourselves and crucifying our flesh and so what suffering we experienced is diminished for the fellowship in Christ it brings.  Here is what Paul says about suffering:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV
Our suffering, though not pleasant in the flesh, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  In other words, our temporary suffering leads to eternal rewards.  Our knowledge of Christ brings to mind that promise. 

So what is so amazing about knowing the Lord.  Why should we boast in our knowledge of Him?  It is because if we know Him, we are in Him. If we are in Him, His righteousness is attributed to us through our faith in Him.  When we boast about knowing the Lord, we are boasting of His righteousness, we are boasting of his power in our lives, we are boasting of the fellowship of suffering with Christ for the Kingdom of God, and we are boasting of our resurrection in Him to the Spiritual life we now live in Him.  Our boasting is not premised on anything we have done, it is premised on the knowledge of what He has done for us.  And what He has done for us is quite amazing.  He has died for our sins, paying the penalty for what we have done wrong. He resurrected`from the dead, giving us the hope of eternal life.  His righteousness is imparted to us through our faith in Him.  He sanctifies us from our unrighteousness with the promise to complete that process in eternity.  He lives within us, giving us His power, comfort, inspiration, peace, love, and joy as we need it each and every day.  He provides for our needs as we seek after Him.  He is preparing our eternal home in eternity where there is no more death, no more sorrow, no more sickness, and no more sin and all of the presence of God in all His glory lighting our eternal home for all time to come.  As we boast in what the Lord has done for us, others will want to hear more about the Lord.  If we do not boast about what the Lord has done for us, why would anyone have interest in a God we have no enthusiasm for?  So, boast in the Lord.  Brag to your friends and family on what He has done for you life, but back up that bragging with the changed life that comes with the Lord.  Just like it looks silly bragging about a skill you do not have, it looks silly bragging about a Lord you do not love.  Life for God and brag about what He has done for you! 
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."   1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NKJV

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