Philippians 3:10 (NKJV)
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
1. That I may know Him
Many know about Jesus, but they don’t really know Him. This is evidenced by the distinction between someone just receiving Jesus as Savior versus making Him Lord of every area of their life.
Paul wanted to know Christ on a personal basis, not just factually, but experientially. Experiential means something personally lived through or encountered, and it’s this experiential knowledge that transforms a person and changes their life. God’s ultimate goal for every human being is a relationship with Him, and to know Christ experientially equates to a growing relationship with God.
Question: How do you really get to know someone? Answer: Spend time with them. If you really want to get to know God as a loving Father and if you really want to believe in what Jesus has done for you, you have got spend time in the Word of God with the Holy Spirit. To know Jesus experientially requires that we spend time with Him by studying the Bible in light of the new covenant and according to who we are in Christ, and then taking action on what we have learned.
2. And the power of His resurrection
Experiencing the power of His resurrection is what enables you to express the divine nature and live like the righteous new creation you really are. When you become one with Christ by trusting in Him, you can experience the power that raised Him from the dead, and it’s that same resurrection power that enables you live a godly life. But here’s the catch: You can’t do it in your own power; you can only do it by experiencing “the power of His resurrection.” Paul knew he couldn’t live a godly life without experiencing the resurrection power of Jesus. You can make some change by exercising your own will-power, but behavior modification via will-power will never produce long-term transformation. Only the power of God can produce long-term transformation. The power that can transform your life already resides in your re-created spirit because you became a partaker of the divine nature when you received eternal life.
You can’t enjoy all the benefits of your salvation without experiencing the power of His resurrection. You can’t live in divine health without experiencing the resurrection power of Jesus. You can’t live free from bondages and addictions without experiencing the resurrection power of Jesus. Paul wanted to experience the resurrection power of Jesus. He didn’t just want to tell people that Jesus heals; he wanted to see physical bodies healed and made whole. He didn’t just want to tell people Jesus delivers; he wanted to see people set free from bondages and addictions. The apostle Paul didn’t just want to tell people about the resurrection power of Jesus; he wanted it confirmed with signs, wonders, and miracles.
3. And the fellowship of His sufferings
Many well-meaning Christians misunderstand what it means to share in the sufferings of Christ. Let’s identify what suffering for Christ is and what it is not.
First, suffering for Christ includes being persecuted for preaching the gospel. This was confirmed by Jesus when He said (in Matthew 24:9), “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” If you’re suffering persecution for the gospel, then you are experiencing the fellowship of His sufferings.
Certainly the apostle Paul was persecuted for preaching the gospel, but it’s worth noting that the suffering he endured included the pain inflicted by people. We may not suffer physically the way the apostle Paul did, but in this life, people are going to hurt us, disappoint us, and let us down from time to time. Every person is going to suffer when people mistreat them. The challenge for the believer is to behave in a Christ-like manner by responding to people in love instead of reacting to them in selfishness. Doing this effectively requires experiencing resurrection power. Hurting people hurt people and when I react instead of respond, I absorb their hurt and suffer as a result.
Here’s what suffering for Christ is not. Suffering for Jesus doesn’t mean we just put up with something that Jesus died to set us free from. If Jesus bore our sins (which He did), suffering for Jesus doesn’t mean we continue to suffer the consequences of our sins and say we’re suffering for Jesus. If Jesus bore our sicknesses (which He did), suffering for Jesus doesn’t mean we put up with sickness and disease and say we’re suffering for Jesus. As much as this may make us feel more spiritual, it is still just a rationalization that opposes the finished work of Christ.
Here’s how the fellowship of His sufferings can apply to us today: The fellowship of His sufferings equates to appreciating what Jesus did for you. Everything we do as Christians should be done in appreciation of what Jesus has done for us – He secured for us God’s free gift of salvation, which includes healing and deliverance. Everything we experience in our lives as Christians should be filtered through the finished work of Christ. Do I really appreciate the fact that Jesus bore my sins and my sicknesses according to what the Word of God says? Do I really appreciate what Jesus did for me enough to forgive those who have hurt me, disappointed me, and let me down? Do I really appreciate what Jesus did for me enough to live my life in light of the New Covenant and according to who I am in Christ?
4. Being conformed to His death.
The phrase, “being conformed to His death” (as it’s used here) includes Paul’s desire to die to self. Paul wanted to change his perspective from one of being self-centered to one of being Christ-centered. He no longer wanted to react to people who hurt him, disappointed him, and let him down. Instead, he wanted to respond to them by telling people how much God loves them. Being conformed to His death equates to responding in the spirit instead of reacting to the flesh.
Here’s what the progression of Philippians 3:10 looks like: The more I know Jesus, the more I experience the power of His resurrection. The more I experience the power of His resurrection, the more I appreciate what He’s done for me. The more I appreciated what He’s done for me, the more I die to self, and the more I die to self, the more my relationship with God grows.
The prescription for living a victorious Christian life includes four things: Knowing Jesus personally, experiencing resurrection power, appreciating what Jesus did for you, and dying to self.
We have a new resource that will help you get to know Jesus personally. It’s a 6-CD series called The Present Day Ministry of Jesus Christ. Click here to find out more.