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Service Archives > Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians > Benefits of Being Believers

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Benefits of Being Believers - Philippians 3:8-11

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Being a Christian believer cost Paul a lot. He lost his status, he lost his prestige among former peers, and he landed in a foreign prison cell, facing possible execution. So what did he gain from his choice? What are the rewards and benefits of believing in Christ if the world hates you and most people misunderstand you? Today, we look at five of the benefits that offset any loss we might incur. These gains (or profits) make up for any momentary afflictions.

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10/29/2017
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Benefits of Being Believers
Philippians 3:8-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Being a Christian believer cost Paul a lot. He lost his status, he lost his prestige among former peers, and he landed in a foreign prison cell, facing possible execution. So what did he gain from his choice? What are the rewards and benefits of believing in Christ if the world hates you and most people misunderstand you? Today, we look at five of the benefits that offset any loss we might incur. These gains (or profits) make up for any momentary afflictions.
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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Outline

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  1. Knowledge “Excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” (v. 8)

  2. Position “And be found in Him” (v. 9)

  3. Righteousness “The righteousness which is from God” (v. 9)

  4. Fellowship “That I may know Him…” (v. 10)

  5. Glory “The resurrection from the dead” (v. 11)

Study Guide

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Recap Notes: October 29, 2017
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Benefits of Being Believers"
Text: Philippians 3:8-11

Path

Being a Christian believer cost Paul a lot. He lost his status, he lost his prestige among former peers, and he landed in a foreign prison cell, facing possible execution. So what did he gain from his choice? What are the rewards and benefits of believing in Christ if the world hates you and most people misunderstand you? In this teaching, Pastor Skip looked at five of the benefits that offset any loss we might incur. His path through the text is as follows:
  1. Knowledge "Excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" (v. 8)
  2. Position "And be found in Him" (v. 9)
  3. Righteousness "The righteousness which is from God" (v. 9)
  4. Fellowship "That I may know Him..." (v. 10)
  5. Glory "The resurrection from the dead" (v. 11)

Points

Knowledge
  • You make choices in life, but choices also make you; every choice counts.
  • Paul made a choice to follow Jesus, and he saw the world differently. What once seemed dull now shone with meaning, and things that had meaning became dull.
  • The Bible describes believers as people who know God. Paul had tremendous knowledge, but the knowledge of Christ surpassed everything.
  • Paul received the knowledge of Christ the same way we all do:
    • First, he was born—he received a physical knowledge of life and the world.
    • Second, he was born again—he received a spiritual knowledge of new life in Christ.
  • Probe: The Lord wrote two books: the Word and the world (creation). Discuss the similarities and differences between physical knowledge (based in the world) and spiritual knowledge (based in God). Can you have one without the other?
Position
  • Paul describes Christians as being "found in [Christ]" (v. 9). This phrase denotes our unity in Christ's life, death, and resurrection; Christ's life is in us.
  • Practically, being in Christ means that when God looks at you, He sees Christ.
  • Probe: In our close communion with Christ, He is in us by the Spirit, and we are in Him by the Spirit. There is both a physical and spiritual union. Think of a house: you can be in your home, and your home can be in you (memories, feelings, etc.). What are some other things that you can be in and are also in you (for example, oxygen)?
Righteousness
  • Righteousness indicates a condition of being right before God, accepted by Him. It can't be produced by good works; it must be provided by grace and received by faith.
  • Paul tried to get right in a host of ways: religious heritage, legalism, and rule-keeping. By worldly standards, he succeeded; by Christ's, he failed.
  • Righteousness is not achieved by determination, but by imputation—the Lord places it in you and credits it to you. It is the great exchange (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • The worst form of badness is human goodness used as a substitute for true righteousness.
  • Probe: Why is the biblical teaching of Christ's righteous imputation essential to the Christian faith? Without it, can we please God perfectly? Why not?
Fellowship
  • Paul never came to a place in his life when he had enough of knowing Jesus; he always wanted more of Christ. The initial saving knowledge of Christ became Paul's lifelong pursuit.
  • Paul longed for deeper fellowship with Christ (see v. 10):
    • A personal fellowship: "that I may know Him"
    • A powerful fellowship: "the power of His resurrection"
    • A painful fellowship: "the fellowship of His sufferings"
  • All the sufferings Paul experienced only deepened his fellowship with Jesus because He was one who suffered far worse.
  • Sorrow is one of life's greatest fellowship enhancers. A trouble-free life is a shallow life.  
  • Probe: A common word used in the Bible for know is ginóskó. It means knowledge by learning or experience. How can our knowledge of Christ be expanded by learning and experience? Give examples.
Glory
  • Paul was a humble man, saying, "I am the least of the apostles" (1 Corinthians 15:9; see also Ephesians 3:8).
  • Paul understood that something greater awaited him: glory, the ultimate benefit our salvation—the blissful vision of seeing Jesus face to face. This is every believer's ultimate benefit: heaven with Jesus.
  • As Christians, we are part of the greatest organization in the world, and our retirement package is unequaled.
  • Probe: Though the Bible doesn't go into detail about heaven, there are some unique passages found in Revelation 21 and 22 concerning the new heaven and new earth. Note some of the unique facets of our future glory in these chapters. What did you find?
Practice

Connect Up: The word Paul used for righteousness in Philippians is dikaiosuné. It means an act of equity and justification. Why must we depend solely on Christ, receiving Him as Savior, to have a right relationship with God the Father? See Romans 1:1-17.

Connect In: The universal church should concern itself with Christian knowledge—in both learning and experience (see 2 Peter 3:18). Discuss ways we can grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (for example, Bible study and service).

Connect Out: Knowing that Jesus is the only way to the Father, how should this truth affect your relationship to nonbelievers? Other than evangelism (which is primary), what other practical things can you do to show the love of God in Christ to the world?

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvery Church. We pray this message strengthens your relationship with the Lord. And if it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.

Being a Christian believer cost Paul a lot. He lost his status and prestige, and he landed in a foreign prison facing possible execution. So what are the benefits of believing in Christ if the world hates you and most people misunderstand you? In the message, "Benefits of Being Believers," Skip shares five benefits that offset any loss we might incur. Now, please turn in your Bible to Philippians chapter 3 as he begins.

Father, we ask you to help us. We need your help to understand, to grasp, to glean, especially, Lord, to apply and believe that these things are true. These are benefits that you have given to us. Lord, you know the condition of every heart in this place. Some of us, Lord, come very light hearted, very joyous, very excited. We have seen blessing after blessing in our life.

For others, that is not the experience. It's been difficult, in some cases even dark. And we need a word of encouragement that would bring us close to you and bolster our confidence Lord and your plan for our lives. So Lord, no matter what is the condition, we look to you for the provision, in Jesus' name, amen.

Every one of us makes choices every day. And the way choice works is that we make our choices, and then our choices turn around and they make us. They define who we are as people. So that every decision that we make, it counts. You know, it's sort of like flypaper, there's two sides to a piece of flypaper. But it makes a huge difference to the fly which side he chooses to land on.

And when believing in Jesus means getting beat up and thrown into prison and being ridiculed and mocked, and when believing in Christ means a loss of freedom, being chased by assassins and having to hide out for your very life, when believing in Jesus means you get pain and sorrow, and it even costs you your life, the question is, why do it? If believing in Christ and following his plan and being surrendered to him could possibly mean you losing everything, why make that choice? What are the benefits from making that kind of a decision? Is there any payoff for that kind of pain?

And I bring that up because typically, when a person gives up something, they do it to gain something? If a person quits his job, usually, it's because he's found a better job. If a person marries someone, it's because they see the benefit of not being alone any longer. If you give something away, it's to replace it with something else. Or you want to get the feeling of that altruistic love or sacrifice, whatever you have made.

But let's just say you win the lottery. And it's a $3 million ticket. You won. Somebody comes to your door and knocks on the door and says, I have a check for $3 million for you. If you were to say, nah, I'm good. I don't need it. I found something better. Well, everybody wants to know what could be better than that?

Paul the Apostle made such a choice, and he now sees the world very, very differently than how he once saw the world. What was once shiny to Paul is now dull. What was once important to Paul is now unimportant. What was once super-cool, to be esteemed, to be aspired to is now rubbish to this apostle.

Verse 7 of chapter three, "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 I count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ." That's an incredible statement.

The reverse is also true. Those things that he once thought were dull and ordinary and despised, he now values. He says, continuing on in verse 9, "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; 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."

I venture to say this happened to you at some point in your life. You sort of figured out that all the things you thought were cool and important, they don't taste the same any longer. They don't have the same appeal. Everybody who comes to Christ, finds their appetites change. It certainly happened to me.

I used to think the last thing I'd ever want to be in life is a Christian. That's what I thought. I thought Christians are boring people who like boring things. For some odd reason they go to church a lot, I can't figure out why. But then I met Christ and everything changed, everything radically changed, the way I looked at life. And so my friends noticed the changes, and they said, hey, Heitzig, you're like different now.

You know, we keep inviting you back to the parties, you don't want to party anymore. What's the deal? And I said, look, I don't know how to put it to you guys except just to say, I have something much better. Oh, really, well tell us about it. Is it a better drug? I said, well, it is a high but not like you think.

And so when I started explaining what it is to believe in Jesus you could just see their body language, you've seen it. It's like please stop, stop right there. And they were trying to figure me out, and I said, look, let me just put it to you this way. The best way I can help you understand, it's like this. I've been eating TV dinners my whole life, and somebody just gave me steak and lobster. It's sort of hard for me to go back to the TV dinners. I've tasted something much better than what I've been feeding on. Some of them got it, most of them didn't.

Now it's funny, there are commonplace items, commonplace possessions that suddenly gain value when we discover they have been owned by famous people. So for example, Napoleon's tooth brush sold for $21,000. Would you pay $21,000 for a gnarly used bacteria-ridden tooth brush? Well somebody did because it belonged to Napoleon. Hitler's car sold for $150,000. Winston Churchill's false teeth for $20,000. No, thank you. The picture is good.

Jackie Onassis' fake pearls, they weren't even real, fake pearls sold for $211,000. JFKs golf clubs sold for $772,000. Now what changed the value? Ownership, source changed the value. It's where they come from that changes the value.

So what Paul does here, he says this, I used to think these are gain, now their loss, I've got something better. Paul assigns value to five areas of life, all of which come from Christ, and hence they're valuable. Those five areas we'll briefly look at today. They are knowledge, position, righteousness, fellowship, and glory. Or to be more specific, the knowledge of Christ, position in Christ, righteousness by Christ, fellowship with Christ, and glory like Christ.

Would you go back with me to verse 8? We looked at that last time but there's a particular word that shows a benefit. In verse 8 he speaks of knowledge. "Yet indeed, I count all things loss." Why Paul? Why are you saying no to those things? What could be better than all that you had attained? Here it is. "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."

Now do you know that the Bible describes believers as people who know God? That's how the Bible describes us. We know God. I have two books by that name. One is called Knowing God by J.I. Packer, a fabulous book, it changed my life. The other book is called Knowing the Face of God by Tim Stafford. Both excellent books. What sold me on them was the title, knowing God. It describes the Christian life.

Jesus himself spoke of this. When he said, "I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own and my own know me." When Jesus prayed to the Father in John chapter 17 he said, "This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

The Apostle John tells us this is the whole reason Jesus came, First John chapter 5 verse 20, "And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding, so that we can know the true God." And Jeremiah the Prophet, in predicting the new covenant that we enjoy said this would be the key element. He said, "No more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest." Now all of this language is where we get the notion of having a personal relationship with God. I know God.

Years ago I had a mailman, a mailcarrier who brought me mail every day. And I don't know why, but somebody once asked me, hey, do you know your mailman. And so I started describing him, well, he's about this tall, has this kind of a build, kind of walks a little funny, usually wears these gray mailman's shorts. And I was describing him, but it dawned on me, I'd never met him. I didn't know him, I knew facts about him.

And what I was telling my friend when he asked me, do you know him, is I was answering his question with the wrong answer. I was saying, well, I know certain attributes about him. But then there came a day when I thought, I'm going to introduce myself to him. I introduced myself to him, got to know a little bit about him, his background, his family. Now I knew him. I've met him.

Well, that's how it is so often when it comes to God. You ask somebody, do you know God? And they can spout out knowledge tidbits. They know certain attributes of God, certain doctrines of God, they tell you a lot about him, they know a lot about him, but they do not know him.

Paul the Apostle, who used to be Saul of Tarsus, certainly knew a lot about his God, the Jewish God. But it wasn't until the Damascus road experience when Jesus so abruptly introduced himself to Saul of Tarsus that he began really knowing him. So we have a knowledge, that's a benefit. We know God.

Now this is like the ultimate name drop. You know how people like to drop names, well you know, the president of the company, you know, we're friends. Ooh. Or the mayor, yeah, we're really close. We play golf once a week. Dropping names. You have the ultimate. You can say, really, I know God. God and I were like this. In fact, I just spoke to him this morning.

Now when Paul says knowledge here, or knowing God, it's a word that means a personalized experience, personal involvement or personal familiarity. It is the word "ginosko". It means far more than intellectual knowledge. It means far more than theological knowledge. You can just look at Paul the Apostle. This dude before he was Paul the Apostle knew a lot already.

He knew Greco-Roman culture. He knew several languages. He knew theology. He could debate and converse with rabbis. He knew secular philosophy, so he could stand on the Areopagus in Athens and freely quote their authors, a brilliant knowledgeable man. But nothing, nothing in Paul's mind compared to knowing Christ. That's why he calls it, look at what he calls it. He didn't say just knowledge, "But I've counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge."

The word excellence means surpassing worth, inestimable value. It is excellent knowledge. It is more valuable than JFK's golf clubs or Napoleon's toothbrush. It is an excellence of knowledge.

And notice how he refers to the Lord. He didn't call him Christ, the Lord, or our Lord, but what? My Lord. That's personal. Some people like to talk-- it's like a dead giveaway that they don't know the Lord. Oh, yes, you know, that big guy in the sky, the Good Lord. Well, the Good Lord, is he your Good Lord? Paul calls him personally my Lord.

Question, how do you get to know God? I like to answer it this way. How did you get to know your parents? You had to be born, right? Officially you met your parents the day you were born. You don't remember it, you were too young. But it happened, OK?

So you got to know your parents first of all by being born. You get to know God by being born again. Jesus said, "You must be born again." And so our first birth was physical and it brought life. Our second birth is spiritual, it brings salvation, and this is what enables you to know God, the new birth. And so the first benefit is knowledge, the knowledge of Christ.

The second benefit his position. We have position. Verse 9, Paul says, "And be found in Him." Now stop right there. One of Paul's favorite things to do in his writings is to describe Christian believers as people who are in Christ, that's how he describes us which makes Christians unique from all other belief systems.

Because a Buddhist never speaks of being in Buddha. You'll never hear a Buddhist say that. I am in Buddha. You'll never hear a Muslim say they are in Muhammad. You'll never hear a Hindus say, I am in Vishnu, or in Shiva, or in Ganesha or any of the other 330 million gods they believe in. If you we're in all of them, you'd be disintegrated, I suppose.

But we are in Christ. 87 times the New Testament says, we are in Christ. What does that mean? We are united to him, in his life, his death, his resurrection. His life is in us. Galatians 2:20, Paul describes it by saying, "I am crucified with Christ. It's no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and who gave himself for me." That's him describing what it is to be in Christ.

But let's drill down a little further. Let's make it a little more practical. What does it mean to be in Christ? It means this. That when God looks at you, when you are before God, you are identified with Jesus Christ. Let me illustrate it.

When you get into your car, if I were to follow you to the parking lot, when you get into your car, when I look at you, I see your car. I might see you through the windshield if it's not too tinted. You're in it, but I see the car. You're in that car. If you then drive home and step into your house, you might wave at me through the kitchen window, but when I look at you, I see the home, the edifice that you are now in.

If you decide to travel to another city and get in an airplane and fly away, I look up in the sky, you're up there, but I see the plane. So to be in Christ means this, when God looks at you now, he sees Christ. He sees Christ. He no longer sees your imperfections, your failures, and your sins. He sees the Savior who died for them.

So you can't go 60 miles an hour on your own, but in a car you can. You can't fly through the air at 500 miles an hour, but in a plane you can. You can't get to heaven by yourself, but in Christ you can. You are in Christ, that position is a monumental benefit.

So we have knowledge, we know God. We have position, we're in Christ. A third benefit is righteousness. Verse 9, he says, "Being found in him, not having my own righteousness." Now he talked about how he worked hard for his own righteousness in previous versus. "Not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that" that is, that righteousness "which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith."

The happiest day of Paul's life is when he stopped trying to be righteous and believed that he was righteous because he was in Christ. It's like, he's been panting hard his whole life trying to work it, [PANTING] and he realized, I'm accepted. I've been given a righteousness. God has made me that way.

Now the word righteousness, would you agree is a pretty important Bible word, right? It's used a lot in the scriptures. The New Testament uses that word a lot. Let me tell you what it means. Righteousness is the word "dikiasunei" which means to have right standing before God, or to be right with God. Righteousness is being right with God, having a right standing or being accepted by God.

Now think of it. Paul spent his whole adult life trying to manufacture a righteousness before God. How? By externals, by rituals, by works, we read the list already. He tried to get right with God by keeping the rules. He tried to get right with God by leaning on his religious heritage. He tried to get right with God by practicing legalism as a Jewish Pharisee, and he failed.

And the day he discovered that failure was the happiest day of his life because he found that true righteousness can't be produced, true righteousness must be provided. He tried to produce it, he tried to manufacture it and the Damascus Road experience, that whole experience made him realize, I can't produce it, but it has been provided for me.

There is this cool little thing that's been going on since the 1990s in malls across America called Build-a-Bear. Have you seen the Build-a-Bear Workshop, Build-a-Bear experience? OK. So it's a great idea. But the thought behind it, and they've put out a 160 million of these things. So it's pretty successful. But the idea is simply, forget somebody else's idea of what a Teddy bear ought to be, make your own. Size, ears, eyes, look, skin, you can even get away from the Teddy bear. Get a Pokemon figure if you want, or a Star Wars figure if you want. You build your own bear. It's incredibly a genius idea.

But when it comes to spiritual matters, I have discovered the world is absolutely fixated on this approach with God. It's a Build-a-Bear approach. It's build your own way to God approach, build your own road to heaven, build your own righteousness. Well, you know, I picture God as, and my idea is, and I've always thought if I try, and I do, and this happens that I'll get to heaven. It's a Build-a-Bear approach.

The problem is it's an unattainable goal. You can build a bear in a mall, that's attainable. But this is an unattainable goal because true righteousness is not by working, it's not by determination, it's by, here's a word, imputation. I'm not just trying to throw out big words. That's an important word. Four times in Romans 4 it says, a righteousness has been imputed to you. It means accounted, or accredited to you.

It's like Abraham. Abraham, it says, believed God, and God accounted, or imputed it to him as righteousness. Righteousness does not come then by determination but by imputation. That's the idea in verse 9. A righteousness which is from God, that's provided by faith. What did you do? Believed. It's from God by faith. It was imputed to you. It was credited to your account.

So this is how it works. Jesus Christ has a perfect record, he never sinned. I have an imperfect record, I've sinned a lot. Biblical righteousness is when God takes Jesus Christ's perfect record and superimposes it over my imperfect life. I'm in Christ. He sees me, He sees Christ. His righteousness is given to me. This is what the Bible sees as the great exchange.

One of the most important verses of scripture, one of the most important truths you will ever know is 2 Corinthians 5:21. "God made him," Jesus, "who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him." God made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him. My translation, God treated Jesus Christ like you deserve to be treated, so that he could treat you like Jesus Christ deserves to be treated. That's the great exchange.

This is why I never ask God to give me what I deserve, ever, ever, ever. I would never boast and God, you've watched my life, it's been pretty good. Give me what I deserve. Boy, do you like lightning strikes? You'd better run away from that. I never ask God to give me what I deserve but rather give me what Jesus deserves. If I'm in Christ, if I have been given his righteousness, then I never ask God to give me what I deserve. Grace is God giving you what you don't deserve.

If you start thinking, well, let me tell you what I deserve, you'd better consult the Prophet Isaiah who said in chapter 64 verse 4, "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." Next time you boast, remember that verse. If you try to wear your own righteousness, you will be poorly clothed before God.

G. Campbell Morgan, one of the expositors and commentators I've long enjoyed said, there's a greater chance for the nonbeliever who has not heard the gospel than the man who has become an evangelized nonbeliever. Powerful words. There are people, Morgan says, who come to churches week after week after week, and they are evangelized, but they're nonbelievers. They've never personalized it.

They've just heard it, heard it, heard it. And they are inoculated with a mild form of Christianity so as to be immune from the real thing. Listen, the worst form of badness is human goodness when used as a substitute for true righteousness. That's the worst form of badness, human goodness that is used as a substitute for righteousness.

And why is that? Why is that the worst form of badness? Because it's the highest insult you could ever give God. You're telling God, you're saying in effect, your son didn't do enough. He died on a cross, and he said it is finished, but let me add to that. I think he needs a little help to finish the job. That's an insult to the whole redemptive plan of God.

So seeing this is a benefit, we have knowledge, we know him personally. We're in him. We're in Christ's position and righteousness. He's given it to us. There is a fourth benefit, it gets better. We have fellowship, verse 10. "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being conformed to his death."

Now, I hope you're catching this. I hope you're at this point going, well, didn't he already say knowledge was a benefit, now he's asking for it? He said, I know God. I know God personally. Oh, God, I want to know you. Well, Paul, are you confused? Has prison time gotten to you a little bit, because you said you had it. Now you're asking for it.

Well, yes, he already listed knowledge as a benefit. But he wants you to know that still, his heart cry, I want to know him more and more and more. What I love is this. Paul never came to a place where he felt, I've had enough of God. I mean, here's a guy who's walked with the Lord 30 years. He's established churches. He's like Mr. Bold, Mr. Unafraid, Mr. Joyful, and he never, ever came to a place where he said, you know, I've had enough of God, I don't want to go overboard. I don't want to be some religious fanatic and get too much into this thing and not be normal any longer.

Paul is saying the most normal thing to do is to walk in fellowship with this God, more and more and more. The Amplified Bible renders it this way, "My determined purpose is that I may know him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of his person more strongly and more clearly."

So get this. The initial saving knowledge of Christ becomes his lifelong pursuit. I want to know Him. Now he didn't just say, I want to know Him. He longs for a fellowship that includes both dynamic experiences as well as difficult ones. Unpack it a little bit. Look down at your Bible, and you'll notice, what he's asking for, what he's longing for is a personal fellowship. He says, that I may know Him. That's personal again. He never wanted a second hand experience with God. He was never, well, you know, my parents believed in this stuff, I think that's good enough. Or my sister, or my wife, she's really into this, or my brother, he wanted it firsthand. "That I may know Him."

Also, what he longed for was a powerful fellowship. He says, that I may know him in the power of his resurrection. We know what that means. It means the power to live a victorious life, the power to live above the norm by the grace and help of God, the Holy Spirit, the power to say no to sin and conquer sinful habits, the power of his resurrection.

And he also wanted, get this, a painful fellowship. He longed for fellowship in the most painful times. He says, that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. So what he is saying I believe is this, I want to walk through life's best times and life's worst times in fellowship with Jesus Christ. That's what I want.

Because all the sufferings Paul experienced drove him deeper in fellowship with Jesus, and here's why. Because Jesus, his companion in suffering, suffered more than he ever would. He understood suffering. This Jesus that is with him in fellowship was the guy who was despised, mocked, spat on, and crucified. And he is sharing that life experience with Paul. Paul recognizes that, the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed even to his death.

I know a lot of us don't like the idea of suffering or we would love to see that suffering is out of God's will, the problem is, we do it so much. And I know you want a trouble free life, but the trouble free life is the shallow life. If you live a trouble free life, please never counsel somebody who has suffered because you'll never get it. But when you've walked through the valley of the shadow of death, those people will be all around you asking for prayer and advice and help.

Sorrow turns out to be one of life's greatest fellowship enhancers. If I were to take this microphone and walk down the aisles, and we had time, and you said, yeah, I'm suffering, I've been suffering, or I went through a period of difficulty. You would probably also be the one to say, but during that time Jesus became so real to me. It was such an intimacy that I experienced during that time of difficulty that I never had in the lighter times of life. I bet that would be the testimony that you would bring. I've heard it time and time again.

One of my favorite poems is by Robert Browning, very simple. He said, "I walked a mile with pleasure, she chattered all the way, but made me none the wiser for all she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow, and never a word said she, but oh, the things I learned from her as sorrow walked with me." Sorrow will walk with you, but Jesus will walk with you through the sorrow, that's the fellowship of his suffering that Paul is speaking about, and you'll know him better.

So these are all in the benefit category. These are all in the asset category. The things that Paul said, these were loss, these were to be marginalized. Now, he says, these are actually in the asset column, they're gain. Knowledge, position, righteousness, and fellowship. And there is a final one, a fifth one. I look at this as the ultimate one, and that is glory, glory, verse 11. Paul continues his long rambling sentence, "If by any means. I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Now don't misunderstand that verse. He's not doubting that he can get there. He's not saying, man I'm working really hard. I just hope I can attain that. I hope I can earn that. Because that would defy everything he just said, about being given righteousness. So this isn't Paul doubting, this is Paul being humble. He's simply expressing it in humility. He is stating his unworthiness which amazes me that Paul never lost his sense of unworthiness. It's smattered throughout all his writings.

1 Corinthians 15 he writes, "I am the least of all the apostles." Ephesians chapter 3 he writes, "I am the very least of all the Saints." So he is being very humble but expressing confidence and stating this as a benefit that there will be for me, Paul, and for all believers, a resurrection in glory, "If I may attain from the resurrection of the dead."

Now I don't have time to go into the physical resurrection of believers, we've done that before. Can I just say, please go back and read First Corinthians chapter 15 where he belabors the point. But do this just so you kind of get the importance of this. Just grab your arm for a moment and feel the skin, your flesh. Your physical body or your face, grab it. Do you feel that? It's that physical body, that physical body that will one day be resurrected to life even after death. We believe in a literal, physical resurrection from the dead. It's going to happen at an event called the rapture of the church.

Now some of you are not excited about that. Last service I had a few people clap for that and a whole lot of people go like in horror, I have to live with this body forever? Look at it, it's got wrinkles or it's overweight. Or I've lost my hair. That's a punishment, not a reward.

Well, I'll answer that just by saying, if you go to 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, you know what though, it's sort of like a seed in a flower. The flower comes from the seed, the seed and the flower share the same DNA, but if you look at the seed, and you look at the flower, they're very different looking. So Paul is saying, your body right now is like that ugly seed, no offense, but that's what it's like, in comparison to the beautiful flower that represents your glorious resurrected body.

So when you say, well, how am I going to look resurrected? Answer, better. OK. Better. And you might think, well, I look pretty good now. You wish. Paul says this, 1 Corinthians 15, "I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed." I heard of a church that put that little verse over the nursery, where all the babies are. We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed. That's out of context. What he means is resurrection.

"I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep. We will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised," that's resurrection, "imperishable, and we will all be changed." Physically, a metamorphosis. "for that perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality." So this is your eventual benefit. This is the ultimate benefit. This is the believer's death benefit.

You know, we belong to the greatest company, the greatest organization in the world. Our retirement package is out of this world, literally. It's in glory. It's in heaven. So as you are making choices in life, remember the fly and the flypaper. One side is just a temporary stop off. The other side is permanent death. It matters a lot to that fly which side he chooses to land on. Make your choices with that in mind. I never want to get stuck. I want to have the freedom to soar with these benefits.

Our Father, we thank you for the clarity of Paul in his writings, how that this man could mull over these concepts while in prison, giving his testimony, saying, I used to think certain things were so important and so precious. But I've learned to count differently. And what I used to think was in the negative loss column, it's in the asset column, not a deficit.

And these things listed, knowing Jesus personally, a benefit; being in Christ, a benefit; being given a righteousness that we could never earn, a benefit; having fellowship in good times and bad times with the suffering one Jesus himself, a benefit; and resurrection from the dead, the ultimate death benefit. Lord, thank you for these. And I just want to pray for anyone who may have been clinging to their own righteousness, their own background, their own religion, their own education.

Lord, I pray that they too like this great man Paul would feel so exhausted by it and so unworthy even though they have worked hard at their status in life, religious or otherwise, and would come as Jesus said, poor in spirit. Spiritually, poverty stricken, when standing before perfection, we can only see our imperfection.

And to think that you are willing to superimpose the perfection of Jesus over our imperfect lives is staggering but helps us realize, ah-h, that was the reason for the cross so that could happen. So Lord our celebration isn't some subjective, we feel good now, so we're going to sing or cheer, but it's something that is objective that you did for us in time, in space, that is real from which we can derive these incredible benefits.

But I pray for anyone who has been trusting in themselves and not in you, who's been resting in their work and not yours. I pray that they will come to a place of saying, no to that and yes to Jesus by simply coming in simple faith and saying, I trust him. I believe in Him. I want my sins forgiven, and I believe he can do it, and he alone can do it.

I also pray for anyone who has wandered away from you that they will return to you. We're about to close in a song, but if you're here today and that describes any of you, and you're willing to surrender your life to Christ, would you just raise your hand in the air, right now, just so I can acknowledge your hand and pray for you.

Keep it up for a moment. God bless you ma'am, right there on my left toward in the middle. Anybody else? Just raise your hand up. Acknowledge your need. Like a person in the ocean who needs a lifeguard. God bless you toward the back, also on my left. Anyone else? You may have to move it around a little bit, so I can see it from this vantage point. Thank you, thank you, God bless you right up here.

Now right where you are seated, would you just say this. Lord, I know I'm a sinner, forgive me. I believe Jesus died for me on the cross, shed his blood for my sin and rose from the grave. I turn from my sin. I turn to my Savior, Jesus. I want to follow him as Lord, help me in Jesus' name, amen.

It's uplifting to know that the gains of being a believer make up for any momentary affliction. Did this message encourage you in your faith? Tell us about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
Skip Heitzig
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Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/7/2017
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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
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No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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5/14/2017
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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
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Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
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What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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6/11/2017
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Pest Control
Philippians 1:15-18
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Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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6/25/2017
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Can You Predict Your Future?
Philippians 1:18-21
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If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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7/9/2017
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Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
Philippians 1:22-26
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Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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7/16/2017
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How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
Philippians 1:27-30
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The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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7/30/2017
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Being Around People--While Still Being Sane!
Philippians 2:1-4
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Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.
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8/6/2017
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What Would Jesus Do?
Philippians 2:5-8
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The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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8/13/2017
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Be Humble or You'll Stumble
Philippians 2:8-11
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Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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8/20/2017
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How to Have a Great Workout
Philippians 2:12-13
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Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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8/27/2017
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Glow in the Dark!
Philippians 2:14-18
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To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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9/17/2017
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A Little Help from My Friends
Philippians 2:19-24
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Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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10/1/2017
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How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People
Philippians 2:25-30
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Some of the greatest people I have ever met have been relatively unknown individuals. They serve diligently behind the scenes with no desire for the limelight. Their names are not known to men, yet they are known to God. But even the choicest servants of God are not perfect. We all have our blemishes, shortfalls, quirks, idiosyncrasies, and oddities. Paul gave us an excellent way to treat such people in his words about his friend Epaphroditus.
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10/8/2017
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Has Your Joy Sprung a Leak?
Philippians 3:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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I have a bicycle pump in my garage that stands constant guard to reinflate my tires. It seems that I have a slow leak in one of them. Perhaps from a very small thorn or a defect in the tube, the air slowly leaks out, leaving the ride spongy. Spiritual thorns that deflate joy can also threaten our Christian experience. Let’s consider some simple principles that firm up our life journey and keep "the joy of the Lord" intact.
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10/15/2017
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Get a Real Testimony!
Philippians 3:4-8
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I have heard various people give their testimony over the years. A testimony is the story of how you came to believe in Christ personally. What is your story? Could you tell it to someone? You should be able to trace the steps you took in your life’s journey from aimless wandering to purposeful living as a Christian. These verses are Paul’s personal testimony. Let’s consider three essential ingredients to building a real testimony.
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11/5/2017
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Put On Your Running Shoes
Philippians 3:12-16
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Though I prefer cycling to running, I appreciate the disciplined runner who has trained long hours and has conditioned his/her body to reach its maximum potential. One of Paul’s favorite metaphors for Christian living was the race. In this passage, he pictured the believer as an athlete competing in a footrace pushing towards the finish line. To become winning champions in this race towards Christlikeness, there are five essentials:
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11/19/2017
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Show Me Your Passport, Please!
Philippians 3:17-21
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Anytime you travel overseas, a passport is required. Your passport is a document of citizenship, denoting your country of origin and permanent residence. Your name is written on that document along with your place and date of birth. Jesus said that our names are written in heaven (see Luke 10:20) because we have been born again. That makes us tourists and foreigners here on earth. In this section of Philippians, Paul gave us four distinguishing characteristics of heavenly citizens.
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There are 20 additional messages in this series.