Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Power


Pericope:  Phil. 3:7-11
Sermon Text:  Phil 3:10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Sermon Title:  Power
Available at https://www.lifestream.tv/nlic/ 
Context/History:  The context of the text is this.  We are privileged to have access to Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi.  Here is when it says - Nestle within this thank you note from prison for the offering they sent, is a personal reflection.  Maybe over a moment of weakness, Paul permitted us a peek inside his personal aspirations.  This note from Paul is a peek into his personal drive for power.  Not just power for person gain but power for kingdom purpose.  He needed for the problem he had to solve.
        The church at Philippi was preoccupied with a lot of things so there is a good chance they may have missed this moment of personal confession from their founding pastor.  He told them he lacked adequate power for his present personal plight.  He is in prison.  He is chained by the ankles to the elite Roman praetorian guards.  He has received word his character is under attack and things are a little shaky at home.  Power for is problems and the churches problems is what he wants. 
        Our text comes out of this context.  The text says Paul wanted and needed the Power of Christ Resurrection.  The desire to have this power is an admission you need it.  How many of you have needed some power to get you out of a situation?  How many of you want some power for future use just in case so you won’t be helpless?  Power is a good thing to have.  Paul specified the type of power he needed.  Not just any kind of power. Paul said, based on his situation, only one kind of power would do – that’s the power of Jesus’ resurrection. REPEAT Paul needed the power of the resurrection.  
        Now the word power as it is used in our text is the Greek word dumonous, the practical definition is the ability to get things done. The practical definition is the ability to get things done. That is the same word we use for dynamite.  That’s the natural explanation for resurrection power.  The supernatural and spiritual explanation for resurrection power is Jesus was dead and God ignited life into his body.  The supernatural and spiritual definition for resurrection power is early the third day morning – the third day because the grave was sealed and certified as the place of death and the stone was rolled away. In other words, its like the coroner had certified Jesus death and burial. The supernatural and spiritual explanation and definition is after Jesus was crucified, buried in a borrowed tomb he got up with all power in his hands.  Paul said he needed THAT power for three things. 1) Relate, 2) Participate and 3) Rejuvenate. 
Point 1: The Power to Relatevs. 10a – I want to know Christ…
Paul desperately needed meaningful real relationships.  Because of how he became a believer, real relationships were hard to come by.  I mean who really trusted the guy that persecuted them.  Other Christians were always leery of his motives, his pedigree, his background, his anointing.  They were suspicious of his authority and ability to be a part of them, let alone a leader amongst them. 
        So Paul acknowledged in his letter that he wanted to know Christ.  You may say I thought Paul already knew Jesus.  He did.  But look further.  When you look at the Greek word for know “gnonai” which means to know by experience.  You now see what Paul was after.  This isn’t the word know as in intercourse as in Adam know Eve; your daddy know you mamma and along came you.  That is a one time event that could or could not include a long term intimate relationship.  This know means experimentally.    You don’t get to know the real person until you EXPERIENCE how they act in certain situations.  
        Paul said I want to know Jesus in different situations.  Some of us only know Jesus for Sunday.  Some of us only know Jesus for certain situations.  That is permissible and good, but please try him for Monday situations.  Tuesday situations.  Wednesday situations.  Saturday night situations.  Family situations.  School situations.  Get to know him for more than a quickie.  Experience what Jesus will do in any and every situation you find yourself in and you will find out a whole other sides to Jesus.  Up to now, Paul had a religious relationship with God filled with rules and regulations.  He didn’t have a real relationship with God until he put down the rules and knew Jesus. 

Point 2:  The Power to Participate.  Vs. 10b and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings
Personally I am little bothered Paul said that.  Who wants to suffer?  You have to wonder is Paul sane.  Why do I say that?  Because Paul is already suffering in prison when he writes this.  Why would he let that come out of his mouth?  Paul clearly does not understand that a 21st century audience would be reading his words.  People in the 21st century have an aversion and objection to any suffering.  Most of us run from struggle, hardships, sacrifice or anything that looks like it.  In fact, those are all legitimate reasons for divorce, changing jobs, going to another church or not paying a bill. REPEAT
So why is Paul talking about fellowshipping and sharing in Christ’s suffering?  The key word is share…participate!  When we see share we think only of us sharing Christ suffering on the cross.  No. The bible said once the sacrifice has been given there is no need for another sacrifice.  Hebrews 7:27
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Paul is saying there will be some struggle in this but I get to share my suffering with the one who is intimate with suffering. 
·       Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
·       Rom 8:17 - Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
·       1 Pet 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
You can’t reign with him if you don’t want to suffer with him and you need the power to suffer through some things.    
a)  Suffering sets you up for more – e.g. caterpillar and butterfly
b)  Suffering shapes you to focus on his Power – you cannot smell the fragrance of perfume without someone crushing some flowers.
c)  Suffering Helps to Surrender your Will - CH Spurgeon there are no crown wearers in heaven who were not cross bearers below. 

Point 3:  Rejuvenated by his Power  - vs. 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul acknowledged he needed some things resurrected or rejuvenated in his life.  Paul needed to be renewed, restored and rejuvenated.  He counted all of his previous life as dead.  Vs. 3:7, 8 -  7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
Life Application
1.  Receive Jesus and you will receive his resurrection power
2.  Put his resurrection power to the test in every situation and circumstance you face.
3.  Learn how to increase the resurrection power in your life by connecting to a LifeGroup.

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