Monday, June 4, 2018
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ…
Years ago, when I was working in retail clothing store management, I would get monthly profit and loss statements from the home office. These statements became the basis for many of the decisions I had to make concerning expenses, especially payroll. If I was managing well, and sales were good, then employees could be given additional hours to handle all the responsibilities of the store, and my work load would be eased. My efforts at management not only profited the company, but there were benefits to me personally as well.
But there were other times when the profit wasn’t so good. Producing a profit was all that mattered to my district manager, and there were times when it hurt me to have to cut employees hours to make sure the bottom line was protected. No one was exempt from layoffs or temporary cuts in hours. As the manager, I was expected to pick up all the extra responsibilities of those who had been cut. I was to consider nothing so important that I wouldn’t lose it for the sake of the company’s profit. No matter how many extra hours I had to put in and how many department cash registers I had to operate, I was making sure that next month’s statement stayed in the black.
When Paul compares his efforts to earn the favor of God with the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, he uses the same kind of accounting terms I just described. Everything Paul had done in the past had earned him some profit (Phil. 3:4-6), and he had enjoyed the social and personal benefits of his activity. But now he realized that the profit he had experienced from everything he had done in his own strength was rubbish compared to the profit he now received from knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord. He now considered all those efforts and benefits as rubbish compared to the new experience of knowing Jesus.
During this week, we will look at the benefits of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. But before we do, we must make sure that we understand the three aspects of relationship with Jesus as Paul describes it. It is very significant that Paul combines three names for Jesus into one statement of relationship. Paul says that there is nothing that can compare to the surpassing greatness of knowing his Savior as Christ, as Jesus, and as Lord. This is significant because each name represents a different part of our relationship with Him.
I believe that the reason many of us are not more excited about our relationship with Jesus is because we have not appropriated the profit that is ours from having all three of these parts in balance in our lives.
There were three official offices in the Old Testament that functioned to bring profit to the people:
- Prophet – the spokesperson for God who proclaimed His truth and the profit that would result from obedience.
- Priest – the intercessor between God and man who brought forgiveness when there had been disobedience.
- King – the arm of God’s justice to punish the unrepentant and bring peace and security to the people.
When Paul says that nothing can compare to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord, he is combining all three of these offices into one person, and is emphasizing that the real profit of knowing Him will only be experienced if we are surrendered to all three.
- As Prophet, Jesus is the Truth, and we must be submitted to everything He teaches because He is the exact representation of the Father to us.
- As Priest, He is the Way to forgiveness and eternal life because He made the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for sin on the cross.
- As King, He is the Life, and brings peace and security to us as we humbly submit to His Lordship and control of our lives.
Unfortunately, many people only want part of what Jesus offers: they are willing to settle for partial profit. But to experience the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus we must surrender to all three aspects of relationship to Jesus, and when we do we gain all of the benefits. If we want to be able to say that knowing Jesus is greater than anything else in our lives, then we must be able to answer all the following questions with an emphatic “YES!”
- Have we accepted everything Jesus said as truth? (Or do we toss out things that are socially, politically or personally unacceptable?)
- Have we repented of every sin in our lives and brought it to the cross for forgiveness? (Or do we hang on to what I call sins of security because they have some personal benefit to us we think we cannot live without?)
- Have we turned over the control of every aspect of our lives to the King and do we trust Him with the outcome of every situation in our lives?
If you answered any of these questions with a no or a maybe, then you are living beneath your privilege and not experiencing your full profit. It’s no wonder that you can’t say that your relationship is of such great value that you would give up anything else in your life to maintain it. Maybe it’s time to fix that problem. Submit your whole heart, mind, souls, and strength to Christ Jesus your Lord, and start enjoying the profits!