“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” (Philippians 3:10)
Well, Easter is almost upon us. Are you busy inviting unsaved, unchurched, neighbors, friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, maybe even total strangers to come to worship with you on Easter Sunday morning? Are you praying that they will not only be receptive to coming, but open to the Gospel message as well? Are you praying that across the State of Georgia thousands will come to know the Lord as their own personal Savior as a result of our BIG Invite efforts?
Have you seen The Insanity of God video yet? I don’t know about you, but I have been convicted and challenged to pray and witness better and more. It is not out of a sense of guilt or obligation but rather an appreciative act of worship to and for a resurrected Savior that I personally and intimately know. But it is also an awareness that I (and perhaps the vast majority of believers here in America) am not operating in the “power of the resurrection” like I, or He, would desire. I am not sure that I am really sharing in Christ’s sufferings, or am being conformed by His death as He desires!
In fact, I am not sure that “conformable” adequately conveys in our language what ought to be taking place in your life and mine. The word translated “conformable” in the passage cited above is actually a compound word in the Greek. It is “summorphoumenos”. “Sun” is the first word, which literally means “by companionship with”, “by association with”, “in process together with”. It means “to be shaped by”, “to be formed or transformed by”. The picture I get is of Christ reaching out from the cross, molding you and me and shaping you and me into His very image. It is an ongoing process where in companionship with Him and the fellowship or His sufferings and the power of His resurrection we are being shaped or formed unto His death.
In other words, we learn to die to self in order to live for Him. We are daily crucified with Christ. And everyday, by faith, we invite Him to live in us and through us. We don’t frustrate the grace of God trying to obtain a righteousness of our own, but forgetting our past failures, by faith and total dependence upon God, we press on to His high calling.
Paul was writing this message as he was sitting in prison in Rome. He was very uncertain of his own future, when he penned this letter; yet it is a compelling letter to a group of Christians who were especially close to him reminding them of how they needed to rejoice in their new-found Christianity irregardless of their surrounding circumstances.
Paul had just admonished these precious saints to find their righteousness through their faith in Jesus Christ, not in their own obedience to the Law. He indicated that he would willingly give up everything he has accomplished in the flesh, counting it all worthless just to be found in Christ—to know Him and His sufferings and the power of His resurrection.
The kind of knowing Paul was speaking of there is the most intimate kind of knowing. It is a personal experience kind of knowing. It is the kind of knowing we saw in the saints from Somalia, & Russia, & China as Nic Ripkin shared their story. It is a growing day-to-day intimacy.
Paul says in verse 11, that if there is any way at all that we are going to arrive at the resurrection of the dead, that is how it is going to have to be done. To live is Christ, to die is gain. It puts a whole new boldness and power to our witness. Daily dying to self, taking up our cross and following Christ. A dead man has nothing to fear or lose. We’ve nothing to lose but everything to gain in the resurrection. That will put a power in our witness that truly impacts others’ lives and draws them to Christ!
What a joy—to know Him and the power of His resurrection! He has risen! He has risen indeed! Can’t wait ’til Easter Sunday morning!