Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 25, 2007
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Philippians 3:4-14

In late spring and early summer hundreds of thousands of students walk across a stage to receive a diploma. In moving their tassel from the right to the left side of their mortarboard cap, they along with the audience acknowledge that they have graduated from their respective schools meeting the requirements of that institution and receiving a degree. They have achieved an academic education. Their heads are filled with knowledge.

What do you know? (vv. 5-6)

Is there a correlation between knowledge and getting to heaven? Do people learn about God to earn merits in their walk with God? Have we replaced knowing about God with knowing God personally? Is relationship with God secondary and religion primary?

Religion has been described in many ways. Religion is following a set pattern of do’s and don’ts. Religion is an outward expression with no inward authenticity. Religion is human effort to reach God. Religion knows about God without knowing him personally.

Such was Saul. This man was educated. Informed. Knowledgeable. Erudite. Learned. An intellectual.

Who do you know? (v. 8)

But, was it enough? Is it enough to be educated? Informed? Knowledge may be enough to get you a high paying job, but is it enough to get you into heaven?

We have a saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” A friend in the business, a contact at the office, an uncle who knows somebody. In Christianity, that sentiment holds true, too. “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Religion won’t matter much if you don’t have a relationship with Christ. Facts are useless without faith.

That’s what Paul came to understand. Know in verse 8 is a relational word that indicates personal knowledge, not simply intellectual knowledge. The word know used in reference to the knowledge of Christ, conveys the idea of a dynamic, intimate relationship with Christ who is sovereign and Lord. Knowing Christ is an intimate day-to-day relationship based on personal experience that lasts a lifetime.

Why do you know?

Paul had a relationship with the living Christ. His knowledge of Christ had transformed his life. After his conversion experience on the Damascus, Paul boldly proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ, helping the spread of the Christianity while writing a great portion of the New Testament.

He experienced the great benefits of knowing Christ.

1.  Those who know Christ have great energy for God (v. 10). The promise of knowing Christ is the display of great strength and energy. The word of power, dunamis in Greek, is the root of our word dynamite. Christ wants to gives us dynamite power, the power to change our lives.

2.  Those who know Christ experience a constant fellowship with God (v. 10). While we will experience pain and adversity, we will have a companion, a partner, a confidant that will walk with us.

3.  Those who know Christ receive eternal life (vv. 10-11). Deep within our being is the wonderment of living forever. Religion may increase your knowledge while here on earth; it does little for future gain. Knowing Christ, on the flip side, comes with the promise and the certainty of eternal life.

How can you know?

This exciting and dynamic relationship with Christ is available to everyone. Here’s how.

1.  One enters a relationship with Christ by a step of faith (v. 9). This relationship cannot be attained through human endeavors. While religion is of the head, a relationship is of the heart that requires faith.

2.  One continues the relationship with Christ by a walk of fellowship (v. 10). A relationship is not achieved in one meeting, but rather through many hours of drawing together.

Paul did not merely exchange one religion for another. He didn’t swap one system of rites and rituals for another system. He came to realize that knowledge is power – the power to change their lives and to give them a future home in heaven. The power source, however, was not in what he knew; it was in who he knew. He came to know Jesus. (Rick Ezell)


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