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Truly Knowing Jesus

Truly Knowing Jesus

Welcome to Church everyone as we continue our Journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Today we will be focusing on Philippians 3:1-12. Upon reading our focus passage, you may notice (although to a great degree, it is lost in most English translations) how strong Paul’s language is in his warning to the Philippians about a certain group whose destructive influence had already pervaded the Galatian Church. This group, commonly known as the ‘Judaizers,’ were Jews, who although had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, still maintained that full adherence to the Law of Moses was required for salvation. They taught that Gentile believers had to not only believe in Jesus, but also to convert to Judaism to be saved.

The reason this was such an issue for Paul, was primarily because it minimized Christ’s salvific achievement on the Cross and therefore obscured the Christian message. Yet there was also a culturally sensitive reason, in that it was a major hindrance for many a Gentile whom Paul was trying to reach with the Gospel, for to become a convert to Judaism, one needed to be circumcised, which was considered a mutilation of the flesh in Greco-Roman culture and therefore repulsive.

Paul, who was himself a Jew of the highest calibre, was acutely aware that it was not a person’s religious pedigree that made them right with God, but one’s faith in, and saving knowledge of, Jesus. Indeed, since Paul encountered the risen Christ, he came to the realization that God is not so much about rites, rituals and religious practices as he is about restoring relationships and mending the rift between himself and humanity.

Paul’s impassioned plea is just as pertinent for us as it was for the Philippians. With 2000 years of church history behind us, we have inherited a rich and complex faith with all its religious trappings. I myself feel right at home in a traditional church and I enjoy and embrace our Christian heritage, yet I am convinced that we need to frequently ask ourselves if our way of being and doing church is a help or a hindrance to those we are trying to reach with the Gospel. Our primary purpose should be to know Christ and to make him known and all our religious affinities need to be subservient to this end.

BULLETIN INSERT   Lismore Anglican Parish

9.30am St Andrew’s Lismore. 6.30pm St Peter’s Goonellabah. Sunday 5/8/2012

Philippians 3:1-12

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;  as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
John 6:24-35  Jesus the Bread of Life
Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.  Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

esus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Footnotes:

  1. John 6:31 Exodus 16:4; Neh. 9:15; Psalm 78:24,25

Cross references:

  1. John 6:25 : S Mt 23:7
  2. John 6:26 : ver 24
  3. John 6:26 : ver 30; S Jn 2:11
  4. John 6:27 : Isa 55:2
  5. John 6:27 : ver 54; S Mt 25:46
  6. John 6:27 : S Mt 8:20
  7. John 6:27 : Ro 4:11; 1Co 9:2; 2Co 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2Ti 2:19; Rev 7:3
  8. John 6:29 : 1Jn 3:23
  9. John 6:29 : S Jn 3:17
  10. John 6:30 : S Jn 2:11
  11. John 6:30 : S Mt 12:38
  12. John 6:31 : Nu 11:7-9
  13. John 6:31 : Ex 16:4, 15; Ne 9:15; Ps 78:24; 105:40
  14. John 6:33 : ver 50; Jn 3:13, 31
  15. John 6:34 : Jn 4:15
  16. John 6:35 : Ex 3:14; Jn 8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1
  17. John 6:35 : ver 48, 51
  18. John 6:35 : S Jn 3:15
  19. John 6:35 : Jn 4:14

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