Vol. 32, No. 2 February, 2008
“THAT I MAY KNOW HIM.”
By Pastor George Mills
“That I may know Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”
To me, the most noble words ever written, or spoken are these words of the Apostle Paul; “That I may know Him.”
This wonderful verse of Scripture was brought to my attention a few weeks after I was saved. It spoke to my heart then, so I claimed it for my favorite verse. I did not realize all of the potential contained in this verse back then. Today, I wish that I had really thought about the contents of this verse, and not just make it my favorite verse, but my lifestyle. I can more understand what Paul meant now that I have some experience behind me. I have tried to walk the path that Jesus would have me walk. However, this verse speaks of a closer, more intimate walk. I believe that Paul was saying; “I do not want to just know Him in His great Salvation plan, I want to know HIM. I want to walk where He walked. I want to feel what He felt. I want to see things the way He saw them.
I want to hear the Macedonian call more clearly. I want to see mankind as Christ saw mankind.” Today, more than ever before, I want to know Him. I have studied about Him. I have preached about Him. I have tried to walk with Him, but I want to know HIM. One day we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1Jn. 3:2). Let’s learn about HIM.
Paul is writing from a prison cell at Rome. I cannot imagine all of the filth of that horrible cell. Serving Christ had brought him to that place, and still he cries out, “THAT I MAY KNOW HIM.”
The Book of Philippians is a wonderful Book for us to study. Here at our Church, as we make our way through the Bible, (KJV) we are now in the Book of Ephesians. In just a few weeks we will study the Book of Philippians. The key word in the Book of Philippians is the word “JOY” or “REJOICE.” Now, think about that. Knowing Christ will cause us to be at peace, even in a filthy prison cell. Paul had started the Church at Philippi. The membership consisted of a slave girl, who had been demon possessed, a Philippian jailer, and a woman by the name of Lydia, (Acts 16) The Church became very fruitful. Upon hearing that Paul was in prison at Rome, the Church at Philippi sent one Epaphroditus to check on Paul’s health. and condition. Paul writes back to thank the Church for their concern, (4:14). Paul was doing quite well. Paul’s circumstances just caused him to cry out, “That I may know Him.” May this be the single purpose of our lives as we try to live for Christ while we are here. Let us look into a brief history of Paul and see the cost of, “That I may know Him.” The two greatest “extremes” recorded are found in the words,
(A) “The Power of His Resurrection.”
(B) “The fellowship of His sufferings.”
THE GREATEST POWER this world has ever witnessed is the Power that raised Jesus from the dead. Nothing has ever, or will ever so affect mankind as has His Glorious Resurrection. That same power is available for the Christian to live a victorious life. Paul knew that. This is why he wrote, “Be filled with the Spirit.”(Eph 5:18). I am not speaking about some emotional experience, or some dramatic display, or some unintelligible utterance. I am speaking about power in prayer, power in witnessing, and power in living for Jesus.
THE GREATEST CRIME ever committed is the crucifixion of Christ. He was bruised more than any man. He was innocent of any crime, yet His innocence made no difference to a murderous mob. Please read Isaiah 53, Psalm 22. Some of His sufferings are listed there. I cannot describe the sufferings of Calvary. I have listened as others have tried, all to no avail. He was beaten beyond recognition. He was God’s sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. And Paul writes, That I may know the “Fellowship of His sufferings.”
THE GREATEST DESIRE is “Being made conformable unto His death.” This is why Paul wrote, “I die daily.” I believe that Paul, more than any other man saw the reality of “The Power of His Resurrection,” and “The fellowship of His sufferings.” However, I believe everything is conditioned on the phrase in Philippians 3:13, “THIS ONE THING I DO.” The MAIN thing in Paul’s life was focused on the MAIN thing. And if we follow Paul’s example, we are going to see that this will cost some things. Paul is using the illustration of an accountant as he lists GAINS and LOSSES…
1. PRIDE. The proud Pharisee listed his lineage, his letters, and his learning in Phil. 3:4-6. Humanly speaking, Paul had many things to be proud about. He was so wrapped up in Judaism that he believed he was doing God a favor in destroying this new religion called “Christianity,” and this One called Christ. On the road to Damascus, with arrest ‘warrants’ he was on his way to execute, suddenly “there shined round about him a light from Heaven.” And he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” “And he said, who art thou Lord?” “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” Now, see all of that PRIDE vanish away as he falls on his face and cries, “LORD, WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO?” And from that moment, Paul’s life was made conformable unto His death. Read the Book of Acts and see this once Proud Pharisee confess before Legalists, Priests, Pharisees, mayors, captains and kings His conversion experience on the Damascus road. There is no room for PRIDE in service for God. The more we learn to abase our pride, the greater our peace. Paul LOST his religious pride, but GAINED that CONFIDENCE of Heaven. He wrote, “For our conversation is in Heaven whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His Glorious body.” (3:20-21)…Pride will not be a part of our new body.
This ONE THING I do will cost…
2. POSSESSIONS. Paul, at one time seemed to have possessions. His background and education seemed to indicate such. After he met Christ and began to serve Him, he wrote to the Corinthians “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ. We are weak, but ye are strong. Ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and are buffeted and have no certain dwellingplace.” “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.” (1Cor 4:9-14)
The issue in the ‘religious’ world today is MONEY. And very true, some are gathering vast fortunes. Mansions, private planes, servants, and luxury living at the expense of uninformed converts. Paul did not find that the ministry is the place where “the money is.” Please do not misunderstand me. If God so chooses to bless you, or anyone with riches, wealth, etc, so be it! Wonderful! But the PROMISES, PROMISES, PROMISES of wealth and prosperity to those who will invest in a certain Post Office Box Number, and Zip Code number, are misleading. The church down through the ages did not find wealth and possessions. The church found persecution, trials, and testing. It will cost you something to follow Jesus. The closer we get to Him, the more battles we have to fight. Paul could send a message from a Roman prison, “I am OK! Everything is fine! He loved his Lord, and the things he suffered for Christ were but nothing compared to the Sufferings of Christ. In the Ministry, if God makes you rich, fine! So be it! Jesus said, “He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it, and HE THAT LOSETH HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE SHALL FIND IT.” (Mt.10:38-39). Again, there is nothing wrong with possessions. It is always good to see God’s people prosper. The more possessions we have to surrender, the more He returns to us. (Mt 19:27-30).
As he sat in a prison cell, he was penniless, but he GAINED “Unsearchable riches in Christ.”
This ONE THING I do will cost…
3. POSITION. Paul had reached the height of his position of Pharisee. In fact, he was in the inner circle, “A Pharisee of the Pharisees. But when he surrendered his heart to Christ, there went his position. The Social Saul became the Pitiful Paul. Once as he walked through the temple area, everyone knew and recognized him. Now, he is in a prison cell. But it was Paul who wrote that we who were sometimes afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. “He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Paul LOST one position only to GAIN one greater. Paul wrote in this Chapter of Philippians “Circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the Law, a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, touching the righteousness which is in the Law blameless. But what things were GAIN to me, those I counted LOSS for Christ. Getting to know Christ costs something, but it pays great dividends. Our POSITION in Christ is far greater than the greatest earthly position without Christ. Think about it, had Paul never gotten saved on the Damascus road, his name probably would have never been recorded in history. But because he trusted Christ, think of the billions who, down through the centuries have loved and respected the great apostle. And though our names may never be published in the paper, except in the obituary, all Heaven knows each of us by our first name. Halleluiah to God!
This ONE THING I do will cost…
Who said that living for Christ is easy? As I study the life of Paul, I do not find anything “easy going.” Wherever he went he started a riot or a revival. Imprisoned, beaten, chained, hungry, sick, cold and bitter persecution, wherever he went. Jesus warned us that if we followed Him, persecution would be our lot in life. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen ye out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have PERSECUTED Me, they will also PERSECUTE you.” The world hates Christ, and the closer we get to Christ, the more violent the world hates us. We are in a war, a spiritual war, (Eph 6:10-19). Principalities and powers are against us. We MUST understand that. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer PERSECUTION.” (2Tim. 2:12 ) but when Paul found that the enemy was attacking on every hand, there was a greater Hand that protected him and brought him through. Oh, there is so much more, but I have to bring this to a close. I trust that you will take your Bible (KJV) and review these brief notes.
“THAT I MAY KNOW HIM” cost Paul, (and will cost anyone who has that desire to serve Christ with all our heart)
He listed his LOSSES and his GAINS, and he found that he GAINED so much more in service for Christ.
“ONE THING I DO” became the standard of his life. “I die daily”
“I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.” Became his goal.
The highest calling is the calling of God upon our lives to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the unsaved world. To rescue sinners from hell. To see lives transformed by the Power of the Gospel. The answer to that call will cost you something, but the PEACE OF GOD INSIDE is worth it all.
I do not want to leave anyone with the thought that being a Christian or the Christian life is terrible. That is not true. Jesus did tell us to count the cost, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute me.”
I would not exchange what I have in Christ for anything. The GAINS have by far outweighed the LOSSES.
And if you do not know Christ, I trust that right now, you will believe with all your heart that He died on the Cross for your sin, that He was buried, and that He arose from the dead to be your Living, Loving Saviour. Ask Him into your life, to forgive your sin, and begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
“THAT I MAY KNOW HIM”
By Pastor George Mills
“That I may know Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3:10)
That I may know, and comprehend,
The greatness of His Love,
To know the breadth, the height, the depth,
That brought Him from above.
That I may lose myself in Him,
To know His plan, my gain.
That for my loss, He bore His Cross,
My sin did cause His pain.
To press before, to reach beyond,
To Heaven’s highest call.
To seize the prize, to realize,
To Him, I owe my all.
To suffer loss, to gain His best,
To publish His Great Plan.
To nations near, to nations there,
He came for fallen man.
In fellowship, and sufferings sore,
May I walk with Him in love.
In part to know, why He came so low,
And to set us far above.
One thing I do, e’re life is o’er,
Forsaking all my past.
To give my best, to enter rest,
To see His face at last;
That I may see Him face to face,
And to hear Him say “Well done,
You won your race, now take your place,
With all the ransomed ones.”
WANDERING THROUGH THE WILDERNESS…To continue answering some questions and comments.
More, concerning the coming of Christ and the Rapture of the Church.
“Can you discuss some of the clearest signs of the coming of Christ?”
Ans…Some of the questions that come to me are, I believe, sincere. Others, I believe are more of a debatable nature. I believe that I have made my position very clear in past issues of the WILDERNESS. For the most recent messages, go to our web-site, click on PUBLICATION ARCHIVES. Check Vol. 30, No. 2, and Vol. 31, No. 3.
Concerning Signs…If you Check Mt. 24-25, Mark 13:1-37, Luke 17:22-37, Luke 21:1-38, you will see that Christ gave many signs that would precede His second coming. Please note this. In the above passages are listed signs related to His coming back to earth at the end of the Tribulation period. These signs have nothing to do with the Rapture of the Church. Concerning the Rapture of the Church and signs, THERE ARE NO SIGNS. The Church age is a MYSTERY not revealed in the Gospels, but revealed to the Apostle Paul, (Gal. 1:10-24). The coming of Christ in the Rapture is imminent; He could come at any moment of any day. Do not look for signs. But then, not to contradict myself, I do see one clear sign repeated time and time again. THE SIGN OF APOSTASY. The Apostles warned us that as time passes, men will turn from the Faith, unto fables. Men will deny the Power and authority of the Word of God, 1Tim. 4, 2Tim. 3-4. Many verses clearly teach that the apostasy, beginning in the early days of the Church will progressively worsen. I do sincerely believe that we are in the midst of the days of apostasy.
Don’t look for signs, be ready for His Shout!
Here is a definite sign of apostasy…
The preacher said, “I believe that the Bible is the Inspired, inerrant Word of God.” But just a few moments later, he “Corrected” the Bible by saying, “That’s a bad translation of that verse.”
The Bible cannot be both Inspired, and incorrect at the same time. It has to be one or the other. When asked the preacher to produce a copy of that Inspired, Inerrant Word he spoke about, his answer, “Well, er, ah, the ‘originals’ were inspired, but we have to search for the thoughts and intents of the writers. We have to check the Greek.” In other words, according to him, we have no Perfect Bible. We have a book that is filled with errors, additions, omissions.
I Believe The Bible, (KJV). I believe that God INSPIRED the writers to write what they wrote, and that God PRESERVED what they wrote. According to Psalm 12:6-7 The Bible is both INSPIRED and PRESERVED. Thank God for His wonderful Gift, the Gift of His Word.
Isn’t it strange how man, in his wisdom, will ridicule the thought of a Perfect Bible!
“Do you believe that the Tribulation will affect the entire world? Or just the Middle East?
Ans…The Rapture of the Church will so affect the entire world as nothing ever has. If the Rapture were to happen today, think of the world conditions that would follow. Today, there are some six billion people on earth. I do not have any idea how many of the six billion are saved. Just suppose one billion are saved, born again Christians. At the Rapture, those one billion believers, plus many, many children under the age of accountability will suddenly be “caught up.” (1Thess. 4:13-18). That missing multitude will affect Wall Street, the financial markets, communications, military, manufacturing, education, every area of life to the laborer, farmer, etc. The effect will be world wide. The antichrist will have to have answers for this world wide situation. This is how he will rise to world power. The Tribulation period will affect the Middle East, the Far East, the Western world, South America, America, Canada, and the Islands of the sea.
Again, I am glad to know that the Church will NOT be here in those days.
Thank you for your letters, your prayers, and your support. This Ministry of Faith has been most blessed by God. We are trying to reach as many as we can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am well aware of the fact that not everyone will agree with everything we say, or write. I do not agree with everything I hear, or read. We try, as best we can to be Scripturally accurate in every subject. Our space is limited in this Publication. I try to give Scripture reference to every text, to encourage the reader to check for himself. I urge every believer to know the Bible, to distinguish truth from error.
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
HE IS COMING AGAIN!
What a wonderful Christmas we had at our house! Family, Friends, Food, and Fellowship was here for all and we had our three sons, three of our grand kids, my sister and brother-in-law, and several friends to share in all God’s blessings with us. It was during this Christmas season as we celebrated the first time Jesus came to earth that I was reminded of the fact that He is coming again, I excitedly said to a friend that he and his wife would soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. He quickly replied, “Oh, the Lord is coming back.” I was not expecting to hear these words, but I’m glad I did. I had not heard these words in a while. There was a time when we all talked about and looked for the Lord’s return, but we don’t hear much about it anymore. I couldn’t wait to write in my brand new 1999 calendar all the coming events for this new year. Birthdays, anniversaries, recitals, meetings of all kinds, but the very first thing I should have thought of was—This is the year our Lord may return. However, I had to be reminded during the conversation with a friend. We are all caught up with the worries of the year 2000 when all the computers are supposed to be in a mess, or what we will give for one’s birthday, or even buying and planning for next Christmas. All sorts of planning, but not a thought of the Second coming of Jesus. I have asked Him to forgive me for failing to pray for His return, and my only New Year’s Resolution this year is to watch and pray for this glorious event. When my eyes open in the mornings, my prayer will be, “Come quickly Lord Jesus.” We are to “Love His Appearing.”(2Tim. 4:8) We are promised a special crown if we love Christ’s appearing. If Christ’s return is ever fresh in our hearts, we will be busy about our Father’s business, telling others about Jesus and how they can have a home in Heaven. I believe our words will be sweeter, our lives will be different, if we believe that this week, this Month, this Year, could usher in the second coming of our Lord. The last prayer in the Bible is, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” This is my prayer also.
Jesus is coming again,
Maybe morning, maybe noon,
Maybe evening, and maybe soon!
Oh what a wonderful day that will be,
Jesus is coming again!
From the WILDERNESS, January, 1999
COULD I BE A CHRISTIAN
Could I be called a Christian,
If everybody knew,
My secret thoughts and feelings,
And everything I do?
Could I be called a Christian,
If everyone could know,
That I am found in places,
Where Jesus would not go?
Oh, could they see the likeness,
Of Christ in me each day,
Or could they hear Him speaking,
In every word I say?
Or could they hear His echo,
In every song I sing.
In eating, drinking, dressing,
Could they see Christ in Me?
Could I be called a Christian?
If judged by what I read,
By all my recreations,
And every thought and deed?