HomeSERMONKnowing Christ (That I may know him)

Knowing Christ (That I may know him)

I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED.” This is one of the challenging statements in the Pauline Revelation. Paul knew Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.” Paul didn’t know Jesus as John and Peter knew Him. John and Peter didn’t know Jesus as Paul knew Him. Peter and John knew Him because of their three years’ walk with Him, but they never really knew Him. When He hung on the cross, they stood and watched Him. They watched Him until He died, but they didn’t see the tragedy of His being made sin. They simply saw Him stripped naked, with blood streaming down His back and from His hands and feet. They only saw the crown of thorns piercing His brow until the blood flowed down over His face.

Their hearts were mightily stirred, and their tears no doubt flowed as they watched Him dying. They didn’t, however, see Him made sin. They didn’t know the awful spiritual struggle that was going on. They didn’t see demons take that beautiful spirit and carry it away to the place where lost men are incarcerated. They only saw the Man.
There are three pictures of Jesus that I want you to see. One is His earth walk where love rules. It is Love at work in the Man. In Matthew 4:23-25, we see Him come down out of the mountain from the temptation, and the multitude of the sick and the broken gather about Him, and He healed them.

We see Him, as recorded in the eighth chapter of Matthew, performing that series of miracles that stagger the heart -healing the centurion’s servant with the Word, and casting out demons from many that were possessed, with the Word. “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases” (Matthew 8:17). We see Him in the boat. Satan tries to overwhelm it. In the midst of the awful storm, He said quietly to the water, “Peace, be still.”
He ruled the sea. He ruled the wind. We see Him turning water into wine. We see Him raise the dead Lazarus after he had been dead four days. (John 11:17-44.)
In Luke 5:4-11 we see Him governing the fish of the sea. He ruled every law of nature. He was the perfect Master. But these are only one phase of His life, of His earth walk and teaching. No man ever spoke as He spoke. No man ever taught as He taught. Some of His sentences stand out like mountain peaks. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

“I am come that ye might have life and have it abundantly.” But we remember that no man was saved by Jesus’ teaching. No one ever really knew the Father through His unveiling and introducing the Father. No one received Eternal Life through His teaching.
The fact is, there is almost nothing taught about the New Creation. He told Nicodemus that he must be born again, but Nicodemus wasn’t Born Again. He didn’t understand it.
I can see him looking mystified.

Read John 3:3-8 and you will notice that Jesus is just stating the fact of the need of the New Creation. It is strange that most of our hymns about Jesus are connected with His earth walk. Very few have to do with His present ministry at the right hand of the Father, or with His substitutionary work. You will find groups of hymns about the cross, but they are practically all about His physical suffering. If we could understand that the physical suffering of Jesus didn’t touch the sin problem, that His earth walk didn’t touch the sin problem, that His teaching didn’t touch the sin problem, we would understand and know Him better. The next picture of the Master is on the cross. One day I saw lying in the street a little cross. I picked it up. It was a beautiful little cross with a dead Christ hanging on it. A part of the church has worshipped a dead Christ.

The earth walk of Jesus didn’t save anybody. Neither does a dead Christ hanging on the cross save anyone. If Jesus had gone no further than dying on the cross, no one would have ever been saved through Him. There is no New Birth, no New Creation, in the dead Christ. We have sung, “Nearer the Cross,” and we have prayed that we might be nearer the cross; but the cross has no salvation in it. It was the place of failure, a place of death, a place where Jesus was made sin, a place where God forsook Jesus, turned His back upon Him after He had made Him sin. It was a place where Satan had apparently won a victory over the Man who had ruled him for three and a half years. So for us to sing, “Jesus, keep me near the cross,” is for us to be kept near failure and defeat.
No, there is no salvation in a dead Christ or a suffering Christ hanging on the cross.

Many who read this will feel shocked because they have worshiped a dead Christ. Had Jesus stopped, had He gone no further than the cross, we would never have heard from Him. You see, the disciples only understood what the physical senses registered, as they gathered about the cross and watched Him in His death throes. The next picture of Jesus is the one that has brought life and light to the human race. It is the Resurrected, and Ascended, and Seated Christ. But I want you to see Him for a bit in His substitution, as unveiled to us in the Pauline Revelation. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

That is the first step in that awful drama-He was made sin. Hebrews 9:26, “When once at the conjunction of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” The cross was the place where the two ages met, or where the two covenants met-the old and the new. It was the place where the sin problem was fixed – Deity becoming sin for humanity. Hebrews 1:3 declares, “Who, being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sin, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Salvation is in the seated Christ at the “right hand of the Majesty on high.” In Hebrews 10:10-15, we get another picture: “By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

It is a “once for all” mastery – a “once for all” substitution. Then in the eleventh verse it says, contrasting Jesus with the high priest in the old covenant, “Every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering often times the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins: but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” It was not His earth walk; it was not suffering on the cross that made us righteous. The cross was the beginning. It was where substitution really began when God made Him sin with our sins.
“He was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6). You see the whole drama until the time He was made sin, but you don’t see sin put away. That comes after He has left His body and goes to the place where the wicked should go and will go if they reject Him. There, for seventy-two hours, or three days and three nights, He suffered until the claims of justice were fully met.

When they were met, Satan’s dominance over Him ended. I can hear God say, “It is enough. He has met the demands of justice. He has paid the penalty that the human race owed to justice for its sin.” Hear this scripture in Hebrews 10:12, “But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” When He had met every demand of justice, when every claim against us was met, then 1 Timothy 3:16 became a reality-He was justified in spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 says that He was made alive in spirit. Paul expressed it in Acts 13:33-34, “That God hath fulfilled the same unto our children, in that he raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.’ “
Jesus, down there in that dark region, was made alive in spirit, was begotten of God, so that Colossians 1:18 has become a fact. Beginning with the fourteenth verse we read, “In whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him, and he is before all things, and in him all things consist.” Now notice carefully, “And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.”
You see, there is the Creator just as you see it in 1 John 1:1-4. And that One was made sin, and that One died spiritually on the cross. He died twice, physically and spiritually.

He was made alive twice, in spirit and in His body. His spirit was made alive and His body immortal. He was the first person that was ever Born Again, the only One who has Immortality now. When He said, “This day have I begotten thee,” that was the second birth there. Jesus was first born of Mary. Now He is born of God. Once He was born as a sweet, beautiful infant. The second time, He was born out of death and Satan’s dominion. He has passed out of the realm of Satan into the realm of God. Colossians 1:13-14 perfectly illustrates it. He was translated out of the authority of darkness and death, and was translated by the New Birth into the fellowship and communion with His Father.

You see, He is the Firstborn of all creation. No one was ever Born Again before that time. He is the head of the Church, and as soon as He was Born Again, He became once more the Master of Satan; He became the Master of the forces of darkness in Hell.
Colossians 2:15 tells us that He despoiled the principalities and powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them. He was the Strong One that had entered into the very throne room of Satan and bound him and stripped him of his authority.
Hebrews 2:14 (Rotherham translation): “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same.” In other words, the Word became flesh upon that cross that He might bring to naught him that had the authority of death, that is, the devil.

You see, on the cross He died spiritually, a partaker of sin-not of His own volition. God laid upon His spirit our sin, and the moment He did that, Jesus’ spirit became sin. Then His body became mortal. He died spiritually so His body could die physically. A few hours after that, physical death gained the ascendancy. His spirit left his body. But now all things have changed. He has become the Master of Hell. He has conquered Satan. He has stripped him of the authority that Adam gave him in the fall in the great temptation. He arose from the dead, and I arose with Him . . . you arose with Him. Then He took His own blood and carried it into the heavenly Holy of Holies and sealed our Redemption. Having accomplished this, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Ephesians 2:5, 6 says that we are seated together with Him.

He is the Head of the Body. We are the members. John 15:5 tells us that He is the Vine and we are the branches. Philippians 3:10 is Paul’s marvelous prayer: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” For it is that ability that was manifest in His resurrection. It is that ability that is at work within us. Ephesians 1:19-23, “And what the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places.” That ability is our ability. That ability is the Spirit’s, Who dwells within you, and in the Name that He has given us to use in our daily conflict with the enemy.
You understand that there are two kinds of wisdom. One is the wisdom that comes from experience, of the senses. It is earthly, sometimes sensual and sometimes devilish. The other kind is the wisdom that comes from God, the kind of wisdom that Jesus exercised in His earth walk. Jesus is made unto us wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:30.) Now that wisdom will unveil to us the sacred secrets that are hidden in the Pauline Revelation of Christ. He says, “And unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, that we may know the mystery of God (or the sacred secret of God) even Christ.” Now notice the next verse: “In whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.”
With joy you can catch a glimpse of what it means to learn in a measure to know Him.


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