Lovest Thou Me More Than These?
It is as though the Lord is continually asking us the question - "Lovest thou Me more than these?" ((John 21:15) He may keep pressing the issue and ask us again and again - "Lovest thou Me?" (John 21:16) What is He after? He is pressing the question for one reason and one alone - that is, to draw our affections more and more toward Him. When it comes right down to it, we should constantly be checking our hearts to see if they are solely focused on Him. He only is to be sought as our Supreme end. Is that the case with your heart today?
"All things are to be as dross when it is a question of duty to Christ."
"The true wisdom, then, is to use all things, even our friends, as means, to make Christ alone the End."
"All things that hinder us from obtaining this knowledge must be surrendered."
"To gain Christ is so profitable that the loss of all things else counts as nothing in comparison."
- the above quotes are from the Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"It is one of the highest objects of desire in the mind of the Christian to know Christ..."
"A man will accomplish little who allows his mind to be distracted by a multiplicity of objects. A Christian will accomplish nothing who has not a single great aim and purpose of soul. That purpose should be to secure the prize, and to renounce everything that would be in the way to its attainment."
- Barnes' Notes
"To know HIM is more than merely to know a doctrine about Him."
- Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
"To know Him means to gain practical day-by-day acquaintance with Him in such an intimate way that the apostle himself would become more Christlike. Her wants the life of Christ to be reproductive in himself."
- Believer's Bible Commentary
There were two driving goals in the Apostle Paul's life and ministry. They were - "that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8) and "that I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10).
What did the Apostle mean by these two phrases? What does it actually mean "to win Christ" or "to know Him"? Is this something that all who are saved experience?
To "win Christ" is to gain Him as a prize...lay fast hold upon Him...make Him yours...and win Him to be your most gracious Friend - your very life. It is to count Jesus as the best of all things or the incomparable good. It is to consider Him as the highest of all good - with everything else regarded as dross, refuse, or "dung" in comparison.
One thing that must be noted here is this - Jesus is not to be placed on the scale with anyone or anything else. It is not as though He is the best and other things are counted as being not the best but perhaps good or better. No, He is the best and all things in comparison to Him are as "dung" or excrement. He is incomparable to your family, friends, ministry, job, or church. Nothing or no one can compare to Him. In your mindset, you must see all else as being worthless or valueless in order "to win Christ."
Secondly, Paul had a strong desire to know the Lord. Was He not saved? Didn't He already know Jesus as His Lord and Savior? Yes, Paul was saved and did have a saving knowledge of Jesus. But he knew that there was more to attain. His knowledge was imperfect. He knew only in part. Hence, he desired to know more and more of Christ. He wanted to become fully acquainted with His nature, character, work, and salvation. He wanted to know more of the mysteries and glories of His person...the unsearchable riches of His grace...His great salvation...and the benefits of His love which passes knowledge.
We see throughout Paul's epistles that he was obsessed with the desire for more and more knowledge of Jesus. He continuously prayed for the saints accordingly - "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord...increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10) "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him" (Ephesians 1:17) "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).
As you look upon the church today, just how many believers are motivated with such a drive as Paul had? How many can honestly say that they are moving forward with these same two goals - "to win Christ" and "to know Him"? How many are truly "following after" "that they may apprehend that for which they were apprehended" (Philippians 3:12)? How many are "reaching forth" or "pressing toward" (Philippians 3:13-14) this mark?
Why is it that Paul had these goals in mind and others don't?
What made the difference in his walk with Christ?
We believe that the answers to these questions can be found in Philippians 3.
Philippians 3:3 tells us - "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." The first reason why these purposes are missing in many believers' spiritual walks is because they are not pure or "circumcised in heart." Circumcision in the Bible is emblematic of the renunciation of the flesh with its corrupt propensities. All hardness of heart is removed and iniquity is laid to open view. The heart is circumcised to love the Lord and to fear Him. When the heart is not circumcised, it becomes calloused to the things of God, and the flesh rules and reigns.
Paul said of all believers - "For we are the circumcision..." In other words, their hearts are mortified from all worldly or carnal lusts. As it did for the Jews, circumcision sets them apart as a worshipper of God - one who worships Him by the Holy Spirit's assistance, help, inspiration, and instruction. They glory or make their boast in the Lord and have no more confidence in their own selves.
Philippians 3:7-8 goes on to say - "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord..." In order to have the same goals as Paul, all believers must regard all worldly things as "loss" in comparison to the inestimable knowledge of Christ. That which man values or esteems must be seen as a disadvantage, hindrance, or obstacle to obtaining or possessing this knowledge. These believers must be willing to "suffer the loss of all things" - sacrifice every prospect of gain and ease...give up the dearest of friends...and abandon all hope of distinction and honor - while making a voluntary choice of Christ and His cross. They must consider all to be contemptible when in comparison to Him.
There must be a passion for Jesus. The word "passion" comes from the root word "suffering."
With the two goals in mind which Paul mentioned, what are you willing to suffer for? What are you willing to die for? What are you willing to live for? What will it take for you to become consumed with knowing Christ?
What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want on your tombstone? What is the focus of your life? What are you passionate about?
Paul had two goals that he was willing to "suffer the loss of all things" in order to attain them. They were "that I may win Christ" and "that I may know Him."
What about you?
"Lovest thou Me more than these?"
May God Bless His Word.
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