Philippians: Becoming Like Him In His Death

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

Most Christians accept Jesus’ resurrection. But have we fully comprehended its power and impact? What does Jesus’ resurrection really mean for Christians?

Text: Philippians 3:10-11
Theme: Most Christians accept Jesus’ resurrection. But have we fully comprehended its power and impact? What does Jesus’ resurrection really mean for Christians?
What's in a name? For some people plenty! Xerox Corp. has had an ongoing protection program to keep their name from becoming a generic term used for any photocopying. For Xerox, protecting their name is worth the considerable money, time and energy spent.
The Coca-Cola Company employs investigators whose job it is to travel to various establishments that serve fountain soda to make sure that when you order a Coke, you’re getting a “Coke.” They’ll purchase a Coka-cola, and test it to make sure it is "the real thing." The content must have the right ratio of coca-cola syrup to carbonated water. If it isn't, the proprietor is given notice that legal action will be forthcoming if the drink is not properly mixed. Gucci, Disney and Rolex have all spent millions of dollars defending their brand against counterfeited product by bogus companies. Disney, especially, aggressively protects its intellectuall property, and pursues anyone and everyone who uses any of their characters without authorization—all of which are copyrighted. They understand what will be lost if their brand is compromised.
How careful are we with the name "Christian"? Do we protect the identity of our Lord’s Church through words and conduct that clearly identify us with Jesus Christ? Are we the “real deal” or could Jesus sue us for copyright infringement?
More than anything else in his life, the Apostle Paul wanted to be identified with the Savior he had met on the Damascus Road. His life is an illustration of a believer whose heart-desire is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Paul wants Jesus to be all the world to him.
In our text for this evening we see that ...
Paul Wanted to Know God Personally
Paul Wanted to Know God Powerfully
Paul Wanted to Know God Passionately
His desire for the Philippians was to experience that same dynamic relationship. But such a relationship does not come without effort.


ILLUS. Many years ago, during the early part of the last century, there was a young man who had a tremendous singing voice. His father was a Methodist minister and the young man grew up singing in church. He came to faith in Christ at the age of six, and during a revival — what the Methodists called a “special event” — he rededicated his life to Christ At the age of 18, while working for Mutual Life in New York City the young man appeared on an amateur hour program hosted by Fred Allen on NBC radio. Though he came in second, he was so popular he became a regular singer on Fred Allen’s radio show Town Hall Tonight. This all took place during the Great Depression and the young man was making good money. However, he never felt uncomfortable singing secular songs. He longed to sing gospel songs on the radio. Years later, he was given the opportunity to sing on the Moody radio station in Chicago. While there he was invited by a local pastor to become a regular part of a Sunday evening program called Songs in the Night. When that young pastor felt called into evangelism he invited the young singer to join him in his evangelistic crusades. You’ve probably guessed by now that the young preacher was Billy Graham and the singer was George Beverly Shea.
One of the very first songs George Shea ever recorded was I’d Rather Have Jesus.
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
I'd rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I'd rather be true to His holy name
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today
During his lifetime it is estimated that George Beverly Shea sang that song live to a cumulative audience of over 220 million people. Shea’s inspiration for the song is our text for this evening — Colossians 3:10–11
1. I tell you this to say that the lyrics of that gospel song reflect the longing in the apostle Paul’s life to know his Christ more intimately
a. Paul wants to experience the presence of Christ more and more and more in his life
2. how did Paul know Christ and why does he want to know him even better?


1. at the time of this writing, Paul already knew Jesus Christ as his Savior
a. that relationship had been established many years earlier when Paul was converted on the road to Damascus
b. before his conversion, Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, was in total rebellion against Jesus and the gospel
c. but the day he met Christ, Paul asked — “Lord, what will you you have me to do?”
2. that question remained the driving force behind the rest of Paul’s life
a. before his conversion, Paul had “the appearance of godliness, but denied its power” (2 Tim. 3:5)
b. after his conversion Paul experienced true power in Christ to overcome sin, and to be made right with God
1) the apostle tells us that the Law had no power to overcome sin, but the resurrection power of Christ in him did
c. never forget that the power that raise Jesus from physical death is the same power that raises sinners from spiritual death
3. knowing Christ as Savior is, unfortunately, where many believers end their knowledge of Christ
a. the apostle wants more
b. his initial saving knowledge of Christ became the basis of Paul’s lifelong pursuit of an ever deeper knowledge of His Savior
c. this should be true of us


1. Paul wanted a relationship with Jesus Christ that was so real and strong that it influenced who Paul was and how he lived
a. he wanted to be completely overtaken with Jesus
b. this should be the heartbeat of every godly person
2. here is an important truth for Christians to remember: Jesus is not merely a figure of history to learn about — he is a living person whom we can get to know
a. there are many ways we can know someone
1) 1st, we can have historical knowledge about them
ILLUS. For example, I can say that I know Josh Hawley. The truth is, I know ‘about’ Josh Hawley, but I do not personally know Josh Hawley.
2) 2nd, we can know people as an acquaintance or through a casual friendship
a) there are some people that I could say that I know, but actually I may have only spoken to them once, or at best a few times in my life — I really don’t “know them”
ILLUS. These are often our Facebook acquaintances, and some people have hundreds of them.
3) 3rd, there are some people we know in a more private and personal way
a) these people might include our relationship with our extended family or very close friends
4) 4th, there are some people whom we know so deeply that our lives are intertwined with them, that we cannot imagine living without, and our lives would be empty should they move away or pass away
a) the apostle Paul wanted to know Jesus Christ in this kind of way
b) he wants to know Christ’s character, and thoughts so deeply, so intimately, and so personally that he might become more like him
3. in order to really know someone that well you have to spend a lot of time with them, and you have to have open communication with them
a. four things are necessary in the believer’s life for that to take place
1) we must regularly meditate on his Word
2) we must develop a sensitive spirit that can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit
3) we must develop a prayer life that is open and honest
4) we must develop a willingness to be changed
b. coming to know Christ in such a real and personal way will change us
1) Paul wrote to the Corinthians that such a relationship will transform us into the very image of Christ
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)
2) the word transformed in 2 Cor. 3:18 is the word for which we get the English word metamorphosis
a) it’s the process of changing from one form into another form that includes a change in appearance, character, condition and function
3) through the power of God’s Spirit at work in us God begins to change sinful, selfish people into people who reflect His image and His character
4. this is what the Apostle wants to know and experience more and more of


1. the word power in Philippians 3:10 means ability
a. the apostle wants to know the spiritual ability that comes with resurrection
1) this includes, most obviously, the ability to defeat death
““O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:55–56, ESV)
b. Paul obviously longs to be a part of the resurrection
1) he has earlier told the Philippians that he is torn between staying in this world and ministering to them or going home to be with the Lord
2. Paul is looking forward to the day when this mortal body will put on immortality and death will finally be swallowed up in complete victory
3. but there is another kind of resurrection power that Paul wants to experience
a. it is something I think very few Christians think about let alone strive for
b. Paul wants to experience victory over himself
1) Jesus is clear about the cost of discipleship
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV)
2) through his relationship with Christ Paul’s passion is the ability to overcome sin in his life
3) he wants to walk in newness of life as Jesus promised his disciples
c. I think it’s the desire he expresses to the Galatian Christians when he writes…
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
4. How do we acquire this resurrection power in daily living?
a. we must reject the things that will keep from Christ
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7–8, ESV)
b. we must pursue Christ with a passion
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14, ESV)


1. Okay, this is the hard one — Paul wants to know Christ, and he wants to know the power of the resurrection, but Paul also wants to know fellowship of Christ’s suffering becoming like him in his death
a. can I be honest? ... this is not a regular prayer request in my devotional time!
2. I think that Paul is saying, in part, “I want to walk through life’s best times and worst times in fellowship with Christ”
a. the difficult times—and Paul has had some difficult times—merely drive him deeper into fellowship with Christ Jesus
1) Jesus understood his suffering
2) Jesus understands your suffering
3) this is one of the reasons for the incarnation
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16, ESV)
b. we’d all like to live a trouble-free life, but a trouble-free life is a shallow life
3. suffering is one of life’s greatest fellowship enhancers
ILLUS. Robert Browning Hamilton was one of Great Britain’s foremost 19th century poets.
“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
a. sorrow will walk with you, but Jesus will walk with you in the sorrow
ILLUS. After months of suffering, Job finally says to God, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee” (Job 42:5). Job had been a godly and upright man, pleasing to God, but the difference between what he knew of God in prosperity and what he knew of him through adversity was the difference between hearing about and seeing.
4. Paul wants to be identified with Christ even to the point of sharing in his sufferings
a. the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship with the living Christ are at times of intense suffering
1) suffering drives believers to Him
2) we find in Him a merciful High Priest, a faithful friend who feels our pain, and a sympathetic companion who faced all the trials and temptations that we face (Heb. 4:15)


“that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:11, ESV)
1. Paul’s hope is the resurrection and glory with Christ in his kingdom
a. that’s every believer’s hope
b. it is that hope that give him—and us—purpose in his living and in his ministry
ILLUS. Ernest Hemingway was a remarkable man. He won a Pulitzer Prize. He won a Nobel Prize. He wrote some of the most acclaimed novels of the 20th century, and his writing continues to influence writers today.
During WW1 he became a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy where he sustained severe shrapnel wounds to both legs. He was a news reporter who covered the Spanish Civil war, and WW2. He covered the Normandy Invasion, marched into Paris with allied troops, and covered the Battle of the Bulge.
He came back from the war and continued to live an exciting life. He was a big game hunter. He was a bullfighter. He was a sports fisherman. He was in two airplane accidents on successive days. He was hit by a taxi. He had all kinds of escapades. He lived in France. He lived in Italy. He lived in Cuba. He lived in Key West. He lived in Idaho. He was a man that did everything, and saw much. But he abused himself with alcohol and became a slave to drink. He went through four marriages, repeatedly cheating on the women he married. Toward the end of his life, reflecting on everything he had done—this great novelist, this great adventurer wrote: “It seems that we are ants on the end of a burning log.” Not long afterwards he shot himself to death.
2. here was a man who had a full life by the world’s standards, but an empty, and futile life by God’s standards
a. Paul does not want his life to be like ants on the end of a burning log
3. Paul wants a purpose-centered life and that purpose is to attain the resurrection from the dead
These verses help understand some of the requirements for the deeper life in Christ.
• Paul Longed to Know the Person of Christ More Intimately
• Paul Longed to Know the Power of Christ's Resurrection
• Paul Longed to Know the Passion of Christ's Suffering
• Paul Longed to Know the Purpose Centered Life
He’s always striving upward in his walk with Jesus.
ILLUS. Zermatt, Switzerland is a town in the Alps at the foot of the Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountain peaks in the world—and one of the world’s most deadly. It is estimated that over 500 climbers have died on the Matterhorn, making it the deadliest peak in the world. The village of Zermatt has two cemeteries, one known as the local’s cemetery and the other known as the Mountaineer’s Cemetery. The grave markers are full of interesting epithets. Alfred Spratt of Hampstead, England who died climbing in 1868, at age 34, is buried here. His ice axe is permanently attached to his gravestone. His epithet reads: “I chose to climb.”
I don’t know when I’m going to die. I thank God that He’s given me these years of health and joy to preach the gospel. But when I die, I want to be climbing, don’t you?
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more