by Mike Ratliff
8 But even more so I consider all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom all things I suffered loss and I consider them dung, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having my own righteousness that is of the law, but the righteousness through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based upon faith, 10 to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being conformed to his death, 11 that if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
In our last post, A Real Jerk, we looked at the true nature of all those who operate in the flesh. They think they have true knowledge, but they do not. That faulty knowledge can even come from Seminary training or years of sitting under the teaching of other theologians, but if the one being trained is in the flesh then it does not matter if they hear and read the truth or not. Of course, a lot of that stuff that passes for Seminary teaching and Christian preaching and teaching in our time really isn’t. True knowledge that comes from God is entirely different. It is not for those who operate in the flesh. It is only for those in Christ, those who abide in him (John 15). This knowledge has a divine purpose.
In Philippians 3:8-11 (above) “to know” translates τοῦ γνῶναι (tou gnōnai), which literally means, “to know” What Paul is expressing here is his deep desire to be more intimately acquainted with his Lord and Master. Some are comfortable knowing about our Lord and Saviour, but not Paul. He wanted to know the Lord himself.
Those attacking the infrastructure of the Church right now are not very subtle. What do they attack? They say the “Organic Church” as it existed in the 1st Century had none of the “doctrines” or organizational structures with Bishops, Pastors, Elders, with congregations or assemblies under them. Think of it. These people insist that in the 1st Century Church there was no “Church” at all. There were no doctrines. There was no written Word. There was just this Word of Faith that came to each person from God individually. Those teaching this obviously have not read the New Testament or, if they have, they submit that it is irrelevant. From where then do they get their “dogma” to back up their case against the Church?
They insist that Christian’s knowledge must be obtained through individual spiritual experience. However, what did Paul say in the passage above. Was it about him? He was willing to give up everything and consider all things as dung to possess the righteousness through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based upon faith. Then he states he tells us that his desire to know God is so strong that he is willing to be conformed to Christ in every way, even unto his death.
How do we get to know God this way? It is through the Word of God.
First, we must more and more familiarize ourselves with him in as great a detail as possible by immersing ourselves in the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In those four Gospels we see the real Jesus, the God of the universe, living and moving before us for he revealed the Father. As we do this, we see his thoughts, feelings, actions, attitudes, goals, values, compassions and dealings with men.
Second, we get to know God doctrinally in the New Testament epistles. The epistles contain the direct instruction to the Church and Christians on how to live and minister based upon who Jesus is and what he did in the Gospels. It is impossible for Christians to grow, mature, and be strong without doctrinal emphasis of the epistles. This is why Doctrinal Preaching is vital.
Now let us think again of those bent on destroying and reforming the Church along the lines of a primitive, organic form with no doctrines and no structure, with each person experiencing God spiritually by going his or her own way. That sounds like something our enemy would come up to me. On the other hand, knowing God through his Word and growing in depth and breadth spiritually through that sounds like the fulfillment of Romans 12:1-2.
[A Living Sacrifice]
[12:1] [z]I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[f1] by the mercies of God, [a]to present your bodies [b]as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[f2]  [c]Do not be conformed to this world,[f3] but be transformed by [d]the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may [e]discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[f4]
(Romans 12:1-2 ESV)
[z] 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 10:1; Eph. 4:1
[a] ch. 6:13, 16, 19; [Ps. 50:13, 14; 1 Cor. 6:20]; See 1 Pet. 2:5
[b] Heb. 10:20
[c] 1 Pet. 1:14; [1 John 2:15]
[d] Titus 3:5; [Ps. 51:10; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10]
[e] Eph. 5:10; 1 Thess. 4:3
 12:1 Or brothers and sisters
 12:1 Or your rational service
 12:2 Greek age
 12:2 Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God
Soli Deo Gloria!