We RISE in the power of the resurrection.

The first message in the series, RISE
(Find the other messages from this series here)

Sermon Video

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Sermon Notes


Have you noticed that we love to hear that there’s a secret combination or trick to success or being different?

“Clickbait” is when website develop headlines that are enticing and get people to click on them when there’s really nothing of value that the website has to offer and they just want your eyes on their site so you’ll give them advertising revenue.

Some examples of clickbait are:

Indiana residents are shocked by this new law…

I could not believe what I saw at the end of this video…

Health Insurance Companies HATE This New Trick…

A lot of companies are going to make money this month by claiming to have discovered a secret sauce for changing your life- they have a new potion that suddenly gives you “gut health” that makes it possible to keep eating like you have been AND lose weight, they have a new workout routine that will chisel out that new physique that you want in only 7 minutes per day, or they have an app or new software that is so easy to use it will have you organized and more productive for only $2.99.

In Philippians 3 Paul warns the people in the church in Philippi to watch out for those who claim to have the secret to getting close to God.

In Phil 3:2 Paul makes a play on words and it’s lost on us because we don’t speak greek- but he uses a word that sounds a lot like circumcision which he indeed uses in verse 3, but first he uses the word that sounds like circumcision that means mutilation, division, or as the KJV has translated it, concision.

Paul is using sarcasm to say, watch out for those who claim to give you the old secret paths when all they give you is a way to mutilate your flesh and all they do is cause division in the church…

Today Paul would probably say, watch out for those who claim to give you secrets to health and happiness but all they really do is show you how to cut a check to them…

More importantly, Paul says in the beginning of chapter 3 that it’s not a burden to write to them again about the real life changing power of the gospel and it’s good for them to hear it once again so that they might be made new and overcome their old selves leaving behind who they used to be.

Paul was telling the Philippians that real change was not found in the old paths of Jewish religion but in what the old paths were leading to- or rather who they were leading to- Jesus.

So in verse 3 he says, we rejoice in Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. We boast in Jesus and we do not trust the flesh.

Every year you tell yourself the same thing:

This year will be different.

This year I will accomplish my goals.

This year I will quit turning back.

This year I will quit smoking.

This year I will quit drinking.

This year I will stop cheating.

This year I will lose the weight.

This year I will move on.

This year I will be happy.

This year I will….

The problem is that all of this is based upon your “will” and your will is finite. It is limited- no matter how strong you are, no matter how determined you are, no matter how dedicated you are, your will can only take you so far.

There are tips for squeezing the most out of your own willpower, there are tricks for stretching your willpower, and there are techniques for replenishing your willpower- but you’re constantly fighting the battle of keeping your willpower supplied and strong- and when your willpower runs out you give-up on your goals and return to your old habits. 

You fall back into what is natural.

In 2017 I want you to plug into something greater, more powerful, and of infinite supply. I want you to plug into the power of Jesus- a power so great it raised the dead.

If this power is great enough to conquer the grave, it’s powerful enough conquer your addiction to food, beer, sex, porn, or whatever.

If this power is enduring enough to outlast death, it can carry you throughout all of 2017 and beyond.

If anyone should know, it was Paul.

One moment he was headed full steam ahead in one direction with his life and the next moment he makes a complete 180 and keeps going that direction over every obstacle and challenge that life could throw at him until, at last, he even pushed through the ultimate obstacle and kept heading in that new direction even through death. In the next chapter Paul would write about the obstacles that he faced like hunger, poverty, adversity, persecution, and even torture that he do them all through Christ.


Knowing Jesus changes everything.

He points us there in this passage.

Look at verse 10- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection…

Paul’s desire was that he could know this incredible resurrection power through the one who had it. There it is, that’s the key.

Knowing Jesus.

We rise through knowing the one who rose from the dead.

Jesus displayed the greatest power the world has ever seen.

He allowed the lame to walk and the blind to see, he fed thousands with food from a lunchbox, calmed the raging sea, made a fish give Peter money, raised a little girl from the dead with less effort than I need to wake my daughter in the morning, and he faced the most torturous and painful instrument of death known to man and said, ok, I’ll do it.

You don’t need to know what His secret is,

you don’t need to see what his diet and workout routine were like.

You need to know Him.

  1. Nothing is more important than knowing Jesus. (7-8)

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

The things that WERE gain to me, those I counted loss for Jesus- the stuff that used to be so important to Paul, it was no longer important in comparison to knowing Jesus.

Do you hear that? nothing was important now in comparison with knowing Jesus.

Paul is telling us that knowing Jesus is such a priority in His life that nothing else comes close. He was making knowing Jesus the utmost priority in His life. It wasn’t merely something that he added onto his busy schedule, it wasn’t something that he squeezed in when he had time, it was the most important thing in his life-

Paul wasn’t moving a whole bunch of evil down on his list of priorities. Paul wasn’t saying that he moved drinking and partying and sex down his list of priorities to make room for knowing Jesus, he was moving the Jewish religious customs. He was moving what had made him an upstanding citizen and respected leader among the Jews down to put Jesus at the top!

People who have made an absolute mess of their lives don’t have a hard time seeing that their life needs to rearrange to follow Jesus, but people who live noble and moral upstanding lives, they struggle to see why Jesus needs to play such a major role——

Knowing Jesus is the most important thing…

Paul says I counted it all loss for the EXCELLENCY of Christ.

He was saying I’m counting all of that loss in comparison to the great worth of knowing Jesus. Knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection and the purity of His love and the beauty of His grace is greater than anything, even really good things.

Paul goes even so far as to say that he counted the rest of it to be dung by comparison. You know what dung is right? It’s not something that you’re excited about- it’s not something that you are collect. It’s gross. It’s trash. It’s rubbish.

Knowing Jesus is so wonderful that everything else is garbage by comparison.

Can you remember a time that you went through a major transition of life, maybe graduating high school, or starting your career, or getting married, or having a child, or getting sober and the people who were your friends before, they don’t understand you afterward. You’re not as interested in the things that you used to be interested in- you’re not as excited about the stuff that really excites them still… Your priorities are different. Your still friends and you still get along with them, but they can’t quite get what’s important to you now…

When Paul came to know Jesus, the stuff that was of the greatest importance to him now paled in comparison to knowing Jesus.

  1. Nothing is more important than knowing Jesus because Righteousness comes from knowing Jesus. (9-11)

The people that Paul was dealing with were trying to manufacture their own righteousness, they were trying to make themselves whole and right- they were trying to fix themselves and going to great lengths to do so.

Paul says that knowing Christ is the most important thing because knowing Christ brings righteousness. It makes us right and not just by my standard or your standard but by God’s standard.

9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Do you know someone who has incredibly high expectations and standards? maybe you were around them this Christmas?

No one’s standards and expectations are higher than God’s- if you doubt that, take a look at the Old Testament law. It was pretty detailed and stringent.

Paul knew the Old Testament law and had worked very hard to be acceptable by God’s standard through it, but in Jesus he was given righteousness.

The standard that Paul had been chasing his entire life,

it was handed to Him by Jesus.

I’m not a gamer. I haven’t played a video game in years. The last time I played a video game was with some guys in the teen group a few years back and they just laughed and laughed at me.

When I was a kid I got the original Nintendo and one Christmas I got super Mario bros 3. I worked so hard to beat level after level and back then when you turned off the game or your sister tripped over the cord and unplugged it, it was over. You didn’t save the game to pick back up where you were.

I remember I had worked so hard to get to level 6 in this game and it was crazy hard and I lost and I would start back over again and pick right back up and make my way to this level that I just couldn’t beat and then a friend of mine from school showed me this trick – or cheat code that could take you to the final level and I was half relieved and half angry.

Some of you have been working so hard to try and get to the next level. You’ve been trying so hard to make your marriage work, you’ve been working so hard to be a good father, you’ve been working so hard to stay clean and sober, you’ve been working so hard to make your life right by your standards or by someone else standards and the whole time Jesus has been calling out to you saying, HERE! LET ME GIVE YOU RIGHTNESS!!!

Pauls says in verse 9 the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

The way that you are made right by God’s standard is not through a cheat code, it’s through faith. Believing Jesus. Trusting Jesus.

It’s saying, God I believe that you can make me right so I’m going to trust you. That doesn’t mean that you merely believe He exists, it means you trust him. You listen to him. You follow him.

3. Because nothing is more important that knowing Jesus, Paul spent his life chasing the knowledge of Jesus. (12)

IN verse 12 Paul make this powerful statement that I want you grab a hold of with both hands and even your teeth too…

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Paul says, I have made nothing more important in my life than knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection because He is the one who makes me righteous.

He is the one who gives life after death.

So, I recognize I’m not there yet- I’m not already perfect, I haven’t attained, so I follow after that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Paul says, I’m not there yet, so I’m chasing after the knowledge of the Christ so that I might grab ahold of what grabbed ahold of me.

This word that is used here in the original language is one that is used for both catching something in the sense that you grab it with your hands but also in the sense that you get it or it makes sense.

So this same word is used in the gospels when the people bring a woman to Jesus that they caught in the act of adultery and they use this word for “caught” we apprehended her. We got her.

But it’s also used when John says Jesus was like a light that shined in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.

The darkness didn’t “get it.”

Paul says, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived, on the contrary I’m saying that I following hard after Jesus, making knowing him the most important thing in my life so that I can “get” what “got” me.

So I can understand what caught me. So that I can apprehend what apprehended me.

In my life, I was running hard from everything that Jesus wanted to give me. I was running hard from the blessings that he wanted to pour in my life. I was working so hard to build it on my own, make it on my own, but thank God, He got me and I’m spending my life trying to get Him.

I’m so thankful He caught me.

I’m going to spend 2017 trying to catch Him.

I’m so thankful He reached down to get a hold on me.

I’m going to rise up and reach up to catch a hold of Him.

Paul says, I’m in hot pursuit of the one who pursued me.

Paul says, I’m chasing after the love that chased me down.

In 2017 I invite you to join me as we rise.

We rise to our calling to change the world – starting in our own city.

We rise to our purpose of bringing God glory – starting in our own hearts.

We rise to follow rise to follow Jesus out of the loop we’ve been stuck in and onto an unknown terrain where he will guide us to new mountain heights and walk alongside us in the valleys that are in between.

We rise to the challenge of becoming of who God created us to be.

The first step of rise is to say, “I’m in.”

And that’s not to say you’re interested, it’s to say I’m engaged.

It’s to say I’m open to what God wants to do in my heart.

I’m ready for Him to lead. I’m ready to follow.

To say, “I’m in” is to say “I’m all in.”

To say we rise is to say we follow Him.

To say we rise is to say we pursue the one who pursued us.

To rise is to chase after the love that chased us down. 

To rise is to reach up to touch the one who reached down to catch us.