Monday, September 2, 2013

Knowing God

"And this is life eternal, 

that they might know you the only true God, 

and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." 
John 17:3

Yesterday, my pastor gave a message filled with wisdom.

He focused on the difference between knowing about God ... and knowing God.

Some time ago, I was speaking with a man named Clint who had come to confront me about witnessing to his wife. Clint had been going to church religiously for over 40 years, and he knew a lot about God; but it quickly became evident to me that he did not really know God. When I asked him to read certain scripture, and what God was saying to him, his answers were contrary to the Bible. When discouraged after giving several wrong answers, he said; "now let's put the good book away and just talk man to man." I persisted with the Bible and he came under conviction. He then went home; studied the scriptures, and a few days later he prayed to receive Christ’s free gift of eternal life.

I heard the testimony of a pastor who had been preaching for over 25 years and while studying the scriptures came to understand that although his head was filled with information about his religion … he did not really know God.

Here are questions for each of us to consider: 

“Do I really know God or do I only know about God?”
And also: “How do we come to know God better?”

As usual Jesus is perfectly clear in these verses.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1-14

“Jesus answered and said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:17-18

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  
However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” John 16:12

Here are key points we must come to understand and believe … to know God.

1.    We must believe that Jesus and God’s Word are Eternal Truth.
2.    We must be born again.
3.    We must believe in Jesus Christ alone.
4.    We must believe that Jesus is the only way, the Truth, and the life.
5.    We must believe the Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth.

 All of these truths are not conditions to receive eternal life; but knowing God, and Jesus Christ on a deeper level is a whole other issue. All religions and teachings that teach contrary to these Truths are false. Regardless of what these religions call themselves, they cannot reject the truth and be of Christ. And being tolerant of other religions is not the same thing as pretending other religions are true, or of value.

Here’s a good question. Is it possible to reject some teachings of the Bible and still be a Christian? 

With God all things are possible; but God’s word is clear. There is a price to pay for pride and arrogance. We cannot continually stand on the teachings of men, and at the same time know God.

We can know and be assured of eternal life only through Jesus Christ.

And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

Okay you might say, I believe all of this ... but how do I know God and not just know about Him?

In order to know God, we should not look to the teachings of the world, and the religions of men for answers to the deeper truths. Instead we should measure men's teachings against God’s Word to determine the Truth. God knows exactly what we need to know, and when we need to know it. 

He will reveal Himself to us. 

He promises us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. 

Jesus promised to send us a helper, the Holy Spirit who will guide us into all Truth. Jesus is God and He is Truth. The Holy Spirit will help us to know the Father and Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation on His Word. And meditating on God's Word is not like the meditation that false religions teach. 

We must stop and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit ...
as we pray and meditate on the scriptures.

When we truly know God, our beliefs are contrary to, and will put off those who have rejected Jesus Christ; those who follow other gods; and also those who confess Christ but compromise on the validity of false religions, or teachings that are contrary to God’s Word.

It would be impossible for me to know and believe in Jesus Christ, while at the same time claim that Hindu, Buddhism, and Islam are not false religions; or that evolution is true and creation never happened; or that aborting a hundred babies every hour is acceptable. These are oxymorons.

If you are a confessing Christian and those who do not believe in Christ do not reject you and your words … this should be a red flag to you.

Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” John 15:18-20

If you know God, your views will often be considered strange, repugnant, peculiar, and ridiculous to unbelievers.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  2 Peter 2:9-10

God bless you my friends, Bob

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