June 13, 2016 by

Knowing God Intimately

Jeremiah 24:7

Illustration: I am remotely on vacation everyday after retiring from my work by watching 4K youtube and HD TV but to experience the real thing is completely different. To see and to hear are not enough we have to touch, to feel, and to taste it to get the real thing.

 

After we know how our God is, through His “Omni” attributes, it certainly should increase our knowledge that leads us to deeper worship of our Heavenly Father. It will also promote godly living the daily life and in the congregation by exposing and helping us see our Christian duty in the light of God’s greatness. With that background, let us consider four passages that speak to the vital importance of knowing God:

1. Jeremiah 24:7I will give them a heart to know me …”

2. John 17:3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God.”

3. Ephesians 1:17 “… So that you may know him better

4. 2 Thessalonians 1:8Those who do not know God …”

From these verses we may discern several important truths:

1. We were made to know God! That is our privilege, our calling, and our very purpose for existing.

2. Knowing God is the privilege and duty of every believer. It is a privilege afforded to every believer and a duty every Christian must pursue.

3. We can always know God better than we do. That’s precisely the point of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians. No one can ever claimed to have arrived at a perfect knowledge of God.

4. Those who do not know God have missed the central truth of the universe. Second Thessalonians 1 warns us that God will judge those who do not know him. In that great day, no excuses will be accepted and no substitute knowledge will suffice. Since it is possible and necessary to know God, those who do not know him face a terrible future.

All true Christians know the answer to this question: “What is the chief end of man?” Answer: “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” God put us here in order that we should know him, and in knowing him, glorify him, and by glorifying him, enjoy him forever. Thus, there is knowledge that leads to a relationship that brings glory that results in unending joy. If you want the joy, you must start by knowing God.

Here are two quotes a pastor:

It is not the job of the Christian preacher to give people moral or psychological pep talks about how to get along in the world; someone else can do that. But most of our people have no one in the world to tell them, week in and week out, about the supreme beauty and majesty of God … so I am persuaded that the vision of a great God is the linchpin in the life of the church, both in pastoral care and missionary outreach.

Christian preachers, more than all others, should know that people are starving for God … who but preachers will look out over the vast wasteland of secular culture and say, ‘Behold your God!’ Who will tell the people that God is great and greatly to be praised? Who will paint for them the landscape of God’s grandeur? Who will remind them with tales of wonder that God has triumphed over every foe? … if God is not supreme in our preaching, where in this world will the people hear about the supremacy of God? If we do not spread a banquet of God’s beauty on Sunday morning, will not our people seek in vain to satisfy their inconsolable longing with the cotton candy pleasures of pastimes and religious hype?

 

I.                  Knowing God Superficially

At this point I think it’s important to heed the two warnings issued of knowing God:

A. It is possible to know about God without knowing God intimately.

This is the danger of sterile intellectualism. It often happens despite our best efforts. Because we evangelicals love to do theology, it’s very easy for us to slip into the trap of thinking that because we have read the latest book or attended the newest seminar or listened to our favorite preacher on the radio, that we therefore have truly developed an intense relationship with God.

Knowledge is good and absolutely essential, but knowing God is more than knowing facts about God. It’s like trying to get to know your wife by reading her Facebook.

B. It is possible to know about godliness without knowing God intimately.

This is the danger of information overload. This often happens in our “How-to” age. Every Sunday our people come to church and their message is, “Make it practical, pastor.” We want to know how to pray, how to fight discouragement, how to be better parents and so on. All these pursuits are good and worthy in themselves, but they don’t necessarily increase our knowledge of God. As a result, our spiritual state is a mile wide and an inch deep.

 

II.              Knowing God Intimately

Let’s wrap up this message with a brief statement of what will happen to us as we increase in the knowledge of God.

 

A. New Perspective

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24

We all like to brag, don’t we? We brag about our college degree or about our new car, our new house, our new clothes, or how many important people we know. It’s almost as if we have to validate our own existence by bragging about who we are to someone else.

Boasting is foolish because it causes us to think that we’re more than we really are. Money is not the measure of life nor is strength or wisdom. All of it is a gift from God. It’s all on loan from him. He gave it to us, he can take it back any time, and in the end, we’ll have to answer to what we did with what the Lord gave us.

In this passage God is saying, “If you brag about anything, brag that you know me!” The rest of it doesn’t matter. That brings me back to the fundamental question: Why Are We Here? Knowing God is why we are here! Settle this first. Unless you know who God is, you will never know who you are.

 

B. New Boldness

But the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” Daniel 11:32. Here is an amazing verse from a passage in Daniel that speaks about the difficult circumstances in the Last Days. As the world begins to crumble before Christ returns, as the Antichrist rises to world domination, the people of God will come under intense persecution. But those who know God will find the strength to take action in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. If you know God, you won’t just let your testimony slide. You’ll be strong, you’ll speak out, you’ll be bold, you’ll openly identify with Jesus Christ. You won’t fear what man can do to you.

 

C. New Value in Life

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

Losses and profits don’t matter. The only thing that matters in life is knowing Christ personally. For Paul, being a Jew and a Pharisee to boot was great profit, but not compared to knowing Christ. All his vast knowledge meant nothing. It was just rubbish in his mind. In the end he lost “all things” but counted it as nothing that he might gain the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This kind of evaluation comes only from knowing God personally.

 

D. New Contentment

If you know Jesus Christ, you can face the worst life has to offer. That’s true biblical contentment. It’s possible only by cultivating a daily relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

E. New Humility

Consider these verses of scripture:

Ephesians 3:14 “…I kneel before the Father

Philippians 2:10 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow …”

Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”

Why did Paul say, “I kneel” and why did the Psalmist call for people to bow before the Lord? Why did the 24 elders fall down before the Lamb? The answer is not hard to find. Once you know God, you then can know yourself properly. In heaven we will bow down and worship God. It’s a good thing to start now so it won’t seem strange then.

Over the years I have come to understand that there are only two theologies in the world. Here they are in very simple form: There is …

Big God and Little Me. or there is

Little God and Big Me.

When you come into the knowledge of God, you will have a Big God and a little you. But for most of us, it’s the other way around. Our view of ourselves is so big that God shrinks down to a manageable size. But the Bible has a special name for a god you can manage. It’s called an idol! Men make idols because they want a god that serves their purposes.

The God of the Bible is far bigger than we imagine. He cannot be contained in any building or statue made by human hands! The bigger your God, the smaller your view of yourself, and the quicker you will fall down in worship and praise. Every Sunday morning you need to remember this, you or God is the big one.

 

Conclusion:

I can preach and write and you can listen and read, but you’ll never fully understand what I mean until you begin to know God personally. You can’t define it fully, but when you encounter Almighty God, your life will never be the same again. Which is why Psalm 34:8 says, Taste and see that the Lord is good.” He is good, but you’ll never know till you open your mouth and taste for yourself!

You may be wondering where you should begin. “I don’t know the Lord at all. But I want to,” you say. Good! The first requirement for knowing God is to admit you need him. He delights to make himself known to those who want to know him.

 

 

You can have a relationship with God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. He came that you might know God personally. He died on the Cross to open the way to heaven. He paid the price for your sins. Will you now open the door of your heart and trust him as your Lord and Savior? “Lord Jesus, I welcome you into my heart. I believe you died for my sins and rose on the third day. Here and now I trust you as my Savior and Lord. Amen.” That’s a simple prayer but it could change your life forever. Cry out to the Savior and he will come to you. God never says no to a willing heart.

Posted in: Sermon and teaching