We may practice a faith tradition that follows Jesus. But if we don’t KNOW God, we truly have NO god!
KNOW God? Or NO God!
Know God — or NO god
29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
I was raised in a faith tradition where adherence to an external religious code of conduct was considered necessary in order to maintain a close walk with God. Well into my adult years, I believed that this was what God wanted us to do.
Although I went to church every Sunday, I realize now that I really didn’t know God at all.
The first time I heard a real Bible sermon (I was in my 40’s) I was absolutely astonished! I had no idea that the Bible possessed such practical wisdom for all situations of everyday life.
I’m sharing these things about myself in order to encourage others who may have grown up in biblical illiteracy as I did.
Why is this important?
It’s important because this is about all of us getting to know God. You may know some things ABOUT God, but that is not the same as getting to know God.
You or I could go the bookstore or to the library and get books about the president of the United States. But even if we were to memorize those books, all we would have would be head knowledge. We would have information about the president — but we wouldn’t have a relationship with him. We wouldn’t know him.
- Premise: Every person needs to know God!
- Purpose: Why is it that I’m urging everyone to know God?
- Participation: Who is this command intended for?
- Problem: How do we get to know God?
- Payoff: What will be God’s response to me?
- Peril: What of those who choose not to know God?
Premise: Every person needs to know God!
Each one of us needs to pursue and maintain a relationship with our Creator. But because we have a free will, God will not force Himself upon us. It’s up to each one of us to make the first move.
Purpose: Why am I saying that every person needs to know God?
I’m saying we need to Know God because God Himself has said it.
Key Scripture Passages:
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 and they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ”˜Know the Lord,’for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:10~12)
From the Amplified Bible, the Apostle Paul leads by example in this exhortation to know God:
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (Philippians 3:10 AMP)
One more from the Apostle Paul, who repeatedly urged us to imitate him:
9 And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 that you may lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all patience and longsuffering with joy (Colossians 1:9-11)
Can you see the many helpful thoughts in this passage?
- Paul prayed that they would know God’s will for their lives.
- With Spiritual wisdom and understanding…
- Lead a life fully pleasing to God…
- Bearing Spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God…
- Increasing in the knowledge of God (There’s that “know God” thing again!)
- Strengthened with power from God, for patience and longsuffering — WITH JOY!
If God had a Facebook account He would be inviting you to “Friend” Him!
If God were on Twitter, He would be tweeting, “I AM real! Heaven is real. #Eternity is forever. #FollowMe”
To put it in a more conventional way, God wants you to get to Know Him. He already knows way more about you than you know of yourself, but He wants it to be a two-way relationship.
How do we get to know God?
We know God the same way we know each other:
- We know each other by what we say.
- We know each other by what we do.
We know God in exactly the same way: by what He says and by what He does.
Both relationships — human-to-human and human-to-God — require spending time together.
Therefore the more we know the Bible, the more we know God!
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The following two Scriptures are only two of the many wherein God commands us to know God by putting His Word into our minds so that He can work His Word “into our hearts”:
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
In verse 6 above, the phrase “on your heart” refers to something that you have memorized and that you consider to be a life-principle that you live by. This is the origin of such common expressions as “to know it by heart” or “taking it to heart”.
12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
I’ve got a question for you regarding two phrases in that passage. He commands us to:
- walk in all his ways (v. 12)
- keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord (v. 13)
Here’s my question:
Would someone please tell me this: how is it possible to “walk in all his ways” and to “keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord” without knowing His ways and without knowing His commandments and His statutes (or His teachings, ordinances, precepts, testimonies, judgments, laws, and commands)?
We’re willing to learn the right ways of doing things in many other areas of our lives.
For a moment, just imagine if that were not so.
- Imagine the chaos if most people behind the wheel of a car did not know the traffic laws; had never taken lessons, but instead were making up their own driving rules according to what seemed right to them!
- What if you discovered that your “doctor” was really an impostor who had never gone to medical school?
- Would you trust your accounting needs or your income tax preparation to someone who struggles with basic arithmetic?
- As you board an airliner, are you not assuming that the Captain and and First Officer are alert, fully trained, well rested, and with logbooks showing tens of thousands of hours of flight experience?
- We could go even farther with the last example and profess confidence that the people who built the aircraft, and those who maintain it, are doing their jobs according to a strict body of knowledge that they went to great lengths to learn.
- We could go still farther and be confident that the engineers who designed the airplane you are flying in knew the truth of their profession and applied it properly.
- And we could go farther yet acknowledge that the the university professors who taught the engineers did an excellent job of explaining, motivating, and in general transferring their hard-won knowledge to their students.
- Ultimately, we need to have confidence in the God who created every atom in the universe from nothing, and who maintains the properties of the materials the airplane is made of moment-by-moment, even allowing the parts to “wear out” precisely as He ordains.
Do we not indeed serve an amazing God?
Did you know this? God is holding together the very atoms of your body RIGHT NOW! He is doing so much for us, and all He asks is that we acknowledge Him and spend a little of our time getting to know God.
But sadly, the majority of the people God created choose to go through life spiritually blind either for lack of knowledge of what God asks of us or because they refuse to undertake the discipline of getting to know God by investing time in learning His Word.
Payoff: How will God respond to those who choose to draw near to Him?
Let’s revisit Hebrews 8:10-12, where the writer quotes from the prophet Jeremiah 31-34
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ”˜Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:10~12)
- “For this is the covenant that I will make” (v 10a) They will be in a covenant relationship with God.
- “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts” (v 10) They will have some of His Word into their minds and hearts.
- “and they shall be my people” (v 10) God will know them as “His People”.
- “for they shall all know me” (v 11) THIS IS WHAT GOD LONGS FOR! When you know God’s Word, you know God. The more of His word you know, the more you know God. It’s that simple!
- “I will remember their sins no more.” (v 12b) In His infinite mercy God has devised a way to make His people as though then never committed a single sin!
According to passages such as Ephesians 2:11-22 and Romans 11:11-24 we who are not Jews by genealogy have been grafted into the covenant described in the passage above. We also can know God.
In the Scripture passage above, He’s talking about people who love Him enough to spend the time and take on the discipline of committing Scripture to memory. As Jesus Himself said:
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. (John 14:21)
So I ask you again: How can anyone “keep His commandments” without investing time in internalizing some of His teachings, statutes, ordinances, precepts, testimonies, judgments, laws, and commands? I just don’t believe it’s possible. You cannot know God without knowing His Word.
Peril: What about people who choose to be indifferent to God?
Because every person has a free will, God will respect any person’s right to keep Him out of their lives. They can choose not to know God. But as the old saying goes, “You can’t have your cake and eat it!” The separation from God that people demand now will extend beyond this life and into eternity. OOPS!!
In the faith tradition I used to be in, I actually heard people ask (regarding church attendance), “How late can I be and have it still count?” or “How early can I leave and have it still count?”.
That church teaches that the souls of people will go to hell if the people don’t attend the services. And so they show up, but their hearts are elsewhere. I used to be such a person. Then one day I saw the following verse, and it convicted me:
…this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me. And their reverence for Me consists of traditions of men learned by rote. (Isaiah 29:13)
The verse exposes these characteristics:
- honoring God with lip service
- deliberately removing their hearts far from God
- doctrines based on traditions of men, not the Bible
- going through the motions learned by rote
The first time I saw that verse, it was like seeing myself in a mirror! That verse was describing me and the attitude I had toward God. I resolved never to be like that again. I stopped ignoring God; stopped simply giving Him lip service, and made Him the number-one priority in my life. If I could do that, anyone can do that.
God longs for a two-way relationship based on love. What He doesn’t want are people who don’t seem to want to know God, but instead are focused on “reverence-by-rote”, adhering to an external man-made religious code.
Here is the entire Scripture passage:
13 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13~14)
Those are the people for whom “the gate is wide and the way is easy” (Matthew 7:13-14); for whom “the word of the cross is folly [foolishness]” (1 Corinthians 1:18); of whom Paul wrote, “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
Here’s another example. In the parable of the sower three out of the four groups didn’t “get it”. They were totally plugged into the “world system”. They don’t know God.
The only group that really “gets it” are those who, “hearing the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience”.
24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Two groups — both groups heard the same words:
The first group:
- …heard the words of Jesus
- …did them
- …trials came
- …they did not fall
The second group:
- …heard the words of Jesus
- …did not do them
- …trials came
- …they fell, and great was their fall
Jesus doesn’t actually say that those in the second group are going to hell, but do you really want to test that? How close to the edge of the Grand Canyon can you tap dance?
Don’t be a GOLD-DIGGER Christian!
In the usual context, the term “gold-digger” refers to someone who marries for profit instead of for love. They mainly want access to their spouse’s money.
In the context presented here, Pastor Colin Smith suggests that many who call themselves Christians are only interested in what Jesus can do for them. Getting to “know God” is not part of their plan.
This sermon by Pastor Colin is based upon the “Song of Solomon”. This Old Testament book of the Bible describes a love between a woman and a man she refers to as “my beloved”. They have great love for each other:
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3)
Her “beloved” is none other than King Solomon. Pastor Colin describes their love for each other as an allegorical description of the love God has for His “bride”, which is the Church. That’s us. As true believers, we are all part of this story of love.
That’s why I am bringing this up just now. Regarding our love for God, recall what Jesus said to one of the scribes in the Gospel of Mark:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
To see this verse in it’s context Click Here
Do you see how this love story describes the love relationship God desires for you? But tragically, so many people are saying in effect, “I don’t want to have a relationship with God. I want to love some other “god”.”
Listen now as Pastor Colin describes how so many have responded to God’s longing for a love relationship with each of us. If you ask me, many churches are doing a terrible job of teaching this to their congregations.
Here are a few quotes from this podcast sermon.
When we think of what it means to love, beware of the “gold-digger” mentality.”
a woman who becomes or tries to become romantically involved with a rich man in order to get money and gifts from him
Finding that definition to be somewhat “sexist”, Pastor Colin describes a man who deliberately marries a very rich woman, strictly to gain access to her money. He considers aloud how we would regard such a man:
“You would think him selfish at the core, dishonorable, unworthy, and you would be right!”
“But here’s my question: is that not precisely the way in which we may have too often regarded Jesus Christ? He owns Heaven. He can get us out of Hell. He can get the blessings of God that will make life better for us, and so we’re going to ‘accept Him’.
“By the way, isn’t that the strangest way for a Christian believer to speak of a relationship with Jesus Christ: to ‘ACCEPT HIM’ ??!! I would never speak of my wife in that way.”
“Thirty four years ago when we got married, I ‘accepted her’ ! You would find that an offensive way of speaking. It would never enter my head. I love her. I embraced her. I gave myself to her and counted myself privileged that she would giver herself to me!”
In which you make a decision in order to get out of hell, get into heaven, accept Jesus, get God on your side. Your life will be better that way but very little LOVE for Jesus Christ.
“Loving Christ still, in the middle of unexplained suffering and loss, may prove to be the greatest contribution you will ever make to glorifying Christ and to the advance of His kingdom in the world. It’s that important!”
There is nothing very surprising about a Christian who loves Christ when everything is going well. But Christians who love the Lord when good gifts are taken away or are withheld: they demonstrate in heaven, on earth, and in hell, that they really do love God, and not just His gifts.
That is, or course, the main point in the book of Job.
“Loving Christ in the face of pain and loss glorifies God in heaven. It causes consternation in hell, and it brings strength to believers who see that God is worthy for Himself, and not simply on account of His gifts.”
“So beware of the ‘gold-digger’ mentality. And when you walk through a place of difficulty and suffering and loss, and you love Christ still, you shoot it to bits for the glory of God and to the silencing of Satan. It’s marvelous!”
“Ok, give me the summary; the bottom line!”
In my article entitled The Meaning Of Life Is What? I wrote about how life is a sorting process. The Bible sorts people into two groups. The small group is going to Heaven; the other is not.
The true meaning of life…
The ultimate question…
The only thing that will matter 100 years from now…IS:
Did you truly know God and choose to live according to His ways? OR…
Did you live according to the values of the world around you?
I challenge you this day! Do what most people do not do: Get to KNOW GOD!
And then: find a way to help others to know God.
Because if you and I do nothing, you know what they’ll have:
They will have NO GOD. They will remain separated from God for all of eternity!
Here’s something you’ll really enjoy listening to!
Listen as Bible preacher S.M Lockeridge describes the King of Kings. Here’s a man of who truly does know God.
The title of his message is “My King”, and it’s less that 5 minutes long.
I hope you are taking this seriously!
The devil is hoping you won’t. Right now he’s putting all kinds of reasons into your mind as to why you shouldn’t do anything like equipping yourself to stand against him.
But I’ve made it easier for you. Here are links to all the information and encouragement you need, right here!
PUT THE DEVIL IN HIS PLACE: I’ve got a whole series of articles dealing with Spiritual Warfare for you to help strengthen you for combat. You’re in a war, you know!
GET INTO GOD’S WORD SO HE CAN GET HIS WORD INTO YOU: I also have a series on getting God’s Word into your mind and heart. Yes, this is Scripture Memory. I know you don’t like that topic, but it’s medicine for your soul. Open wide now, and take your medicine!
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly! (Colossians 3:16)