- Slides: 35
The Balance of “Being” and “Doing” in The Believer’s Life
Some popular Christian clichés… Christians are not perfect, just forgiven n Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good n Let go, and let God n Ask Jesus into your heart n Hate the sin, love the sinner n Atheism is a religion n
What do you think of this one? Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship…
The proof in the pudding… n Matt. 6: 9 – God is called “Father” n John 1: 12 – Children of God n John 15: 15 – We are God’s friends n I Thess. 5: 26 – Brethren (used 185 times between Acts and Revelation)
Gal. 6: 10 – Household of the faith n I Cor. 16: 22 – An affectionate God love is required n I John 1: 1 -3 – Fellowship with God and family of God n Rev. 19: 7 – Bride of Christ n John 17: 3 – Knowing God n
V. The Concept of Knowing God
Levels of knowing another… n n n To gain facts, information, and knowledge of another To have meet them To have interacted and gained additional knowledge about them To experience both good and difficult times together To come to love, fellowship, understand, feel safe, have affection, and commune with them
Yada Factor… Why is it that to know someone in the Old Testament was equated with sexual intimacy as in Genesis 4: 1? 4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord. ” Genesis 4: 1 (NKJV)
Loving knowledge of another is intricately connected to intimacy In marriage, sexual intimacy is highest form of all intimacy and hence is equated with knowledge of that person.
A. Seven key truths on the concept of knowing God
Names of God’s people in the Bible … The elect – Matthew 24: 22 n The chosen – Colossians 3: 12 n Believers – Acts 5: 14 n Christians – Acts 11: 26 n Disciples – Acts 6: 2 n Followers of Christ – Mark 9: 41 n Saints – I Corinthians 6: 1 n Brethren – II Corinthians 13: 11 n Know the Lord – Hosea 6: 3 n
1. Knowing God is synonymous with one being saved 1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17: 1 -3
“Knowing God” is a term synonymous with personal salvation. It epitomizes the intimacy found in the believer’s relationship with God.
Likewise, the term, “did not know the Lord” was synonymous with unbelief… 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go. ” Exodus 5: 2 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Judges 2: 10 12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD
And perhaps the granddaddy of them all… 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, ’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? ’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS. ’ Matthew 7: 21 -23
2. Knowing God is the most valuable asset you will ever possess 23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, ” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9: 23 -24
3. Your knowing God was initiated by Him wanting to know you 8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? Galatians 4: 8 -9
4. It is not just you knowing God, it is also God knowing you… David gives us a glimpse into our Lord’s heart for us… 1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Psalm 139: 1 -6
5. If you want to know God more intimately, pray that you will learn and know His ways Moses makes this prayer… 13 “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people. ” Exodus 33: 13
6. It should be our life time passion to know God deeper and deeper… 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3: 8 -11
7. Obedience is critical to knowing God 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him, ” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: I John 2: 3 -5
B. Hosea summarizes the believer’s call… 3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth. ” Hosea 6: 3
VI. Developing A Heart of Intimacy (Being) with God
A. The habit of spending time in prayer 1. Jesus is our example 2. Key passage: Mark 1: 35 3. Prayer is more than a shopping a list of wants the believer delivers to God. Prayer is communion and intimacy with the heavenly Father.
B. Worship, praise and singing to the Lord 1. The Book of Psalms 2. Psalm 103: 1 -2 3. When we worship, praise and sing to the Lord we bring our emotions into our love relationship with the Lord.
C. Obedience to the Lord 1. Sin erodes intimacy with God 2. John 15: 1 3. Many Christians are confused as to why intimacy with God seems to be missing. Unfortunately, they have an inventory of sinful issues they are unwilling to hand over to the Lord in obedience.
D. Trials and crises can draw us close to God 1. Often we ask God to remove the very problems which He wishes to build intimacy with Himself 2. Psalm 42: 1 -2 3. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. " Quote by C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
E. Humility 1. A humble heart is a pathway toward intimacy with God 2. Psalm 10: 16 -17 3. Understanding that God is God and you are not and that you are deeply dependent on Him for everything is something that grows over the years and enhances our relationship with the Lord.
F. The Sabbath Rest 1. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. ” Exodus 20: 8 2. It was structured in the Ten Commandments as an integral part of one’s spiritual life. 3. It is the only commandant that is not repeated in the New Testament. We are now under grace and are not obliged to keep the Sabbath. 4. Even though it is not required by law, the principle is good for the spiritual nourishment of the soul.
VII. The issue of hell as it relates to intimacy with God
The issue of hell as it relates to intimacy with God 1. Heaven is the ultimate place that believers find eternal intimacy with God 2. Hence, it follows that hell is the antithesis of heaven and for those who reject God it is the place of the ultimate absence of intimacy with God or others a. Although hell is described as the lake of fire in Rev. 21: 8, this may be emphasizing more the agony of eternal separation from God than a literal lake of fire b. In Matthew 8: 12 Jesus also describes hell as outer darkness. (1) Many unbelievers joke about rather being in hell with their friends partying for ever. But this in an unbiblical picture of hell. (2) Hell is eternal loneliness, exclusion from the Creator who sought relationship with those who rejected Him.
VIII. Some helpful books
Wasting Time With God: by Klaus Issler, A Christian Spirituality of Friendship With God. Downers Grove: Inter. Varsity, 2001
The Practice of the Presence of God: By Brother Lawrence
The Shack: By William P. Young Note of caution: Young does a great job in presenting intimacy with God but makes several theological mistakes in the process.