As the year 1983 just began Pastor John wanted to go through a quick series with Grace Chapel called “Knowing God.” It is a 3 part series that embarks on how to know and understand the Lord. The series begins with Pastor John reading from Philippians 3:7-14:
Knowing Christ is Above All
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 butdung, that I may win Christ, 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; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Press on Toward the Goal
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. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Pastor John has often called the 13th and 14th verse Paul’s formula for success. How could a man go through the ups and downs in life and enjoy such tremendous success unless he had this kind of philosophy to forget those things which are behind and to reach forth to that which is ahead. In this series Pastor John will speak on Paul’s behind the scenes motivation of his heart to really know God. In particular, he will be going through three things that Paul really wanted to know.
According to Pastor John, often when tracing down their cause in the effect that they are going through, men and women miss the spiritual reasons for major problems. Among God’s people Pastor John believed there was a strong and important message that is coming forth from the word of God. That message was that we are in captivity and in certain of our problems today simply because we are lacking in knowledge of God. We do not know God.
In verse 10 Paul tells us the three areas that he wants to know Him in. This is where some of the messages are incomplete according to Pastor John. There are all kinds of words out about the completeness of their message, but we have to be careful to make sure the message is complete to God’s word standard and not by human standards. Paul wants to know Him, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.
Now to many believers today they do not grasp the fact that God is available to be known.”
The past can be a snare or a help. Many of us because of our past failures have difficulty believing in God today, so they must be laid down. Certain victories can tie us up as well. Paul, John and Peter learned how to be successful by releasing themselves from past victories.
When you get the reaction of the knowledge of Jesus upon the heart of man there is change. You know what that does to me? It brings me hope.”
To conclude the first part of this series on the knowledge of God Pastor John will read from 3 different scriptures capturing things that God hates before moving into something that he cannot resist. The Bible says there certain things that God doesn’t like. Now if we are going to walk with Him, we aught to walk in such a way that we don’t irritate Him every time we see Him.
On the other hand God cannot resist repentance, He loves it. This is because repentance is probably one of the greatest responses and proofs of faith.
Before we can obey God we must give our own way, thoughts, mind and ideas. The greatest expression of faith is doing that. Literally entering into an obedience of repentance.
It’s beyond human comprehension that God could be so kind, loving and moved by any turn that we make. Any act of repentance reaches God.”
The greatest thing that we can do is trust Him and listen to what God says about those who trust Him. The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord. He is their strength in the time of struggle. The Lord will help them and deliver them from the wicked and save them because they trust in Him. God cannot resist trust.
In the second part of this series on knowing God Pastor John begins by reading from 2 Peter 1:2-4:
2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
Make Your Calling Sure
3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
In the first part of this series Paul the Apostle had spoken to the Philippian Church telling them that he counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of God, Christ Jesus my Lord. He mentioned the three dimensions of that excellent knowledge of God which were that he might know Him, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Paul knew that knowing these dimensions would bring about in his life conformableness under the death of the Lord.
“It is important for us to move into this dimension so that the life of the Lord can come into us as well.”
Pastor John wanted us to notice that Paul and Peter were in complete agreement placing the knowledge of the Lord as one of the highest things that you can find or follow after. It isn’t that God doesn’t give it to us in response to our prayer, but the mechanics, way, procedure and the principles by way grace and peace come to us in a greater dimension even than our need is to know Him.
So the pursuit of God’s knowledge is extremely important to us even as pertaining to our victory and our ability to handle problems and difficulties and life changes. God’s own virtue and glory have provided great and precious promises that through them we might participate in God’s own nature.”
The way out of the lust of the world is in the knowledge of God. There are two main desires. You can desire God or you can desire things. It is the corruption that came through lust that has brought sin into the world. Where as the knowledge of God delivers you from that and brings in another realm.
The knowledge of God will make you conformable to the way Jesus was when He died.”
Pastor John also wanted us to notice that Peter separates between the knowledge of God and the knowledge of Jesus. Reading from John 14:7-11 we find that Jesus was two things, Son of man and Son of God. Jesus in His relationship as Son of God was our total Savior and redeemer, the fullness of God. But in the dimension of Son of man he walked just like you and I do, like a vessel of God’s presence. In that respect He was not just God to us but He was a human example of God’s perfect will toward us. He was God’s example of what we could be. By being absolutely committed to the will of God, Jesus became an example that we could approach unto God.
Now this is the dimension that most Christians miss. They except the lordship and distance, but they don’t understand that Jesus was revealing that God himself wanted to dwell and live in us.”
Pastor John then speaks about trust and obedience. He says the reason Jesus was perfectly obedient is because He was in relationship with the Father to know Him and trust Him.
The reason we go our own way is because we don’t know Him well enough to trust Him. Therefor Jesus says come unto me. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest under your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Here is the whole reason that we must understand the triunity of the Godhead. If the Father could live in Jesus so much that when we knew Him when we saw the Father there is the possibility of God living in His Church so much that the world can know Him. There is the potential of God living in you and I so much that Jesus can be seen in us and through us.
This doesn’t come by deciding where and when we are going to believe and what we are going to trust God for. It comes as we abide in Him. Continually living and dwelling in His will, His word and His presence. It comes from knowing Him.
In chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Philippians he expresses his primary pursuit in life from which his entire ministry and effectiveness found its source. This was the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. Paul was constantly inviting the believer into greater depths of the knowledge of God, not just for the sake of intellectual pursuit but that the power of God could be released in them through faith.
In the third part in this series on knowing God, Pastor John wants to take time out from the direction of knowing Him personally to move for a time in the direction of knowing the power of His resurrection. In the first two parts of this series we talked about the three divisions of the knowledge of God found in Philippians 3:10.
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
In Ephesians 1:15-22 Paul had spoken of his direction in prayer for them as a body of believers and as individuals. What Pastor John asks is what is so important about knowing the power of His resurrection. Paul says it is the same dimension of power that is released and available to us is in the same dimension of power that He released from heaven when He raised Jesus from the dead. Not only made Him a living man again, but lifted Him up above all heavens and seated Him at the right hand of all the excellency and made Him all of our fullness.
That is quit a bit of power. That is the kind of power that has been released to us. That is why it takes a spirit of wisdom and revelation.”
It’s important to know that when God gives us a spirit of revelation and wisdom it’s not just to know, but that we would know now what to do with it. To know how do we handle this knowledge, understanding and enlightenment. It is very important that we receive from God today a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
Jesus told Thomas, “blessed are those who not having seen have believed.” He said there is a blessedness about that, because it is more than a natural thing, it is a Holy Spirit born experience that causes that kind of faith and knowledge come into your heart. To see beyond what you can see and to know what you can’t know and to experience what cannot be experience any other way than the power of God’s spirit where you know whom you have believed.
Knowledge is the basis for faith and true faith comes from knowing Him.”