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Knowing God (John 17:3)

Sermon on 24 April 2022 by Pastor Gaius

John 17:3 - “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”

When we say we know someone, there are different levels of ‘closeness’. The easiest way is to recognise someone. Similarly, for Jesus, if we say we know Him, the easiest thing is to recognise Him too.

John 10:4 - “After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.”

We are like sheep under God’s shepherd. We know that when we bring a burdened heart to Jesus, He will lift us up. But knowing His voice is not good enough. You can know the shepherd but not follow the same direction.

John 10:27 - “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:28 - “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,”

When we follow Him, Jesus promised this for us. If you follow the word, it will lead to destruction. Jesus is not someone that is so difficult to find. He makes it very simple for us to choose. It’s either Him or the world. We either obey or disobey Him. It’s a symbol of our heart - whether we are willing to obey Him. Hearing His voice is not deep enough.

Job was a very good man. But the devil wanted to rest him and removed all material blessings from him. He himself was sick. He almost wanted to give up, but he remained steadfast in God and God blessed him with a double portion of blessings.

Job 42:5 - “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

When we go through difficulties, it is when we truly taste the goodness of God.

Psalms 23:4 - “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

When we come out of the valley, we see God’s glory.

After recognising Him, we realise who God is.

John 20:29 - “Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.””

Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, didn’t see Him rise up from the dead. When other disciples told him that Jesus had risen from the dead, he said that it is not possible unless he saw Jesus rising up from the dead directly. When we believe before we see, it is a true blessing.

John 11:40 - “Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?””

Faith is not seeing the end point now. When we take a step of faith, according to the will of God, the next step will appear to us. As you take steps to Jesus, you no longer worry whether there is a next step because you know Jesus will bring you through. When you are in difficulty, if you depend on your own abilities, you will be very worried.

Matthew 16:15-16 - “Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.””

Peter was able to see that Jesus was the Son of God.

Matthew 16:17 - “Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.”

When we can really see Jesus, it is not through our own effort or logic that we prove He exists. It is because the Heavenly Father revealed it to us. We must come with a heart that we are willing to believe then our eyes will be opened. We may be in challenges now but let’s have a hopeful heart. Don’t give up and find people who are also rooted in the Lord to give you the right word to encourage you.

The next step is to have a relationship with God. We are related to Him. When other people see us, they will see what Jesus is like. We have the character of Christ.

John 15:19 - “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”

Some things the world cannot accept what Jesus said. Similarly, they won’t accept us. When the whole world can accept our wrong doings, which is different from Jesus, it probably means that we are not related to Him. Some can say they know Jesus, but they don’t belong to Him because they are not related to Him.

John 13:34 - “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”

John 13:35 - “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.””

How do we know that we really know God? It is when we love others like how He loves us. It is a sacrificial love, where you don’t take credit for yourself and always consider the interests of others. The audience of that verse was to His disciples.

1 John 4:7-8 - “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

If we love God, we will know God. To know God, the only defining point is sacrificial love. It is different from selfish love. Selfish love is conditional. That’s not God’s love. He is selfless.

1 John 2:3-5 - “And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.”

We must also keep His commandments. When we can love one another, we are truly His disciples. We don’t need to go around telling people we know a lot about God or what we did in church. People will know you are His disciples through your acts.

The fourth stage is to understand God. Sometimes, we go ahead of God. To truly understand Him, we have to go back to the word.

Isaiah 55:8-9 - ““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Our job is just to follow what He has told us. He is the one who brings the results. There is a great commission given to all of us - to preach the gospel to the people around. Jesus tells us to be a good testimony to show others. He didn’t tell us to hard sell to others and convince them. When we share His word, He has a way to change that person’s heart. The Bible says that the heart is very hard to change, and we have no ability to do that. The question is if we share about Christ to others. God will bring the change.

When we want to understand God more, it is to set our minds on things about Him.

Romans 8:5 - “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.”

We have to make many decisions whether to follow the world or Jesus. In these 2 years, God set everything back to the basics. We worshipped together as a family at home. While there are many loosened measures now to enjoy life, we shouldn’t forget Jesus. We are made up of our mind, spirit and body. We have a Holy Spirit such that we are connected to Him in Spirit and we have a body that connects us to the world. Let us set our minds on things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 - “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

Whatever challenge that comes along the way, we can go through them in peace and joy when we pray and go back to Him. When the same challenge comes, do we trust the Spirit or go back to our flesh again. There are moments where we have our weak points too. Every day we are choosing between following the Spirit or our flesh. When we choose the Spirit, we know God on this level.

The last stage is to represent Christ in us.

Genesis 4:1 - “Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!””

The word ‘knew’ is about intimacy. God wants us to know Him to that level, to become one flesh. When you really know someone so closely, you know what they need even before they ask. When we know God, we represent Him and know what He wants. People see Christ in us. People will wonder why you are different from the rest.

Ephesians 4:1 - “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”

When we really know God, we behave like God.

Ephesians 4:2 - “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

This is in line with the whole Bible. God desires us to walk justly, have mercy and walk humbly with our Lord. This is the hallmark of knowing Jesus. As we are with one another, let’s embody these characteristics.

Ephesians 4:3 - “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Ephesians 4:13 - “This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

A child needs to display childlikeness before going to manhood.

Psalms 133:1-3 - “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.”

This oil is like the blessings of God. Jesus is the head of the church, then to the leaders who are a channel of blessing to everyone. We really know what Jesus wants. In the end days, it is not the external threats that threatens the church. It is internal, where divisions occur. We must remain in unity.

We use our ears to recognise Him. We use our eyes to realise Him. We use our heart to relate to Him. We use our head to understand Him. We use our hands and our whole body to represent Him.

Let’s not murmur but thank God. Focus our minds back on Him. Then, we truly know Him and become a blessing to others.


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