The Journey, Pt. 4

In this series I have been talking through our Journey. I started with Making a Difference in the first week of this series. Discover Your Purpose was the following week and then Find Freedom was our topic for Palm Sunday. Today is my favorite topic, the passion of my heart, Know God. These four topics make up the pillars of our church. Usually, we state them in this order, “Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Your Purpose and Make a Difference”, but I wanted us to get an idea of our destination (Make a Difference) before we drilled down on how to Make a Difference. It all starts with knowing God.

“Know” (ginosko in Greek) was a Jewish idiom used as a term for intimacy when referring to relations between a husband and wife. To know is really the highest form of intimacy, especially when referring to our relationship with God. When Jesus used this term, I am sure it shocked His listeners. Until Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, there was no concept of being intimate with God (ginosko) and to use this term in connection with a relationship with God was revolutionary. In Matthew 7:22, Jesus tells His listeners that He is not looking for people to do things in His name. He is looking for people who seek Him. Those whom He did not know will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It will be those who were in relationship with Him and who did His will. He's looking for our heart, for a personal relationship with each of us. We don’t have to be perfect but we do have to be perfected. Perfection comes through our acceptance of what Jesus’ sacrifice for us and our relationship with God through Jesus. Love is the direct commandment of God. We are commanded to love God and love people. It is not about how often we attend church, how often we serve or even how much we give. Church is made up of people who are in love with a living and true God. God is looking for our heart. There is a sense of powerlessness when we don't know God. If you don't know God, you won't know his power to overcome disease and addiction and those things holding you back. Being in love with God makes obeying the Bible easy because when you're in love, you want to obey the Bible. You get to obey and His commands are not burdensome when you are in love.

Paul speaks of wanting to know God in Philippians 3:10. He uses ginosko in this passage. Starting in verse 8, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” We can't find freedom, discover purpose, or make a difference until we know God. Today, He wants us to have a resurrection of our own.

1)Love Him because He first loved you. You are accepted already. You don't have to get your act together to get to Him, but if you get to Him you will get your act together. He just wants you.

2)Pursue Him. Pursuit is part of intimacy. God likes to be pursued. He says to seek Him and you will find Him. Pursue Him with all your heart. On the other side of your pursuit, you will find an incredible, abundant life.

3)Make a commitment to Him. God is not mad at you. He's madly in love with you. Any good relationship requires commitment. We don't understand everything when we first commit but if we cross the line of faith and give Jesus our life, the reward is everything. Luke 9:24 tells us if we try to hang on to our life we will lose it, but if we give up our life for Jesus’ sake, we will save it.

Do you know the song, “Do You Love Me?” in the musical, Fiddler on the Roof? The story is about a Russian Jewish family and the clash between love and tradition. At one point the father, challenged by his daughter’s choices, considers his own marriage. They had an arranged marriage but his daughters were choosing to marry for love. He finally approaches his wife and asks, “Do you love me?” God is saying this to you today. “Do you love me?” “Do I have your heart?” “Do you want an intimate relationship with me?” Cross the line of faith. Love God, pursue Him and commit to Him. As you do, you will find this is your best life.
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