Ready for Battle

Battlefront – Action shooter video game based on Star Wars series of movies

Our son chooses a character (hero or villain), weapon, planet, and runs around in a battle fighting against the enemy and completing tasks…..and then, when he’s done he turns off the game and moves on.

In life, though, we’re in a real battle with real enemies, real weapons, and real casualties.  There is no turning off the battle.

Who is the enemy? Paul tells us

Ephesians 6:11-12 NLT

11 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategiesof the devil. 12 For we are notfighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Not a physical fightagainst menbut against unseen evil and powerful rulers, authorities, and spirits

What does the enemy want?

John 10:10 NLT

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”

I typically note “kill and destroy”, but a thief steals first, in secret and without using force. He hides in the shadows and the confusion waiting to question what God is doing in us.  We are prepared for the skirmish, hand to hand combat, but we don’t do well with the slow, day to day, and mundane………..But the devil does

Genesis 3:1 NLT

The serpent was the shrewdest (clever– MSG) of all the wild animals the LordGod had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?

battle.jpg

The devils strategy from the beginning was to plant a seed of unbelief in mankind’s mind and to ultimately destroy him/her.  And that’s been his agenda throughout biblical times and still today.

He knows if he can place a seed of unbelief in your mind there’s a good chance you’ll be passive and it will take root.

But God has a strategy too to prepare us as Christians for battle.

Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT

13 “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truthand the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peacethat comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faithto stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

  1. Belt of Truth(6:14)
  • Biblical times – Protected lower area of body/ provided support for all other pieces of armor during battle.
  • Today – As Christians we must put on His beltbelieving that God’s Truthkeeps us from giving in to the world’s beliefs and defeats Satan’s lies.

John 8:44 NLT

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truthin him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liarand the father of lies.”

Devil says – You are sinful, lost and without hope.

Truth– God’s love and salvation has set me free from sin and death.

The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make of it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions.

There is an ongoing….

  • Battle for Truth according to Scripture
  • Battle for identity
  • Battle for traditional Marriage
  • Battle for Family
  • Battle for Life

But the Bible teaches that truth is God’s Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

 All Scripture is inspired by Godand is useful to teach us what is trueand to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right

Romans 12:2 NLT

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect

Regardless of the battle, the TRUTH is:

  • God is alive, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and in control
  • The holy bible is without error and the inspired word of God
  • God created all of mankind with an identity
  • God created marriage between 1 man and 1 woman and they were commanded to multiply
  • God alone determines our days
  1. Breastplate of Righteousness(6:14)
  • Biblical times– Protected the heart along with the other vital organs
  • Today– As Christians we must put onHis righteousnessto protect against all of Satan’s accusations and charges.To be righteous is to do what is rightin God’s eyes (Obey God’s laws of love).

Proverbs 4:23 NLT/NKJV

23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (out of it springs the issues of life)

Once we have put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must be sure not to remove it. Wearing righteousness is not a one-time event; it requires a lifetime of action.

  1. Shoes of Peace(6:15)
  • Biblical times – Protected feet while marching into battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put onHis shoesof peace that allows us to take the good news of Jesus wherever He leads.

1 John 2:6 NKJV

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

 Satan will try to place obstacles in our path, but we can take comfort in the good news promised by God that there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid.

John 16:33 NLT

“I have told you all this so that you may have peacein me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Luke 10:19-20 NLT

“19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

  1. Shield of Faith(6:16)
  • Biblical times – Protected entire body from enemy’s fiery arrows during battle.
  • Today –As Christians we must hold up His shieldto protect against Satan’s fiery arrows of doubt and temptations.
    1. Believe that God is in control, that He is working everything out for our good, and will keep His promises. Faith turns aside doubt and temptation.

Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Romans 12:3 NKJV

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

God gifts each of usa measure of faith. As we walk with Him that faith grows and develops until it becomes a shield, protecting us and making us victorious in Christ.

Our faith in God, can also give Satan a shove backwards. Because God tells us that faith cannot just be in our minds, it must produce actions—works of obedience and service.  The temptation of Christ.

  1. Helmet of Salvation(6:17)
  • Biblical times – Protected the head, the most vital body part, during battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put on His helmetto protect our mind and thoughts against Satan’s lies. We have been called out of this world. Though we remain in it, we are not of it and remain separate from it. Our way of living and even of thinking should differ from the worlds. We are to develop the mind of Christ.

1 John 5:11-12 NKJV

11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Remember that salvation comes from God, and that God is on our side. If we commit to fully follow and obey Him, it is impossible for us to lose our battle or our salvation.

  1. Sword of the Spirit (6:17)
  • Biblical times – provided offensive and defensive weapon during battle
  • Today – As Christians we must pick up His sword (Word) to
    • destroy strongholds of temptation, anger, fear, pride, and rebellion

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT

4 “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

  • discern the truth and thoughts

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

  1. Prayer (6:18) at all times, all occasions, all believers

Even with full armor we need continuous prayer for ourselves and other believers.  Prayer brings you into communion and fellowship with God so that His armor can protect you.

Romans 13:14 NKJV

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

American Theologian Albert Barnes comments, “No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph”.

If we equip ourselves with God’s armor, we must also be determined to keep a steady line of connection with Him. He is the commander of His spiritual army, and He alone knows how to lead it to victory.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT

8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

DAILY:

S– Standup victorious under God’s power with confidence GOD HAS ALREADY WON;

  • Paul encouraged 3 times- Stand up, Stand firm, Stand your ground
  • Jesus commanded 2 occasions to lame men “Stand up and pick up your mat”
  • We are complacent/ passive (laying down, disengaged) political/ social

 

T– Take up (put on) God’s full armor  – RESIST the devil

A– Always pray in the Spirit at all times, for all occasions, for yourself and other believers – CONNECT to God (praise and petition)

N– Notice danger – STAY ALERT to the devil’s schemes

D– Declare the truthSPEAK OUT LOUD

  • About God…….You are good and loving and faithful and have never left me
  • About yourself……I am a child of God, Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
  • Speak about the devil……..You’re a liar and you’re defeated

STAND!!!

“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” Billy Graham

Healthy Body

A New Year is approaching w/ new resolutions, new ads); get in shape, join a gym, try a new diet – most stop after a few weeks.

I’ve done the same.  

Flashback to my annual physical appointment …..“Everything looks good, except you have High LDL cholesterol (Low-Density Lipoprotein)”   “that’s not a problem unless someone in your family has died of a heart attack”.

LDL= fragments of cholesterol (plaque) attach to blood stream wall and clogs the arteries causing heart attacks and strokes more likely.

2 options: medication or treat myself (discipline)

Doctor List of foods to eat, not eat

Appointment on same day with a brother to discuss some spiritual areas that I was struggling with & I realized I was both physically and spiritually unhealthy.

I/we want to be HEALTHY, physically and spiritually living and growing and loving.

Ephesians 4:16 – He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

healthy body.jpg

5 healthy habits 

  1. Eat Right (nutrition)– strengthens my body
  • Physically eat:
    • More whole foods (vegetables, fruits, fish, Drink lots of water)
    • Less processed foods (baked goods…)
    • In moderation (pork, red fatty meats, eggs)
  • Spiritually eat:

John 6:55-58– “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eatsmy flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eatsthis bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”

Matthew 5:6– “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied”

Acts 2:42– “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer”.

Hebrews 5:11-13 – There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

  1. Exercise Routinely – conditions my body
  • Physically – exercise more by being active:
    • walking
    • aerobic activity that exerts the heart (swimming, running, biking)…sports
    • reading
  • Spiritually – exercise

1 Peter 1:13 –“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.”

1 Timothy 4:8– “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

1 Corinthians 14:4– “A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church”.

  1. Eliminate Rot – rids my body
    • Physically –eliminate (cut out) the fat; unnecessary clutter, burden, stress, distraction
      • Belongings (Spring cleaning)
      • Activities
      • Technology (TV, social media, media, talk radio)
      • Relationships (toxic)

Proverbs 16:24 – “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 20:6– “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?”

  • Spiritually – eliminate (cut out)
    • Sin

Job 11:13-15 – “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! 14 Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.15 Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear.”

  • Evil behavior –

1 Peter 2:1 – “So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.”

  1. Expand Rest – recoupes my body
    • Physically –expand rest time for the body & soul; (sleep, naps, sit), Sabbath, vacation
    • Spiritually –expand rest (spending time with Jesus and knowing him)
      • Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Hebrews 4:10 – “For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.”

  • Peace (God gives strength)

Psalm 29:11 – The Lordgives his people strength. The Lordblesses them with peace.

John 14:27– “I am leaving you with a gift—peaceof mind and heart. And the peaceI give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

  • Examine Regularly – checks my body
  • Physically –have your body and your blood examined by a physician (outside and inside)
  • Spiritually – have your soul examined by the great physician

Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart;test meand know my anxious thoughts.Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

When I think back about the 2 options: medication or treat myself.  I could have easily chosen the easy way out and just take the drugs for the rest of life and accept that as my future.

I also think how I got there & how I’ve been so complacent and comfortable physically and spiritually for a long time.

Movie – WALL-E

Main character (WALL-E) – waste collector droneWaste Allocation Load Lifter,

Space-faring cruise shipfull of obese, infant like consumers (Americans) who are too bloated to walk and too lazy to think,spend their days immobile in hovering lounge chairs, staring at ads on computers screens.

Satire of humanity – Wall-Etells us that if we don’t change the way we live, we’ll all get really fat and destroy the world. The plot begins with the idea that a megacorporation called Buy N Large has essentially taken over the planet and induced so much consumption and waste that humans must escape their dying planet on an enormous, space-faring cruise ship. Once onboard, their self-destructive tendencies only get worse: After 700 years adrift, humans have grown too bloated to walk and too lazy to think.

John 10:10 NKJV The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have I more abundantly

God did not create us for salvation followed by comfort and complacency as we wait for eternal life.  We were created for life abundantly now.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Death and life are in the blood.

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sinthat so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

How’s your health?

When was the last time you relented and were examined by the Great Physician?

Connected to the Body

I’m a private person.  In the past, I’ve been guilty of dealing with tough issues (work, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins) by MYSELF.

Occasionally, when issues get REALLY bad, I make strides in going to God and submitting to others for a while….But, I’ve struggled with having consistent, deep relationships with other believers in the body, especially other men. I can count on one hand the people I’ve let in.  The fact is, I’ve been hurt, betrayed rejected and abandoned by those I trusted.  But because of my pride I haven’t forgiven them completely.  Currently my wife is the main person I’ve trusted to let in.

Maybe you too have remained isolated when issues arise in your job, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins. Maybe you too haven’t completely forgiven those in the body of Christ that have hurt or disappointed you.

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with God

AND

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with the body.

connected

Romans 12:5(NLT) “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts, of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Acts 2:42(NLT)“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…47 And each day the Lord added to their Fellowshipthose who were being saved.”

I see that the church has become really good at getting together with others, sharing meals, maybe listening to a teaching, maybe taking communion, and perhaps praying.  The church as a whole has become a card carrying membership and not a fellowship.  Ship: old English “scipe”; as to shape, form, adjust, adopt, evolve, develop.

Why?

Independence. Independence from God and one another. Instead of being a part of the body of Christ, we have amputated ourselves…..trying to process the issues of life alone- without God, and without each other

How do we solve the problem?

Three (3) things that we can do to stay connected and become a healthy body

  1. SEEK parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, proactively search for someone you can intimately connect with, confide in, count on, and call out on a deeper level;

Hebrews 10:25(TPT) “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing,  In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

  1. SUBMIT to parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, willingly surrender to someone by opening up and being vulnerable. Allow them to ask the difficult questions and provide the difficult answers surrounding your marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins.

1Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “Likewise you young people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you, be submissiveto one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble””.

  1. SHARE with parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, deliberately and lovingly speak life to someone, including words of praise, encouragement, and correction.

Proverbs 10:11 (NLT) “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain…”

Ephesians 4:2“Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love”. Making every effort to keep yourselves unitedin the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Misapplied:      Matthew 7:1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”

1Cor 5:12 (TPT)“What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s’ God’s responsibility.  But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge..”

Proverbs 17:10 (TPT)“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him.”

You and I were created to be connected to the body both physically and spiritually

When we seek out, submit to, and share with other parts of the body of Christ, we are built up and equipped to .be a unified and powerful body- able to fulfill the commandments and commission that Christ demands of the church.

I’m no authority on relationships in fact I’ve failed time and time again… but time and time again, the Lord has proven that He has never left me or forsaken me and neither has the church – there ARE others in the body that are also seeking, submitting to and willing to share their lives with me, so that we can edify and encourage one another.

What about you? Are you connected to the body daily or just weekly?

Are you seeking, submitting and sharing with others or are you isolated and independent of God and others? Do you have someone that you open up to and are vulnerable with or are you avoiding issues?

Is someone encouraging, challenging and correcting so that you can be the healthiest you?

Clothed

Mark 10:46-52 The Message (MSG)

46-48 They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!”Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

49-50 Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”

They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.

51 Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.

3 things you can SEE in the presence of Jesus

  1. SEE your DEFICIENCY
  1. Bartimaeus was physically blind (46…a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus);
    1. As stated in Deuteronomy 28, widely believed sickness was a result of either your own sins or your parents’ sins.
  2. Bartimaeuswas spiritually blind from His unbelief (52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has savedand healed you)

 

  • He was deficient physically (blind, begging for mercy, and wearing a coat)
  • He was deficient spiritually (blind, begging for mercy, wearing a coat of sin)

 

I’ve been spiritually blind too.

Driving to FL at Christmas, Jodie challenged me to follow the speed limit.  And I did faithfully and immediately felt the relief of not having to constantly check my speed and rear view mirror, but felt the frustration of getting there later.

 God since has showed me that in the past:

    • I knowingly broke the law and rationalized that everyone was speeding.
    • And I continued increasing my speed to the point that the speed limit became a minimum.

 

Sin can become so rooted in our lifestyle or belief system that we become blinded to it. clothed

1 John 2:15MSG

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear importanthas nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

  1. SEE your DELIVERER

 

46When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

49-50Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.” They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.  51Jesus said, “What can I do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.

 

  1. Bartimaeus believed that because Jesus was from the ancestry of King David (Son of David) he was bringing God’s kingdom to the poor, maimed, lame and blind and could heal him physically

Beginning of Jesus’ ministry:

Luke 4:18-21 The Message (MSG)

18-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and  recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free,  to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

  1. Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was the messiah and could heal him spiritually

52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

  • He was desperate both physically and spiritually
  • Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus louder and louder
  • Bartimaeus humbled himself
  • Bartimaeus threw off his coat
  • Bartimaeus went to Jesus
  • Bartimaeus said, “Rabbi, I want to see

 

  1. SEE your DEVOTION
  1. Bartimaeus believed that Jesus healed and saved him
  2. Bartimaeus believed following Jesus was his only option

52…In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.

  • His new life was devoted to following Jesus. His world was turned upside down. 
  • From being blind to being both saved and healed
  • From being desperate for money to being desperate for more of Jesus
  • From sitting down to getting up
  • From being clothed with sin to being clothed with Joy

  

Psalm 30:8-12 NLT (David)

cried out to you, O Lord.   I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you?  Can it tell of your faithfulness? 10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.” 11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.   You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

 

Are you willing to let him reveal areas of spiritual blindness?

Are you willing to throw off any coat of sin, cry out and come to him?

Are you willing to put on the coat of Joy he has for you and follow him?

Knowing God

What does it mean to know God? knowing.jpg

No greater misunderstanding for Christ followers

Is it attending church or a meeting weekly?

Is it knowing facts about Jesus or memorizing bible verses?

Is it listening to fabulous podcast sermons?

Is it praying and obeying routinely?

Is it serving the church or the community?

Is it even using our spiritual gifts?  

Jesus himself says it’s more than that to know me; more than getting a laminated membership card

Matthew 7:21–23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

So it’s not about going to church or a meeting or knowing the bible back and forth, or occasionally praying and obeying, or serving the body or the community, or manifesting your gifts.

  • I’ve spent much of my life worshipping my distant savior on the throne and not walking with my Lord.
  • But Jesus says there’s more (relational intimacy)

Luke 5:1-11 (NLT) 

1One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

3 things we can do to truly KNOW God

  1. KNOWING God by spending time with Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • spending every day in his presence listening and talking with Jesus
  • For us it means
    • Intentionally getting alone each day in his presence listening and talking with God in prayer
  1. KNOWING God by Studying Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • Watching his behavior
    • watching him interact with the father (get alone and pray)
    • watching him interact with people (perform miracles, love people, confront sin, rebuke)
  • For us it means
    • Learning how to become like him (holy) through the power of the Holy Spirit
    • Learning how to interact with the father (get alone and pray)
    • Learning how to interact with people (perform miracles, love people, confront sin, rebuke)
  1. KNOWING God by submitting to Him
  • For the disciples it meant
    • surrendering to his lordship
    • leaving everything behind(job, family) to follow him

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your lifefor my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it

1 John 2:3-6 (NLT)

3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 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. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

  • For us it means
    • Daily submitting to His will and obeying the Holy Spirit as he teaches us
    • Daily leaving everything to follow him