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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC Weekly, 2004-12-26

Text: 1 John 1:5

As the present year draws fast to a close, it is good for us to consider this question, especially since our theme this year was "That I May Know Christ!" We have heard many messages that are related to this theme at our worship services, and at our Church Camp last June ("Surrender to Win Christ" by Dr David Allen). Many of us have also read the recommended book, Changed into His Image by Jim Berg.

This question is not merely asking how much you now know about Him. What you need is not merely the knowing of certain facts concerning God, like knowing a school textbook from cover to cover. The word "know" in the biblical sense implies personal fellowship with God. Such fellowship is mentioned in 1 John 1:5 "and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ." We can have close fellowship with God on the basis of the forgiveness of our sins through Christ's death for us on the cross. 

One example from the Bible of a man who knew God intimately was a man called Enoch, who was Adam's seventh-generation descendant. According to Genesis 5:22, Enoch walked with God. "Walking with God" is a beautiful way to describe knowing Him. One hymn-writer described his own experience of knowing God using the same metaphor: "And He walks with me and He talks with Me, and He tells me that I'm His own." 

Why Should You Know God?

Many reasons can be given for you to know God as you ought. One of them is that it is the very purpose of your existence. God made man for the purpose of having fellowship with Him. This explains why man was the only creature that He made in His own image (Genesis 1:26). No plant, animal, or bird can ever fulfill this very unique role. Man alone was created with the capacity to enjoy blessed, intimate fellowship with God.

But man chose to sin instead, and God then sent Jesus Christ to save him. Eternal life can be obtained only through Him. This is meant to restore our fellowship with God, as Christ said in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." In this verse the link between salvation, as found in the words, "eternal life," and fellowship with God, as found in the words, "that they might know Thee, the only true God," can be clearly seen. This means that no one can legitimately say, "I want to be saved, forgiven, and have a place in heaven, but I do not want to bother about knowing God or having fellowship with Him." Heaven is a place where all the saints will have blessed fellowship with God forever, and you who are saved should already begin to know Him on earth as you ought!

And there is really no reason why you would not want to have this. The psalmist described the thrill of knowing God in very glowing terms: "in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11) If you have yet to discover how wonderful it is to spend precious moments in God's presence, please do not wait any longer. You will find Him to be your soul's greatest delight, and you will be so captivated by Him that you will never want to leave His presence (Psalm 27:4)!

Some of us would give anything just for a chance to meet and talk with a particular person, perhaps your favourite author or athlete. These people do not even know you, let alone want to meet with you. But God, who is infinitely greater than anyone on earth, already knows you and would like to invite you to spend time alone with Him daily, even to confide in Him concerning the seemingly unimportant and insignificant problems in your life. To God who knows every detail of your life, no problem you have is ever too small for you to bring before Him (cf. Psalm 139:17; Matthew 10:30).

Listen now to His welcome words of loving invitation to you: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20) The Lord takes great delight in having fellowship with you. You are very dear to Him because He has known you and loved you even before He created the world (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:29). He even desires to confide the deepest secrets of His heart with you "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them His covenant." (Psalm 25:14)

With such powerful reasons for knowing God as we ought, let us stop depriving our souls of the time we should be spending with Him. Why should we spend endless hours in the many trivial and unsatisfying pursuits of the world when we can satiate our souls fully with God Himself? As the Lord says in Jeremiah 9:23,24, "let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth Me and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." 

To those who claim that they have no time to do this, I can only say this: Somehow, no matter how busy you are, you always manage to find time to eat, to sleep and to groom yourself in the morning. You always manage to find time to do the things that you want to do. Therefore, if you really treasure your time with God, you will undoubtedly find the time for it! 

But what if you have no desire at all to fellowship with God? Then it is doubtful that you have a saving knowledge of Christ. Can anyone who is regenerated and made alive in Christ lack a natural hunger and thirst for Him? We say that something is dreadfully wrong if a newborn child does not want milk. It may even mean that the child is dead. In like manner, a lack of soul-thirst for Him may mean the absence of any spiritual life in you. If you are spiritually alive, your soul would crave for God, just like the psalmist who said, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:2)

How Should You Do This?

If I were to tell you that this is done by going through a prescribed set of actions, such as: having a regular quiet time, praying five times a day, reading three chapters of the Bible a day, and attending every activity in church, then you might have the mistaken idea that fellowship with God is merely a routine performance, and that when you have done all these things, you have had fellowship with God! Man tends to reduce everything down to measurable formulas.

But if you reduce your fellowship with God to such measured amounts of action or work you fall into a trap. You will end up doing it merely for the sake of doing it. Concerning this approach to fellowship with Him, God says, "Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men." (Isaiah 29:13)

The most important thing you need in order to have true fellowship with God, is the right attitudes in your heart. Without these attitudes, all that you do will amount to nothing, There are three main attitudes that are important: 

1. The Desire to Communicate with Him

Fellowship is impossible without communication. This is a two-way process which keeps on going between you and the Lord. God speaks to you through His written Word, the Bible. When you read the Bible or listen to preached messages based on the Bible, you are not taking in the words of some ancient piece of literature, but you are hearing the voice of God speaking to your heart! Everything in it must be regarded as "thus saith the Lord." He is really speaking to you personally. Your part is to listen carefully to discern what He is speaking to you. 

And then you speak to Him in prayer. You express yourself to Him, not merely repeating automatically the stock phrases you regularly use in prayer, but saying what you really mean. You respond to what He has said to you in His Word. You ask Him questions (like the prophet Habakkuk did). You request Him to help you. And when He works in your life and in the circumstances that surround you, you worship Him and thank Him spontaneously. This is the kind of communication that God wants to have with you.

2. The Desire to Commune with Him

The difference between communication and communing with God is that communication involves the understanding, while communing goes further than that, causing your feelings to be stirred up in God's presence. When you commune with God, you love to be in His presence simply because He is God. In Psalm 46:10 we are told, "Be still, and know that I am God." Every moment with Him becomes special and precious to you. You yearn for it and look forward to it throughout the day. And when the opportunity comes for you to give your undivided attention to God in prayer, all the love that you have for Him wells up within you. Nothing else then matters to you but enjoying the presence of God!

3. The Desire for Commitment to Him

Commitment means practical obedience to Him, yielding all your resources to Him in order to please Him, and willingly submitting to His will. It means being faithful and loyal to Him even though you may have to endure personal inconvenience and loss (Mt 16:24). In the attitude of commitment, your soul aspires to give its utmost for His highest! Of all the attitudes for fellowship with God, this is the one that will reveal whether you have really known Him as you ought. 

These three attitudes we have just seen are actually similar to those that are essential for any successful human relationship. Whether in friendship, marriage or parenthood, communication, communion and commitment are required to build the relationship. Your relationship with God however, can grow to heights that are much greater than any other relationship in your life. He alone can be the Friend that "sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). And as you grow to know Him and love Him more deeply, every other love in your life will gradually recede in importance (Matthew 22:37-39; 10:37-39). 

When Should You Begin?

Having seen that communication, communion and commitment are essential for your fellowship with God, what you need to do now is to cultivate these attitudes diligently. Allow nothing to prevent you from doing this. Make a personal resolution to build them into your devotional life, especially in the New Year that is coming soon. Since every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), ask Him to put them into your heart. If you have the desire for a closer walk with God, commit this desire to Him today, and remind yourself daily about this. 

The wonderful thing about this whole process is that the more you know God as you ought, the more you will want to know Him! You will discover what God has written in 1 Corinthians 2:9 to be true in your own experience: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25