Sunday, September 8, 2019

TO KNOW JESUS                    

Gary Giddings, Pastor
Church of the Full Gospel 
Sand Lake, Michigan  

Proverbs 3:5-6 - “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

We are on a spiritual journey and we need God’s help every day. When we put our TRUST in Jesus and not in ourselves or others, we learn to ACKNOWLEDGE Him in all that we do. “In all thy ways” means the course of your life, and what you do in life. How do we know what we should do? Don’t follow the crowd because the crowd is often wrong!

We ACKNOWLEDGE God through Jesus our Savior. The important part of the word ACKNOWLEDGE is the word KNOW. We KNOW God through Jesus our Savior. Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. Once we know that Jesus is the answer to everything, there is no reason to look anywhere else. We are in a spiritual battle and so we may be tempted to look around. The enemy of our soul wants to get us to focus on someone or something else than Jesus.

God’s promise is that HE WILL DIRECT US. He will make our way RIGHT and PROSPEROUS (especially in the spiritual sense). We will prosper and be in health even as our SOUL prospers. As God DIRECTS, our way will become STRAIGHT and EVEN. Don’t let your feelings or other people’s feelings confuse you or distract you.

There is a saying from ancient Greek philosophy, “Know thyself.” There is SOME wisdom in that because you shouldn’t mindlessly go through life. But what can we really know about ourself? Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanack, observed the great difficulty of knowing one’s self: “There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.”

The Bible tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Then the Bible gives us the answer: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

We are learning to trust Jesus with our heart, for He cleans us, makes us right and sets us straight! We are learning about Jesus in a personal way, not just to know about Him. Even the demons believe that Jesus exists and they tremble. They know the power of Jesus is greater than their power. But we are called into an intimate relationship of knowing and enjoying the presence of the Lord. This is our peace, comfort and satisfaction!

Philippians 3:7-10a - “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea 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 but dung, that I may win Christ, And 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: That I may know him …

From the Strong’s Concordance, KNOW means “be aware of; be resolved; be sure, understand.” Every day, as we commune and interact with Jesus, we are getting to know Him more and more.

We talk about our life here on earth as a journey of faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. The word JOURNEY, according to Webster’s Dictionary, comes from the Latin for “a daily portion.” We receive our daily portion of Jesus as we acknowledge Him and follow Him.

Another word akin to journey is JOURNAL. According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, a JOURNAL is: 1. A diary; an account of daily transactions and events.” Some people find it helpful to write a private account of their thoughts and feelings about the events of the day. Writing about our successes and failures, the good and the bad things of the day can be real helpful. There was a time in my life when things were very stressful and chaotic and it was very helpful to put down in words what I was going through. Many of my entries turned out to be prayers to God, both asking for help and also thanking Him for His help.

Another definition for JOURNAL (1828 Webster) is: 3. In navigation, a daily report of the ships course and distance, the wind, the weather, and other occurrences. Our journey of faith can be likened to a ship making a trip across a great body of water. We trust the Lord to guide us and to calm the storms in our lives. When we look back at what the Lord has done for us, we can thank and praise Him for His hand upon us.

Philippians 3:10-14 - “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not 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. Brethren, 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

In contrast to those who are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7), we can KNOW more about Jesus day by day. The Apostle Paul kept reaching out for more of Jesus and so can we! We can experience Jesus’ resurrection power as we lift our heart to Him. We may experience the rejection of others who have rejected Jesus, but this too is part of our fellowship with Him. Don’t stop but keep pressing on!

We are learning that this life isn’t about us, but about Jesus our Savior, our Friend and our Bridegroom. The more that we know and experience the love of Jesus, the more we want to live for Jesus. More of Jesus means that the world, the flesh and the devil has less and less pull and influence upon us.

Psalm 32:8-9 - “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” 

We were not made like the animals who don’t understand intimate fellowship with the Lord. But we were made to KNOW and to ENJOY a relationship of love with Jesus our Savior. We will come to “know the way more perfectly” as we let Him instruct, teach and guide us in all our ways.

A dear older saint from our Sand Lake meeting gave a testimony years ago that made an impression on me. She said that someone asked her if she would like to be 18 years old again. She replied that she wouldn’t because when she was 18 she didn’t know Jesus like she did at the present time. All those years of following Jesus was very precious to her because she grew and learned to appreciate Him more and more. May this be our testimony as well: TO KNOW JESUS is better than anything else!